Suspect in Grisly Mosque Murder Was Obsessed With ‘Race War’ Group – The Daily Beast

Posted: March 21, 2022 at 9:11 am

Just after dawn on Sept. 7, 2020, along a well-trodden path of the West Humber Trail in Toronto, a jogger saw something that stopped them in their tracks.

Laying along the side of the trail, under a bridge, was the body of Rampreet Singh. Cops happened upon a grizzly scene: Singh had been attacked in his sleeping bag and stabbed repeatedly. He was likely attacked while he was still fast asleep.

Five days later, police would be called again, to a mosque just a few blocks away. On Sept. 12, cops arrived at the mosque, just a 10-minute drive from where Singhs body was found. Outside the front doors, they found Mohamed-Aslim Zafis with his throat slit.

The Canadian cops worried that the two slayings might be connected. Fears abounded in the community that someone was targeting men of color. Authorities acknowledged that the attacks may have been the work of a serial killer.

Then police caught a break a week later, arresting 34-year-old Guilherme Von Neutegem for Zafis killing.

On Instagram, he uploaded a photo of a shrine he appears to have built. At the center is a Sonnenrad, a type of swastika.

But, more than a year later, as Von Neutegem awaits trial, his case has garnered scant attention. What happened to Singh remains unclear. What may have provoked the vicious attacks remains unexplained.

Clues in Von Neutegems online life, however, point towards a little-known cult: a neo-Nazi satanist religion that has ensnared a significant and loyal following. The movement, the Order of Nine Angles, proselytizes a coming race war, with some texts even instructing its followers to accelerate the violence through random human sacrifices.

Von Neutegem is not the first follower of the Order to be accused of acts of violence. Experts worry he wont be the last.

On the left, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis. On the right, Rampreet Singh.

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Toronto Police

The West Humber Trail is a haven of seclusion in the otherwise industrial and bustling Etobicoke neighborhood, in the west end of Toronto.

The path is particularly popular with joggers out for a run before heading to work. Many of those who frequented the path in the early morning hours recognized Singh. He had been living under a bridge for months. Those who trekked the path told local news that he was a friendly guy. Some had even taken to delivering him food on their morning walk to work.

When the Toronto Police Service homicide squad were called after the jogger found Singhs body, it was clear the slaying wouldnt be an open-and-shut case. While conflicts between those who sleep rough in Toronto can turn violent, Singh was bedding down far away from the populated encampments closer to downtown. Whats more, there was little evidence of a struggle or a robbery. He kept to himself, one officer told the media in the weeks after Singhs death.

Singh had fallen on hard times, but he wasnt the type to provoke a fight. He had trained as a chemical engineer in his native India, before emigrating to Canada. For a time he had a well-paying job at a plastic factory, and a modest apartment in a rooming house.

He was a simple guy, Randy Welch, who worked with Singh years before his death, told The Daily Beast.

But Singh quit his job abruptly around 2012. In the meantime, Torontos housing market has exploded. Many of those rooming houses were knocked down or converted into high-priced condos. The citys homeless population remains underserved, and often ignored, many struggling with undiagnosed or under-treated mental health issues. Thats where Singh ended up: on the streets.

Welch is sympathetic: The Toronto streets are brutal, he said.

For a time, Singh had been staying closer to downtown, where he accessed services from a support center. He was struggling, but he just always wanted to do good, Kimberly Curry, an outreach worker, told the Toronto Star. She recalled arriving at the center one day to find that, behind the center, Singh had set up a little encampment for himself and a friendcomplete with fresh vegetables for them to eat. It was like a little house he had set up outside, she told the Star.

It glorifies Hitler and promises to endow its followers with the magic power to provoke a race war.

His slaying had the hallmarks of being targeted and deliberate. Officers were left struggling to answer a basic question: Why would anyone want to kill him?

When Welch saw his friends face on the news, he says, It took me awhile to recognize him. Singh had clearly had a rough few years since he and Welch had been coworkers. Still, Welch thought, why would anyone want to kill him?

A similar thought ran through the minds of members of Torontos Muslim community on the evening of Sept. 12.

That evening, Zafis had ducked inside his mosque for evening prayers. Afterwards, he walked outside and took up his perch in a plain white lawn chair, facing the mosques parking lot. The 58-year-old was there to make sure worshippers washed their hands, kept their masks on, and stayed the requisite six feet from each other inside, complying with the provinces COVID-19 restrictions. In the weeks before, Zafis had been volunteering in the mosque food bank. He would take the lead to hand it out to those who are in need, recalls Omar Farouk, president of the mosque. Farouk says Zafis, an immigrant from Guyana, was always the first to raise his hand to volunteer.

On that warm September evening, Zafis stationed himself just below the white and green sign for the International Muslim Organization of Toronto. He sat with a book in his lap, his back turned to the red brick building.

Zafis didnt turn his head, at first, when a figure walked up the path towards the mosques front doors. He only shifted in the plastic chair when the figure was behind him. He craned his neck to see who it was. But the hooded figure walked on, into the darkness. Zafis returned to his reading.

The figure only made it a few paces beyond Zafis before doubling back, walking a long arc, past the front doors of the mosque, slowly creeping back from where he or she came, almost as though they were pacing. Deliberating.

Then, the figure stopped. The security footage from the mosque is grainy, but they clearly turned their head towards Zafis. They reached into the pocket and pulled something out, making their way towards the mosque caretaker. Quickly, without Zafis turning, they crouched behind the 58-year-old and reached their arm around his neck.

The figure then bolted into the darkness, with only a dim glowperhaps of a cellphonevisible.

Zafis stood up from his chair, wobbly. He stumbled forward, then collapsed, rolling onto his back.

The security camera footage that showed his killing wouldnt be shared with the public until a month after his murder, but police knew full well the weight of what they were watching. Whoever killed Zafis had showed up to the mosque that night with a knife in their backpack. They had skulked in the darkness, but killed Zafis under a bright street light, in full view of the parking lot.

The killings looked similar: random, brutal stabbings. Both in the same neighborhood. Both attacks on men of color. Toronto police didnt link the two slayings, but acknowledged they couldnt exclude that possibility.

The city didnt need to hold its breath for a suspect for long. On Sept. 18, police arrested 34-year-old Guilherme Von Neutegem and charged him with first-degree murder for the death of Zafis.

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Instagram

Guilherme Von Neutegem grew up in southern Brazil, the son of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not far from the Protestant mainstream; its theology differs, mostly, in its belief that there is no hell.

But those who knew Von Neutegem in Brazil say he wasnt interested in the church. One of Von Neutegems former classmates, who did not wish to be named, recalls getting on fairly well with him. But he was, she wrote, estranhostrange.

She told The Daily Beast that he had an interest in peculiar things. He was smart, and well-versed in technology, but not terribly social.

Around 2004, Von Neutegem left Brazil. Moving around was fairly common for his family, as the church believes strongly in missionary work. Von Neutegems father would move to churches throughout the United States and Canada.

Much of the family ended up in Toronto in the early 2010s. Von Neutegems parents made a point of helping new Brazilian immigrants to the city acclimatize to their new home. Thats how Von Neutegem met his future wife.

Friends who knew the Von Neutegems say they were the epitome of happiness. They were the most amazing supportive and caring parents, a friend of the family told The Daily Beast.

The only point of contention appeared to be Von Neutegems rejection of his parents faith. He seemed more taken with esoteric philosophy than Christianity. That made his parents a little sad, the friend said. But, they said, his parents always respected him, even though they wished he could be on the same path as theirs.

He wanted Combat 18 to be his own personal army. He wanted to bring the United Kingdom to the brink.

Von Neutegem enrolled in a local college in 2014, studying psychology. A year later, he married his girlfriend. According to an online listing, he began a holistic medicine practise, seemingly operating out of his condo. The whole family appeared close: Facebook albums show Von Neutegem, his wife, parents, and brother traveling together to Niagara Falls, on a skiing trip to Alberta, and enjoying dinner together.

Von Neutegems friends lost touch with him in the years that followed. His marriage ended abruptly, and his ex-wife returned to Brazil, as did his parents. The happy family vacations on his social media pages were steadily replaced with esoteric religious imagery and increasingly reactionary political opinions.

The Liberal trend of political correctness and flirtation with utopian socialism and globalism will inevitably give way to an authoritarian type of world Government, Von Neutegem tweeted in 2019.

As the pandemic hit, in the spring of 2020, Von Neutegems politics turned even more conspiratorial. He warned that the coronavirus pandemic was a global propaganda campaign to build a World Government. The same month, on Facebook, he posted a meme comparing 5G cellphone service to the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.

He followed conservative politicians and media in Canada and further afield. On Twitter, he followed and liked Varg Vikernes, a Norwegian black metal musician convicted of numerous arsons of churches and the killing of a former associate, and Red Ice TV, an online media outlet suspended by YouTube for hate speech.

Its clear that Von Neutegem had tilted towards openly antisemitic and extremist political and media figures in the years before his arrest. But one particular fixation became more pronounced.

A second bomb exploded in a predominantly immigrant community near Whitechapel. Days later, a third bomb went off inside one of Sohos oldest gay bars.

His most recent upload to his YouTube page, from January 2020, was titled Chant (ONA). In it, Von Neutegem lilts over an atonal drone. The grainy black-and-white footage hovers over a candle-lit shrine, panning up to a six-pointed stara heptagram.

Researchers with Anti-Hate Canada were quick to note the significance, writing in a blog post shortly after Von Neutegems arrest: The Order of the 9 Angles is a neo-Nazi death cult and its believers are told to carry out murders to establish a satanic empire. Its training manual says, to cull humans is to be the ONA.

On Facebook, Von Neutegem had joined multiple groups advertising themselves as covensor nexionsof the Order of Nine Angles (O9A or ONA). On Pinterest, he hoarded O9A symbolism and followed other influencers from the movement. On Instagram, he uploaded a photo of a shrine he appears to have built; at its center is a Sonnenrad, a type of swastika.

The banner image for Von Neutegems YouTube page features two Nordic runesone of which was made infamous on the uniforms of Hitlers Waffen-SS a stylized swastika, and a wooden-handled dagger.

Someone who had been close with Von Neutegem, up until the years before his arrest, cant say what led him towards these extremist positions. I have no clue. I mean it. I dont understand either. Nobody does. Only he knows what drove him into these ideas, they wrote to The Daily Beast, while declining to be interviewed.

At the time of his arrest, Von Neutegem was living in a recently completed luxury condo building in Etobicoke, in Torontos West Endthree-and-a-half miles from the mosque where Zafis was stabbed. A city bus, which stops in front of Von Neutegems building, could have taken him to there in about 20 minutes.

A list of essays in a manuscript entitled O9A for Beginners.

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Unlike the thicket of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups and movements that have sprung up in recent years, birthed on far-right social media pages and secretive members-only chat rooms, O9A dates back to a pre-digital age. Despite its three decades of existence, understanding anything concrete about the Order can prove challenging.

What is abundantly clear is that the O9A preaches a violent, reactionary, and hateful ideology. It glorifies Hitler and promises to endow its followers with the magic power to provoke a race war.

The O9A mythology claims it was founded in the 1960s, as a marriage of three obscure satanic temples. For decades, it had no particular public presence. By the late 1980s, however, a new leader took over to, as one O9A text reads, make the teachings known on a large scaleAnton Long. Massive tomes of literature, which makes up the core of the Order of Nine Angles philosophy and religious doctrine, are attributed to Long. Yet Long is a ghost: virtually non-existent, beyond his affiliation with O9A.

Almost every researcher who has studied O9A accepts that Long is a nom de plume. While the name may have been used by multiple key figures in the pseudo-religious cult, there is considerable evidence to suggest Long is, at least primarily, an Englishman named David Myatta longtime far-right agitator who had been involved with neo-Nazi organizations as far back as the 1960s and was once dubbed The Most Evil Nazi in Britain.

Proving, without a doubt, that the two men are one and the same is frustratingly difficult, but there is ample evidence to back up the claim. Long and Myatt often use similar concepts and esoteric language, they both share a publisher, and their biographies share core details. Despite that, Myatt has denied being Long. Many followers of O9A, however, believe they are one and the same. Such is a fairly common paradox of the Order: Things are true, false, and neither at the same time.

My main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country.

There are plenty of circumstantial clues that Myatt might, in fact, be Long. Their voluminous writings are remarkably similar in length, style, and density. Plenty of Longs essays are on Myatts website, right next to those that carry his name. When Jacob Senholt, a masters student, penned an extensive thesis on Myatt and the O9A in 2009, he concluded that the small pile of hints and references pointing to Myatt and Long being one and the same should be enough to warrant such a connection.

Unlike Long, Myatt isnt hard to find. His personal website boasts a grainy picture of himin a gray three-piece suit, a black tie, a crisp white shirtstanding in front of an altar, near a tall candle and a stained glass window. Next to his name is the ancient Greek phrase pathei mathos, or, learning through suffering. Von Neutegem had saved similar photos of Myatt to his Pinterest page.

Large parts of Myatts website are inscrutable. His essays carry titles like concerning and in the Corpus Hermeticum, and make inscrutably dense arguments. (In essence, empathy and pathei-mathos lead us away from the abstractions we have constructed and manufactured and which abstractions we often tend to impose) There is a whole section for his poetry, which is simplistic by contrast (The Sun, the city, to wear such sadness down/For I am only one among the many.)

The Englishman had been on watchdog radars for some time, including Nick Lowles, a longtime contributor to Searchlight, an anti-fascist magazine devoted to exposing the English far right.

Lowles says Myatt had essentially dropped off the radar in the 1970s, and reappeared on the scene in the 1990s, as a senior figure in notorious neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Myatt had grand ambitions, Lowles says. He wanted Combat 18 to be his own personal army. He wanted to bring the United Kingdom to the brink. Myatt wanted to instigate a race war, Lowles says.

But Myatt was an awkward theorist amongst the rough-and-ready jackboots. These people werent really big readers, Lowles says. That led to a clash between Myatts fantasy and the reality of the British hard-right.

The group seemed more interested in heavy drinking and street brawls. Internal politics led to one member stabbing another in the throat. That largely precipitated the end of Combat 18, as its members were arrested in droves in the late 1990s. Myatt lost what he hoped would be his, as Lowles phrases it, personal army.

One of his most infamous texts is a lengthy defense of suicide bombings, published to his blog in 2003.

In 1998, Myatt had decamped to the English countryside, where he set up a spiritual successor to Combat 18: the National Socialist Movement. It would become more of an intellectual movement than rowdy beer-hall politics.

Revolution means struggle, he wrote around that time. It means war. It means certain tactics have to be employed, and a great revolutionary movement organized which is primarily composed of those prepared to fight, prepared to get their hands dirty and perhaps spill some blood.

With his new profile, Lowles and Searchlight began to wonder what Myatt had been doing in those decades prior. They began to suspect that Myatt had a hand in founding the Order of Nine Angles.

O9A was hardly a major movement at this point, but it had a loyal following who ordered its texts through the mailliterature that echoed Myatts other groups. This work aims to provide a brief guide to the strategy and tactics National-Socialists need in order to create a revolution and create a National-Socialist State, one O9A from the time read. Some were written under the pseudonym Godric Redbeard (Myatt boasted a bushy ginger beard around then) while others carried Anton Longs name.

In 1998, Lowles, the anti-racist researcher, decided to reach out to Myatt. I just rang him up, Lowles says. It was March 20 when they met for lunch at a pub in a small farming town. Both men had been secretly taping the conversation; one of their recordings has since found its way online.

You obviously say youve never had any connections with the Order of Nine Angles, Lowles tells Myatt, at the beginning of the recording.

What do you mean by the Order of Nine Angles? Myatt replies, clearly feigning ignorance. Do you think its a group, or do you think its one person?

In the conversation, Lowles reveals that he has evidence showing Myatt owned and operated three post office boxes connected with O9A, dating back to the 1980s. While Myatt admits he checked the mail boxes, he danced around on the question of his own involvement, insisting only that I have tried to use, or convert, people who had been involved with various occult groups for national socialism.

Ive never been involved, Myatt told Lowles.

He lied through his teeth, Lowles told The Daily Beast, pointing to significant evidence establishing that, even if he is not the sole leader of the group, Myatt has been intimately involved in the organization for years. (In 2020, the National Counterterrorism Center assessed the likelihood that Myatt being the leader of O9A as probable.)

Over lunch, Lowles recalled, Myatt reached into his coat and produced a SS dagger, like Hitlers stormtroopers carriedand pulled out an envelope. He gave me a letter with an invitation to a duel, Lowles recalls, laughing.

Lowles declined.

In April 1999, as Lowles toiled away on his expose of the enigmatic extremist, London was shocked by a nail bomb attack in Brixton Market, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. A week later, a second bomb exploded in a predominantly immigrant community near Whitechapel. Days later, a third bomb went off inside one of Sohos oldest gay bars.

All told, three died and some 140 were injured in the attacks.

Combat 18, though it was essentially defunct, claimed responsibility for the attacks. As did a tiny, relatively unknown neo-Nazi group, the White Wolvesa group with virtually no footprint, beyond a pamphlet proclaiming: We do not believe that we alone can win the Race War, but we can start it.

Nothing short of a new war, spurred by an attack on his unit, would be good enough. He wanted a mascala mass casualty event.

Not long after the last attack, police arrested 22-year-old David Copeland, charging him with three counts of first-degree murder.

Copeland was a member and organizer of Myatts National Socialist Movement and would tell investigators that my main intent was to spread fear, resentment and hatred throughout this country. He would claim to be a member of the mysterious White Wolves. A jury would later convict him of three counts of murder, refusing to accept his plea of manslaughter.

In the melee after Copelands arrest, it was becoming increasingly clear that all roads led back to Myatt. He had led the National Socialist Movement. Police linked the White Wolves to a senior figure in Combat 18. Searchlight contended their violent call to arms was written, at least in part, by Myatt.

Searchlight pointed to another pamphlet that Myatt was happy to put his name to, issued before the attacks: A Practical Guide to The Strategy and Tactics of Revolution. The leaflet read that a practical strategy to follow now in regard to assassination is to target and kill several soft targets over the next year or two. On the topic of bombing campaigns, he advises the simplest way to begin is with fertilizer/sugar bombs, or simple nail-bombs.

When Searchlights expos finally came in 2000, it laid out Myatts entire past properly for the first time: from his younger years, as a rough-and-tumble skinhead; to his role as the brain trust of Combat 18; to leading the National Socialist Movement; and finally his alleged senior role in the Order of Nine Angles.

The paper called him the theoretician of terror.

Myatt wasnt just a local extremist, Lowles wrote, but a leading figure in an international neo-Nazi satanist movement which had grandiose ambitions.

Lowles suspected that Myatt had re-emerged under his real name in the 90s to try and put his philosophies in action through groups like Combat 18.

Myatt, in 2003, himself wrote that, I conceived a plan to use or if necessary create secret Occult-type groups with several aims, he wrote, under his own name. Recruiting members, he said, would help spread the idea of a world-wide revolution and world-wide National-Socialist renaissance. He continued: In pursuit of these covert aims I infiltrated several already existing Occult-type groups and created a new one.

But Myatts plans had been seriously wrecked by the police investigation into Copelands terror campaign. His marriage ended in divorce. He had been outed as one of the U.K.s most prolific extremists. And he was no closer to inciting his race war.

And so, Myatt writes in his autobiography, I began to seriously study Islam.

An old photo of David Myatt overlays an illustration of David Myatt. To the right of him, a stylized image of his work entitled A Practical Guide to The Strategy and Tactics of Revolution.

See original here:

Suspect in Grisly Mosque Murder Was Obsessed With 'Race War' Group - The Daily Beast

Related Post