The terrorist mastermind behind a plot to cause untold deaths and destruction on Canadian soil stood in court Thursday to renounce the extremist views that once fuelled his chilling plans, saying he deserved nothing less than this country’s “complete and absolute contempt.”

Zakaria Amara, 24, a co-leader of the Toronto 18 plot to set off bombs outside the CSIS and Toronto Stock Exchange buildings in downtown Toronto and at a military base in Ontario, pleaded guilty in October.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday he read a letter to the judge and an open letter to Canadians, distancing himself from the extremist ideology that once consumed him.

“I have spent my entire life struggling to discover the truth and the reality of life,” Amara said.

“But looking back retrospectively, I can also say that it is this same righteous struggle that
led me down the road of extremism.”

Amara promised in his letter to the judge he will use his sentence to become a man of construction, instead of destruction.

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