Number of Canadians Joining ISIS Extremist Group on Rise: Report

Number of Canadians Joining ISIS Extremist Group on Rise: Report
Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:48:20

The number of Canadian citizens who have traveled overseas to join extremist organizations such as the Takfiri Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) terrorist group has grown over the past months, a new government report says.

The 2016 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, released by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on Thursday, gave an assessment of terrorist threat landscape in 2015 and early 2016 across Canada.

Canadian police are seen around a house during an operation in Strathroy, Ontario, August 10, 2016.

As of the end of 2015, about 180 “individuals with a nexus to Canada” were suspected of participating in “terrorism-related activities” overseas, up from 130 the previous year, it added.

The report noted that more than half were thought to be in Turkey, Iraq or Syria.

Nearly 20 percent of Canada’s extremist travelers were women, the report noted.

Meanwhile, Dawson, co-director of the University of Waterloo’s Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, has said that the participation of women in terrorist organizations in itself is not new, but the increase in their numbers in Canada is noteworthy.

According to the report, the “extremist travelers,” who are suspected of traveling abroad for the purpose of militant activity, pose a range of security concerns for Canada.

The reports underscores that the militant groups could use their “skills, experience and relationships” to plan attacks in Canada, adding that the recent terror killings in France and Belgium were carried out by former Daesh militants who had returned to Europe.

It pointed out that “violent extremist ideologies espoused by terrorist groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda continue to appeal to certain individuals in Canada.”

The report raised questions about how Ottawa authorities are dealing with dozens of the returnees — those who are back in Canada after taking part in overseas terrorism.  None of those who have come back to Canada from Syria and Iraq have been charged with terrorism offences.

Reacting to the report, Scott Bardsley, Goodale’s press secretary said that the government was using “a number of tools,” including passport revocations to confront terrorism.

The latest report comes over two weeks after a failed Daesh-inspired bombing in Ontario.

The lone suspect, identified as Aaron Driver, 23, was killed in gunfire after heavily-armed police raided his house in Strathroy, a community in the southeastern province of Ontario.

Canadian media, citing an internal government memo, added that the suspect was planning to use an improvised explosive device to carry out a bomb attack in a public area.

The influx of foreign militants into Syria has prompted warnings from several European governments in recent months.

A large number of Europeans and Westerners have gone to Syria to fight against the Damascus government and fears are now growing that the militants, trained in Syria, may carry out terrorist attacks once they return home.

Jean-Paul Laborde, UN assistant secretary general and executive director of the world body’s Counter-Terrorism Committee, said in early July that approximately 30,000 foreign terrorists are operating in Syria and Iraq, warning that the militants pose threats to their home countries upon their return.

S/SH 11

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