The jihadist terror group Islamic State–formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS)–has released a new video attempting to court Canadians to the cause of jihad; it stars a Canadian man named André Poulin, who was killed in battle in Syria.
In the video, Poulin is introduced as “Abu Muslim,” and he explains that he was not born into Islam but found it later, and that he left a very comfortable life in Canada to live in Syria, or “Sham.” Poulin, in English, explains that he left Canada because it was impossible to live among non-Muslims and properly practice the version of his faith he found with ISIS. “I originally come from Canada. Before Islam, I was like any regular Canadian. I watched hockey. I went to the cottage in the summertime. I loved to fish. I wanted to go hunting. I liked outdoors. I liked sports,” he explains. “I was a very good person.”
While he speaks, B-roll footage of Canadians playing hockey, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors plays. It is an attempt, presumably, to show that people from all walks of life can abandon their lives at home, no matter how comfortable, and come to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria to wage jihad. Instead, it presents an enticing picture of Canada that comes off more as a tourist video than jihadist propaganda.
Poulin explains that he was “a regular person,” not someone with significant social problems or triggers that would make him violent. “It wasn’t like I was some social outcast. It wasn’t like I was an anarchist. … Mujahidin are regular people, too.” He adds that ISIS not only needs fighters, but “engineers, volunteers, fundraisers” and that “there is a role for everybody here in Syria.”
The video draws to a close with footage of Poulin fighting in Islam and being killed. It ends–in case the viewer does not believe that he is dead–with graphic footage of Poulin’s body, edited using a soft-lens filter to infer that he is now in a positive afterlife.
Warning: video contains graphic footage towards the end:
The National Post writes that Poulin was not a “regular person” in Canada, however, as he repeatedly found himself in trouble with the law over violent threats. “He was a troubled youth who had repeated brushes with the law for crimes such as uttering threats until he left to remake himself as a jihadist fighter,” explains the publication.
ISIS recruitment in Canada has become a major problem for law enforcement in the past several months. According to The Globe and Mail, about 130 jihadists are believed to have left Canada to fight in “overseas conflicts,” mostly in Iraq and Syria. There is no estimate of how many of them have died in battle. The problem has become particularly acute in the city of Calgary, where Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson warned that “this is an issue that’s not going away and in the near future will continue to grow.”