Islamic State Fighter Returns To North America: ‘We All Do Things We Regret’

Islamic State jihadis

A man who travelled from Canada to Syria to join the Islamic State terror group and work for its “morality police” has returned to North America, saying “We all do things we regret”.

The unidentified Pakistani-Canadian man, who is said to be in his twenties, returned from Syria to the Toronto area last summer and said that he served as a member of the Islamic State for six months. He claims he was promised an “Islamic utopia” but found an all-controlling police state, Canadian broadcaster Global News reports.

Speaking to the broadcaster, he said: “We all do things that we regret … All that’s behind me.”

According to some estimates, there have been dozens of Islamic State radicals who have returned to Canada though no exact figures have been published by the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Some, like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), have expressed concern regarding the returnees.

In an internal report they noted: “In the worst-case scenario, one or more of those returnees with terrorist and/or combat experience may target elements of Canadian society … They may use Canada as a base for targeting others, including the United States.”

The former Shariah enforcer said he worked in Manbij in the Aleppo district of Syria saying that he enforced the group’s laws, which result in punishments like trapping people in cages for flirting, giving lashes for cigarette smoking, and beatings for women who refused to wear the Islamic veil.

The radicals have also killed people for leaving Islam, often having them shot or beheaded and then crucified.

The Canadian Islamist claimed he did not participate in any killings, saying he was “too nice,” though he did witness deaths. He also said that he fears arrest by the Canadian authorities now that he is back in Canada.

Returning Islamic State fighters have become a big challenge for Western countries and many have approached the situation unconventionally. In Sweden and Finland, some have called for integrating returning fighters back into society and giving them benefits like debt forgiveness or the ability to jump housing queues.

Canada initially passed a motion under the former Conservative government to strip the citizenship of known Islamic State fighters, but this was later overturned by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. The move outraged many earlier this year, when it was revealed that Trudeau had granted citizenship to an Islamist who plotted a terror attack on Toronto.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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