At Least 60 Islamic State Fighters Have Returned to Canada

In this photo released on May 4, 2015, by a militant website, which has been verified and
Militant website via AP

A new report claims that at least 60 Islamists who fought for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have been allowed to return to Canada despite some of them not even having Canadian citizenship.

Around 180 individuals, referred to as “extremist travellers” by the Canadian government, who have connections to Canada have travelled to various countries to fight for Islamic State and other radical Islamic terrorist groups. The Canadian government officials call the returning jihadists “extremist travellers” and are now worried that many of them may be a serious security risk to the safety of Canadians, broadcaster Global News reports.

According to the U.S. Soufan Centre, who recently released a report on returning Islamic state radicals, despite the losses for the terror group in the Middle East, the ideology of radical Islamism, “will remain real for many years to come”.

“It is highly likely that even as the territorial caliphate shrinks and is increasingly denied an overt presence, its leadership will look to supporters overseas, including returnees, to keep the brand alive,” the report states.

“If on return they begin again to feel as rootless and lacking in purpose as they did before they left, then they are unlikely to settle back easily into a ‘normal’ life,” the authors wrote and noted that the returning fighters would be, “particularly vulnerable to contact from people who were part of the network that recruited them, or appeals for help from ex-comrades in arms”.

Canada has already endured terrorist attacks for which the Islamic State has taken credit. The most notable was the killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo who was gunned down while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa in 2014.

Earlier this month, a man in Edmonton, Alberta, rammed his car into a police barricade then emerged from his vehicle and stabbed an Edmonton Police Service special duty member multiple times. Police later found the flag of the Islamic State in his vehicle.

One Islamic State returnee spoke to Canadian media about his experiences as part of the terror group’s “Sharia Police”. The unnamed Pakistani-Canadian brushed off his time with the terror group saying: “We all do things that we regret … All that’s behind me.”

Former Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government had passed a motion to strip terrorists of their Canadian citizenship. The motion was later overturned by current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau which also restored the citizenship of an Islamist who plotted to bomb Toronto.

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


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