Andrew Majoran Cyber Security and Emerging Threats Defense International Law & Policy Peace & Conflict Studies Security Terrorism

Due North – Terrorists Set Their Sights on Canada

Generally, when Islamic Terrorist groups publically threaten the West, it is directed at their arch enemy, the United States of America. However, in their latest video publication, the most extreme armed faction in Syria has threatened to “destroy” Canada. Speaking in perfect English, a fighter for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) directly threatened Canada, and said that after fighting in the Middle East, the ISIL will focus its efforts on North America.

“According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), there are about 30 Canadians known to have joined Islamic extremist groups like the ISIL in Syria.”

The unidentified foreign fighter is quoted as saying; “This is a message to Canada and all the American tyrants: We are coming and we will destroy you, with permission from Allah the almighty”. The ISIL fighter did not divulge his nationality, however, he mentioned that he was an “emigrant” to Syria, and his accent appeared to be North American. It is not evident whether the individual in the video was from Canada, but it is likely considering he explicitly mentioned Canada, which is rare.

Shakir Waheib
                          ISIL Fighters in Syria. Courtesy of Huffington Post

According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), there are about 30 Canadians known to have joined Islamic extremist groups like the ISIL in Syria. This statistic, however, is much different from information given by Canadian jihadists which suggests that there are approximately 100 Canadians fighting in Syrian extremist groups.

CSIS has also issued statements saying that Canadians fighting in Syria, and elsewhere for extremist factions pose a grave threat to Canada’s national security, as their terrorist training, extremist ideologies, and access to Canadian domestic security interests make them more likely to act on their anti-Western beliefs upon returning to Canada.

It is believed that CSIS has tabs on many of the Canadian citizens who have joined Islamic extremist movements abroad; however, aside from increased surveillance, a lot needs to be done to ensure that these individuals do not employ their extremist agenda in Canada should they return. It has not been established how viable the threat is, or how much of a concern this is to Canada’s national security, but it is likely that this latest video threat has garnered the attention of Canada’s security and intelligence personnel, and the situation will continue to be monitored closely.

Andrew Majoran
Andrew Majoran is a recent Master of Science graduate from the Transnational Security Studies program at Royal Holloway, University of London in the United Kingdom. Before attending Graduate School abroad, he completed his Honours Bachelors Degree in Political Science at McMaster University. Andrew has a wide range of academic interests; however, his specialization lies in the fields of international security, counter-terrorism, multilateral defence, and maritime security. Andrew has presented his innovative multilateral counter-terrorism strategies to a multitude of groups, including a large group at the Royal Military College of Canada. While perusing his education, Andrew worked as a licensed Private Investigator in the Toronto area, working on an abundance of cases for a wide range of high profile clients.