The threat of an ISIS terror attack in the west is becoming a real possibility following the brutal beheading of American journalist James Foley in Syria. A report released Friday by the Canadian Ministry of Public Safety detailed the potential threat Canada now faces from its own Muslim nationals.
The ministry, which released its 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, detailed the troubling phenomenon of Canadians traveling to the Middle East to join ISIS, later returning to their “home” country, possibly to carry out a terror attack.
The report states: “As of early 2014, the Government was aware of more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and who were suspected of terrorism-related activities,” adding to the worry felt by many regarding a potential ISIS attack.
The Canadians are worried about the types of activities nationals have been involved in while in the middle east, including, “training, fundraising, promoting radical views and even planning terrorist violence.”
The main concern, according to a CTV report last week, is that of the 130 or so Canadian nationals who went to fight for ISIS, roughly 80 have returned to Canada. The report notes: “about 80 individuals…have returned to Canada after travel abroad for a variety of suspected terrorism-related purposes.”
The Northumberland View reported that many of the Canadians, who had become radicalized in Syria and Iraq, had: “engaged in paramilitary activities. Others may have studied in extremist schools, raised money or otherwise supported terrorist groups.”
In addition, the Canadian government added that it is aware of at least 30 Canadians taking part in the Syrian war, and “a number” of Canadian connected individuals in the countries around Syria “who have expressed their intention to travel to the conflict zone to engage in terrorism-related activities.”
The report concludes by saying that “terrorism is still the leading threat to Canada’s national security, but by adhering to our principled approach, firmly rooted in respect for the rule of law and human rights, Canada will remain resilient against this threat.”
Whether the 80 or so Canadian nationals who returned recently from the middle east will engage in terror activity back home is not known. Unfortunately, it is a simple case of “time will tell.”