Skip to main content

Canada to help returning IS fighters ‘let go of that terrorist ideology’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada plans to prosecute returning militants but also will help reintegrate them into society
Canadian officials say they are aware of around 180 Canadians who joined foreign militant groups (AFP)

Canada is concerned about the national security threat posed by citizens who joined the Islamic State (IS) group returning to the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

In parliament, Trudeau pledged to prosecute those who broke Canada's anti-terrorism laws by joining IS, but also said his government would try to reintegrate them into society.

"We recognise the return of even one individual (who joined the IS group) may have serious national security implications," Trudeau said.

"We are going to monitor them. We are also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology," he added.

Canada does not engage in death squads

- Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

According to a recent CBC report, Canadian officials are aware of around 180 Canadians who joined foreign militant groups. About 60 have returned to Canada, according to government figures released in 2016.

Only two returnees have been prosecuted under Canada's anti-terrorism act so far.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale last week explained the difficulties of gathering evidence in war zones for successful criminal prosecutions.

He rejected, however, the use of extrajudicial killings used by allies to solve the problem, telling public broadcaster CBC: "Canada does not engage in death squads."

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.