A Canadian college and Islamic terror recruiting

“In Quebec, 11 of the 17 would-be fighters since January all went to Collège de Maisonneuve …”
– Montreal Gazzette

New report sheds light on growing number of foreign terrorist fighters

From: Montreal Gazzette
By: Catherine Solyom, May 27, 2015

A new United Nations report provides a stark assessment of the growing ranks of foreign terrorist fighters heading to the Middle East, how they are getting there and who is helping them — with obvious applications for those struggling to understand Quebec’s own vulnerability to recruitment after seven youths were believed to have travelled to ISIS territory since January, and another 10 were stopped at the airport.

There are now an estimated 25,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries — an increase of 71 per cent between mid-2014 and March 2015.

Released May 19, the report shares lessons learned in some 42 member states who provided written input, and draws on visits to 21 countries and bilateral meetings with 27 security agencies. Foreign fighters are also travelling to Afghanistan and Africa, but the surge over the last year has been to Syria and Iraq.

Numbers

“What has changed over the past three years is the scale of the problem,” the UN writes.

Out of the 25,000, the UN says six states have generated more than 1,000 foreign terrorist fighters each, 42 have generated more than 100 fighters each and a further set of countries have generated between one and 100 known cases each.

In early 2014, the Canadian government estimated that 130 people had left Canada in support of terrorism-related activities.

Full Article: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/new-report-sheds-light-on-growing-number-of-foreign-terrorist-fighters

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:   The initial UN report came out in March 2015 mentioning there were, “some 22,000 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, there were also 6,500 in Afghanistan and hundreds more in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia. ”   Troubling confirmation of news and other accounts from various western countries of their citizens joining Islamic terror and militant groups.  The full, finalized UN report can be read HERE.

In 2013 we highlighted western recruited fighters in “Taking a Jihadi Vacation“.   

The Montreal Gazzette article highlights a particular concern for those in Canada regarding a junior college in downtown Montreal:

In Quebec, 11 of the 17 would-be fighters since January all went to Collège de Maisonneuve — and several attended the Centre Assahaba run by Adil Charkaoui, including at least one of the 10 youths stopped at the airport, whose father now blames Charkoaui. Most fighters are males, 15 to 35. What is new is the significant number of minors and girls heading to Syria and Iraq.

Prior to  the UN report, in April 2015 the Toronto Star reported on two Collège de Maisonneuve students arrested on terror charges.  In February 2015,  The Globe and Mail reported on six Montreal students, four believed to have studied at Collège de Maisonneuve,  suspected of traveling to the Middle East to join ISIS.   Iman Adil Charkaoui is mentioned in both articles.

A National Post article notes:

Beginning in the late 1990s, Canadian intelligence officers opened a file on Adil Charkaoui that eventually persuaded them he was a dangerous al-Qaida sleeper agent.

But after federal prosecutors chose to withdraw their security certificate case against him in 2009 rather than disclose intelligence sources, the Moroccan immigrant slipped from public view.

Today, Charkaoui, 41, has resurfaced as an imam, and he finds himself under a different cloud.

Instead of targeting jetliners or the Montreal subway system, as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service once alleged, he is accused of poisoning the minds of young Quebecers.

Charkaoui has denied any role in radicalization and complained he is the victim of a witch-hunt.

The National Post further reports:

Charkaoui first came to the attention of CSIS when he was spotted in the company of suspected Islamic extremists in Montreal, reports filed as evidence say. Ahmed Ressam, convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, told CSIS agents that Charkaoui was present at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in 1998, the documents say. Charkaoui said he was attending Islamic schools in Pakistan at the time.

Ahmed Ressam  was convicted in 2001 for a 1999 plot to blow up the Los Angeles International Airport.  He was caught attempting to the enter the U.S. through a port in Washington state with explosives in the trunk of his rental car.  

Ressam also identified al Qaeda linked Zacarias Moussaoui as an individual he trained with in Afghanistan.  Moussaoui pled guilty to a charge of conspiring to kill citizens of the United States as part of the September 11 2001 al Qaeda terrorist attacks.

Based on past information obtained, Charkaoui should certainly be looked at, but additional activities/personnel at the junior college need to be heavily scrutinized as well.

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