Canadian killed fighting for ISIS in Syria: report
Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 5:48PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:00PM EST
Ottawa is looking into reports that a Canadian who starred in an ISIS propaganda video has been killed in northern Syria while fighting for the terrorist group, as the Conservatives prepare to table new anti-terror legislation.
John Maguire, 23, who used the name Abu Anwar Al-Canadi, was killed in the city of Kobani, according to a pro-ISIS Twitter account.
Coalition forces had launched six airstrikes Tuesday against ISIS forces in the area.
Maguire, a former University of Ottawa student, had tried to encourage attacks on Canadian soil in a video posted online last December.
He also directly threatened Canadians in the video, which was shot among the ruins of an unidentified town.
"Your people will be indiscriminately targeted, as you indiscriminately target our people," he said.
CTV News has not been able to independently verify the video, including when it was recorded. It was distributed by a U.S. company that monitors jihadist posts around the world.
In the video, Maguire said he was a typical Canadian kid who "grew up on the hockey rink," had good grades at school and no criminal record.
The Prime Minister’s Office said it was aware of reports Maguire had been killed, and was “seeking additional information on them.”
The Public Safety Minister’s office released a statement saying it could not speak about specific cases, but warned other Canadians planning to join ISIS, also known as ISIL and the Islamic State.
“Any individual who decides to join the ISIL jihadists runs the risk of meeting their ultimate demise,” the statement said.
Ottawa is promising new anti-terror legislation that will target Canadian militants travelling abroad and homegrown threats, including young radicals.
A source tells CTV News the Conservatives will table the legislation soon after MPs return to Parliament in a little over a week.
The bill would make it easier for police to detain possible terror suspects, and allow Passport Canada to share application details with authorities.
One Ontario lawyer who councils young Muslims says he’s trying to step in at the right time and help families who fear their children may become radicalized.
“We try to direct them toward a different path, which is often just getting them a job, or a volunteer position, and make them feel good,” Hussein Hamdani told CTV News.
Hamdani said he’s currently working with eight families, but admits the anti-radicalization strategy is not always successful.
“If they are so close to inciting violence, it's out of my reach, and that's where law enforcement agencies need to step in,” he said, adding that he has shared with authorities the names of four such young Canadians.
Full statement from the Public Safety Minister's office on reports of John Maguire's death:
While we cannot speak about specific cases, our Government is fighting terrorist groups who could pose a threat to Canadians. That is why we made it a criminal offence to go overseas to engage in terrorism and why we took action to strip the citizenship of those convicted of terrorist offences
We will always stand up for the Canadian values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law against these abhorrent terrorists.
Any individual who decides to join the ISIL jihadists runs the risk of meeting their ultimate demise.
With a report from CTV's Katie Simpson in Ottawa