Tracking radicalized Calgarians overseas is mission of mother who lost son

The mother of a Calgary man who died in Syria fighting with ISIS is working to uncover names of other radicalized young people with links to the city.

Christianne Boudreau and researcher say there are many fighters from Calgary

Christianne Boudreau, mother of Calgary's Damian Clairmont, who died in Syria fighting with ISIS, is trying to track those overseas who were radicalized alongside her son. (Adrienne Arsenault/CBC)

The mother of a Calgary man who died in Syria fighting with ISIS is working to uncover names of other radicalized young people with links to the city.

Christianne Boudreau spends a lot of time online, researching and reaching out to people, trying to connect the dots between all the young men associated with her son Damian Clairmont.

She said the recent discovery of yet another Calgary connection to the group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is certainly not the last.

"We don't know all of them so we don't know for sure, we're still trying to dig up names, but it's getting so challenging because they're dying so fast," she said.

Calgarian killed in Bangladesh

The names of a handful of young men have surfaced in connection to Clairmont's prayer group in Calgary, including Tamim Chowdhury, who was recently killed by police in Bangladesh after allegedly orchestrating a deadly attack in a restaurant in that country's capital, Dhaka. 

Amarnath Amarasingam, a fellow at George Washington University's Program on Extremism, communicates with radicalized Canadians as part of his research and keeps in touch with Boudreau.

He said the numbers from Calgary go beyond Clairmont's close-knit group, which met in a prayer room on the corner of Eighth Avenue and Eighth Street S.W.

"There's a bunch of other people who left but I don't know if they're part of any cluster yet," he said. 

"There's an Indian guy who's left from there, there are a few Somalis who left from there, there's Farah Shirdon, also left — I'm not sure who he was connected with, but he wasn't plugged into the Eighth and Eighth crowd."

Many have gone silent

Amarasingam said it's tough to track them overseas once they take on a jihadi name, and lately many have gone silent online.

Calgary police wouldn't comment specifically on these cases but said given the city's population it's not surprising to see so many fighters from their city.

With files from CBC's Colleen Underwood