Calgary

OWN IT Conference looks to tackle extremism in Calgary's youth

Members of Calgary's Muslim community are determined to understand what motivates some young Canadians to become radical extremists.

'I can't let him die in vain,' says grieving mother of Calgarian killed fighting with ISIS

The OWN IT 2014 conference was attended by people from the University of Calgary, Muslim Council of Calgary and Calgary police. (CBC)

Members of Calgary's Muslim community are determined to understand what motivates some young Canadians to become radical extremists.

Several Calgarians have gone to fight — and in some cases die — in the Middle East.

The OWN IT Conference is probing the root causes of radicalization, said Abdul Souraya. They are gathering over the next four days to figure out why some youth are so vulnerable to extremism.

Christianne Boudreau's son was killed in January after fighting with ISIS in Syria. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

"What we want to do is have all those actors within society — from an educational, legal, social and other backgrounds — to work together to further understand this so we can develop preventative measures," said Souraya.

He hopes that a clear understanding of the problem will also help them develop preventative measures to stop the radicalization process within their community.

Christianne Boudreau was a guest speaker at the conference. Her son Damian Clairmont was recruited, radicalized and killed in January fighting with ISIS.

Now Boudreau is turning her grief into action. 

"I can't let him die in vain," she said. "I've got to have something positive come out of this terrible thing."

5 Calgarians join foreign fighters

CBC has learned there have been at least four other Calgary men who have radicalized and left.

Conference organizers say that's why the summit is taking place in Calgary.

"We thought that we had to address this in a pro-active, deliberate, well-thought-out way," said Souraya.

The University of Calgary, Muslim Council of Calgary and Calgary police were all in attendance.

"What you're seeing in this room is people who are action-oriented," said police Chief Rick Hanson. "It is to look for a solution. And I know that's what's going to come out because that's what this city is known for."

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