Burlington, Ont., man faces terrorism hoax charge after claiming to be ISIS member
25-year-old Shehroze Chaudhry said he was an ISIS enforcer and killed civilians
A 25-year-old Burlington, Ont., man who publicly discussed his role in ISIS and execution-style killings is now facing charges for allegedly lying about all of it.
After a lengthy investigation the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's O Division Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (OINSET) arrested him on Friday and charged him with hoax-terrorist activity.
As early as 2016, Shehroze Chaudhry posted on social media about his involvement with ISIS. When Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) saw the online posts, it released a bulletin about Chaudhry.
When CBC News reported on the story, his real name was concealed to protect his identity.
In news reports, he was referred to by what he said was his jihadi nom de guerre Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian).
He initially told CBC News he joined ISIS in 2014 as an enforcer in the Syrian city of Manbij.
He recalled witnessing violence on a scale he could never have imagined, including regular public lashings, beheadings and crucifixions. He said he suffered from nightmares and would wake up in a cold sweat at least three times a week.
Chaudhry also gave detailed accounts of shooting blindfolded, tied-up civilians in the back of the head when speaking on the New York Times podcast Caliphate.
His interviews with the media led conservatives to grill then public safety minister Ralph Goodale about whether the federal government was doing enough to protect Canadians from ISIS fighters who have returned to Canada.
But all of Chaudhry's statements about being an ISIS enforcer, the RCMP says, were lies.
WATCH | Former public safety minister Ralph Goodale discusses the terrorism hoax case
Superintendent Christopher deGale, the officer in charge of OINSET explained the magnitude of a hoax.
"Hoaxes can generate fear within our communities and create the illusion there is a potential threat to Canadians while we have determined otherwise," he said.
"As a result, the RCMP takes these allegations very seriously, particularly when individuals, by their actions, cause the police to enter into investigations in which human and financial resources are invested and diverted from other ongoing priorities."
The RCMP said Canada Border Services Agency, Halton Regional Police Service, the Ministry of the Attorney General, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada were all involved in the investigation.
Chaudhry will appear in a Brampton, Ont., court on the morning of Nov. 16.
With files from Nazim Baksh and CBC News