De-radicalization expert urges authorities to charge Canadian former ISIS fighter
'He is getting a bit arrogant. He believes that he got off and Canada can't do anything against him'
De-radicalization expert Mubin Shaikh is urging Canadian authorities to attempt to prosecute former Canadian ISIS fighter Huzaifa, a man he said he has personally counselled since his return to Canada more than two years ago.
"Let's not be risk averse. Maybe you can try it. We can still make an attempt to charge him with something and, you know, see what sticks," Shaikh said in an interview with host Vassy Kapelos on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Thursday.
"He has been pushing back on some of the counselling attempts I am making. He is getting a bit arrogant. He believes that he got off and Canada can't do anything against him," said Shaikh.
Huzaifa returned to Canada in 2016, but a new New York Times podcast has since drawn renewed attention to his story. The former ISIS member gave detailed accounts to Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi of how he carried out two execution-style killings while a member of ISIS in Syria.
Huzaifa has since told CBC News he didn't kill anyone.
Shaikh acknowledged that prosecuting Huzaifa is easier said than done and that finding evidence of criminal wrongdoing that took place years ago in a warzone is very difficult.
"It's really going to come down to the prosecutors that are looking at this, maybe even the investigators, to decide what is really the best course of action," said Shaikh.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale also spoke with Power & Politics on Thursday. He said he cannot comment on specific cases, but that pursuing criminal charges under the criminal code is the number one priority in such cases.
"Apart from the criminal code, we have terrorist listings, we have the no-fly list, we can remove passports, we can engage in surveillance and monitoring and interrogation. There is a threat reduction provision under the CSIS act that can be used in appropriate circumstances. There are a suite of measures that are available to us," said Goodale.
"Prosecuting criminal charges under the criminal code is the number one priority, but short of that, while we are gathering the evidence to do that, there are other tools that we use and Canadians can be absolutely assured that the RCMP, CSIS, CBSA, all of our other agencies are doing the maximum that is possible to make sure that all of these tools are properly deployed to keep Canadians safe," said Goodale.