The Current

Canada must strengthen laws that deal with returning ISIS fighters, says former security analyst

Canadian policy on returning ISIS fighters is under the spotlight after a man, now living freely in Toronto, admitted in a podcast to participating in executions while fighting for ISIS in Syria.

People join ISIS with intention of killing, says former security analyst

A Canadian who fought for ISIS in Manbij, Syria, and who has now returned home goes by the nom-de-guerre Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian). He has offered different accounts of his involvement in violence. (John Lancaster/CBC)

Ready Story Transcript

Laws that deal with ISIS fighters returning to Canada need to be strengthened, according to a former national security analyst.

"Maybe these individuals don't actually pose a threat to Canadians here but they are going overseas with the intention of killing people there," said Stephanie Carvin, who is now an assistant professor at Carleton University.

In a New York Times podcast — recorded in Nov. 2016 and released last week — a Canadian citizen, known as Abu Huzaifa, recounts how he travelled to Syria and took part in ISIS executions, before fleeing the Islamic State and returning home. 

Other countries have taken steps to address the issue, said Carvin.

Australia can now legally "declare certain areas as having terrorist entities operating in them."

"If an Australian citizen goes there, they actually have to prove that the reason they were there for was innocent."

Denies participation in killings 

When Huzaifa spoke with CBC News last year, he denied participating in any ISIS killings.

Senior CBC News reporter John Lancaster spoke with him again on Friday, during which Huzaifa recanted the story he told the New York Times.

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"He said he was childish at the time he spoke to the New York Times," Lancaster told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti. He said that he "wasn't in the right frame of mind," and suffering PTSD and abusing drugs.

Listen to the full conversation near the top of this page.

This segment was produced by The Current's John Chipman, Julie Crysler and Danielle Carr.