By Stewart Bell, National Post
An English-speaking fighter for the Islamic State in Iraq
and the Levant in a video message to Canada.
The most extreme armed faction in Syria has threatened to "destroy" Canada, as Western governments are struggling to deal with radicalized citizens infatuated with Al-Qaeda ideology.
Speaking in flawless English, a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant said in an online video that after fighting in the Middle East, the group would turn on North America.
"This is a message to Canada and all the American tyrants: We are coming and we will destroy you, with permission from Allah the almighty," the unidentified foreign fighter said.
While he did not divulge his nationality, he said he was an "emigrant" to Syria and his accent sounded North American. It is rare for jihadists to mention Canada in their propaganda unless they are Canadians.
Despite the threat, the young extremist did not himself seem to have the intention of travelling to Canada to conduct attacks: he followed up his brief speech by tossing his passport into a fire.
According to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, about 30 Canadians have joined Syrian extremist factions like ISIL, which is trying to impose its militant version of Islamic law in the region.
But a Canadian who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Turab and calls himself a "jihadi" said in an online post there were "many bros from Canada" fighting in Syria. In another post, he said there were "maybe 100."
Officials are concerned about the security threat posed by foreign jihadist fighters should they return to Canada with terrorist training, combat experience and extreme anti-Western zeal.
About 130 radicalized Canadians are believed to remain active abroad, while 80 have returned to Canada from various conflict zones. "Some never achieve their intent and simply return home. Thus their depth of experience varies widely, making some individuals much more concerning than others," Michel Coulombe, the CSIS Director, testified recently.
The last Canadian known to have died in Syria was Damian Clairmont, a Muslim convert from Calgary. Another convert from Timmons, Ont., Andr? Poulin, died last summer, around the same time that Ali Dirie, a convicted member of the Toronto 18 terrorist group, was killed.
"I made hijra [emigration] to this land for one reason alone," the English-speaking jihadist said in the new video, which was posted Sunday, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. "I left comfort for one reason alone -- for Allah, glorified and exalted be He. And Allah willing, after Syria, after Iraq, after the [Arabian] Peninsula, we are going for you, Barack Obama."