The Canadian government has pledged to “reintegrate” into society Canadian-born ISIS fighters who want to leave the Islamic terror group and return to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
Admitting that the return of ISIS fighters “may have serious national security implications,” Trudeau promised the former militants would be monitored, but added, “We are also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology.”
According to government figures, about 180 Canadian citizens traveled to the Middle East to join the radical Islamic State. Most have been killed in fighting, but about 60 have returned, the Times of Israel reported.
So far, only two have been prosecuted under Canada’s anti-terrorism act.
Other countries whose citizens have joined ISIS are taking a hard line, with many governments seeking to assassinate their terrorists nationals in Syria and Iraq to ensure they don’t return home. A British ISIS recruit known as Jihadi John was put on a “kill list” by his government. He was eventually targeted and killed in a US-led drone strike.
However, Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told press on Friday that “Canada does not engage in death squads.”
He stressed that the threat of returning terrorists is viewed “with the greatest of seriousness” by Canadian security forces.
But a spokesman for his office told press that returning terrorist travelers, especially those with families, “require the appropriate disengagement and reintegration support.”