Canada plans to help Islamic State fighters ‘let go of that terrorist ideology’
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Canada plans to help Islamic State fighters ‘let go of that terrorist ideology’

PM Trudeau pledges to prosecute those returning gunmen who broke anti-terror laws, but also says his government will try to reintegrate them into society

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during a press conference on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, November 20, 2016. (AFP/RAFAEL ZARAUZ)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking during a press conference on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, November 20, 2016. (AFP/RAFAEL ZARAUZ)

OTTAWA — Canada is concerned about the national security threat posed by citizens who joined the Islamic State group returning to this country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

In parliament, Trudeau pledged to prosecute those who broke Canada’s anti-terrorism laws by joining the IS group, but also said his government would try to reintegrate them into society.

“We recognize the return of even one individual (who joined the IS group) may have serious national security implications,” Trudeau said.

“We are going to monitor them. We are also there to help them to let go of that terrorist ideology,” he added.

Fighters from the Islamic State group marching in Raqqa, Syria, January 14, 2014. (Militant photo via AP, File)

Nearly 180 Canadians are known to have traveled overseas to join the IS group. About 60 have returned to Canada, according to government figures released in 2016.

This file photo taken on August 05, 2017, shows refugees who crossed the Canada/US border illegally near Hemmingford, Quebec as they are processed in a tent after being arrested by the RCMP. (Geoff Robins/AFP)

Only two returnees have been prosecuted under Canada’s anti-terrorism act, so far.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale last week explained the difficulties of gathering evidence in war zones for successful criminal prosecutions.

He rejected, however, the use of extrajudicial killings used by allies to solve the problem, telling public broadcaster CBC: “Canada does not engage in death squads.”

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