Daily Israel Report

Canadian Jihadists Revealed Fighting For ISIS in Iraq

Canadian citizen spotted in video fighting in ISIS ranks, as Canadian sources identify another Jihadist from Calgary.
By Yaakov Lev and Dalit Halevi
First Publish: 6/19/2014, 11:04 PM

ISIS Islamists in Iraq (file)
ISIS Islamists in Iraq (file)
Reuters

Yet another Canadian citizen has been observed fighting as a Jihadist in the Middle East. Farah Mohamed Shirdon, from Calgary, was seen in a video showing members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) preparing to go into battle in Iraq.

Shirdon, who is seen in the video released about two months ago, was enrolled in Calgary college at least through 2012, Canadian officials said.

In the video, Shirdon is seen burning his passport and issuing threats to his native county, as well as to the United States, threatening to deal with “enemies of Islam, by the will of G-d.”

Another Calgary resident, Salman Ashrafi, was earlier this month identified as the suicide bomber who participated in an attack in Iraq in November 2013, which killed some 40 people.

The attack included two vehicles, one of which exploded outside the Iraqi army base in Tarmiyah, and a second one that entered the compound and exploded inside, killing the victims. One of the cars was driven by Ashrafi, Canadian officials said this week.

Ashrafi grew up in Calgary and studied at Canada's Lethbridge University. He graduated with a degree in engineering, and later worked for major energy companies, including Talisman Energy and Exxon. Ashrafi moved to Calgary with his family in the mid-1990s from Saudi Arabia, after his father accepted an academic position at a local university.

The Saudi native apparently underwent a process of radicalization while in school, officials said. Ashrafi joined several campus groups and participated in anti-racism protests. He moved into an apartment with four other Muslim youths and became friends with them, joining them for social events and praying in the same mosque with them.

One of the youths, a Canadian Christian named Damian Clairmont who had converted to Islam, went to Syria and joined an Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic terror group, the Al-Nusra Front. He was killed in a battle with the Free Syrian Army last year.

Following his friend's example, Ashrafi in late 2012, now in his mid-20s, also went to Syria, continuing on to Iraq. There he joined another Islamist group, ISIS, which sent him on the November 2013 terror attack that killed him.

A number of Canadians have over the past several years left the country to fight in Syria and Iraq. At least five Canadians fighting with rebel groups in Syria have been killed in fighting there, Syrian officials said.

Canadian security officials are increasingly concerned about the departure of young Canadians to fight the Islamic holy war in Syria, just days after a viral video threatening the West featured a Canadian citizen burning his passport on camera. Security sources say dozens of Canadians are fighting in Syria, and that hundreds may have left to join Jihadist groups across the globe.