The Canadian Ministry of Public Safety last Friday released its 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, in which it detailed the troubling phenomenon of Canadians traveling to the Middle East to join in jihad - and later return to potentially conduct attacks.
"As of early 2014, the Government was aware of more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and who were suspected of terrorism-related activities," noted the report.
The activities of those Canadians included "training, fundraising, promoting radical views and even planning terrorist violence."
While some of the terrorist Canadians remained abroad or died in battle, the report added that "about 80 individuals...have returned to Canada after travel abroad for a variety of suspected terrorism-related purposes."
Many of the returning jihadists had "engaged in paramilitary activities. Others may have studied in extremist schools, raised money or otherwise supported terrorist groups."
Syria has been a major pull for foreign jihadists, with the report noting some estimates put the number of foreigners fighting in Syria at over 6,000 people.
The Canadian government added it is aware of at least 30 Canadians taking part in the Syrian jihad, and "a number" of Canadian connected individuals in the countries around Syria "who have expressed their intention to travel to the conflict zone to engage in terrorism-related activities."
Aside from the explosive Middle East, the report noted that "Africa-based terrorist groups are proliferating." Those terror groups are taking advantage of instability on the continent to attack Western targets and increase "the terrorism threat across the region."
The report concludes by saying "terrorism is still the leading threat to Canada’s national security, but by adhering to our principled approach, firmly rooted in respect for the rule of law and human rights, Canada will remain resilient against this threat."
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of the Islamic State's (IS, formerly ISIS) group of foreign fighters in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
IS appears to be investing resources to recruit jihadists from the West; a new flashy propaganda film, released by IS in Arabic and German with English subtitles, features modern cinematic techniques in an attempt to pull new terrorists.