Islamic State Fighters Had a Baby Who Probably Qualifies for a Canadian Passport

A couple who left Canada to join the caliphate have found love in a hopeless place and while they won't be welcome back home, their kid might be.
May 3, 2016, 5:35pm
Image via Twitter

Abu Turaab al-Kanadi has settled down and started a family — in the Islamic State.

And the alleged IS fighter, whose nom de guerre partly translates to "the Canadian," even found a girl from back home. The two ex-pats welcomed their first child sometime in the last year.

According to the Canadian government, that baby likely qualifies for a Canadian passport.

ISIS Baby: Two Canadians find love in the caliphate — VICE Canada (@vicecanada)May 3, 2016

VICE News spoke with a source familiar with Abu Turaab's activities, as well as other Canadian ex-pats who defected to the self-proclaimed caliphate, including one woman who defending IS' practise of taking local women as slaves.

The information provided by the sources, who wished to remain anonymous, could not be independently verified. A message sent to Turaab's phone appears to have been read, but he has yet to respond. He had previously confirmed, via Kik messenger in 2014, that he had indeed gotten married in the Islamic State.

"I'm married and left the West — the land of miscreants — to live under the Islamic State so I could protect my religion from the vices and problems of democratic society."

Abu Turaab, who is alleged to be Mohammed Ali of Mississauga, became infamous for tweeting images from the frontline with various heavy weaponry illicitly bought or stolen by the terrorist organization. He is believed to be a sniper for IS forces and also posted images of beheadings, and their aftermath, from within Iraq and Syria. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

They're not the only Canadians finding love in the swath of land between Iraq and Syria controlled by IS. A recent report indicated at least five Canadian women joined IS, marrying militants and conceiving children.

Numbers given to VICE News from the University of Waterloo indicate 62 confirmed Canadian jihadists in total have joined forces fighting the Syrian government, "with rumors of many more" according to the researchers.

The same figures also count 10 Canadian women who have joined militant groups in the region. In April of 2015, another Canadian IS fighter, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, bragged to VICE News that "I've seen hundreds of Canadians here and 50+ from Calgary," including one individual he said "just got Shahada [killed] recently" but the media had not identified or reported on yet.

It's worth noting those numbers seem inflated compared to both the University of Waterloo research and reports released by the Canadian government on its citizens fighting in Iraq and Syria with militant groups.

One Canadian woman who left in 2015 to join the Islamic State in Syria, agreed to shed light on her experiences to VICE News on the condition of anonymity.

"I'm married and left the West — the land of miscreants — to live under the Islamic State so I could protect my religion from the vices and problems of democratic society," she said.

The young woman told VICE News she was studying at an IS college of medicine and enjoying life in Raqqah, the capital of the caliphate. She says she left Canada with another Canadian man, although it's unclear if they've married.

The Canadian woman said it was Allah himself who had put her on the path to join the militant group, and that she wanted to take part in the effort she felt would "honor and unite" muslims.

When asked to comment on reports pertaining to ISIS' treatment of women, she argued that Islam allowed the taking of women and children as slaves, within certain conditions, in order to "humiliate the enemy.

"Contrary to the slavery practiced by Occidental societies until a few years ago," she said, "slaves under Islam are not selected on racial and racist criteria. Under Islam, slaves have rights and cannot be mistreated nor forced to have sexual relations."

Her claims, however, go against numerous documented reports that IS militants have used captured Yezidi women and other captives as sex slaves.

In the past, other sources fighting in Iraq and Syria reported that female jihadists primarily deal with communal childcare, while male jihadists contribute more broadly to combat war efforts.

Though the previous Canadian government under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper moved to strip the citizenship of Canadians fighting for IS, it's unclear if Abu Turaab was one of the recruits on that list. The new government of Justin Trudeau has begun the process to repeal the controversial citizenship law.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the federal department wouldn't speak specifically to Abu Turaab's case or the citizenship of his children, citing privacy concerns, but did indicate that, in all likelihood, the baby would be a Canadian citizen.

"We can tell you that generally speaking, under the Citizenship Act," said government spokesperson Faith St-John, "children born outside of Canada to a Canadian parent are citizens automatically at birth, if one of their parents was either born in, or naturalized in Canada."

VICE News previously communicated with Abu Turaab via Kik messenger and received a message from his account as late as August 2015.

As Stewart Bell of the National Post reported, Abu Turaab was also implicated in the recruitment of Canadian man Dwayne Boissoneau, who has brain injuries, attempting to provoke Boissoneau to commit attacks against Canadian targets following the attack at Parliament Hill in October 2014.

Around the same time period, Abu Turaab confirmed that besides assault rifles and other firearms he and his unit acquired from US military weapons caches bequeathed to the Iraqi government, he also used Canadian night vision goggles originally sold to Iraqi Special Forces. Asked about the frequency with which his Twitter account was banned, Abu Turaab replied: "I don't know. Probably all of the severed heads," referencing the many pictures of beheaded Islamic State victims he posted online.

Follow Ben Makuch and Brigitte Noël on Twitter: @BMakuch & @Brige_Noel