The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (otherwise known as ISIL or ISIS) has been a focus around the world for several years now. The militant group has recruited people around the world, and now it’s been discovered that some of their recent recruits are actually females coming from Canada in surprisingly large numbers.
A federal report was released in Canada entitled the “Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada,” and it details how females from Canada are joining ISIS. Many of the girls have been surprisingly young, with many of them in their mid teen’s. There were 10 women listed in the report that were confirmed as having been recruited by ISIS, with a total of 180 total citizens leaving the country to join a terrorist organization.
While not all of the women are joining ISIS, it has been estimated that around 40 women have fled Canada to pursue memberships with terror groups. From a country that doesn’t seem to have much of a connection to ISIS, people are wondering how these young girls are being recruited to join them. Lorne Dawson of the University of Waterloo said that “They are going, almost always, because they’ve established some degree of online relationship with women in Syria and Iraq, or with men, but usually more with women.”
The use of social media by ISIS members to recruit teenagers has been unprecedented over the past few years. They were able to lure these women with the promise of a new life that they were not being given back home. However, they are finding out quickly that countries like Canada, the United States and United Kingdom offer up much better treatment of them.
Dawson commented on that aspect, saying that “There is disillusionment that happens. But often by the time that disillusionment sets in they’ve been married to a foreign fighter and often have children.” He also said that the women are “seduced” with the promise of joining a “proper moral order” and that joining ISIS will give their lives meaning. Not all of the women are marrying ISIS members, as some of them are even being trained to become militants themselves.
The danger is ever present for these girls joining ISIS, as several have died during attacks and some have been killed for attempting to leave the group after finding out how different life is. Women are not treated well by ISIS, as they clearly state that they are open to abusing and even raping women. Perhaps the worst part is that some of the women coming from Canada have brought their children with them to join ISIS.
ISIS is posing a threat to many of the developed countries of the world, especially in the west, and Canada has become an unlikely target. One ISIS attack was already stopped in Canada after Aaron Driver was planning to carry out an attack before being slayed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Canada is increasing their efforts to combat terrorism, as they have given $1 million to Interpol, the group that monitors terrorist activity internationally.
The report and Interpol officials have found that some of the Canadian expats that have left for countries like Syria have returned home. This means that increased monitoring of these people will be necessary to ensure the safety of Canadian citizens. As the report states, “An individual or small group can be inspired to carry out an act of violence in Canada with little or no warning. Even small scale terrorist attacks have significant psychological and economical impacts.