Six young Montrealers believed to be fighting for ISIS in Syria
Published Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:56PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 27, 2015 8:04AM EST
Six former students of Montreal's College de Maisonneuve CEGEP have left Canada and are believed to be in Syria fighting with ISIS.
The four men and two women from Laval and Montreal departed from Canada for Turkey in mid-January and are believed to have continued on to Syria.
Four of them attended the fall session in 2014 at the CEGEP.
The father of one of the students said that he was so concerned that he took away his son's passport to prevent him from leaving. But the son reported the passport stolen and had it replaced.
College de Maisonneuve administrator Brigitte Desjardins said that the school has temporarily suspended its contractual relationship with a group that rents rooms and sports facilities at the school.
One of the signatories on the contract is Adil Charkaoui of the Islamic Community Centre of Montreal, she said.
Charkaoui was detained without charges in 2003 and released from prison on $50,000 bail in 2005. He later lodged a lawsuit against the federal government for wrongful arrest and now operates the Quebec Collective Against Islamophobia.
Desjardins said that she did not know if the former students attended weekend sessions held at the school by the group.
On Thursday, the College Rosemont CEGEP also suspended its lease with the Islamic Community Centre of Montreal, while it conducts a review. Earlier in February the school terminated its contract with the El Forkane institution because the group had a website with links that the school found objectionable.
Quebec Public Security Minister Lise Thériault said that the best way to prevent residents from joining such groups lies in prevention and she called on people to report those they suspect might be radicalized.
“This is where we will be able to intervene to help them, support them and prevent them from starting," she said.
In Ottawa, Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney refused to confirm whether the six young people in question are in Syria and if they are being monitored by authorities.
Like his Quebec counterpart, Blaney emphasized the need to report those they suspect have been radicalized.
Blaney said that the development proves that it’s important to adopt the proposed anti-terrorism bill.