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An Islamic State Smuggler Was an Informant for Canada

Was Canada complicit in smuggling ISIS combatants?

An Islamic State (ISIS) smuggler based in Turkey was also a contact for the Canadian Embassy in Jordan. The news was first reported in 2015 by the Globe and Mail, among other media, and has just been corroborated by the BBC network. Mohammed al-Rasheed was arrested by Turkish authorities in March 2015 after smuggling three young British women, Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, to Syria.

But in parallel, the man secretly informed the Canadian Embassy in Amman, Jordan. He had gone there in 2013 for an asylum application. On the spot, he met his future contact called “Matt”, who promised him that he would be granted Canadian citizenship if he collected information on the activities of the Islamic State.

The BBC was able to confirm that Rasheed made several trips to Jordan between 2013 and 2015, until his arrest. The ex-informant gave useful information to Canada. He reportedly mapped “the locations of the homes of Western ISIS fighters in Syria”, identified “IP addresses and locations of internet cafes in ISIS-controlled territory”, and took “screenshots of conversations he was having with ISIS fighters”, according to the BBC.

Shamima Begum, one of three women who had fled to Syria with the help of Mohammed al-Rasheed, is challenging the removal of her British citizenship, arguing that she was a victim of a human trafficking network. Her lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said that he was shocked to learn that a Canadian intelligence asset was a key part of this network. The man, he said, is “someone who is supposed to be an ally, protecting our people, rather than trafficking British children into a war zone”.

Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase reportedly arrived at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport in mid-February 2015. Al-Rasheed subsequently met them in Gaziantep, again in Turkey, where he ferried them across the border, to Syria.

Begum, who was 15 when she joined ISIS, is being held in a detention camp in northeast Syria. Her British citizenship was taken away from her in 2019.

Neither Canada nor the UK would comment on the case, citing security issues.


BBC, The Globe and Mail



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