A former ISIS militant and Canadian citizen told of how he executed two people in Syria while fighting for the terrorist group ISIS. The 23-year-old man who resides in Toronto appeared on the NYT podcast titled "Caliphate" and spoke of the killings prompting authorities to investigate. The jihadi was questioned by the RCMP on Thursday and was given a lie detector test regarding the killings. The man told of how he served as an ISIS enforcer in the Syrian city of Manbij and bragged the "polygraph did not work on me".
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The 23-year-old goes by the jihadi nom de guerre Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian). He gave detailed accounts of killing two people execution-style while fighting for the militant group in Syria. When CBC News reached out to Abu he denied killing anyone and said, "You can put me through a polygraph and it will prove that I didn't kill anyone." The NYT podcast Caliphate releases new episodes weekly and episode six focused on how the New York Times verified Abu's story. In the podcast, Abu said, "We would enforce dress codes, ensure people don't smoke, use alcohol or drugs and that men and women didn't mix."
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<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Rodi Said/Reuters</span>
The New York Times correspondent behind the podcast Rukmini Callimachi said Abu's tone has "become somewhat cocky at this point." Callimachi continued, "I have told him this myself. I think that he thinks, that because it's very difficult for Canada to get forensic proof of any of these crimes in Syria … he slipped the net and he is going to get off." Abu's interview with host Vassy Kapelos was recorded in November of 2016 before Canadian law enforcement questioned him. When asked why he became a "police officer" for ISIS Abu says when he got to the battlefield he became afraid to die.
"He was speaking to us in this window of time when he essentially thought that he had slipped through the cracks. He had been back and forth to Pakistan and Canada. He had been out of the Islamic State for more than a year. And so, because he was able to go in and out of the airport, he was under the impression that he had made it through," Callimachi explained. When the time came to publish the interview, Abu backed out and threatened the NYT. "As we neared publication, he actually began to threaten us and say: 'if you publish this, I'm just going to say that I made it up,' which is what you saw basically last week," Callimachi said.
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Abu later claimed Callimachi "lured" him into saying what he said in the interview. If you are willing to leave Canada to join ISIS, your IQ is probably not very high and subsequently, the interview Abu gave will likely lead to his incarceration. "I think that we need to look carefully at what he is saying now through the lens that this is a young man that is now facing a real investigation and possibly arrest. And he is very scared of being arrested and, beyond that, he is also scared of having his identity be revealed and harm coming to his family as a result," Callimachi said.
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