Screening system failed in case of alleged Edmonton attacker Abdulahi Sharif

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(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif should have been deported in 2015.

Or, even better, his refugee application should have been rejected in 2012.

He should have never been allowed into Canada, and when we had the chance, he should’ve been sent packing.

Instead, he was welcomed into Canada and now is accused of committing heinous acts of violence over the weekend in Edmonton.

An ISIS flag was found in his car.

There were countless red flags about Sharif along the way — facts that were apparently ignored or pushed to the side.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is insisting the Edmonton attack, “in no way indicates that Canada’s screening process needs to be enhanced or that the system failed.”

That is nonsense. Everything about this case shows the various ways Canada’s screening and vetting system fails us.

Sharif was an asylum seeker who arrived at the Canadian border in 2012.

He was a self-selected refugee; unscreened and unvetted at his time of arrival.

Now we’re learning he had a pending deportation order from the U.S.

Apparently, that didn’t phase Canadian immigration officials.

By the end of 2012, the Somali national was granted refugee status in Canada.

Why on earth would Canada accept a person ordered deported from the United States?

Did Canadians officials know about this or the reasons behind it?

We still don’t know if Sharif was considered a national security threat in the U.S., or if he filed a refugee claim that was rejected.

These questions must be answered.

Canadians deserve to know why a Somali national who was not welcome in the U.S. was able to walk into Canada and obtain refugee status.

In 2015, Sharif became the subject of a national security investigation after being reported by a co-worker.

He allegedly expressed extremist views — specifically his hatred for Shi’ite Muslims.

Reportedly, Sharif wasn’t shy about his desire for genocide.

And yet, Canadian officials eventually determined Sharif was “not a threat” to our public safety.

All the red flags were there, but Canadian officials did nothing. Our system failed.

If we had a better information sharing program with our U.S. allies, perhaps his refugee application would have been rejected.

If we had a better vetting program, one that screened for values and ideology, perhaps we would have detected his world views at the time.

If we had a national security program that tracked radicalized individuals with extremist beliefs, Sharif likely wouldn’t have been deemed “not a threat.”

If Canada took national security seriously, Sharif might have been stripped of his refugee status and deported years ago.

Unlike Canadian citizenship — which Justin Trudeau believes terrorists should get to keep — refugee status can be stripped. We do it all the time.

If a refugee is convicted of a serious crime, or lying on or falsifying immigration documents, we can strip their status.

However, if a refugee reportedly supports the ideology of an enemy army, apparently our officials do nothing.

We just wait and hope they don’t become violent.

Sharif appears to have been a ticking time bomb.

Canada welcomed him. In return, he is charged with waging war against us.

Given what we already know, Sharif...(READ MORE)