True North Initiative: News Scan 08 21 17


Canadian ISIS member identified by Interpol as ‘potential suicide bomber’

A Canadian man is on an Interpol list that identifies Islamic State fighters believed to have been trained for suicide attacks in Europe, Global News has learned. Former Toronto resident Tabirul Hasib, 25, is among 173 ISIS fighters Interpol has named as potential suicide bombers, based on data uncovered by U.S. intelligence. The list was distributed amid concerns that, as ISIS collapses in Syria and Iraq, it will attempt to send waves of trained operatives to the West to conduct attacks. (Global) (CTV)

Father of Vancouver police officer killed in Barcelona terror attack

The Vancouver Police Department has confirmed that a Canadian man killed in the Barcelona terror attack was the father of one of its officers. A statement released Friday afternoon said Ian Moore Wilson, the father of Staff Sgt. Fiona Wilson, was one of the 13 people killed when a van drove into crowds at a popular tourist destination in the Spanish city Thursday night. “My dad…was a much-loved husband, father, brother, and grandfather, who lived a healthy, active life alongside his partner of 53 years, my mum, Valerie,” the officer said in the statement. “He was compassionate, generous, adventurous, and always game for a lively debate, a good book, exploring new places, and a proper-sized pint.” (CTV)

Women in Ismaili Muslim sect say they have had FGM in Canada

Women from a small sect of Ismaili Muslims called the Dawoodi Bohras have reported that female genital mutilation has been performed on them in Canada, a study given to the federal government reveals. The first research of its kind to probe the practice within this tightly knit South Asian community, the study found that 80 per cent of Bohra women surveyed have undergone FGM and two of the study’s 18 Canadian participants said it happened within Canada’s borders. In Canada, FGM was added to the Criminal Code under aggravated assault in 1997. The study does not provide additional information on the two cases it uncovered. (Toronto Star)

Trudeau to asylum seekers: Crossing border illegally won't fast track immigration

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for asylum seekers: crossing illegally into the country doesn't offer an advantage when it comes to obtaining refugee status in Canada. "If I could directly speak to people seeking asylum, I'd like to remind them there's no advantage," Trudeau said at a news conference Sunday in Montreal.  "Our rules, our principles and our laws apply to everyone." Trudeau's comments come as the government grapples with a surge in asylum seekers crossing into Quebec. (CBC)

Trudeau takes aim at 'racist' rallies, urges trust in immigration system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians should maintain confidence in the immigration system even as thousands of asylum seekers continue to pour into the country. Speaking to reporters Sunday, Trudeau said that none of those walking across the United States border would receive any special advantages in their quest to come to Canada, stressing to Canadians and would-be refugees alike that border hoppers must go through the usual security checks and immigration evaluations. (CTV) (Macleans) (Daily Mail)

Hundreds of counter-protesters swarm far-right La Meute protest in Quebec City

Despite efforts from anti-fascist protesters to shut them down, a far-right group called La Meute said its planned demonstration in Quebec City on Sunday was “a success.” The group was protesting the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard “in the face of the scourge of illegal immigration.” It calls for stronger border control in light of the recent increase in asylum seekers crossing the Canadian border from the United States. (National Post) (Montreal Gazette)

Far-right march proceeds in Quebec after counter-protesters hurl chairs, bottles

Hundreds of members of a far-right group marched in Quebec City on Sunday to protest illegal immigration, but were delayed by several hours by far-left protesters who tried to shut them down by force. The far-right demonstration was organized by La Meute, which translates from French to “the pack.” The group is opposed to Islam and many view it as racist. La Meute had a permit to protest and planned to march at 2 p.m., but was confronted by hundreds of left-wing protesters, dozens of them with faces covered, some calling themselves “anti-fascists.” (CTV) (Toronto Sun)

Thousands protest against anti-Islam, anti-immigration rally at Vancouver City Hall

Vancouver City Hall was the site of opposing rallies on Saturday. A group supporting racial tolerance gathered in the early afternoon just ahead of a demonstration by anti-Islam activists at 2 p.m. An event dubbed the “WCAI Canada/CAP rally” had been re-posted to Facebook after being taken down Tuesday, and listed speakers from several anti-immigration and anti-Muslim groups. (Global)


OTHER STORIES (Domestic and International) 

Canadian terrorism threat level unchanged despite global unrest

On Friday, politicians addressed local security concerns in the wake of recent occurrences of violent extremism around the globe. The latest incident happened Thursday, when a van was driven into a crowded tourist street in Barcelona, leaving more than a dozen dead and many more wounded.  Ralph Goodale, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and MP for Regina-Wascana, said the nature of a terrorist threat is constantly evolving. (Yahoo)

Canadian describes Barcelona attack: 'Every little movement, every little bang was just horrific'

Allan Gray and his family were in a Las Ramblas restaurant in Barcelona on Thursday when they heard a loud crash and saw crowds of panicked people rushing to the back of the building. Amid the commotion, the Mississauga man ran with his wife and two daughters into an adjoining hotel where they huddled on an upper floor for the next five hours, flinching at the sound of gunshots and wondering whether movements in the stairwells were people trying to find safety or a potential terrorist about to launch another attack. (Toronto Star)

Burlington church vandalized with ‘ISIS’ graffiti after suspicious fire

The Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate a suspicious fire at a church in North Burlington. Firefighters were called to Trinity Baptist Church on Appleby Line, north of the 407, just after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. Pictures posted online show that the church was also vandalized. Graffiti spray painted on the side of the 126 year old building spelled out ‘ISIS’ and ‘ISIS will remai[n]’. (Global)

Anti-immigrant group leader says he didn’t speak at Saturday’s rally in Vancouver because he felt unsafe

A post by one of the would-be speakers at Saturday’s anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant rally, says he didn’t feel safe speaking at Vancouver city hall, which is why he didn’t show up. The founder of the Cultural Action Party of Canada posted a statement on Facebook reading in part, “…it was more than obvious my physical safety was in jeopardy.” (Global)

Cornwall lawyer expecting more calls from asylum seekers fleeing the U.S.

At least 100 asylum seekers from the U.S. have settled into a temporary intake centre in Cornwall, Ont., and as more are expected to arrive, one immigration lawyer says he is eager to help. Gordon Campbell, a lawyer with the firm Aubrey Campbell McLean, put his name out there to help people fleeing the U.S. after President Donald Trump announced his travel ban, and now he's expecting more people to call his office. (CBC)

Migrants with no status in the U.S. battle anxiety as they await Trump's next move

In the U.S. immigration debate, it's called "twilight status," and for many who hold it, the light is flickering and fading. Unlike Canada or Mexico, which both routinely deport almost anyone without a valid visa, the U.S. government allows otherwise-illegal immigrants to remain without legal status — sheltered under various forms of government sufferance. About 59,000 Haitians received Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a U.S. government waiver exempting them from deportation to their devastated homeland, after a catastrophic earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince in 2010. (CBC)

Freed Yazidi boy adjusting to life in Winnipeg

Yazidi Canadians in Winnipeg say the 12-year-old who landed in Winnipeg on Thursday to be reunited with his family three years after being captured as a hostage of the Islamic State group is getting used to his new home, quietly and privately. Apart from at least one visit to a doctor — during his ordeal, the boy was shot in the arm and cut by shrapnel on the right side of his stomach — Emad spent the last couple of days with his mother, Nofa Mihlo Rafo, his uncle and four siblings in their apartment. (WPG Free Press)

Survey finds ‘dramatic shift’ in Canadian perception of U.S. approach to human rights

For the first time in 13 years, Canadians think they have more in common with Britain and Germany's approach to human rights than that of the United States, a new survey suggests. The finding is the latest in a 13-year tracking of Canadian and American perceptions of the bi-national relationship by Nanos Research and the State University of New York at Buffalo. (Globe and Mail)

Fewer left-wing people are scared of Isis than right-wingers, finds global survey

More right-wing people are worried about Isis than left-wing people in North America and many European countries, according to a major new survey. The respected Pew Research Centre found that 85 per cent of those on the right of the political spectrum in the US viewed Isis as a “major threat to our country”, compared to 63 per cent on the left. In the UK, the split was 74 per cent of right-wingers to 51 per cent on the left. (Independent)

Terror attacks using vehicles to become ‘fact of life’ in Western democracies: expert

The increasing use of vehicles to conduct low-tech terrorist attacks such as Thursday’s attack in Barcelona that killed at least 13 people, including one Canadian, and injured over 120 people, presents an enormous challenge for security services and policy makers around the world, experts say. While governments can toughen gun laws or regulations around the sale of precursor chemicals used to create homemade explosives, attacks using vehicles are nearly impossible to prevent, because almost anyone with access to a truck or car can drive to a crowded area and target civilians. (Radio Canada)

Faces of victims of the devastating Barcelona terror attacks as ten now identified

These are the faces of victims of the devastating terror attacks in Barcelona, as nine people have now been identified. At least 14 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the atrocity in Spain, with those affected coming from all over the world. Citizens of 34 countries were caught up in the attacks, including England, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Australia, Canada, the United States, France and China. (

Barcelona attack victims: dead named, as death of seven-year-old British-born boy confirmed

Family and friends have confirmed the death of loved ones following the attack in  Barcelona which killed at least 14 people and left many others injured. There are also missing people - relatives have been searching high and low, desperate for their loved ones to be safe. (

Spanish police search home of missing imam in hunt for ringleader of terror attacks

A missing imam and a house that exploded days ago became the focus Saturday of the investigation into an extremist cell responsible for two deadly attacks in Barcelona and a nearby resort. Investigators searched the home of Abdelbaki Es Satty, an imam who in June abruptly quit working at a mosque in the town of Ripoll, the home of the Islamic radicals behind the attacks that killed 14 people and wounded over 120 in the last few days. Police were trying to determine whether Es Satty was killed in a botched bomb-making operation on Wednesday, the eve of the Barcelona bloodshed. (Toronto Star)

Barcelona attackers plotted to combine vehicles and explosives, authorities say

A cell of at least nine extremists meticulously plotted to combine vehicles and explosives in a direct hit on tourists, and managed to carry off most of their deadly plan, killing 14 people, authorities said Friday. Police in Spain and France pressed a manhunt for any remaining members of the group, which Daesh claimed as its own. Only flawed bomb construction avoided a more devastating attack, authorities said after taking a closer look at a blast Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that was first written off as a household gas explosion. At least one person was killed and several injured in the home where police said the deadly plan took shape. (Toronto Star)

Barcelona attack suspect named by police as Younes Abouyaaqoub

Spanish police have confirmed the identity of the driver suspected of killing 13 people in last week's attack in Barcelona. He is 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, officials said, and the manhunt has been extended across Europe. Authorities earlier said they could not rule out the possibility that he had slipped across the border to France. (BBC)

Police extend hunt for Barcelona attack suspect across Europe

The hunt for the main suspect in the Barcelona terrorist attack has been extended to other European countries, a Catalan government official has said. Police said on Monday they believe Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan national, was the driver of the van that ploughed through crowds of tourists in Las Ramblas on Thursday, killing 13 people and leaving dozens more seriously injured. (Guardian)

Trump: Stop terrorism by 'whatever means' necessary

Radical Islamic terrorism "must be stopped by whatever means necessary", US President Donald Trump has tweeted in the wake of attacks in Barcelona. The president also called on US courts to "give us back our protective rights" in order to be tough on terrorism. It comes a day after Mr Trump urged people to look into a debunked myth about a general who fought Islamist militants by using pig's blood. (BBC)

Donald Trump to Unveil Afghanistan Strategy in Televised Address Monday

President Donald Trump will give a nationally televised address Monday night to unveil his strategy for the long-running war in Afghanistan, the White House said, a plan expected to include sending as many as 4,000 more troops to the country. (WSJ)

North Korea warns of 'merciless strike' ahead of US-South Korea drills

North Korea warned Sunday that the upcoming US-South Korea military exercises are "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war." Pyongyang also declared that its army can target the United States anytime, and neither Guam, Hawaii nor the US mainland can "dodge the merciless strike." (CNN)

Don't like our rules? Then leave, China newspaper says after journal censored

The censorship in China of hundreds of academic papers from a prominent journal will have little impact because readership is so small, but if Western institutions don't like the way things are done in China they can leave, the state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Monday. (Reuters)



Candice Malcolm: A Yazidi child thanks Canada for saving his life

"Thank you, Canada. Thank you,” said young Emad Mishko Tamo. The 12-year-old Yazidi refugee was reunited with his mother at Winnipeg International Airport earlier this week. Emad is safe in Canada now, and the tearful reunion reminds us of the good Canada does in the world. In the summer of 2014, Emad and his family were separated and captured by Islamic State militants, who were targeting Yazidis in northern Iraq. (Toronto Sun)

National Post View: Canada's facing an immigration fiasco. Why was Ottawa not better prepared?

“Sometimes you need to sleep, too,” Normand Faille recently told CTV News. Faille is the fire chief in Lacolle, Que., a small community just a few kilometres from the Canada-U.S. border, and ground zero for an unfolding migration fiasco. In recent weeks, as many as 250 people a day have been illegally entering Canada from the United States. Lacolle’s tiny corps of 30-some-odd first responders simply can’t keep up with the emergency calls. (National Post)

Globe editorial: Ottawa should stop politicizing the citizenship guide

Immigrants who want to become citizens of Canada have to pass a test demonstrating a basic knowledge of this country. To prepare for the test, the federal government provides a study guide filled with facts, names, dates and – these days – subtle little plugs for the party in power. It’s sad, really. After reading the current version of the guide prepared by the Harper government and parts of a draft of the new one coming any minute now from the Trudeau government, one is left with the impression that the chief goal of the exercise isn’t to help newcomers be better citizens but, rather, to tickle the biases of the governing party’s supporters. (Globe and Mail)

Lorrie Goldstein: Premier Wynne, the anointed one, will decide what’s ‘fair’

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s pre-election, rah-rah address to her Ontario Liberal caucus Thursday — where she didn’t announce she was quitting or calling an early election — revealed something more important. In under 17 minutes, she clearly described her political philosophy and what drives her. (Toronto Sun)

Mark Bonokoski: How about toppling Mackenzie King's statue?

Canada had yet to be born when rebel generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson were finally being routed by Unionist soldiers in the American Civil War. Those with deep southern roots still refer to it as the “War of Northern Aggression,” but what an ugly and bloody war it was. (Toronto Sun)



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