The Islamic State militant who told VICE News that operatives were mobilizing to carry out attacks in New York City is now facing charges in Canada, should he ever return home.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) filed six charges against Calgary native Farah Shirdon, also known online as Abu Usamah Somali, who fled to IS on March 14, 2014. Despite initial reports that Shirdon had been killed during fighting, he resurfaced to issue calls for fresh attacks on the West.
The charges include: leaving to join a terrorist group, instructing a person to carry out a terrorist attack, and threatening attacks against the United States and Canada.
One charge, which carries a penalty of life in prison, is "relating to the utterance of threats made on or about September 23, 2014 during an interview with Vice Media," reads an RCMP press release.
"Inshallah, we shall make some attacks in New York soon," Shirdon said in an interview with VICE CEO Shane Smith which aired Sept. 25, 2014. "A lot of brothers there, they're mobilizing right now."
Under his online pseudonym, Shirdon continued to issue threats to Canada via text to VICE reporter Ben Makuch.
"Canadians at home shall face the brunt of the retaliation," he wrote. "If you are in this crusader alliance against Islam and Muslims you shall see your streets filled with blood Inshaa Allah."
The charges were laid in absentia and will likely never see their day in court. Canadian police have made a push in recent months to ramp up investigations and lay charges against foreign fighters as a deterrent for those who may consider joining the group, and to warn those Canadians fighting with the group that they will not be welcome should they return.
As part of the charges, the RCMP has cooperated with INTERPOL to issue a red notice — an international wanted-person alert — to have Shirdon returned to Canada.
Shirdon would have difficulty returning to Canada in any way other than in handcuffs, as he ripped up and burned his passport on video.
"Our investigation showed that SHIRDON served in a combat role and performed other functions for ISIS such as recruiting, fundraising, encouraging others to commit violence, and spreading propaganda — all designed to enhance the activities of the ISIS," RCMP Assistant Commissioner Marlin DeGrand said in a press release.
Canadian police have been under pressure to stem the flow of foreign fighters to IS. Both the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the country's main intelligence and national security agency, have been criticized for failing to stop fighters like Shirdon, as well as the two radicalized men who carried out attacks in Ontario and Quebec last October.
Two other men, Ottawa natives John McGuire and Khadar Khalib, were charged in absentia in February.
"CSIS are idiots, I had a meeting face to face with an agent five days before I left and they let me walk outta the country," Shirdon told Motherboard last June.
In other propaganda videos posted online, Shirdon vowed that the IS militants would target the White House after they conquer Iraq and Syria.
Follow Justin Ling on Twitter: @justin_ling
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