Canadian ‘agreed to join’ husband in ISIS capital, alleged fighter says

An alleged Islamic State fighter has told a military tribunal in Lebanon his Canadian wife “agreed to join him” in Syria, where she was paid a monthly stipend.

Qasim Al-Muzaqzaq testified he met his Canadian bride online and they were married in Lebanon. When she returned to Canada to give birth to their first child, he went to the ISIS capital, Raqqah.

“The accused revealed that he had contacted her from Raqqah and asked her to leave Canada and travel to Turkey and from there to Raqqah,” the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported in Arabic.

“The wife never hesitated.”

A report on Al-Muzaqzaq’s testimony released by the Middle East Media Research Institute raised new questions about the role of Canadian women in the so-called Islamic State.

Neither the report nor the Arabic newspaper account upon which it was based named the Canadian, but they said she was of Somali origin and in the custody of U.S.-backed forces in Syria.

Last month, Global News interviewed a Somali-Canadian woman detained with her three children at a camp for the families of ISIS fighters who said her husband had been deported to Lebanon.

She said the husband she met online tricked her into going to ISIS territory. After she arrived in Turkey, a smuggler he hired brought her to Syria, although she said she thought she was going to Lebanon.

Al-Muzaqzaq testified he had tried to accompany his wife to Canada but was denied a visa. He then travelled to Turkey to apply from there but met an ISIS recruiter who convinced him to go to Syria.

He said he only went because he heard there were jobs and the cost of living was cheap. He claimed he had only worked as an ISIS mechanic and had not participated in fighting.

He was among eight Lebanese men captured in Syria and scheduled for trial in January.

“He said that his wife had agreed to join him in Raqqah, where she stayed with him for two years, during which time she had two more children,” according to the MEMRI report.

ISIS paid them both, he said. He received $50 a month. “He also said that his wife received a monthly salary of $35, and a similar amount for each of their children,” MEMRI wrote.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led fighters battling the remnants of ISIS, are holding hundreds of captured foreign fighters as well as their wives and children.

More than a dozen are Canadians. Kurdish authorities want Canada to take them back but the federal government has not yet done so and there are concerns they might not face arrest in Canada.

On Oct. 23, the House of Commons passed an opposition motion tabled by the Conservatives giving the government 45 days to put forward a plan to bring former ISIS members to justice.

Meanwhile, an organization representing the families of the captured Canadians called on the government to help bring them home, saying at least 10 were children housed at detention camps.

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