When terrorist victimizers pretend to be the ‘victims’

There is so much wrong about calls to repatriate Canadians who joined ISIS: let’s start with those who see them as ‘victims’

This piece appeared in The Epoch Times on December 22, 2022

The eponymous founder of Christianity, Jesus, is alleged to have said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. He uttered these words when a bunch of religious leaders called Pharisees asked him if it was ok to stone to death a woman who had supposedly committed adultery.

In essence, this challenge means that we should be careful in condemning others when we too are guilty of offences as humans. It is thus with some trepidation that I write about the fate of some Canadian women who are stuck in horrid conditions in Syrian and Iraqi camps and want to come home.

Except that these are not ordinary Canadian women and have nothing to do with the biblical female accused of sexual crimes. These particular women are members of ISIS, a barbaric terrorist group that engaged in unspeakable crimes against innocent people, up to and including stoning other women to death (NB: I am not adding that crime to these Canadians’ ledger of offences).

These women left Canada sometime in the 2010s of their own free will to join ISIS and become part of that Islamist terrorist group’s hellish control over parts of Iraq and Syria and were witnesses to, if not active participants in, mass murders of the most gruesome kind (ISIS burned and drowned people alive) and mass rape/sexual enslavement (especially of Yazidi girls and women whom ISIS saw as apostates and hence with no rights).

After all this it turns out that the Canadian women who thought becoming part of ISIS was a good idea now think that THEY are the victims. Some of them have hired a lawyer to bring pressure on our government to repatriate them and their kids, and indeed some have returned (a feat the lawyer described as “good news…it how Canada … is capable of bringing home our Canadian nationals held in detention.”).

Detention? You mean like the horrific conditions un which Yazidi females were held for years? THAT kind of detention? There are estimates that as many as 2,000 Yazidis, including children, are still under ISIS control in Iraq and Syria.

What we have here is nothing less than the victimisers pretending to be the victims. Shamima Begum, a UK ISIS terrorist, now calls herself a victim of ‘child trafficking’, not a young woman who saw ISIS as the purist form of Islam and who wanted desperately to be one with the so-called Caliphate. This turn of blame is disgusting.

To its credit, the Canadian government has not done much to ‘rescue’ these ISIS terrorists. It has cited dangerous conditions in the camps for not sending consulate staff to see these ‘victims’. While this is slightly disingenuous – journalists and academics have gone to those areas and survived – it is nevertheless the right move. ISIS terrorists carried out unspeakable acts of violence in the mid-2010s and their true victims must have the right to see justice carried out.

‘Fans’ of these terrorists contend that they can face trial here once they safely arrive back in Canada. This too is disingenuous. Witnesses and evidence are over there, not here, and it is highly unlikely that the Crown will be able to transport all this to our courts, thus minimising the chances of successful prosecutions and jail time.

As a Western democracy we should insist on fair trials, even for terrorists who think nothing of our societies and systems of governance. The proper place to see justice done is in courts set up where the crimes were committed and, if we are squeamish about Iraqi and Syrian impartiality in these matters, we can help set up and run judicial proceedings under an international aegis (such as what the UN did for Rwanda after the genocide of 1994).

When it comes to those who suffered under ISIS rule, the Canadian government, after some footdragging, is finally bringing more Yazidi victims to our land to start a new life. This is commendable and needs to get bigger in scope. Yazidis and others are the real victims here, not the ISIS terrorists who used their aberrant interpretation of religion to kill, torture and enslave over years. The time for sober second thought for the joiners has long passed: they must be subject to true justice and pay the penalty where their acts occurred.

We will see what happens. Although I am a ‘glass half full’ kinda guy I fear these women will never face serious time in prison. And that is a slap in the face to the true victims of Islamist terrorism.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

One reply on “When terrorist victimizers pretend to be the ‘victims’”

The worst scandal is the hiding of their identities, which effectively deprives their victims, Yazidis and others, of any recourse against them. The names and faces of the ISIS accomplices must be published, so that their victims can sue them and oblige them to repair the damages they have done.

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