NEWS

Manitoba Muslim leaders want to talk to suspected ISIS supporter

02/23/2015 07:30 EST | Updated 04/25/2015 05:59 EDT
Muslim leaders in Manitoba are hoping to reach out to Harun Abdurahman, who claims to live in the province and whose social media posts suggest he supports the Islamic State.

Abdurahman is his alias on Twitter; he has not revealed his real name. Online, he has stated support for ISIS militants fighting to establish an Islamist state.

Dima Al-Sayed of the Manitoba Islamic Association says Muslim leaders now want to talk to Abdurahman, try to help rid him of his radicalized ideology and show him the true meaning of Islam.

Al-Sayed said Muslims have been fighting the radicalization of youth through workshops and open dialogue at local mosques.

"There is no explanation for why Muslims can fall into those traps, like there's no explanation for why people join gangs," she told CBC News on Monday.

"I feel that they are very similar; they're two faces to the same coin."

Retweet caught attention of government

Abdurahman would not talk to CBC News on Monday, but last week he told Toronto Star reporter Allan Woods that he caught the attention of the Canadian government late last year after he retweeted a post from John Maguire, an Ottawa man fighting overseas with ISIS.

The tweet called on Muslims to commit "terror attacks in Canada." Abdurahman claimed that CSIS then contacted his friends and family to investigate a potential security threat.

"I said to him that, you know, 'Are you worried about people in your community in Manitoba may be alerting CSIS or the RCMP about you?'" Woods told CBC News in an interview.

Woods said Abdurahman replied, "It's too late. I'm already on the government radar. The government already knows who I am."

According to the Star report, Abdurahman was "born to British stock" and raised by a Christian military family in Ontario. He converted to Islam five years ago after he got into trouble as a teenager.

It's not clear why Abdurahman moved to Manitoba, but he told Woods he has a job in the province and goes to a mosque every week to pray.

"I think he fits the classic definition of a radicalized individual," Woods said of Abdurahman.

"A radicalized individual wouldn't consider themselves radicalized. They'd just consider themselves doing what's necessary or correct or right."

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