Many Canadians interpret PM Justin Trudeau’s promise to uphold Canadian law to mean “Jihadi Jack” could find himself in Canada.
Jack Letts, a British-Canadian who joined ISIS as a teenager and is being held in a jail in northern Syria after being captured by Kurdish forces in 2014 was recently stripped of his U.K. citizenship.
Canada has expressed disappointment with Britain because by revoking Lett’s citizenship, it has effectively offloaded their responsibilities.
The prime minister’s comments come shortly after Letts told a British television station that he’s hopeful Canada will take him back.
“I’ve always felt that I am Canadian. My Dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway … I hope Canada does take me from here. I could go there, to prison, of course,” Letts said from his Kurdish prison, according to quotes provided to Reuters by ITV.
Asked about the issue later on Monday, Trudeau said it is a crime in Canada to travel for the purposes of supporting and engaging in terrorism and that he would make sure the laws are enforced.
Letts said he wasn’t surprised he had lost his British citizenship.
“I don’t think where you are from is based on a piece of paper. These things have very little meaning to me, to be honest. I don’t think British citizenship is a big deal,” Letts said.
A Muslim convert, Letts was a U.K. citizen who also holds Canadian citizenship through his father.
His parents, who live in Oxford, U.K., made headlines earlier this summer when a British court convicted them of funding terrorism. John Letts and Sally Lane were found guilty of sending their son £223 (C$348) in September 2015.
In response to the news over the weekend, a spokesperson for Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said the ministry was aware of the U.K.’s decision.
“Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions,” the spokesperson said.
The Canadian public is also aware of the Omar Khadr controversy where Canada eventually not only brought a convicted terrorist “home” but also paid out $10 million for not doing enough to secure his freedom earlier and enduring alleged pain and torture. Such is the precedent that weighs heavily when it comes not only to “Jihad Jack” but also the dozens of Canadian fighters who went on to Syria to fight for ISIS and their families now stuck in Kurdish jails. -CINEWS