Radicalization

Canadian women are becoming mothers to children of ISIS fighters

A man loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A report from the University of Waterloo in Ontario shows that three Canadian women have given birth to the children of Islamic State fighters, and another two are pregnant. Researchers are tracking the five mothers as part of a larger study on foreign fighters who flee to the Middle East to join ISIS. The women, who range in age from 19-22, hail from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. Amarnath Amarasingam, the co-lead author of the study, told CTV News that the families of these ISIS brides are “devastated” over the circumstances of their daughters and grandchildren. “For most of the parents, I think there’s kind of a double reaction,” he said. “First they’re kind of happy a grandchild is involved, but at the same time, they’re quite devastated that a child was born into a war zone, to somebody they’ve never met.”

There is no evidence to suggest that the women are being held abroad against their will, but it would likely be difficult for them to return to Canada if they wanted to come home. “While they weren’t fighting for the Islamic State, I’m guessing the prosecution would argue they were aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, or providing material support to a terrorist organization,” said Amarasingam. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has called the findings of the study “a very disturbing development,” and emphasized the importance of opening a national counter-radicalization office.

Read the full story at CTV News.

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