OTTAWA — Listening to the New York Times Caliphate podcast is a harrowing experience. The most recent episodes feature a Canadian ISIL fighter, recounting in graphic detail how he executed two men in cold blood.
Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi, his nom de guerre, talked in a disconcertingly bland North American accent about being taught how to behead people. “You had to know how to slice a head off,” he said.
He then depicted a group execution, in which he shot a middle-aged Muslim man in the back of the head. “It’s justified – you’re not going to be held accountable,” he said he told himself.
On another occasion, he took part in a community killing, stabbing a drug dealer in the heart. “The blood was warm and it sprayed everywhere,” he said. “I had to stab him multiple times.”
He said the second killing left him feeling “disgusted” and determined to return to his parents in Canada. He escaped to Turkey, and then on to his grandparents’ home in Pakistan. He eventually made his way home to Canada, telling immigration authorities at the airport that he’d spent the past 10 months at university in Pakistan. “I said it in a way so that it didn’t seem I was lying,” he said.
The only positive in all this is that he said he would never return to a life of violence. “No, I’ve come too far from it,” he said.
But, regardless of his conversion to a more harmonious world-view, it should not be overlooked that there is a self-confessed killer on the loose in Canada’s biggest city – one who lied to immigration officials to get into the country.