The Canadian government has begun invalidating the passports of citizens who have left the country to join Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, the National Post has revealed.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said his department had also revoked the passports of several Canadians who had not yet left the country but who had intended to enlist in the militant group, the paper reported.
Mr. Alexander would not disclose the number of passports that have been revoked but said there were “multiple cases.” The government says about 30 Canadians are with extremist groups in Syria and 130 are active elsewhere, the National Post reported.
“Yes, I think it’s safe to say that there are cases of revocation of passports involving people who’ve gone to Syria and Iraq already,” he said. “I just don’t want to get into the numbers, but multiple cases.”
The action means the Canadian fighters’ passports are no longer valid and cannot be used to return to Canada or travel elsewhere.
“We are not by any means the leading contributor of foreign fighters to Syria, even though the dozens that are there and the 130 that are abroad [with other extremist groups] is a disturbing number for all Canadians,” Mr. Alexander told the paper. “But we want to ensure that Canada’s good name is not besmirched by these people any more than it already has been and that Canadians are protected.”
Hours before Mr. Alexander’s interview, the Islamic State group released a propaganda video that included footage of André Poulin, a Muslim convert from Ontario, who died last year in Syria, the National Post reported.
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