The following story appeared in the National Post on Friday, it was removed without comment. A link to the same story carried in the Montreal Gazette explains the article was removed due to a “legal request”. Its content cites VICE news as the source. It would appear the article’s removal relates to the current law suit involving a VICE news reporter’s notes from an interview conducted with Muslim terrorist Shirdon and the RCMP’s desire to possess those notes. Currently the story is still available at this link. The spiked article is reprinted in full below.
Mother of Calgary ISIL fighter told police her family was devastated by her ‘not religious’ son’s actions
TORONTO — The mother of an ISIL fighter from Calgary told police her family was devastated by the actions of her son, whom she described as “not religious” until shortly before he left for Syria, according to a court document obtained by VICE News.
Nura Jama said in statements to counter-terrorism investigators in Alberta that Farah Shirdon showed little interest in religion until about two years before he phoned her on March 18, 2014 and said he had left Canada to live in a Muslim country.
A month later, the 23-year-old Somali-Canadian turned up in a video in which he burned his passport and threatened to attack Canada. A National Post article about the ISIL video prompted the RCMP to launch its investigation into Shirdon, the documents show.
“The family is devastated with Shirdon’s actions and cannot comprehend why or what would have made him choose this path,” Const. Harinder Grewal wrote in a sworn statement in Ontario court. “Nura believes that someone brainwashed Shirdon.”
The police interviews with the terrorist’s mother and sister are summarized in a police application for a production order for VICE reporter Ban Makuch’s research on Shirdon. The court upheld the request last month but VICE said Friday it would appeal the ruling.
The police argued that VICE’s records were relevant to the investigation because Makuch had interviewed Shirdon. But VICE has countered that journalists should not be dragged into police investigations and that no imminent threat to national security is involved.
Last year, the RCMP charged Shirdon with six terrorism offences. One of the counts is for threats he made in a September 2014 interview with VICE. The 102-page unsealed Information to Obtain outlines the investigation, which appears to rely heavily on Shirdon’s own social media posts as well as his comments to VICE.
“Through the comments Shirdon made on social networking sites, he openly admitted that he was actively engaged with the ISIS in Syria and was getting paid by ISIS,” the constable wrote, adding Shirdon had posted photos of himself with assault rifles and ammunition.
“Shirdon stated that his pastime was to kill infidels,” the constable continued. “Shirdon glorified ISIS in many of his postings and invited others to travel to Syria and join the group. This, he suggested, was their Islamic duty and openly invited interested individuals to make contact with him.”
The extent of the evidence summarized in the document left Makuch wondering why police felt they needed his research. “I think one thing it really illustrates is that the RCMP has a lot of evidence against him, and that my evidence isn’t the only evidence that they have,” he told VICE.
The ITO said Shirdon had convictions for criminal harassment and assault. His mother said he was in a fight and as a result was moved to another Calgary school. “Shirdon did not excel at school,” the document noted. He later attended the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
His sister Idil told police Shirdon “became more inclined towards Islam” when the family travelled to Saudi Arabia for a wedding. Shirdon wanted to obtain a degree in Islamic studies at a university in Riyadh and then return to Canada as an imam, she said.
Instead, he turned to the Internet and became a follower of radical preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki.
“Idil cannot understand why and what has brought on the level of hatred that Shirdon displayed in the passport video,” the constable wrote. “Shirdon did not have a strong foundation in Islam and he was attempting to learn Islam on his own.”
With no money, Shirdon took out two credit cards to pay before departing for Syria. He used them to buy a new pair of glasses and contact lenses. He also paid for his Air Canada ticket to Turkey using a Visa card. The officer noted that to extremists, jihad takes precedence over paying debts.