Global News: Edmonton women arrested on terrorism peace bonds and released after returning from Syria

Our Hate, Extremism, & Terrorism in Alberta, Canada, & Beyond report is referenced in this Global News article. 

Original Article

Published by Stewart Bell in Global News on July 7, 2023

Two Edmonton women were arrested after returning to Canada from a prison camp for ISIS families in Syria, the RCMP confirmed on Friday.

Helena Carson and Dina Kalouti were taken into custody upon arriving at Montreal-Trudeau airport.

They were transported to Alberta and appeared in court in Edmonton before being released on bail.

Neither have been charged with any crimes.

Crown prosecutors are instead asking the courts for terrorism peace bonds that would impose restrictions on them in the name of public safety.

The courts typically order those on terrorism peace bond to wear an ankle monitor, adhere to a curfew and stay off the internet, among other conditions.

Kalouti, 42, returned with her three children. She and Carson, her 33-year-old sister-in-law, were captured in Syria during the fight against ISIS and detained for more than four years.

Global Affairs Canada secured their release from the custody of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and flew them home to Canada on Thursday.

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, which controls the Kurdish-majority region, released photos of the visiting Canadian delegation.

Following the meeting, five Canadian citizens “were handed over from the families of the ISIS organization,” the Administration said in a statement.

The cases are the latest to implicate Alberta residents in ISIS, the terrorist group known for its plots in Canada, beheadings and genocide of Yazidis.

On June 15, RCMP charged Calgary resident, Zakarya Rida Hussein, 20, with four counts of terrorism over online videos allegedly supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Another Calgary man, Hussein Borhot, was sentenced last May to 12 years over his time with ISIS. His cousin Jamal Borhot is awaiting trial.

Edmonton resident Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi is serving 20 years in the United States for helping six ISIS members travel to Syria.

Those the U.S. Department of Justice said he “encouraged, aided and financially assisted” included three of his cousins from Edmonton, another from Minneapolis and a Californian.

In 2020, Global News reported that government documents identified Ayan Jama of Edmonton as the former wife of a senior member of the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab.

“She has participated in the recruitment and radicalization of a Canadian, whose eventual travel overseas to Syria was encouraged and partially financed by her,” the documents alleged.

According to the Edmonton-based Organization for the Prevention of Violence (OPV), Albertans are “overrepresented” among Canadians who have joined groups like ISIS.

“This phenomenon peaked in 2014-2015 after Daesh declared its so-called Caliphate in Syria. Most of these individuals died overseas, and the remainder tend to fit into one of two groups,” the OPV wrote.

“The first group encompasses individuals who have already returned to Canada, known as ’returnees’; and the second includes those currently detained abroad in Syria.”

The government has now repatriated nine Canadian women and their 14 children from camps for families captured during the defeat of ISIS.

Four of the women are from Alberta, as is one of the four men still held in Syria. The rest are from Ontario, B.C. and Quebec.

Although it is illegal to leave Canada to participate in terrorism, only one of the women, Oumaima Chouay, has been charged so far.

Seven others were arrested on peace bonds, while the government brought one back to Toronto in April without arresting her.

The only Canadian woman remaining at the camps is a former Montreal resident who did not quality for Ottawa’s help because she was deemed a security threat.

She is with her six children.

Kurdish fighters took thousands of foreigners into custody during the 2019 battle to recapture the parts of Syria seized by ISIS.

Canada is among the countries that have declined to bring back any men — although one, Toronto ISIS executioner Mohammed Khalifa, was taken to the United States.

Stewart Bell. “Edmonton women arrested on terrorism peace bonds and released after returning from Syria” Global News, 7 July 2023