Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Martyr video claims Toronto man 'succeeded'

Stewart Bell, National Post 
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Toronto man has been killed in Somalia while fighting with the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabab, according to a message posted on the Internet.

The message, which accompanies a video posted on YouTube, identifies the man as "Mohamed al Muhajiri" and says he worshipped at the Abu Huraira Mosque in Toronto.

The death could not be verified last night.

It was first reported yesterday by the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. terrorism research company that monitors extremist Internet sites.

The RCMP and CSIS have been investigating a half-dozen Somali-Canadians suspected of joining Al-Shabab last fall. Several of them worshipped at the Abu Huraira mosque.

The federal government announced last week it had outlawed Al-Shabab under the Anti-Terrorism Act because of concerns the group had been recruiting in the Somali-Canadian community.

"Glad Tidings to the youth in Canada your dear brother Mohamed al Muhajiri has succeeded," reads the message, which refers to the Canadian as a "shahid," or martyr.

"Don't be sadden [sic] but rather rejoice in the news of your dear brother and follow his foot steps and march forth in the ranks of the honest mujahideen, Al-Shabab mujahideen.

"The brave brother reached his goal while marching forth not wavering. Our dear brother Mohamed was mountain and in battle he was firm and calm rushing toward death. The towering mountain is an example to all of us so take his advice and join the ranks of the mujahideen. We ask Allah to accept him. Ameen."

The accompanying two-minute video shows a young man speaking into a camera. It was apparently filmed in Saudi Arabia, according to SITE. "Do not think that the martyrs are dead but they are alive with the lord," he says in English.

Al-Shabab is an armed extremist group that has been fighting to depose the Somali government. It seeks to impose a Taliban-like Islamist regime in Somalia and has pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda.

More than 20 American Somalis have joined the group over the past few years, and several have died. One became the first American to commit a suicide bombing.

The Canadians who left Toronto last October have not been heard from since their disappearance, although one apparently called home to say he was in Kenya and was on his way to Somalia to fight.

Police fear the youths could receive training and indoctrination in Somalia and return to Canada and carry out terrorist attacks in either Canada or the United States.

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