Toronto man Mohammed Elmi Ibrahim one of six Canadians of Somali origin believed to have joined militant Islamist faction in recent months
Globe and Mail Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2010
A Somali terror group recently banned by Ottawa claims one of its Canadian recruits has been killed in battle.
Al-Shabab, a militant Islamist faction tied to al-Qaeda, released a video of a man described as Mohamed al-Muhajiri, which means one who travels with purpose, saying he has “succeeded” and that he was “calm rushing toward death.”
Several members of the Somali community in Toronto said the man in the video, which was taken at a historic site in Saudi Arabia but makes no mention of suicide bombing or a plan to sacrifice himself, is Mohamed Elmi Ibrahim, one of six Canadian men of Somali origin believed to have joined al-Shabab in recent months.
Al-Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia, was recently placed on the list of banned terror groups by the Canadian government.
Vehicles crowded the driveway of Mr. Ibrahim’s home in Scarborough on Wednesday. A woman dressed in black answered the door but declined to answer any questions. His death could not be officially confirmed.
At the Abu Huraira mosque, where Mr. Ibrahim and several of the other missing men once worshipped, administrator Omar Kireh said he knew the young man in the video as Mohamed Elmi. He said the man had been a regular at the mosque when he was young but was seen less frequently once he enrolled as a student at the University of Toronto.
“The information we have is the information in the media, that a young man died in a fight. I don’t know how true it is. If it’s true it’s unfortunate,” Mr. Kireh said. “Over the last three years he came only rarely.”
Mr. Ibrahim, who is in his 20s, is believed to be the first of the Toronto group to join al-Shabab. He went to Saudi Arabia more than a year ago but didn’t return to Canada with his travelling companions.
Mr. Kireh said the mosque has made a concerted effort to inform its young members about the dangers of al-Shabab recruiting since four members went missing last autumn.
“Our message is don’t mess around with these things. You have great opportunities. Think of your future, your family and the country that adopted you,” he said.
The announcement of his death was posted on YouTube in a message that brought “glad tidings to the youth in Canada.” It advised them not to be saddened but to “march forth in the ranks of the honest mujahideen in Somalia.” It made no mention of when or how he died.