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Markham woman, 22, charged with leaving Canada to join terrorist group

RCMP allege Haleema Mustafa accompanied her husband to Turkey to join ISIS in June 2019
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A 22-year-old Markham woman has been arrested for participating in terrorist activities following a lengthy Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) national security investigation.

Haleema Mustafa was charged Aug. 26 with participation in the activities of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to join a terrorist group, according to the RCMP.

Police said Mustafa's husband, a 22-year-old Guelph man, was charged in December 2019 with participation in the activities of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in activities of a terrorist group.

The charges stem from RCMP allegations that Ikar Mao was accompanied by his wife when he travelled to Turkey to join the terrorist group ISIS in June 2019.

“Canadian Extremist Travellers (CETs) — those who hold Canadian citizenship, permanent residency or a valid visa for Canada — continue to present a significant concern to law enforcement and intelligence services, having travelled abroad to engage in terrorism-related activities," said Supt. Christopher deGale, the officer in charge of the RCMP O Division’s integrated national security enforcement team.

"While the RCMP and partner agencies coordinate efforts to identify and prevent individuals from departing Canada for this purpose, we also assess and respond to the potential threats that these extremist-minded individuals pose domestically and investigate them accordingly. Appreciating we have a certain level of visibility on some of these individuals, we do rely on the public for support in identifying those who have intentions to either travel for a terrorist purpose or pose a more localized threat,” he said in a news release.

RCMP investigators acknowledge the support of York Regional Police, as well as Canada Border Services Agency, Guelph Police Service, Toronto Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Ministry of the Attorney General and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada .

Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is the editor for AuroraToday and NewmarketToday. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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