Jihadi Jack hopes Canada will take him as Trudeau says laws will be enforced
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is assuring Canadians that he will uphold Canadian law in regards to “Jihadi Jack.”
Jack Letts, a British-Canadian, joined ISIS as a teenager. He is being held in a jail in northern Syria after being captured by Kurdish forces in 2014 and was recently stripped of his U.K. citizenship.
Canada said on Sunday that it was disappointed with Britain’s decision to “offload their responsibilities” by revoking Letts’ citizenship.
The prime minister’s comments come shortly after Letts told a British television station that he’s hopeful Canada will take him back.
“I’ve always felt that I am Canadian. My Dad is Canadian, and I never grew up being accepted as a British person anyway … I hope Canada does take me from here. I could go there, to prison, of course,” Letts said from his Kurdish prison, according to quotes provided to Reuters by ITV.
Asked about the issue later Monday, Trudeau said it is a crime in Canada to travel for the purposes of supporting and engaging in terrorism and that he would make sure the laws are enforced.
Letts said he wasn’t surprised he had lost his British citizenship.
“I don’t think where you are from is based on a piece of paper. These things have very little meaning to me, to be honest. I don’t think British citizenship is a big deal,” Letts said.
A Muslim convert, Letts was a U.K. citizen who also holds Canadian citizenship through his father.
His parents, who live in Oxford, U.K., made headlines earlier this summer when a British court convicted them of funding terrorism. John Letts and Sally Lane were found guilty of sending their son £223 (C$348) in September 2015.
In response to the news over the weekend, a spokesperson for Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said the ministry was aware of the U.K.’s decision.
“Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions,” the spokesperson said.
— With files from Reuters and Kerri Breen