CBC News has confirmed the identity of a Toronto man–believed to have joined an al-Qaeda-linked group in Somalia and killed in battle–on an insurgent group’s online video.
Mohammed Elmi Ibrahim, an English major at the University of Toronto, can be seen on the two-minute nine-second video made in Saudi Arabia. He is shown discussing the historical significance of his location.
According to a message that accompanies the video found on the al-Shabab website, Ibrahim was killed in battle, although his death has not been officially confirmed.
“It’s unfortunate . . . his family has high expectations for him–and the Canadian society,” said Omar Kiresh, president of the mosque that Ibrahim attended.” So I think it’s a loss for everybody.”
The message with the video is addressed to Canadian youth and says: “Dont be sadden [sic] but rather rejoice in the news of your dear brother and follow his footsteps and march forth in the ranks of the honest mujahideen, al Shabaab mujahideen.”
Ibrahim, who went by the nickname “Canlish” and was in his early 20s, disappeared about 18 months ago and is believed to have joined the Somalian insurgent group al-Shabab. The group was recently added to the Canadian government’s terrorist list.
The designation came as members of the Somalian-Canadian community reported that the group is trying to radicalize and recruit young Canadians.
Ibrahim, born and raised in Toronto, had gone with a group to make the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca known as hajj. But he did not return with the group, and that’s when his family and intelligence agents in Canada concluded he had gone to fight with al-Shabab.
At least five other young Canadians, who all belonged to the same mosque as Ibrahim and have not been seen since last September, are also believed to have joined al-Shabab.