Canada to investigate claims Shamima Begum was 'trafficked to Syria' by its spy

Canada to investigate claims Shamima Begum was 'trafficked to Syria' by its spy
Canada will look into claims that a spy working for its intelligence trafficked Shamima Begum and two other British teenagers to the Syrian border, where they entered IS-controlled territory
3 min read
01 September, 2022
A new book claims that Shamima Begum was trafficked at the age of 15 to Syria by a Canadian intelligence agent [Getty]

Canada will investigate claims that a spy working for Canadian intelligence trafficked Shamima Begum to Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

BBC investigation and a soon-to-be-published book had found that Begum, who fled the UK and joined the Islamic State group with two friends in 2015, was smuggled by a Canadian agent.

Trudeau said the authorities would "look into" the accusations.

"The fight against terrorism requires our intelligence services to continue to be flexible and to be creative in their approaches," Trudeau said following the swearing-in of two cabinet ministers. 

"But every step of the way they are bound by strict rules, by principles and values that Canadians hold dear, including around the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we expect that those rules be followed."

He defended Canada's intelligence services, saying that they kept the country safe "in a very dangerous world".

According to the BBC investigation, Mohammed Al Rasheed helped Begum, then 15, and fellow East London teenagers Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase travel from an Istanbul bus station to the Syrian border in 2015, where they entered territories controlled by IS.

Al Rasheed now says he assisted other British men, women, and children enter Syria but only to pass information about this and other intelligence on IS to the Canadian embassy in Jordan.

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He claims that the embassy had promised him Canadian citizenship if he assisted with information gathering on IS, which by 2015 controlled large parts of eastern and northern Syria as well as huge swathes of northern and western Iraq.

This included Begum's passport details, which Canada shared with the UK but allegedly not the whole story on Al Rasheed's role in IS trafficking operations until much later when the plot was uncovered, according to the new book.

A senior intelligence agent confirmed to the BBC that Al Rasheed was passing information about IS in Syria on to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people into the war zone.

Begum was stripped of her UK citizenship in 2019, after she was discovered at the Al-Hol detention camp following the collapse of IS's self-declared caliphate. She gave birth to three children during her time in Syria, all of whom have died.

The trafficking revelation could help Begum's efforts to have her British citizenship reinstated and return to the UK.

Begum confirmed to the BBC in the upcoming 'I'm Not A Monster' podcast Al Rasheed's role in the operation.

"He organised the entire trip from Turkey to Syria… I don't think anyone would have been able to make it to Syria without the help of smugglers," she claimed.

"He had helped a lot of people come in… We were just doing everything he was telling us to do because he knew everything, we didn't know anything."