Trudeau: ISIS Fighters Returning Home to Canada 'Can Be an Extraordinarily Powerful Voice for Preventing Radicalization'

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau / Getty
December 22, 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a recent interview that Islamic State fighters who return home to Canada can be rehabilitated and serve as "an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization in future generations."

Trudeau sat down with CTV chief news anchor Lisa LaFlamme for a wide-ranging interview to reflect on 2017, including the collapse of ISIS' so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria and the threat posed by the group's Canadian terrorists returning home.

"There's a range of experiences when people come home," Trudeau said. "We know that actually someone who has engaged and turned away from that hateful ideology can be an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization in future generations and younger people within the community."

CTV noted before airing the prime minister's comments on the terror group that, "while other countries are prosecuting citizens who went abroad to fight for ISIS, Trudeau believes some returning home to Canada can still be rehabilitated."

Trudeau's comments came after Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale recently told CTV that he believes the prospect of reintegrating ISIS fighters is "pretty remote."

Trudeau also discussed the controversial decision by the Canadian government earlier this year to settle litigation with a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, who had ties to al Qaeda and underwent terrorism training, for a reported sum of $10.5 million. The prime minister told the White House about the deal before the rest of Canada.

Omar Khadr, who was born in Canada, brought a suit for $20 million Canadian dollars (about U.S. $15 million) on the grounds the Canadian government violated international law and his human rights by not protecting him and conspiring with the U.S. while he was detained at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

"I am frustrated and outraged about having to make that settlement," Trudeau said. "People should remain frustrated and outraged, because then perhaps future governments will never again think it would be easier to allow for someone's rights to be violated because they are politically unpopular."

During the interview, Trudeau also commented on President Donald Trump and his desire to renegotiate NAFTA.

"Donald Trump has demonstrated that he's a bit of a disruptive force. He does unpredictable things," Trudeau said. "He's a deal-maker. He's a negotiator."

Trudeau added he is optimistic about his relationship with Trump.

"The thing that reassures me fundamentally is he got elected on a commitment to help people, to make America great again," Trudeau said. "The way to help those people is to bring in trade deals and jobs and economic growth that is going to help."