A Canadian man who claimed he was an Islamic State killer has been charged with lying about his terrorist activity.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the charge against Shehroze Chaudhry stems from numerous media interviews in which he described travelling to Syria in 2016 and committing acts of extremism.
Chaudhry, 25, from Burlington, Ontario, reportedly portrayed himself as a former IS member living freely in Canada.
He has been posting on social media and telling reporters and others since 2016 that he was a former member of the jihadist group’s religious police in Syria, according to Canadian media.
He claimed to have conducted at least two executions on the group’s behalf and gained further notoriety by appearing on The New York Times’ Caliphate podcast, describing in detail the grisly murders of innocent civilians, some blindfolded and tied-up – provoking outrage in the Canadian parliament.
He said he was known within the terror group by his jihadi alias, Abu Huzaifa al-Kanadi (Abu Huzaifa the Canadian), and that he started out in the Syrian city of Manbij.
Choudhry reportedly recalled witnessing violence such as regular public lashings, beheadings and crucifixions, and claimed he suffered from nightmares.
His media interviews led opposition politicians to question whether the federal government was doing enough to protect Canadians from IS fighters who have returned to Canada.
But now, the RCMP has accused him of perpetrating a hoax related to terrorist activity.
Superintendent Christopher deGale said in a statement: “Hoaxes can generate fear within our communities and create the illusion there is a potential threat to Canadians while we have determined otherwise.
“As a result, the RCMP takes these allegations very seriously, particularly when individuals, by their actions, cause the police to enter into investigations in which human and financial resources are invested and diverted from other ongoing priorities.”
Chaudhry will appear in court on 16 November and, if convicted, could face up to five years in jail, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reports.
Federal police have also announced terrorism charges against an unnamed 30-year-old man from Alberta, who detectives allege joined IS in 2013 and committed acts of terrorism including kidnapping.
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