MONTREAL—In the first sign of life since he is believed to have fled Canada for life as an Islamic fighter earlier this year, one young Quebecer is now apparently identifying himself as a “soldier of the caliphate.”
It's the first public activity that Imad Rafai, a former Montreal junior college student, has engaged in since he and six others, including two girls, disappeared suddenly from their Montreal homes in mid-January. Authorities had believed they planned to fly to Turkey and cross the border into Syria to join the ranks of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which is a designated terror group and the target of a Canadian and coalition bombing campaign.
But Rafai's Twitter page, on which he identifies himself by his given name as well as “Jund Al-khilafah,” or “Soldier of the Caliphate,” could indicate that he has in fact ended up in Algeria and joined the ranks of a brutal terror group of the same name, according to terrorism expert Amarnath Amarasingam.
Rafai also posted a message on his Facebook page May 4 quoting the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book, as saying that whoever leaves the land of disbelievers to save his religion will be rewarded by God.
Among those who “liked” the post was another one of the missing students, Ourdia Kadem, who is believed to have been Rafai's girlfriend when the two were students at Montreal's Collège de Maisonneuve.