Canada Defends Welcoming Refugee Policy After Terror Attack by Somali Immigrant
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says this is not an example of an issue with the system.
The Canadian government is defending its refugee and immigration policies in the wake of a violent attack allegedly committed by a Somali immigrant, Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, in Edmonton on Sunday.
Terrorism charges are pending against Sharif, who arrived in Canada in 2012 and was granted refugee status, according to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
Sharif, 30, is accused of striking Const. Mike Chernyk with his car and then stabbing him repeatedly, according to CBC. When Sharif was later spotted in a U-Haul, he attempted to flee, hitting and injuring four pedestrians in the vehicle while being pursued by police.
The injured officer has been released from the hospital, along with two of the pedestrians. One person is now listed as being in stable condition, and the other has a fractured skull, according to CBC.
A black ISIS flag was removed from the car that struck Chernyk, according to Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht.
Events such as this can offer opportunities for critics to call attention to Canada’s somewhat open-door refugee policies, especially in the wake of a recent surge in asylum seekers coming in through the US border in Quebec.
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, for instance, said this occurrence could shed light on the ways in which police and immigration fail to work together.
"If there are gaps in the system that allowed this to happen, what are we going to do to fix those?" Rempel asked, according to Reuters.
But Goodale stated that this event is not indicative of any failings in the country’s immigration and refugee screening process.
"There’s absolutely no evidence of that whatsoever. The investigation is ongoing, but that conclusion is just not supported by the facts," Goodale said in Ottawa.
The RCMP said on Sunday that Sharif was the subject of an Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) investigation linked to the promotion of extremist ideology in 2015, but he was cleared and thought to pose no threat.
The accused attacker now faces 11 charges including five for attempted murder and more could be laid.
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