Canada can now strip jihadists of their passports

Reuters / Stringer
A law enabling authorities to revoke citizenship of those who go overseas for jihad came into force in Canada on Friday.

A revised version of Canadian immigration law lets the government strip citizenship from those convicted of terrorism, treason, spying or taking up arms against Canadian soldiers, AFP reports.

READ MORE: Canadian ISIS member calls for attacks against his country

The new law targets Canadian citizens who opt to join the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists in Syria and Iraq. However, the revised law affects only those with dual citizenship.

Canadian lawmakers are concerned with the tendency of more and more Canadians joining IS, and that later they could return with highly radicalized views and battlefield experience.

So far in 2015, no less than a dozen young Canadians “in their teens or twenties” have attempted to head to the Middle East.

Over 100 Canadian citizens have already joined the Islamic State group, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported.

Islamist extremists from Canada might eventually face their own compatriots in battle, as Canada is a member of the US-led anti-IS coalition, which has been bombing IS positions in both Iraq and Syria for the last six months.

READ MORE: Canada carries out its first airstrikes against Islamic State

Canada isn’t the only country tightening laws on jihadist-opt-ins.

Australia is pushing ahead with plans to withdraw citizenship of Australian-born children of immigrants who join the so-called Islamic State, immigration minister Peter Dutton said last week.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday: "If criminals come within the reach of our law, whether they’re male or female, they will face the full severity of our law.”

PM Abbott made his statement following a scandal involving an Australian citizen who was photographed holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers.

The Australian terror threat level remains high after several attacks by radicalized Muslims. Australian police have undertaken a series of high-profile raids in major cities. National law enforcement is well aware of homegrown militants, who may return from fighting in the Middle East.

In March this year, the British government proposed a new anti-extremist strategy that will ban thousands of Britons from traveling to conflict zones, target Sharia courts, and make it harder to obtain citizenship. The reforms come alongside news that 320 IS fighters have already returned to the UK.

READ MORE: No travel, no Sharia, no citizenship: UK Home Office unveils tough anti-Islamist strategy

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key rejected Australia’s hard line this week against Kiwi jihadists. Key’s statement was made regarding a woman with dual New Zealand-Australian citizenship, reportedly negotiating a return from Syria to her hometown of Sydney, in return for revealing intel about IS terrorist networks.

"Obviously that's not our preference, but we can't stop what Australia chooses to do. We can only reflect on whether we believe it’s appropriate to leave a New Zealand citizen in a stateless position, and I think the view we've taken is we don't support that," the prime minister said, as cited by the New Zealand Herald.