Mom in Winnipeg tells how her son died combating for ISIS in Syria
A Calgary mother gave a weekend workshop in Winnipeg telling the story of how her son was recruited by IS and died during the fighting in the Syrian Civil War.
Christianne Boudreau says she first found out her son Damien Clairmont was involved in the terrorist organization when Canadian intelligence knocked on her door.
“I never thought the risk would be so great,” said Boudreau. “I grew up in Canada. That doesn’t happen here.”
Clairmont converted to Islam at the age of 17, and his mother says it made positive changes in his life as a result.
But after a few years he joined a different audience and became brooding and slightly quick-tempered.
Finally, Clairmont told his family that he planned to study Arabic in Egypt.
Instead, he went to the Syrian Civil War, where he was killed.
“The news came to me through The Globe and Mail,” Boudreau said of learning of her son’s death. “They called me looking for a photo to compare it to an eulogy they got on a Twitter feed. That’s how it came out. Point empty. “
Boudreau is now touring the country with an organization called Extreme Dialogue, telling the story of her son’s radicalization and hoping to help other families avoid the same tragic fate as theirs.
“It was an eye-opener. And it was personal,” says Lubna Hussain, a volunteer with the Islamic Social Service. “So it was her own reflections, her own feelings and emotions.”
The group’s visit to Winnipeg comes just days after the RCMP arrested a Charleswood man on suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities.
Aaron Daniel Driver, 23, will appear in court on June 9th.
Members of the Winnipeg Muslim community say there is an open dialogue on how to deal with radicalization.
“I think there is awareness in the community because we are educated,” said Hussain. “I think the Muslim community has its eyes open.”
Boudreau’s eyes are also now open as she talks to people about the signs to watch out for in order to prevent loved ones from following the same path as her son.
“He was misguided,” said Boudreau, “and that’s why I tried to help in such a way that I hope he would be proud to see me now.”