A young Canadian woman abruptly left her family to join the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria after purportedly being radicalized while studying religion online, AFP reported Wednesday.
The 23-year-old's sister told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that the woman had taken an online course to study the Koran, but reportedly learned how to get to the ISIS-controlled city of Raqa in Syria to join the extremist group.
One day in mid-2014 she just left, the sister said.
Canada's spy agency warned the family that their daughter had been "interacting with people they thought were dangerous and were influencing her in a negative way," the sister was quoted as having said.
But the warning, she added, was "very vague" and not heeded in time.
The report comes as the Canadian government is set to grant sweeping powers to its spy agency to thwart terror plots and disrupt suspected extremists' travel plans, such as preventing them from boarding a plane to join a banned group abroad.
Canada is one of several Western countries that have seen its citizens go abroad to fight alongside jihadist groups such as ISIS.
A report released several months ago by the Canadian Ministry of Public Safety detailed the troubling phenomenon of Canadians traveling to the Middle East to join in jihad – and later return to potentially conduct attacks.
"As of early 2014, the Government was aware of more than 130 individuals with Canadian connections who were abroad and who were suspected of terrorism-related activities," noted the report.
That threat was recently illustrated as two brothers from Calgary were identified as members of ISIS in Syria. The two are recent converts to Islam.
In January it was reported that five Canadians had died fighting alongside ISIS terrorists in Syria, including Ottawa-born John Maguire, who converted to Islam and had called for lone wolf attacks in Canada.