How Daesh ag got here

Flag sellers o er the­o­ries af­ter one found in lo­cal ve­hi­cle

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Edmonton -

A few years ago, Arif Dewji, owner of House of Flags and Ban­ners in Co­quit­lam, B.C., got an odd re­quest.

A man who seemed to be based in New York sent over the de­sign of a flag he wanted printed.

At first Dewji did not know the mean­ing of the white logo set against a black back­drop, but it seemed fishy. Af­ter some on­line dig­ging, he re­al­ized it was the flag used by fol­low­ers of the Is­lamic State ter­ror group.

“I didn’t touch it with a dirty shirt,’’ he said.

Ed­mon­ton po­lice have said an Is­lamic State flag was found last week­end in a ve­hi­cle in­volved in what they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing as a ter­ror­ist at­tack. Ab­du­lahi Hasan Sharif, a 30-year-old So­mali refugee, is ac­cused of hit­ting a po­lice of­fi­cer with a speed­ing car, stab­bing him and then mow­ing down pedes­tri­ans with a cube van. He faces 11 charges, in­clud­ing five counts of at­tempted mur­der. Sharif does not cur­rently face any ter­ror­ism charges.

Dewji said he doubts any­one in Canada would have been able to get his hands on a pro­fes­sion­ally made flag lo­cally, but it’s pos­si­ble it came from China. Images of the flag come up in search re­sults on the Chi­nese e-com­merce site Alibaba, but not on eBay or Ama­zon.

Phyl­lis Bright, owner of The Flag Shop in Ed­mon­ton, said she had a sim­i­lar in­quiry this sum­mer.

A man called ask­ing for an Is­lamic State flag to be printed and, when she re­fused, he asked for a plain black one. Pre­sum­ably he in­tended to sten­cil on the logo in white paint.

At first she didn’t think much of it. Bright said she is some­times sheep­ishly asked for Con­fed­er­ate flags, seen as a sym­bol of Amer­ica’s his­tory of slav­ery, and she de­clines.

“The more I thought about it, the more fear­ful I be­came,’’ Bright re­called.

The Daesh (a.k.a. Is­lamic State) lag

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