A Jihadi in the Family

Christianne Boudreau

A new Documentary Tells Story of Arlan Group Speaker Christianne Boudreau’s experience as ‘mother of a terrorist’

One of the newest members of Arlan Group’s cast of inspiring well-being speakers will be featured in a compelling CBC documentary set to air March 24 at 9 pm.
A Jihadi in the Family captures the shocking story of Christianne Boudreau, a Calgary mother whose son Damian was killed while fighting with ISIS in Syria in 2014.

“I never saw it coming,” says Boudreau in this personal account of her experience waking up as the ‘mother of a terrorist’.

But she has vowed not to be silenced by this stigma. Unlike many parents who fear to speak publicly about what happened to their children, Boudreau’s response to this tragedy is to take on the battle to end radicalized youth recruitment in any form.

Driven to understand the destructive path her son chose, she embarks on a journey to meet others who have similarly been touched by violent extremism. Her quest takes her to her son’s imam, to counter-terrorism experts, and to a man who survived his own experience with extremists and became a crusader against their recruiters.

In Europe, where thousands of young men and women have been lured into terrorist groups, Boudreau develops strong bonds with other women who have been shattered by the disappearance of their children. One tells the story of searching for a daughter still alive in Syria, another mourns a son who, like many foreign fighters, was killed within months of arrival.

Boudreau’s counter-radicalization crusade centres around a key principle — that more connected communities are our best defence against the radicalization and
extremism that claimed the life of her son. No one is immune to the impacts of this kind of recruitment, she says, no matter how far removed from the action your workplace, kitchen, neighbourhood or child’s school may be.

While she has been featured in coverage in the Globe and Mail to the BBC, as well as being featured during U.S. President Barack Obama’s White House Summit on Extremism, today Boudreau has become known worldwide for her proactive message of hope and about building resilience. She strives to arm people around the world with information that can help wake the world up to the spread of radicalization, offering practical tips and advice for anyone, whether they know someone at risk or just want to become part of the solution.

In addition to this documentary, you can learn more about Boudreau and the threat of radicalization in her new book, which is currently in the works. Check back for publication details. She will also be addressing the 52nd Annual Convention of the Manitoba School Boards Association via teleconference on Thursday, March 17 at 3:30 pm CMT.

Produced by Gail McIntyre, and written and directed by documentary filmmaker Eileen Thalenberg, Jihadi in the Family airs on the CBC Television program First Hand Thursday, March 24 at 9 pm (9:30 NT).

Explore booking Christianne Boudreau for an event.

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