Toronto school linked to seminary California shooter attended shuts after girls try to join ISIS

Pakistani students arriving at Al-Huda Institute in Multan on Dec 8, 2015.
Pakistani students arriving at Al-Huda Institute in Multan on Dec 8, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - A Toronto-area Islamic school with links to a seminary in Pakistan where California attacker Tashfeen Malik studied shuttered its doors on Tuesday (Dec 9) after it was reported that former students had sought to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Public broadcaster CBC said four teenage girls who had taken evening and weekend seminars at the Al-Huda Elementary School in Mississauga, Ontario travelled overseas in 2014.

Three of them were intercepted by security officials in Turkey before they could reach Syria.

The eldest of the teenagers, all of Somali heritage, managed to get into the war-ravaged nation, where she still resides, said the Toronto Star, citing a sibling.

The Al-Huda Elementary School said on its website it had decided to close temporarily because the media report had put its 160 students at risk.

"Al-Huda Institute Canada would like to be clear that the law enforcement authorities have never brought forward any allegations that four girls associated with the institute travelled to join terrorist organisations," administrator Imran Haq said in a statement.

"In addition, the institute has no knowledge as to the identity of these individuals and as such, cannot confirm whether or not they were enrolled in the institution, for how long, or any other related information.

"We are and remain committed to working with the authorities on this or any other matter."

Malik, a 29-year-old Pakistani national, pledged allegiance to ISIS before she and her husband Syed Farook shot 14 people dead in California last week.

The Al-Huda women's seminary in Pakistan where she studied in 2013, and which has branches around the world, has condemned the massacre.