Canadian may have voiced ISIS recording on Paris attacks: Experts

French soldiers cross the Champs Elysees avenue passing the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.
French soldiers cross the Champs Elysees avenue passing the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. AP Photo/Peter Dejong

An English-language audio recording allegedly produced by Islamic State militants taking responsibility for and celebrating the Paris attacks sounds like it’s voiced by a Canadian, some experts say.

The recording, released in the wake of Friday’s deadly coordinated attacks that left 129 people dead, was issued in Arabic, French and English. The English version, which runs almost six minutes, features a man’s voice and sounds slickly produced — typical of the ISIS propaganda machine.

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The reader’s pronunciation of several words including “out,” “houses,” “vice,” “sniper” and “fighters” “all sound very Canadian,” Charles Boberg, associate professor in McGill University’s linguistics department, wrote in an email.

READ MORE: Should Canada stop bringing in Syrian refugees because of the Paris attacks? Experts say no.

“[The speech displays] … many features that clearly identify the speaker as a bilingual Arabic-English speaker with native fluency in North American English,” he said.

“In my view, the speaker is very likely someone who acquired his knowledge of English while growing up in Canada, specifically, somewhere west of Quebec.”

Christian Leuprecht, security expert and professor of political science at the Royal Military College, says the recording is clearly aimed at an English audience, particularly “young, disaffected men, trying to encourage them either to join ISIS or to move to action locally.”

He said a “typical” Canadians accent would lend itself to this because it isn’t as commonly associated with a single place.

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“What better voice to articulate that propaganda?”

READ MORE: How it happened: a timeline of the Paris massacre

Canadian authorities will probably examine every inch of the recording’s origins for any clues, Leuprecht said.

“You can bet that our signals intelligence service is working on every megabit that is embedded in that recording to see whether it left any trace as to any indication as to where the recording might have been made,” he said.

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said in a statement after the Paris attacks that officials are working vigilantly in monitoring any threats to the security and safety of Canadians, while extending assistance to France.

“This voice might be Canadian and if it is, it’s all the more a big wakeup for us in Canada that we are not immune to people who are vulnerable to this ideology,” said Leuprecht.

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