Omar Khadr’s Emphasis on Fundamentalism Garners Popularity at Guantanamo

The National Post – October 27, 2010

In conversation with his interrogators, Omar Khadr comes off as smart, charming and co-operative. But he speaks of his crimes in Afghanistan in a “cold and callous” manner, and rejoices at having killed a U.S. soldier. Within the confines of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, where eight years of detention have only deepened his devotion to the radical brand of Islam espoused by al-Qaeda, he is seen as a well-respected leader, one who has risen to “rock-star” status. If released from custody into Canada, his country of birth and chosen destination, some had said he should be considered a “highly dangerous” offender who shows no signs of renouncing his radical beliefs and still poses a threat to society. This was the unsettling picture painted of Omar Khadr by witnesses called by the prosecution at sentencing hearings before the military war-crimes tribunal at Guantanamo Bay. Khadr’s defenders have described him as a victim indoctrinated into radical Islamic beliefs as a child and abused by his U.S. captors at Guantanamo Bay.
Under a deal with the Pentagon, Khadr this week pleaded guilty to all five war-crimes charges he faced, including murder and providing material support for terrorism.