No religious group should expect special treatment when it comes to enforcement of the law, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in response to reports that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had apologized for arresting Muslims on terrorism charges during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
On Aug. 25, 2010, the RCMP and Ottawa Police arrested two Ottawa men–Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed — suspected of conspiring with others in Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit terrorism. A third man, Khurram Syed Sher, was picked up in St. Thomas.
The next day, Aug. 26, the RCMP and city police staged a special, hour-long meeting with members of Ottawa’s Muslim community with the ostensible purpose of ensuring them that their community was not regarded with undue suspicion despite the arrests. However, at least one officer was heard apologizing during the meeting for the arrests having occurred during Ramadan, which ran last year from Aug. 12 to Sept. 9.
Prominent members of the Muslim Canadian Congress applauded the Prime Minister’s remarks, saying it is about time that senior government officials emphasized the unitary nature of Canadian law, and that religious sentiment cannot be allowed to interfere with the law.
Salma Siddiqui, vice-president of the Congress. “We have one law in Canada and it applies to everybody. We need to stop all this political correctness.” “At the meeting I commented, ‘Would you apologize to other Canadians if you arrested someone on Christmas?'”