Partner of alleged Canadian terrorist grapples with competing realities

The Globe and Mail – February 7, 2012

Sayfildin (Sayf) Tahir Sharif, 39, is the contractor who Ms. Rain, a first nations woman, quickly fell in love with after they met in the summer of 2009. She converted to Islam to be with the man, an Iraqi Kurd who was granted Canadian citizenship in 2005. He became a father figure to her four children.

The picket-fence image is at odds with the portrait of Faruq Khalil Muhammad ‘Isa, a man the U.S. Department of Justice alleges is a terrorist. The Justice Department alleges that a few months before meeting Ms. Rain, Mr. Sharif helped co-ordinate a suicide bombing attack in Iraq that killed five American soldiers; that he pledged his support for a war on America “1,000,000 per cent;” that he sent terrorists money.

Mr. Sharif has sat in an Edmonton jail since his arrest a year ago as the United States attempts to have him extradited to face seven terrorism-related charges in New York state. On Jan. 30, his extradition hearing was delayed until May. If he’s indeed sent south, an overwhelming likelihood in such cases, he’ll spend his life in prison if found guilty – or, potentially, without a trial.Canada doesn’t extradite people if they’ll face the death penalty. Indefinite detention, however, is new ground.