News Agencies – December 8, 2010
Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. will pay $319,000 CAD in damages to a Canadian of Pakistani origin after he was denied pilot training because he had been identified as a “threat to aviation or national security” by U.S. authorities. The Quebec Human Rights Commission announced details of the recent ruling by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal in favour of Javed Latif.
Latif was denied training under Canadian licence by Bombardier in 2004 because he had been identified as a “threat to aviation or national security” by U.S. authorities. The penalty was for material, moral and punitive damages. A $50,000 assessment for punitive damages is the highest amount ever awarded by the tribunal.
The tribunal found that Latif had been discriminated against based on his ethnic and national origin and that his right to the safeguard of his dignity had been compromised.”The ruling by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal is without precedent,” commission president Gaetan Cousineau said in a release.
A police agent who was paid $4.1 million CAD to infiltrate an alleged terror group testified for the first time on the opening day of the trial for Shareef Abdelhaleem, a member of the so-called Toronto 18.
Abdelhaleem, 34, is alleged to have used his friend, undercover police agent Shaher Elsohemy, to set up the purchase of three tones of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, destined for truck bombs targeting sites in downtown Toronto.
This morning, Elsohemy, currently in witness protection, told a Brampton court that he had developed a “strong” friendship with Abdelhaleem and frequented an Islamic school in Mississauga run by the accused’s father. Their relationship was such that the two vacationed together, taking a trip to Morocco in 2005.
“A $4.1 million payoff is pretty steep…It’s unprecedented in Canada,” Abdelhaleem’s lawyer, William Naylor told reporters, adding that’s one of the problems with the case against his client. He went on to suggest that Elsohemy was more concerned with getting money than searching for the truth.
Members of the Salaheddin Islamic Centre in the east-end of Toronto have pledged $50,000 CAD in bail money for Abdullah Khadr, who has been in custody for 2 _ years. Mr. Khadr, 27, is wanted in the United States for allegedly buying weapons in Pakistan for al-Qaeda and plotting to kill Americans in Afghanistan. The Salaheddin Islamic Centre’s manager rejected suggestions that it has ties to terrorist activities that would make it unsuitable for Mr. Khadr if he’s granted bail, pending his fight to stave off extradition to the United States. The prosecution’s lawyer, Howard Piafsky, noted that Mr. Khadr’s late father, known to be close to Osama bin Laden, attended the centre. The centre’s co-founder alledgedly went to Iraq to fight the U.S.-led invasion. Mr. Khadr’s grandparents, Mohamed and Fatmah Elsamnah, have offered to put up their Toronto home, estimated to be worth $300,000 CAD, as surety.
Canada’s newest and largest mosque opened on July 5th in Calgary and was praised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as an architectural treasure which demonstrated the true and benevolent face of Islam. The mosque was built by the Ahmadiyya community, a Muslim sect persecuted in some countries because of their differing understanding of the line of prophets. Harper added that this community knows first-hand what it is to experience persecution and discrimination based on your religious beliefs. Mr. Harper and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion were among the hundreds (National Post listed 5000 present) who attended the opening, alongside the group’s global spiritual leader, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. The mosque complex is more than 4300 m2 and includes a community centre, classrooms, office space, kitchen, dining room, children’s area and a multi-purpose hall. It cost nearly $15 million CAD to build, with 8 million coming from local Calgarians. Ahmadiyya from around Canada also chipped in. Mr. Dion stated that Canada will show the world that Muslim communities can flourish in a secular state like ours.