News Agencies – January 5, 2012
A second attack in three days on a local mosque is prompting renewed calls for a hate-crime investigation from a Canadian Muslim organization. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the move after the mosque was found spray painted with hate messages earlier this week. The attack follows the smashing of windows at the mosque and an attempt to torch two cars in its parking lot.
The organization says it is not the first time the mosque has been the target of vandals and it cites similar attacks on mosques in Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton, Waterloo and Vancouver. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also condemned the attacks.
News Agencies – September 7, 2011
Stephen Harper is using the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for political gain, the opposition says. To the NDP (New Democratic Party), the Prime Minister is sowing division on the eve of the 10th anniversary. And to the Liberals, Mr. Harper is trying to look tough by musing about changing the anti-terrorism laws.
The Prime Minister also vowed to bring back two controversial clauses in the Antiterrorism Act, parts of which expired in 2007. One clause allowed police to arrest suspects without a warrant and hold them for three days without charges if they believed a terrorist act had been committed; the other clause allowed a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret under penalty of jail if the witness refused. The act was passed in 2001 in reaction to the terrorist strikes on New York and Washington, but the controversial clauses expired in 2007.
The Toronto Star – September 8, 2010
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to his Christian faith to “unequivocally condemn” a Florida church that plans to burn 200 copies of the Qur’an. “I don’t speak very often about my own religion but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that’s what we want to see in this world,” he said.
Harper was adding his voice to the global outcry against a Florida preacher who plans to burn copies of the Qur’an in a bonfire Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Rev. Terry Jones has since rescinded his protest. Defence Minister Peter MacKay added, “This initiative is insulting to Muslims and Canadians of all faiths who understand that freedom of thought and freedom of religion are fundamental to our way of living.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan, making the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslim followers worldwide only the fifth person to be so honored. Aga Khan lives in France.
The Prime Minister and the Aga Khan met for a foundation ceremony for a cultural centre, museum and park to built on the site by 2013. The Aga Khan expressed his hope that the cultural edifice, particularly the collection of artifacts from Islamic history, would serve as a beacon for his sect’s moderate take on Islam and its “search for knowledge and beauty.” Ismaili Muslim Canadians include Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Shah Kari al-Hussayni – the 49th Aga Khan – will receive the rare award of honorary Canadian citizenship to recognize his efforts in working toward that goal. He founded the Aga Khan Development Network, an organization that has brought better health care, education and urban and rural development to impoverished communities in Asia and Africa. Khan joins an elite group of four others who have also been given honorary citizenship. “[He is] a beacon of humanitarianism, of pluralism and of tolerance throughout the entire world,” Mr. Harper told the House of Commons.
In 2005, Khan was named an honorary companion to the Order of Canada. He was also given an honorary doctor of law degree by the University of Alberta.
According to police wiretaps played in court near Toronto on Wednesday, members of an alleged Canadian terrorist cell believed a then-teenager would be the best candidate to behead the Canadian Prime Minister because of his wood-chopping skills. On the same tape, the young man and one of his co-accused discuss the global fight to get rid of the oppressors, even if on Western soil. You harm one Muslim and the whole Muslim [nation] has to defend that person, he said. The now twenty year-old is one of 18 suspects arrested in 2006 as part of an alleged terrorist scenario, which included taking hostages from the parliament in Ottawa, setting off bombs in Toronto and Ottawa and beheading Prime Minister Stephen Harper if demands for the release of prisoners in Afghanistan were not met. The conversations were taped by a police informant during a trip to northern Ontario in February 2006. The strength of the case has been called into question in recent months as the prosecution has chosen not to proceed with charges against 7 of the 18 accused.
Increasing pressure from human-rights groups and members of parliament are calling Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to repatriate Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian labeled as an al-Qaeda threat. Abdelrazik’s situation has improved somewhat as he is now sheltered in a temporary safe haven in the Canadian embassy in Khartoum. He claims to have been beaten and abused during his incarceration, and denies any connection to al-Qaeda or having ever been to Afghanistan. Abdelrazik has not seen his children for nearly five years; he is also on a UN no-fly list.