A majority in the House of Commons says the Canadian government must apologize for the torture ordeals of three Muslim-Canadian men detained in Middle East jails and immediately overhaul the country’s national security review regime. The New Democratic Party brought a motion to have the full Commons endorse a June parliamentary committee report that urged the government to implement recommendations from two earlier judicial inquiries.
The committee had examined the government responses to inquires by Justice Dennis O’Connor into the Maher Arar scandal, and Justice Frank Iacobucci into the detentions abroad of three other men who were tortured in Syrian or Egyptian jails.
The Conservative government has already apologized to Maher Arar, and awarded him $10.5 million in compensation after O’Connor found he was deported to torture in Syria largely because of faulty Canadian intelligence. While there were similar findings of inflammatory labelling by Iacobucci in the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, the government has denied liability in civil lawsuits filed by the men.
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.
Supporters of Abousfian Abdelrazik — a Canadian citizen blacklisted as a terrorist and stranded in Sudan — accused the federal Conservative government of racism for refusing to issue him an emergency passport to fly home to Montreal.
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon considers Abdelrazik a national security threat. The refusal represents a reversal of the government’s written promise to issue Abdelrazik an emergency passport if he had a paid-for ticket home.
Abdelrazik remains stranded in the lobby of the Canadian embassy in Khartoum, where he has lived for nearly 11 months. Abdelrazik was added to the list in 2006 by the Bush administration. He has been cleared of any terrorist or criminal involvement by both the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service).
The news has also created controversy in the House of Commons. “The government is now in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Liberal MP Irwin Cotler.
Muslims, as well as many Christians, MPs, doctors and parents, are very concerned about the new EMBRYO BILL, which will shortly be voted on in the House of Commons. The bill, called The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, will if enacted allow for many immoral, inhumane and undesirable procedures and outcomes.
This month, The Muslim News successfully launched the first ever series of dialogues between British political leaders and British Muslims. The first meeting, organized jointly with Sadiq Khan, MP, Minister in HM Government Whips Department, was held in the House of Commons on October 18. Ahmed J Versi
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has defended the right of Muslim women to wear veils which cover their faces. It comes after House of Commons leader Jack Straw sparked a row by saying he asked Muslim women to take off their veils at his constituency surgery. Mr Prescott told the BBC he would not ask a woman to remove her veil, adding: “If a woman wants to wear a veil, why shouldn’t she? It’s her choice.”
Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) — Measures proposed by U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to crack down on Muslim extremists are ”hasty” and ”inappropriate” and may end up encouraging terrorism, leaders in Parliament and the Muslim community said. Blair failed to consult adequately before announcing plans on Aug. 5 to tackle extremism by deporting clerics, closing down mosques and banning parties such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, said Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, and John Denham, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee in Parliament. ”I don’t think enough thought and consideration has been given in terms of its repercussion and impact it has on the community,” Sacranie said in a telephone interview. ”Measures need to be taken, that’s understood; but the way they’re coming out at the moment is not really very helpful.” Blair has been under pressure to act against domestic Muslim extremists after the police reported that the suspects of the July 7 and July 21 bomb attacks in London, which killed 56 people including four bombers, were British residents. U.K. policies have let in extremist clerics who praise acts of terrorism, Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi ambassador to London and former intelligence chief, said. The prime minister postponed his vacation plans by a day to announce the measures. It was followed by reports in the Times and other newspapers that the government was considering the introduction of secret courts for pre-trials of terrorism suspects as well as charging people under a treason law that hasn’t been used since World War II. Consensus After initially consulting with opposition leaders and Muslims about the government’s reaction to the bomb attacks, Blair failed to seek further consensus opinion, said Denham, former Home Affairs junior minister and currently chairman of the House of Commons Committee on Home Affairs. ”The last few days really give this sense that the government have got into a real state of nerves about the whole thing,” Denham told the British Broadcasting Corp. PM program. ”I think they’ve got to get a grip on it very, very quickly, stop floating half-baked ideas and get back to proper cross-party consensus on the serious measures that need to be taken.” Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, in charge of government while Blair is on vacation, said critics will have a chance to debate his proposals as they considered by Parliament. ”He’s told people to get on with it and see how we can flesh out these proposals,” Prescott said at a press conference in London. ”In the meantime, there’s bound to be speculation.”