News Agencies –August 28, 2010
The Islamic Community Centre of Brossard, Quebec is a modest presence on a working class street, opposite a tire shop. Members are responding to the recent anti-terror arrests in Ottawa. Two of the three men charged in an alleged Ottawa-based terror plot worshipped here.
Both Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, an Ottawa resident, and Dr. Khurram Syed Sher, 28, who had recently moved to London, Ont., were “devout” Muslims who attended the Brossard mosque and were active in its activities. Faisal Shahabuddin, a member of the mosque’s board of directors, emphasized that neither ultraconservative nor extremist ideas were promulgated at the mosque. Nor had he ever heard anyone at the mosque espouse personal views on armed struggle, he said. Like hundreds of young Muslim men in these parts, they were both active in the local Muslim ball hockey league and tournament.
News Agencies – August 26, 2010
Canadian Muslim leaders were variously stunned, outraged and wary at news from Ottawa that the RCMP had broken up an alleged terrorism cell with suspected links to al-Qaeda. Few details were released about the people rounded up in the bust, but they are suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Canada and authorities anticipate more arrests.
“It’s sad to hear such news. It’s disturbing,” said Imam Habeeb Alli, secretary of the Canadian Council of Imams. The Muslim Canadian Congress expressed “shock” at the developments and commended RCMP for the operation.
The Ottawa case is considered the most significant counterterrorism operation in Canada since the 2006 Toronto 18 arrests. The ringleader in the Ottawa case allegedly attended training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Similarly, in the Toronto 18 case, ringleader Fahim Ahmad was linked with a network of extremists stretching from Canada and the United States to Pakistan and the Balkans.
One of Ottawa’s leading imams, Imam Khaled Abdul-Hamid Syed, has issued a fatwa against credit cards, even if they are paid off every month.
“I conclude that it contains usury … which is forbidden in Islam, so it should not be used,” Imam Syed said in a mass email to members of the city’s main mosque. There are two schools of thought about credit cards among Islamic scholars. Some argue they are permissible as long as no interest is accrued, meaning bills must always be paid in full.
In response to a member of the mosque who asked whether she should destroy a card she keeps for emergency purposes, Imam Syed replied in the mass email that she should rely instead on a prepaid credit card that can be loaded with set amounts. Cardholders can only spend what is on the card, and no interest is incurred.
This file offers a detailed PDF map of all of Canada’s national capital’s Islamic centres.
The Ottawa Citizen profiles Dr. Zijad Delic, who immigrated to Canada in 1995 from Bosnia and received his PhD from Simon Fraser University ten years later. Delic is currently an imam at British Columbia’s largest Sunni Mosque as well as an administrator at the B.C. Muslim school. He is coordinating “Islamic History Month Canada,” proclaimed by the Canadian federal government in the month of October.
The sub-headline of a recent Ottawa Citizen feature report about Muslims in the capital city claimed: ‘Surrounded by suspicion and ambivalence, Ottawa Muslims wonder, When will we belong? And on whose terms?’The author suggests that all 30 or so of the Muslims who were interviewed asked some variation of the question “When will we belong?” — the premise being that they don’t belong yet. Canadian Muslim Tarek Fatah responds in the Globe and Mail highlighting the number of Muslim parliamentary representatives in the Ottawa region. Fatah concludes that, “I have been to Ottawa numerous times and have close interaction with Muslim Canadians. Never once have I heard them say that they felt victimized.”
Sheema Khan suggests in this opinion piece that there is a growing separation between leadership and those who attend mosques in the West. She claims that this disconnect is being played out in Ottawa, Ontario where the city’s largest mosque has been embroiled in controversy as it searches for a permanent imam. The mosque’s directors initially sought an imam familiar with Western culture. Instead, they chose one from Cairo’s al-Azhar University, paid for by the Egyptian government. As a result, many mosque members revolted. Khan praises the community members who want their voices heard and more accountability from directors as a healthy development.
Ensumata Abdoulghani, mother of three, was a passenger on a Yemenia Airbus that crashed into the Indian Ocean. The wife of Muslim teacher Youssouf Mahamoud, left Ottawa just over a week ago to visit her ailing mother in Comoros, her family said. The family is extremely active in the Ottawa Muslim Community. Mahamoud is a well-known teacher at Ecole Ibn Batouta, a French-language Islamic school, and also organizes summer camps and youth-oriented activities.
The Canada Border Services Agency told the Canadian Federal Court that a terror suspect’s Ottawa house was raided last month to see if he was complying with bail conditions. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says Mr. Harkat, a refugee from Algeria, is an Islamic extremist and member of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network.
Sixteen border service and police officers, accompanied by three sniffer dogs, spent six hours last month searching the house from top to bottom in the surprise raid. Mr. Harkat’s lawyers consider the raid illegal and abusive, and the Federal Court is looking at whether the operation strayed outside the law. Court proceedings will take place in the next few months.
Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian citizen, poses so grave a threat to Canada that he can’t come back, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon recently announced, abruptly reversing the government’s written promise of an emergency one-way travel document less than two hours before his flight home was to depart from Khartoum.
Abdelrazik was to reach Canada after more than six years of imprisonment and forced exile in Sudan, on a ticket purchased by hundreds of supporters who defied the government’s threat to charge anyone with helping him because he was put on a United Nations terrorist blacklist by the Bush administration.
Instead, two hours before his flight was to depart, government lawyers faxed a one-sentence letter to his lawyers in Ottawa, saying he had been deemed a national security risk and refused travel documents. Abdelrazik responded, “The Harper government says I am an Islamic extremist. This is a lie. I am a Muslim and I pray to my God but this does not make me a terrorist or a criminal.”