Macleans – December 4, 201212 Comments
It has been almost seven years since police rounded up the so-called “Toronto 18,” thwarting a very real terrorist plot on Canadian soil. In time, the Crown and the courts separated the ringleaders from the stooges: charges were dropped against seven of the accused Muslims, while the other 11 were convicted and punished according to their level of guilt. Of the four core members who tried to detonate simultaneous truck bombs in downtown Toronto—a “spine-chilling” plot, as one judge said—two are now serving life sentences.
The answer, says Ontario’s highest court, is an emphatic no. “To impose on the police an obligation to ensure that undercover operators infiltrating a potential terrorist camp be equipped with some sort of strategy to warn youth (who may or may not be present) of the potential error of their ways, is neither tenable nor realistic,” the court concluded. “The prospects of such a strategy subverting the investigation, and possibly endangering the safety of the operative, are limitless.”
The ruling is a resounding victory for the RCMP—and vindication for Mubin Shaikh, the controversial civilian informant who was paid $300,000 to infiltrate the inner circle. The pinnacle of Shaikh’s undercover work was a now-infamous winter “training camp” near Orillia, Ont., where a dozen participants spent two weeks marching in the snow and learning to fire a semi-automatic handgun. One of those campers was a 17-year-old who had recently converted to Islam—and who would later become the youngest of the group convicted and sentenced (to 30 months).
News Agencies – July 13, 2012
A Quebec activist who fought the stereotyping of Muslims was charged with supporting terrorism after an RCMP investigation linked her to an alleged scheme to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Mouna Diab, 26, was charged with committing a crime “for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group,” the RCMP said in a statement. She faces a possible life sentence if convicted.
The Laval woman was arrested at Montreal’s Trudeau airport last year and accused of violating an international arms embargo targeting Lebanon, but police added the far more serious terrorism charge. While Canadian police have laid dozens of charges under the anti-terrorism laws enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Ms. Diab is the first woman to face charges related to a foreign terrorist organization.
Canada Free Press – June 21, 2012
B’nai Brith Canada has called on the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and the Calgary police to monitor next weekend’s Power of Unity conference organized by the Muslim Council of Calgary, and in particular, the scheduled address by conference headliner Bilal Philips. Philips is an Islamic lecturer who has reportedly expressed anti-Semitic and homophobic views including a call for the murdering of gays. He has been banned from a number of countries due to concerns regarding radicalization of Muslim youth and allegations concerning links to terrorism.
CBC – April 18, 2012
In 2011, while Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs publicly insisted it was trying to aid a Canadian held for more than two years by the Taliban, it was privately telling the RCMP to stop investigating the crime. Beverley Giesbrecht, a former businesswoman from Vancouver, was abducted in November 2008 while working as a fixer and journalist in Pakistan after she converted to Islam and adopted the name Khadija Abdul Qahaar.
In May 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed to CBC News that it believed Giesbrecht had died in captivity sometime in 2010, but a spokesperson added that it was continuing “to pursue all appropriate channels” to determine what happened. Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request, however, show that months earlier the department not only believed Giesbrecht was dead, but had told the RCMP it didn’t need to investigate.
Foreign Affairs would not explain why it asked the RCMP to end its investigation. After this story was published, department spokeswoman Aliya Mawani issued a written statement that, “as a matter of policy, DFAIT does not, and cannot, instruct the RCMP on any operational or investigative matter,” adding that, “only the RCMP can make a decision to terminate an investigation.”
News Agencies – May 20, 2011
A high-profile CSIS and RCMP informant who was crucial to the prosecution in the “Toronto 18” terror plot is confident his name will be cleared after Canadian authorities flagged him to U.S. authorities as a potential security threat. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks link Mubin Shaikh to those convicted in the case in a list provided to U.S. authorities for security databases and watchlists.
He was one of nine people flagged who were not arrested in connection with the thwarted terror plot, which aimed to attack Parliament Hill, power grids and other targets. Despite the absence of charges, the nine were still highlighted to U.S. authorities as presenting a terror threat. “My position is it’s a mistake,” Mr. Shaikh said.
News Agencies – March 15, 2011
The RCMP have charged two Canadians with terrorism-related offences in connection to a 2009 plot to blow up packed subway cars in New York. The RCMP allege that the al-Qaeda terrorists behind the plot were trained by a University of Manitoba student who has disappeared from Canada.
Ferid Imam vanished from Winnipeg in 2007 and is now suspected of being in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan. He is now being sought on terrorist-training charges as part of a new criminal case. The case, which alleges lesser offences by a second suspect, amounts to a crucial test of the reach of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it allows police to charge suspects who are suspected of committing terrorist offences outside Canada’s borders. The new case is the first time that the Mounties have charged someone with acts taking place entirely overseas.
Police hope the case against Mr. Imam – who faces a life sentence if he is caught and convicted of being a terrorist trainer – will alert the public about what they say is the growing threat posed by radicals from the West who want to join al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
The Globe and Mail – January 30, 2011
To Cara Rain, he was a loving husband and father, one whose affection and religion helped her find the peace she’d long sought. But RCMP and U.S. intelligence officers allege her husband, Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, is a terrorist conspirator, one who helped co-ordinate attacks on American targets in Iraq. As he faced a bail hearing this week, Ms. Rain made her support for him clear. It paints a tale of two men – one a dutiful father, the other an alleged terrorist.
Mr. Sharif is a Canadian citizen and a stucco worker who lived in Edmonton with Ms. Rain, a grocery store worker, and her four children from a previous relationship. Mr. Sharif took the children in as his own, Ms. Rain said, and she took in something of his – religion – by converting to Islam.
Mr. Sharif is alleged to have used three aliases. He faces extradition to the United States and allegations of conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, providing material support for terrorists. He is alleged to have considered becoming a martyr himself, and hoping to travel to Iraq with a “mute bride with a crown,” which investigators say is code for a rifle with a viewing-scope and a silencer, and “a lot of children,” or ammunition.
The RCMP is investigating a claim that a dozen Canadians in al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan are preparing to mount terror missions in Canada. The Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online reported Friday that “well-placed” Taliban sources say a group of Canadian militants is receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in North Waziristan for terror attacks in Canada.
12 Canadian men allegedly departed for Afghanistan last February and, after nine months there, al-Qaeda dispatched them to the Darpakhel area of North Waziristan in November. The 30-year-old Canadian head of the group, they say, converted to Islam in 2007, “sports a golden beard,” and goes by the alias Abu Shahid.
Several recently convicted Canadian terrorists followed Awlaki teachings, including members of the Toronto-18 terror group convicted of planning attacks on targets in Ontario. News reports in October said three young Winnipeg men ventured abroad in 2007 after first undergoing conversion to radical Islam. They were tracked to Waziristan.
RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers arrested a 38-year-old Alberta man for his alleged role in the multinational terrorist group that carried out the bombing at Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq. Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa was taken into custody at the request of U.S. authorities.
The arrest followed a joint FBI-RCMP investigation into a “Tunisian foreign-fighter facilitation network” that sent Tunisians to Iraq through Libya to carry out suicide attacks against U.S. and coalition forces. Mr. Muhammad Isa faces a possible life sentence.
No religious group should expect special treatment when it comes to enforcement of the law, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in response to reports that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had apologized for arresting Muslims on terrorism charges during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
On Aug. 25, 2010, the RCMP and Ottawa Police arrested two Ottawa men–Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed — suspected of conspiring with others in Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit terrorism. A third man, Khurram Syed Sher, was picked up in St. Thomas.
The next day, Aug. 26, the RCMP and city police staged a special, hour-long meeting with members of Ottawa’s Muslim community with the ostensible purpose of ensuring them that their community was not regarded with undue suspicion despite the arrests. However, at least one officer was heard apologizing during the meeting for the arrests having occurred during Ramadan, which ran last year from Aug. 12 to Sept. 9.
Prominent members of the Muslim Canadian Congress applauded the Prime Minister’s remarks, saying it is about time that senior government officials emphasized the unitary nature of Canadian law, and that religious sentiment cannot be allowed to interfere with the law.
Salma Siddiqui, vice-president of the Congress. “We have one law in Canada and it applies to everybody. We need to stop all this political correctness.” “At the meeting I commented, ‘Would you apologize to other Canadians if you arrested someone on Christmas?'”