*** 7 of the Toronto 18 had their charges STAYED not dropped, not acquited, not found innocent. Fact is, they did a bit of time in jail, learned their lesson (we hope) and were let go. And YES, Muslims have roundly condemned terrorism - again and again - not to mention it was 2 Muslim agents that busted the T18 group up. MS ***
The “Toronto 18” conspiracy may have been Canada’s first major homegrown terror threat after 9/11, but if police are to be believed it is far from being the last.
While some worry about being targeted by “foreign” terrorists linked to Al Qaeda or other extremist groups, we can hardly afford to be complacent about perils close at hand. Three more Canadians now stand accused of plotting bombings in Ottawa. And the fact that one of them appears, bizarrely, to have been involved in a goofy song-and-dance act on Canadian Idol hardly detracts from the gravity of the charges.
The RCMP reported yesterday that police had been watching the trio’s network for a year and swooped down on them Wednesday. That prevented them from sending money to conspirators abroad for weapons to use against Canadian troops and allies in Afghanistan. It also prevented them from leaving the country, and from building bombs and staging attacks on the nation’s capital. Rightly, police put public safety first by acting when they did.
Charged with conspiracy to facilitate terrorism and other offences are Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, 30, Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, and Khurram Syed Sher, 28. All are Canadian citizens. Police say they conspired with other Canadians who are currently abroad in a plot that spanned Canada, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Dubai. Police found 50 electronic circuit boards designed to detonate Afghan-style improvised explosive device (IED) bombs, plus schematics, videos, books and other material on building bombs. Alizadeh, they said, is a member of a terror group with links to the Afghan conflict.
However these charges play out in court (and let’s bear in mind that of the Toronto 18, only 11 were convicted), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and other forces deserve credit for working together effectively. Lessons seem to have been learned from past botched investigations, including the Air India probe.
This case has left prominent community figures such as Salma Siddiqui of the Muslim Canadian Congress voicing concern that the perverse “doctrine of jihad” still appeals to some. But it’s a fact, too, that spiritual leaders of the country’s 650,000 Muslims have denounced jihadist violence as incompatible with Islamic values.
Muslim clerics in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and other centres rang in the New Year with a forceful fatwa, or religious ruling, denouncing attacks on Canada and the United States as an assault on the freedom of the millions of Muslims who have made their homes here. The fatwa reminded the faithful that they are morally obliged to condemn and expose those who plot violence against this tolerance.
Raised Muslim voices are a vital element in thwarting jihadist terror, along with good policing and vigilant courts.