Police to hold talks with Muslim leaders


Community meeting aims to defuse tension after arrests of suspected terrorists

By Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen August 26, 2010

Prominent members of Ottawa’s Muslim community will meet with a team that specializes in defusing police-community tensions to allay fears and explain why the RCMP arrested two men suspected of planning a terrorist attack on Canada.

The time, place, and attendees of the meeting are not being revealed, but Ottawa police say their goal is “to meet with COMPAC members and other community leaders … and engage them on the matter.”

COMPAC stands for the Community and Police Action Committee, which brings together police, visible minorities and aboriginals for regular meetings, so some trust has already been built when incidents like Wednesday’s arrests strain relations.

COMPAC has critical incident teams trained to defuse any escalating concerns.

Ferruk Faraqui, a member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and a board member of the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization, said the meeting is a good idea. “That could only help allay fears and reduce unnecessary tension.”

While many Muslims would feel comfortable with government authority, others emigrating from war-torn countries may be more wary.

The news of the arrests Wednesday was particularly jarring for Ottawa’s 65,000 Muslims, as they were celebrating the 15th day of Ramadan, a period of fasting, and reflection.

“Given the history of … others caught up in overzealous activity of the authorities in the wake of 9/11, you can only wait and hope that when the details emerge, that the arrests were justified,” said Faraqui. “The police are only doing their job and we depend on them to keep us safe. We hope … that the people who need to be caught are caught and that innocent people don’t get caught up.”

Faraqui takes a longer view of the tensions around Islam and terrorism. “We live in interesting times. The times aren’t comfortable; they were when I was growing up, but they’re not anymore and that’s just reality.”

Neighbours often saw one of the men arrested walking with a woman wearing a full black niqab, with only a slit for her eyes.

“Naturally that plays into fear,” Faraqui said. “My personal belief is that covering your face is entirely unnecessary… . On the other hand, if this is something that this person believes is her right, then … it’s a very difficult terrain to negotiate, rights versus responsibilities to the greater society.”

Imam Zijad Delic, executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said all the national Muslim associations are waiting for more information. “We have to know what’s going on before we speak.

“At this point, the healthiest way to approach the issue is to listen to what the RCMP say. We trust our Canadian agencies and, if it happens that we have to raise our voices, we would raise our voices, and it would be heard quite a lot in Canada.”

Delic, who signed the Canadian Council of Imams’ declaration against terrorism, said: “If anyone knew of such activities, it is not just their social responsibility to report such a case, it is their religious responsibility.”

Azhar Ali Khan, a long-time Ottawa community activist, said in an e-mail: “Being a good Muslim is the same thing as being a good Canadian.” Khan added that “many Muslims believe that the U.S. policy in Muslim countries is exploitative and harmful; for example, its attack on Iraq. But Canada has nothing to do with these policies. It is true that Canada is engaged in the war in Afghanistan. But Canada is not in Afghanistan to exploit its people or to build an empire. It is there to help the Afghan government and people fight extremism.

“Even so, many Canadians, and not just Muslim Canadians, oppose Canada’s participation … and favour the withdrawal of Canadian troops. Whatever the views of any Canadian on the Afghan war, he or she could express his or her viewpoint openly. There can be no excuse to indulge in harmful conduct. This cannot be accepted or tolerated.”


March 2010: A U.S. court refuses to free Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana from pre-trial custody. Arrested in 2009, the Chicago businessman, who co-owned a Kanata house, pleaded not guilty to charges of providing material support to terrorists for the deadly 2008 attack in Mumbai, India and an additional indictment that he provided support in an alleged plot to assassinate the editor and cartoonist at a Danish newspaper for publishing controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad in 2005.

January 2010: Moroccan-born Said Namouh of Montreal becomes the second person in Canada to receive a life sentence on terrorism-related charges. He was sentenced to life and a minimum of 10 years behind bars for conspiracy to deliver, plant, explode or detonate an explosive or other device designed to cause death or injury in in Vienna.

November 2008: Hassan Naim Diab, a 55-year-old university professor, is arrested in Ottawa by the RCMP at the request of French authorities, who want him tried for the October 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four and injured scores of others. Diab holds dual Canadian and Lebanese citizenship.

June 2006: The Toronto 18 terrorists who plotted to bomb downtown Toronto and attack the Parliament Buildings are arrested. The key suspects are convicted or plead guilty. Charges against seven of the accused were dropped early in the process.

March 2004: Ottawa software engineer Mohammad Momin Khawaja, 29, is arrested at the Department of Foreign Affairs and in 2008 is convicted in an Ottawa court of helping a group of Islamic extremists who plotted to bomb London nightclubs and other targets.

Compiled by Liisa Tuominen

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  1. This absolutely infuriates me.

    It’s always about being the victim , I’m tired of the much abused & over used muslim victim card.

    They do not deserve any more special treatment than a group of Christians or Catholics or Buddhists. No one should be meeting with them to “allay their fears”. If they don’t feel safe here, they are welcome to leave, but enough of this pandering to their feelings. I’m sick of it.

    If there’s a backlash, so what? Deal with it, it’s overdue for your “community”. When you worship a man who had hallucinations, was a pedophile, murderer & rapist and a supposed “religion” that wants to either convert, tax or kill unbelievers what the hell do you expect in return?

    Leave the cult behind & if your fellow worshippers don’t kill you for leaving, you’re home free as in “freedom”. But just stop the incessant whining!!!!!!!

  2. When does the invisible minority get this special treatment????

    You asked to come here because it’s a better place, now that you don;t like it ….bye bye.

    Right just like the rest of us, so shut it, till the police and courts have completed their work.

    Quit the whining, it’s for the police and the courts to deal with, you get to wait for the trial like the rest of us.

    It gets really tiring to listen to these ingrates, this is the system, it works pretty well to protect us. The thugs brought attention to what they were doing and got caught, police haven’t got time to screw up arresting people for nothing.

    • Right just like the rest of us, so shut it, till the police and courts have completed their work.>>>>

      That’s the problem right there, they don’t think they are like the rest of us..To them, they are superior to us..Best of Allah’s men and all that shit..

  3. When will Canada quit importing people from Islamic countries? Oh yeah – our birth rates are low. Well, Canada’s going to be in for a big hurt in about two generations from now.

    As for their “hurt feelings” – screw off.


    Since Leftists and Liberals are in the seat of power. Its their ideological Utopia of heaven and the citizens living hell.

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