WHAT THAT FUNDAMENTAL ISLAMIST LOOK? CAN’T IMAGINE HOW ANYONE WOULD MAKE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO…ACCORDING TO PESHDARY’S FRIEND, HE’S REALLY JUST A SWEET GUY….HE’S POSITIVE HE’D NEVER MURDER AN INFIDEL…RRRRRRIGHT…
Terror suspect ‘would never harm anybody’
Only 20, Peshdary accomplished much, say friend, ex-boss
At 20 years old, Awso Peshdary’s passion for Islam had already made him a respected member of Ottawa’s Muslim community, a family friend said.
Matin Faris, 18, grew up with Peshdary near Walkley and Russell roads. They went to Hawthorne Public School together and now, years later, Faris said their two families still talk “almost every day, every chance we get.”
He said Peshdary “is really passionate about his religion,” but that he would never hurt or threaten anyone. “He’s … like a preacher, he comes around and talks about the goods, the bads about his religion, things you should know, things you should follow and, if you don’t follow Islam, what you should follow in your own religion,” Faris said.
Peshdary is facing two Ottawa police charges of domestic assault and two of uttering threats stemming from an incident in April.
Those charges were laid after Peshdary was released without charge by RCMP, following his arrest Friday morning and subsequent six hours of questioning related to Project Samossa.
Peshdary was two years ahead of Faris, who remembers that Peshdary was popular, athletic and smart. “He was actually an overachiever when we were growing up,” Faris said. “He had the highest marks, he was captain of every team, he was doing really well.”
Faris said Peshdary hung out with everyone — one day he dressed like a gangster, and the next, like a preppy youngster. “He would jump from group to group, but he was never a violent guy. He would never attack, threaten, or harm anybody.”
Faris also said Peshdary was an incredible athlete, playing soccer and basketball.
He said Peshdary’s family was shocked by his arrest, but that “they’re doing well.”
“He also grew up really fast — he moved out, he got married he has a kid — so they were just overwhelmed hearing this. … I remember his mom was kind of in tears when we saw her because of all the (news) about her son being a suspected terrorist.
“Not too long ago, he told me about his daughter. She was born premature … a month early. I think she’s three months (old) now,” he said.
One of Peshdary’s sisters, Renas Peshdary, said via Facebook that the family aren’t allowed to speak to the press. “Yes his story is important and needs to be heard, but not (until) he is out,” she wrote.
Two years ago, a profile for an Awso Peshdary of Ottawa, then 18, was set up on Muslima.com, a Muslim matrimonial website. The information written then said Awso was 18 and in his final year of high school, after which he hoped to attend university to become a teacher.
“I love playing sports … my favourites are basketball and soccer, I’m very easy going, I’m just looking at what the world has to offer,” the profile reads. “I am very stuck to my deen (Islam).” The profile lists his nationality as Iraqi and his religion as Sunni Muslim.
“I am looking for a special lady who first of all is a dedicated Muslim, second who looks very beautiful, (don’t) mean to be rude but a virgin. A person I can never stop talking to, one who will raise my children according to Islam, and who will be my companion to the afterlife inshallah.”
(Inshallah is an anglicized spelling of an Arabic term expressing hope than an event, usually preceding the word, will occur in the future.)
Mohammad Dourou owns Muslim Link, an Ottawa community newspaper Peshdary worked at this summer. Dourou said Peshdary worked in sales, and that Dourou had to let him go because he couldn’t afford to keep him.
“He did his job properly. He was very well-spoken, well-mannered … he never showed any sign of anything that could be related to this. I am very shocked.”
He said Peshdary’s wife gave birth during the first few weeks of his work at the paper. “He was in hospital for a week with her. It was a week that he didn’t work. Then he felt bad, because I was paying him, and he came back.”
Peshdary’s name also appears online in connection with a monthly Montreal-based lecture series for Muslim youth called The Resurrection. The series is advertised on MontrealMuslims.ca, an online Islamic community.
A few days after London, Ont., resident Khurram Sher and Ottawa resident Misbahuddin Ahmed were arrested and charged in connection with Project Samossa, an administrator on the same website posted a message asking its members not to speak to the media about Sher and Ahmed.
An Awso Peshdary was also listed on the Muslim Youth of Ottawa forum as hosting a March 2009 Jumuah (a congregational prayer held on Fridays) at Colonel By Secondary School. According to a posted review, Peshdary spoke about paradise.
A member named “Awso” is registered as having joined the Muslim Youth of Ottawa forums in February this year, but apparently has no posts. There is also a member named “misbahuddin” who registered in 2008, but has no posts.
Faris said it’s possible Peshdary knows Sher or Ahmed through their religion.
“I would think he knows them, but through, most likely, the mosque,” Faris said. “Because the mosque is a giant family, everybody there knows each other. I would say that’s the only link.
“Racism around here still does exist, and I think it’s because of his look that he’s being suspected as a terrorist.”
Peshdary is set to appear in court today.