Immigration A National Security Issue

Immigration a national security issue
By Rory Leishman
The London (Ontario) Free Press

The arrests last week of 24 British-born Muslims implicated in an alleged terrorist plot to blow up airliners flying from Britain to the United States has underlined once again the perils posed by home-grown Muslim terrorists.

Sohail Raza, national security director of the Muslim Canadian Congress, is alive to the danger. As reported in The Free Press on Saturday, Raza warns that some of Canada's mosques are breeding grounds for homegrown terrorists. He said: “It's a tiny percentage of Muslims, but the message is being broadcast widely. It's very tragic that a minority of so-called Muslims can hold the whole community hostage.”

In contrast, Aly Hindi, an imam who holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Western Ontario and presides over the Salheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, maintains: “Nobody in any mosque in Canada encourages terrorism.”

However, coming from Hindi, such a declaration is hard to credit, inasmuch as he is a self-professed friend of the notorious Khadr family.

Ahmed Said Khadr, the family patriarch, was killed in a shootout with Pakistani soldiers near the Afghanistan border in 2003. All four of his Canadian-born sons are believed to have undergone training in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. And one of those sons, Omar Khadr, is in detention in Guantanamo Bay, charged with the murder of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

Like Raza, Tarek Fatah contends there are extremists among Muslim leaders in Canada. Indeed, on Aug. 3, Fatah announced he had resigned as the communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress because he fears for his life and the safety of his family.

While Fatah claims to have received many death threats, he was particularly upset by an article published on June 30 in which Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, denounced him as one of four people who are “behind today's wave of anti-Islam vitriol” in Canada. (For the record, the other three listed by Elmasry were Globe columnist Margaret Wente; David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service; and “Rory Leishman who writes for The London Free Press.”)

Elmasry charged Fatah “is well known in Canada for smearing Islam and bashing Muslims.” In response, Fatah contends this statement is akin to the issuance of a fatwa pronouncing blasphemy — a crime punishable by death under Muslim shariah law.

The Muslim Canadian Congress is clearly a fringe group on the left among Canadian Muslims. It has renounced shariah law and endorsed same-sex marriage, but it hardly qualifies as a voice of Muslim moderation in foreign policy. It recently denounced Israel for “acting like an unleashed pit bull set loose among the innocent children of Lebanon.”

Elmasry is no less vitriolic. In an article published in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record on July 25, he wrote: “The merciless killing of innocent Lebanese civilians (including women, children, the elderly and the disabled) and the savage destruction of Leb-anon's infrastructure are testimony to Israel's criminal malevolence.”

With supposedly moderate Muslim leaders resorting to such inflammatory rhetoric, is it any wonder we have a problem with homegrown Muslim terrorists in Canada?

As in Canada, so in Britain, there is profound concern about the degree of alienation and disaffection within the country's Muslim population. In a speech on national security last week, British Home Secretary John Reid said mass migration can bring benefits, but warned it “can also carry insecurity into the heart of our communities.” He added: “We have to get away from the notion that anyone who wants to talk about immigration is somehow a racist.”

Michael Portillo, a Conservative and former British defence minister, concurs. In the Times of London on Sunday, he wrote that Britain had imported terrorism unwittingly “by pursuing liberal policies on immigration (and) extending asylum to those who faced 'persecution' without much reflection on why they found themselves in that position.”

Are any Canadian MPs likewise concerned about the urgent need for immigration and refugee reform? If so, will they please also stand up and speak out on these vital issues of national security?

Write Rory at The London Free Press, P.O. Box 2280, London, Ont. N6A 4G1 or fax 519-667-4528 or E-mail