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Mounties Can’t Find “Common Denominator”

Some unintentional PC hilarity from the Toronto Star:

Women believed to be family members of some of the men arrested on suspicion of terrorism leave the Brampton courthouse yesterday.

The ties that bind 17 suspects?

‘They represent the broad strata of our community,’ the RCMP says.

Jun. 4, 2006. 07:15 AM

SURYA BHATTACHARYA, NASREEN GULAMHUSEIN AND HEBA ALY
STAFF REPORTERS

In investigators’ offices, an intricate graph plotting the links between the 17 men and teens charged with being members of a homegrown terrorist cell covers at least one wall. And still, says a source, it is difficult to find a common denominator.

Some of the students, who cannot be named because they are not yet 18 and their identities are protected by Canadian law, attended the same high school.

The suspects are mainly teens and men in their young 20s, with the exception of 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul Jamal, a bus driver and recognized figure at a Mississauga Islamic centre .

Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, a 21-year-old health sciences graduate from McMaster University, was born in Canada, the son of a doctor who emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago in 1955. He and Zakaria Amara, 20, are married to sisters, and were wed by the same Scarborough imam .

Yasin Abdi Mohamed, 24, and 22-year-old Mohammed Dirie were arrested bringing weapons from the United States to Canada in a car allegedly rented by Fahim Ahmad, 21. Ahmad was never charged in that incident but the two others pleaded guilty last October. Both are serving two-year sentences in a Kingston-area penitentiary.

Some may have met through the Internet where, sources told the Star, the investigation began in 2004 with concern over the views expressed. But that group eventually moved away from cyberspace to allegedly meet, plot and recruit.

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell said yesterday the suspects are all Canadian residents and the majority are citizens. "They represent the broad strata of our community. Some are students, some are employed, some are unemployed," he said.

"Some are actually recruited. Going out and looking for marginalized youth, if we can call it that, and other ones it’s common association within a community." As police briefed the media, families, friends and neighbours told stories of the men they believe are wrongly accused.

Mohammad Attique couldn’t believe the man who had been renting an apartment in his basement for six months is suspected of being a terrorist. He exchanged only brief greetings when he ran into his tenant, Steven Vikash Chand, a 25-year-old Muslim convert who went by the name Abdul Shakur.

For the boys who played basketball with Fahim Ahmad, they believed the charges are simply wrong. And the mother of a 24-year-old who was already dealing with the fact that her son was in jail on gun charges, was devastated by the terrorism charges. "I did not bring up my children in Canada to teach them to kill," Yasin Abdi Mohamed’s mother said yesterday.

As police transported suspects yesterday to the Brampton courthouse where they made their first court appearances yesterday morning, they were linked with handcuffs and leg irons, and were heavily guarded.

Also loaded in the police vans with the young men were some of their possessions, including a Grade 10 math text.

Now what on Earth could be the common denominator?

Anybody with any clues, please contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in English or en Français.

Merci bien and Allah Akbar!

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 6th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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