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Just Who Was It That Stopped The Canada-America Attack?
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04/23/2013 12:19 PM
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TORONTO – A tip-off from the Muslim community in Canada has led to the arrest of two men suspected of planning to carry out a terror attack on a transcontinental passenger train.
“This is something that I hope all Canadians understand, that the Muslim community in Canada is a partner in making Canada more safe and secure,” Muslim leader Hussein Hamdani told OnIslam.net on Tuesday, April 23.
“And this arrest, but for the cooperation of the Muslim community, would not have happened.”
Canada Muslims Shun Qaeda Revenge Call
Canadian authorities arrested Monday two men for conspiring to carry out a terror attack on rail line between Toronto and New York in the United States.
“Had this plot been carried out, it would have resulted in innocent people being killed or seriously injured,” James Malizia, Assistant Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner, told reporters.
"The individuals were receiving support from al-Qaeda elements located in Iran.”
The two suspects, Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, are facing terror-related criminal charges for allegedly planning to carry out an “Al-Qaeda-supported” attack to derail a VIA passenger train.
They are facing charges of conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities and conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of a terrorist group.
The two men will appear in court Tuesday in Toronto for a bail hearing.
“While the RCMP believed that these individuals had the capacity and intent to carry out these criminal acts, there was no imminent threat to the general public, rail employees, train passengers or infrastructure,” said Malizia.
Esseghaier, a resident of Montreal, is originally from Tunisia, while Jaser, a resident of Toronto, is from the United Arab Emirates.
Esseghaier has been a PhD student at the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique near Montreal since 2010.
"He is doing a PhD in the field of energy and materials sciences," Julie Martineau, the school's director of communications, told Reuters.
Police said that the men did surveillance on VIA trains and railways in the Greater Toronto Area.
The plot came days after the killing of three people and the injury of scores in a terror attack on an international marathon in Boston in the United States.
US police arrested two brothers of Chechen origin on suspicion of being behind the attack. One died in a shootout with the police, while the other was injured and is now in the police custody.
VIA Rail is Canada's national passenger rail service and operates intercity, regional and transcontinental train services linking 450 communities through its 12,500-kilometre network.
Police official have met with Muslim community leaders before making the arrests.
“This goes to show the partnership between the Muslim community in Canada and the RCMP and all the police services,” Hamdani said.
Imam Abdul Hai Patel, Director of Interfaith Relations at the Canadian Council of Imams, told OnIslam.net that the RCMP held a briefing for Muslim community leaders before the news conference announcing the arrests
Despite their help, Canadian Muslims are expecting problems for their community following the arrest.
"There is going to be backlash," Muhammad Robert Heft, a Muslim community leader in the Scarborough area of Canada's biggest city, told the Toronto Sun newspaper.
"But I want to reiterate. Who was the one who tipped the RCMP off? It was our community."
He stressed that Canadian Muslims are in the front line to defend their country.
"We have to be on the front lines," he said.
"To either nip it in the bud in the very beginning or co-operate with authorities so they can be brought to justice.
“In our community we may look a little different, but in our hearts we love Canada. It's our country. It's our tribe," he said.
"We want safety for all Canadians regardless of their religion."
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
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