Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Revoking the citizenship of terrorists                   

 On the 14th of February, I wrote an article about home terrorists who are citizens of the country they live in. I said in that article that in my opinion, they should, have their citizenship terminated if they are convicted of terrorism. I haven’t changed my opinion. In this article, I am going to go further in this subject.

 Let me say from the get go that citizenship that is given to immigrants who come to any country from another country is not a right but a privilege and like all privileges, citizenship given to immigrants can be revoked.               

 The Canadian government recently brought in Bill C24 and part of the proposed Act deals with the issue of terrorism, high treason and spying by immigrants who have dual citizenship with Canada and the country they were born in or came from.

 To be more specific, section 10 (2) of Bill C24 goes further with respect to the grounds of revocation of citizenship. The grounds are as follows:

Serving as a member of an armed force or organized armed group engaged in an armed conflict with Canada, Was convicted of treason, high treason, spying offences and sentenced to life. Was convicted of a terrorism offence or an equivalent foreign terrorism and sentenced to five years or more imprisonment.  Was convicted of an offence under any of sections 73 to 76 of the National Defence Act and sentenced to imprisonment for life because the person acted traitorously, further, section 19.a (1) replaces the section in the existing Act by saying that a person who is serving a sentence outside Canada for an offence of terrorism committed outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence under an enactment in force in Canada, then that person would be subjected to the revocation of his Canadian citizenship. Revocation on these aforementioned grounds would only apply to persons with dual citizenship in order to comply with Canada's obligations under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. As of February 2014 there are only 55 nations which have ratified, or acceded to the Convention. Article 7 of the Convention states that any laws in any country that has ratified or acceded to the Convention for the renunciation of a nationality shall be conditional upon a person's acquisition or possession of another nationality. Before revoking a person’s citizenship or renunciation of citizenship, the Minister shall provide the person with a written notice that specifies; the person’s right to make written representations; the period within which the person may make his or her representations and the form and manner in which they must be made; and  the grounds on which the Minister is relying to make his or her decision. If a person with dual citizenship is deemed to be ineligible to retain his Canadian citizenship for the reasons stated in section 2 (10) he cannot appeal that decision. That is covered in Bill C24 in section 10.6 which states:  Despite paragraph 27(1)(c) of the Federal Courts Act, no appeal may be made from an interlocutory judgment made with respect to a declaration referred to in subsection 10.1(1) or (2).”

Once the decision has been made to revoke the citizenship of a dual citizen, he may then be turfed out of Canada. There is an exception however where removing that person may not be possible and that is if he is stateless. How, you ask, can he be stateless if he is a citizen of another country? I will deal with that question later in this article.
In Canada, we have young Canadian men who have terrorism ingrained into their minds and choose to go to another country such as those in the Middle East to fight as terrorists. A Canadian who travels to another country to commit the act of terrorism is very much a Canadian ‘problem. If they’re not killed abroad, they may return to Canada as hardened and potentially dangerous individuals bent on harming Canadians by their terroristic actions in Canada. This possibility raises the spectre that these kinds of individuals who do return to Canada are more deeply radicalized than when they left. What is most troubling is that if they participated in a foreign conflict or trained with a terrorist group, they might return with certain operational skills that can be deployed by themselves or taught to fellow Canadians who have chosen to be extremists. Either way, this is a serious security threat to Canada.
A group of men from London, Ontario tied to last year’s Algerian gas plant attack, were part of an alleged Al Qaeda-linked plot to attack a VIA train last April, and to young Somali-Canadians who have travelled to join Al-Shabaab (the Somali Islamic extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the attack on Kenya’s premier shopping mall that killed dozens of civilians.)
One of them was Ali Medlej, a young Canadian citizen who helped convert his friend Xristos Katsiroubas, another young Canadian citizen to Islam. The two of them left Canada to fight as terrorists in Algeria. They were killed in January 2013 during a North African desert attack on an Algerian gas refinery that left 37 hostages dead; most of them being incinerated in a subsequent explosion during the attack. Had they returned to Canada unharmed, in my opinion they would have definitely become terrorist threats to anyone living in Canada. The same can be said of their chum, Aaron Yoon who was arrested in Mauritania and convicted and imprisoned last year for his membership in a terrorist organization. The three of them were all part of a larger group of friends who were mostly Muslims at the London South Collegiate Institute, a high school in the City of London, which is in the southwestern part of the province of Ontario
 Aaron Yoon Aaron Yoon Aaron Yo
Medlej was a loser and a bully who while in Grade 12, got into trouble for taking a fake gun to a neighbouring school to settle a dispute with a student there. Katsiroubas, in turn, was a late convert to Islam after being raised in a Greek-Canadian Orthodox Christian home and, who with the zeal of a new convert, announced he was to be called Mustafa. Yoon, a Korean-Canadian Catholic who also converted in his teens, under influence from Medlej,  shunned schoolwork and reading but ended up studying the Quran and Arabic at an Islamic centre in North Africa.
What made them choose to be terrorists? It couldn’t have been because they read the Quran. That holy book doesn’t advocate the killing of innocent people, especially when they aren’t Muslims.
As I see it, some people have a desire to go beyond playing cops and robbers. They do want to shoot guns and really kill people. They feel that when they are in a gun fight, they become men. It is an immature way of thinking. Young men in Equatorial Africa become men when they hunt lions with spears. Young men who climb dangerous cliffs can claim to have entered into the passage of adulthood. Young men who join legitimate armed forces or police forces can claim to be young men. However teenagers who join terrorist organizations so that they can shoot bullets at innocent people aren’t really men at all. They are fools who still have children’s minds.

By 2004, there was a growing body of evidence indicating that terrorist groups have been operating effectively in Canada by taking advantage of Canada's liberal immigration and political asylum policies and the porous Canadian-American border. Terrorist-related activities in Canada include fundraising, lobbying through front organizations, providing support for terrorist operations in Canada or abroad, procuring weapons and materiel, coercing and manipulating immigrant communities in Canada, facilitating transit to and from the U.S. and other countries, and other illegal activities.

According to an August 2002 report of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), with the possible exception of the United States, there are more international terrorist organizations active in Canada than anywhere else in the world

This situation can be attributed to Canada's proximity to the United States which currently is the principal target of terrorist groups operating internationally; and to the fact that Canada, a country built upon immigration, represents a microcosm of the world. It is therefore not surprising that the world's extremist elements are represented here, along with peace-loving citizens. Terrorist groups are present here whose origins lie in regional, ethnic and nationalist conflicts, including the Israeli/ Palestinian one, as well as those in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq Lebanon, Northern Ireland, the Punjab, Sri Lanka, Turkey and now in Syria. Islamic extremists and their supporters from Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Armed Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad are among those suspected of operating in Canada.

In December 1999, Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam was caught trying to cross the Canadian-American border at Port Angeles, Washington, with explosives in his car. Ressam belonged to a Montreal-based terrorist cell thought to be linked to both the Algerian terrorist group Armed Islamic Group and Al Qaeda. The cell was apparently planning a millennium terror attack at Los Angeles International Airport. In April 2001 Ressam was convicted in Los Angeles of conspiracy to commit terrorism, document fraud and possession of deadly explosives. He is currently serving a life without parole sentence in a maximum prison in Colorado.

The ease with which Ahmed Ressam and his fellow terror cell members entered and left Canada and Ressam's ability to assemble bomb-making materials in Canada heightened concerns about border security and the apparent ease with which potential terrorists can move freely from one country to the other. According to the CSIS, terrorists from 50 different international terrorist organizations come to Canada posing as refugees. Nearly 300,000 immigrants are admitted each year to Canada, many of whom seek political asylum and safe haven. Canada, however, does not generally detain refugee seekers upon entry, even those with questionable backgrounds, so thousands of potential terrorists disappear annually into Canada's ethnic communities. Armed with a fraudulent French passport, for example, Ahmed Ressam had entered Canada in 1994 claiming refugee status. Imagine if you will if he did an attack on a Canadian International Airport. The damage, injuries and deaths would be the same if he had done the same thing at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Some wantabe terrorists in Canada began plotting a series of attacks against targets in Southern Ontario, Canada, and on June 2, 2006, counter-terrorism raids in and around the Greater Toronto Area resulted in the arrest of 18 of these wantabe terrorists These fools were  characterized as having been inspired by al Qaeda. They were accused of planning to detonate truck bombs, to open fire in a crowded area, and to storm the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service headquarters, the Canadian Parliament building, and the parliamentary Peace Tower where they would take hostages and behead the Prime Minister and other government leaders.

Some of the suspects of the Toronto 18 were;


Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Mississauga; an active member of the mosque who frequently led prayers. Immigrated from Karachi, Pakistan.


Shareef Abdelhaleem, 30, born in suburban Egypt; immigrated with his family to Canada at age 10 around the 90's.


Steven Vikash Chand, alias Abdul Shakur, 25; a recent convert to Islam, and a former Canadian soldier.


Jahmaal James, 23, Toronto


Fahim Ahmad, 21, Toronto




Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, 21, born in Canada; his family immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago. Charges against him were dropped after two years.


Saad Khalid, 19, born in Pakistan; immigrated with his family to Canada at age 8

The identities of the five minors were legally protected by Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Two other men, Yasim Mohamed and Ali Dirie, were already serving a two-year prison sentence for trying to smuggle a pair of handguns across the Peace Bridge a year earlier, for ‘personal protection’ for themselves since they had worked as designer clothing re-sellers in seedy neighborhoods. They had their charges upgraded to ‘importing weapons for terrorist purposes’ after it was revealed that their third handgun had been meant to give to Ahmad as payment who had used his credit card to pay for their rental car.

It is beyond my understanding as to why these fools would want to attack a country that has been good to them unless, as I said earlier in this article, they were childish and wanted to play another version of cops and robbers.

Six of the 18 men arrested had ties to the Al Rahman Islamic Center near Toronto, a Sunni mosque. Another two of those arrested were already serving time in a Kingston, Ontario, prison on weapons possession charges. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation,  two other men, Syed Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee, who were arrested in Georgia in the United States on terrorism charges, were connected to the case as well.

On August 12, 2009, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a US man linked to the Toronto 18, was convicted in the US of aiding terrorist groups by sending videotapes of US landmarks overseas and plotting to support ‘violent jihad’. A judge also convicted Syed Haris Ahmed in June 2009 of conspiring to support terrorism in the US and abroad. Authorities alleged that Ahmed and Sadequee took a week-long trip to Canada in March 2005 to meet with members of the Toronto 18.

Saad Khalid pleaded guilty in May 2009 to aiding a plot to detonate bombs in the city's bustling downtown, the Toronto Stock Exchange, the CSIS headquarters in Toronto, and an unidentified military base, off Highway 401 between Toronto and Ottawa. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

In September 2009 Ali Mohamed Dirie, a Canadian who was born in Somalia, admitted that he was a member of a terrorist group that had planned attacks in Canada. On tape, he called white people the "number 1 filthiest people on the face of the planet. They don't have Islam. They're the most filthiest people.” He added: “In Islam there is no racism, we only hate kufar (non-Muslims).”  The Crown and defence had agreed on a seven-year sentence and that is what he got. Well, he must hate a lot of people living in Canada.

He was eventually released and decided that he wanted to kill more people. Dirie was later killed fighting with rebels in the Syrian war. He had entered Syria with a passport that was not his own. He died doing the thing he liked best—playing cops and robbers.

Aabid Hussein Khan (an avid al-Qaeda supporter), who was considered a key figure in a terrorist network that spanned a half-dozen countries, including Canada, in an overlapping investigations and a related trial in Britain was sentenced in the Brampton court to 14 years for his involvement in the Toronto bomb plot.

Zakaria Amara, described by prosecutors as the leader of the group, pleaded guilty to charges of participating in the activities of a terrorist group, bomb charges, and planning explosions likely to cause serious bodily harm or death.

 On January 18, 2010, Amara was originally sentenced 21 months’ imprisonment for the plot. In arriving at that sentence, the judge credited Amara with seven years and three months for the 43 months, 2 weeks and 4 days that he had spent in pre-sentence custody. Hence, on that count, he received the equivalent of a nine-year sentence and did not contest that sentence on appeal. On January 21, 2010, Amara's sentence was subsequently increased to life imprisonment. Mr. Justice Bruce Durno's decision is the stiffest punishment imposed in the terrorism conspiracy and also the stiffest punishment imposed to date under Canada's antiterrorism laws, which Parliament passed in the aftermath of al-Qaeda's 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks against the United States.

Fahim Ahmad, who was described as a leader of the group, reversed his plea mid-trial and pleaded guilty. On October 25, 2010, Ahmad was sentenced to 16 years in prison, with eight years credit for the four years he had already spent in custody.

Now if any of these terrorist thugs had a dual citizenship, then under the new proposed law of revoking the Canadian citizenships of those who are convicted of terrorism, they would be on a plane heading away from Canada after their release from prison. But even if the proposed law is passed by Parliament, it wouldn’t have an effect on these men because in Canada, new laws that are passed by Parliament don’t apply to those who committed the crimes prior to the law coming into force. It only applies if they commit the crimes after the new law is passed by Parliament. However, if they are not Canadian citizens, then they could be turfed out of Canada and sent back to where they were born.

A Canadian with dual Lebanese citizenship was suspected of being involved in a bus attack that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2011.

Quite frankly, I would rather see a law in Canada that would also revoke the citizenship of terrorists who were actually born in Canada. The Canadian Minister of Immigration said, “Canadian citizenship is predicated on loyalty to this country and I cannot think of a more obvious act of renouncing one’s sense of loyalty than going and committing acts of terror.”

Those wantabe terrorists I have written about had clearly renounced their loyalty to the country that they lived in. That is why I would like to see a law enforced that would turf the lot of them out of Canada permanently.  And if they are convicted of terrorism in another country, their Canadian passports should be revoked and when they are released from the foreign prisons, they should not be given another Canadian passport.

I realize that some soft-hearted people will think that is being cruel. Well, let me say this to them.

“When you are lying on the floor of a mall with both of your legs blown off by a Canadian terrorist and you watch your wife and children dying before your eyes, you will wish that that damned Canadian terrorist who after being released from prison, had been turfed out of Canada. But by then, your wish would be academic, wouldn’t it?”  

I said earlier that I would explain how Canadian-born terrorists could be turfed from Canada. They could be issued a Convention travel document which are travel documents issued to stateless persons by any signatory to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. This means that if given the fare, those former Canadian citizens convicted of terrorism who have then become stateless persons could travel to any country with that document (that looks like a regular passport) that will accept them. When it expires, he can apply for another one from the country he is in. Although the travel document would permit them to return to Canada, our nation would have the right as I see it, to refuse to accept them back. After all, we don’t knowingly accept garbage sent to us from other countries.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that an OPED written in the National Post (a Canadian newspaper) was written by someone who didn’t like the idea of revoking the citizenship of terrorists. Here is what that author wrote in part;

“Citizen revocation is wrong headed in part because terrorists today pose as little a threat as Jews [posed] in pre-Second World War Germany and Japanese in Post Second World War in Canada.

To equate the victims of the Nazis and the innocent Japanese in Canada who suffered from government indifference with terrorists who want to murder innocent people in Canada and they and their like have murdered tens of thousands of other innocent people world-wide is outrageous. That unnamed twit had the audacity to state that Canada is a totalitarian country for even thinking of revoking the citizenship of home grown terrorists in Canada. I would sure like to know what his relationship is with those convicted terrorists.

Canada is joining Australia, the United States, the U.K., New Zealand and Switzerland in getting their terrorists out of their countries.

Evicting homegrown terrorists whose allegiance is not to the countries they live in but to their ideologies alone should therefore in my opinion, forfeit their citizenships.

There is however a legitimate concern about revoking the citizenship of  Canadians who were convicted of terrorism in another countries. It is conceivable that some of those persons may have been innocent. There is a way to solve that problem. Before these people are permitted to return to Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada should have access to the transcripts of the trial to determine if there was sufficient evidence that they committed the acts of terrorism and that they had a fair trial. If their ruling is that the evidence was there and they got a fair trial, then they would be denied entry into Canada.

With respect to countries in which Canada is extradition partners with, Canada has the right to presume that the accused got a fair trial and there will be no need to have the Supreme Court look at the transcripts of the trials held in those countries.  What should be done is that someone from the Ministry of Immigration and Citizenship should present the arguments accepting the foreign judgment so that they are on the record.
The way I see it, we as peace-loving Canadians and those who are landed immigrants in our country have a right to be protected from terrorists including the home-grown kind. I commend the Canadian government for taking this enormous step in its attempt to eradicate the scum that seems to rise in our otherwise serene pond.

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