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Terrorism in Toronto By: Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, September 04, 2003


The arrest of twenty men in Toronto recently may represent the break up of the largest terrorist cell in North America since 9/11. All the detained men come from Pakistan except one, an Indian national; and the police are still searching for another ten members of the group in an operation they call 'Project Thread'.

While living in Toronto, the men showed an unusual interest in a nuclear power plant located on Lake Ontario, police once finding two of their number outside the plant at 4:15 a.m. The two said they wanted to go for a swim at the beach inside the compound. The group also possessed schematics for the CN Tower, Canadian and American buildings and law courts, and had access to stolen radioactive material. Their apartments were also the scenes of several kitchen fires that investigators now suspect resulted from the making of explosives.

But most frightening were the activities of the Indian national, Anwar-Ur-Rehman Mohammed. Mohammed was acquiring a pilot's license from a flight school near the nuclear power plant when arrested and had even flown over the facility during flight training. Mohammed is also an associate of the plant's two nighttime visitors. He arrived in Canada almost three years ago and had been taking flying lessons ever since, first in Victoria, British Columbia, before coming to Ontario.

It is known that five of the men used letters from a diploma mill-type school in Toronto to obtain six-month student visas to come to Canada, while another seven used the bogus school to get documents to extend their stays. Some have also filed refugee claims, an effective way to lengthen one's stay in Canada due to the backlog of claims in the courts. One alert government official triggered the investigation that led to the arrests after she became suspicious about the school and its Pakistani "students."

All the arrested men have been in Canada for several years, and police are now investigating what they were doing during that time as well as who paid for their air travel, living expenses, bogus documents and for Mohammed's expensive flight lessons. As well, investigators are going through the thirty computer hard drives seized in the arrests. Moreover, another group member turned himself in to police this week and, fearing threats from those already in custody, has asked to be isolated from the others.

Canada was already once the target of a Pakistani-related terrorist plot. In 1991, five men traveling from the United States were arrested at the Canadian-American border, heading to Toronto to blow up a Hindu temple and cinema. They belonged to the notorious, Pakistan-based Jamaat-ul-Fulqra organization that was involved in several bombings and murders in America in the 1980s. A 1998 State Department report said ul-Fuqra seeks to purify Islam through violence, and it operates isolated rural compounds in America.

But the Canadian police are currently investigating a link with another Pakistani terrorist organization, Tehrik-e-Jafria, in connection with 'Operation Thread'. Tehrik-e-Jafria (Movement of Followers of Shia Sect) is a violent, Shia sectarian organization in Pakistan that has murdered members of a rival Sunni extremist organization, Sipah-e-Mohammad (Army of the Prophet Mohammed's Companions), which, for its part, is seeking to eradicate that country's minority Shiites. Both organizations are banned in Pakistan. TEF's leader was once a student of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeni, and Iranian preachers are active in Pakistan's Shia community.

However, this group of Pakistani nationals may not even represent the greatest terrorist threat that Canada has faced this year. Last April, an Egyptian sailor died
in a hotel room in Brazil of anthrax poisoning after opening a suitcase given to him in Egypt for delivery to someone in Canada after his ship docked in Halifax. A Brazilian police official said the man most didn't know what was in the suitcase, adding the matter was probably a case of bio-terrorism.

In 'Operation Thread', police say there are four hundred additional names in the non-existent school's files they are checking for terrorist connections in both Canada and the United States. Members of the arrested group had obtained bogus documents that allowed them to travel in America between May, 2001, and January, 2002, a time period encompassing the 9/11 tragedy.
Authorities also stated last week that a second diploma mill school in Toronto is under investigation for possible involvement with the Pakistanis.

And while no charges have yet been laid, it was disconcerting for ordinary Canadians to hear Muslim organizations hurling accusations of racial profiling against the police the day after the arrests were made. With no concern for the security of their fellow citizens and, apparently, no memory of 9/11, they demanded the detainees' release for lack of evidence. Two of
the twenty-one are now out on bail.

But like the radical Left after the Cold War, none of these Muslim advocacy groups will ever step forward, admit their error and apologize for their inexcusable conduct, if subsequently proven wrong. They, like the Left, will simply maintain the Big Silence until the next self-serving opportunity comes down the pike when they will again accuse and obfuscate to everyone's detriment.


Stephen Brown is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com. He has a graduate degree in Russian and Eastern European history. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com.


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