Where Terrorists and Deportees Walk Free?
At the beginning of June, 17 Muslim men were arrested by Canadian authorities and charged with planning to carry out terrorist attacks against targets in Toronto and Ottawa. The alleged plot targeted symbolic sites including the Toronto Stock Exchange, a military installation and a Canadian intelligence headquarters facility; it included bombings, armed assaults and beheadings.
Though this was a homegrown group of extremists—albeit with connections to terrorists in other countries—the situation is generally seen as a product of Canada’s lax immigration and security policies. Although all involved were either Canadian citizens or legal residents of Canada, as Stratfor points out, the June 2 arrests “certainly underscore the possibility that Canada, which has a long history of liberal immigration and asylum policies, has been used by jihadists as a sanctuary for raising funds and planning attacks” (June 7).
The fact that the alleged conspirators had been long settled in Canada raises the question of how many more jihadists or jihadist sympathizers are hidden within the open Canadian society, planning further attacks.
Canadian officials admit that the nation’s liberal immigration policies and its multiculturalism make Canada vulnerable. Canada has taken pride in its tolerance of immigrants and has encouraged them to retain the cultural identity of their homeland; Canadians have contrasted their immigration system with America’s and claimed its superiority and success. But the uncovering of this latest terrorist plot is not the only evidence to the contrary. As Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor who specializes in immigration affairs, admitted, “The view of Canada as removed from the immigrant frictions and diplomatic strains suffered by its superpower neighbor may be outdated” (Los Angeles Times, June 6).
For decades, the Canadian government has operated its borders based on the thinking that, if Canada opened its borders to the refugees of the world and went out of its way to take care and provide for them, Canada would be considered a friend of all and therefore would never be threatened. As such, its immigration policies have been based upon the idea that “very few bad people will try to abuse the laws of an open, multicultural nation such as Canada, and that closer scrutiny of newcomers is unnecessary or even offensive” (National Post, May 12). Unfortunately, especially in the post-9/11 world, that is a deadly assumption.
Canada is known worldwide for its loose refugee policies and generous social welfare programs. As a result, it receives 20,000 to 30,000 applications for asylum each year, over half of which it accepts. Many of the refugees arrive with no documentation or with counterfeit documents, which makes verifying their information very difficult. This approval rate for asylum seekers is close to four times the average for other Western nations and may be actually higher because even when refugees are turned down, they are often permitted to remain in Canada through the lengthy appeals process. On top of all that, the overloaded immigration department accepted 260,000 legal immigrants last year.
Accepting unknown and unverifiable refugees is dangerous enough, but accepting them from nations that are known terrorist sponsors (which Canada does) is even more dangerous. Worse, prior to 9/11, none of these people were screened for criminal, terrorism or other security concerns unless they requested permanent residency.
The April 17 National Post reported that as many as 3,000 people ordered deported for “human rights abuses, terrorism ties, war crimes, gangsterism links or criminal convictions” are still living in Canada. Twenty-seven thousand other foreigners also ordered deported are still living underground in Canada as part of the approximately 400,000-large illegal immigrant population.
Immigration expert Martin Collacott, a former Canadian ambassador in Asia and the Middle East and counterterrorism policy coordinator at the Department of Foreign Affairs, warned in a February 28 report that major world terrorist groups operate in Canada. He says the problem lies both with Canada’s multiculturalism ideology and politicians who pander to minority interest group pressure.
Canada’s policy of multiculturalism, he says, puts greater emphasis on the “rights of newcomers” than “their obligations to Canada” (Edmonton Journal, March 1). He blames this ideology for encouraging refugees and immigrants from terrorist-sponsoring nations to treat Canada “as a convenient and generous base from which to engage in or mount support for their favorite conflicts abroad.”
Another problem is that Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board contains appointees forced onto it by pro-immigrant activist groups, who have a vested interest in keeping the system as wide open as possible (National Post, March 3).
These poor immigration policies have left the nation vulnerable.
In his annual report to the Canadian Cabinet last November, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (csis) director Jim Judd warned that a terrorist attack in Canada is not only possible but probable (ibid., May 12). Earlier last year he noted that Canada has twice been named as a target by al Qaeda and that Canadians have been “extremely fortunate … not to have had a terrorist attack” since 9/11.
In outlining his concerns about Canada’s safety, Judd warned that Canada had become “an attractive refuge for extremists.” He specifically mentioned two worrisome trends: First, more terrorists are being found in the “second generation of immigrant families—whether in Europe, Canada or elsewhere”; second, many terrorists operating within Canada have no “discernible previous link of any kind with the terrorist networks.”
A report prepared by Ottawa’s Integrated Threat Assessment Center and released this May warned, “Canada is home to Islamic extremists, both homegrown and immigrant,” who “advocate violent jihad in pursuit of their political and religious aims” (National Post, May 12).
For Canadians who were skeptical that years of irresponsible and lax immigration policies had allowed terrorist groups to establish strongholds in the “True North strong and free,” the deadly terrorist plot uncovered this month would have been a rude awakening.
According to Stratfor, “Canada has a long history of harboring political dissidents from a number of different ethnic militant groups (perhaps as many as 50 organizations)” (May 3). Terrorist organizations with members who have obtained sanctuary in Canada stand out like a “who’s who” of world terror, and include organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Algeria’s Armed Islamic Group and Babbar Khalsa (a Sikh militant group).
Another example of how Canada’s immigration policies have failed is illustrated by Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, who was welcomed to Canada in 1987. One year later, it was found that he had been a terrorist for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and had been convicted in the fatal hijacking of an Israeli airliner. Canadian officials then proceeded with deportation protocols, but, 18 years later, Mohammad is still living in Canada! His latest attempt to remain in the country is based on the argument that it would be “cruel and unusual” to send the unwell 62-year-old to Lebanon where medical treatment may not meet Canadian standards.
Then there’s Leon Mugesera, a Rwandan who, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, helped incite the genocide of more than 800,000 Tutsis in 1994. Amazingly, a decade after deportation proceedings began and nine months after the court ruling, he is still living in Canada and may even be allowed to stay if it is determined his life would be at risk in his home country.
Canada’s lax borders and naive immigration policies have not only affected Canadians, but also its neighbors and trading partners. The recently released U.S. State Department annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” states: “Terrorists have capitalized on liberal Canadian immigration and asylum policies to enjoy safe haven, raise funds, arrange logistical support, and plan terrorist attacks.” Canada’s border policies have added to U.S. difficulties as Canada has been the point of entry for people who have tried to attack the U.S. on several occasions.
Probably the best-known case involved Ahmed Ressam, who orchestrated the “millennium bomb” plot. When, in 1994, Ressam was caught entering Canada from France with forged documents, he immediately claimed political asylum. Immigration officials released him until his asylum hearing. Not too shockingly, Ressam never showed up for the hearing, and his claim was later denied. Once Ressam was free and at large within Canada, he was able to plot and plan terrorism—and on the taxpayer’s dime: At his eventual trial in the millennium bombing case it came out that Ressam supported himself in Canada for four years with petty theft and welfare payments. During his illegal stay in Canada he was arrested four times in regards to theft, credit card and other financial document fraud, yet he was not deported.
While in Canada, Ressam fraudulently obtained an authentic Canadian passport, which got him to and from Afghanistan to take part in an al Qaeda training camp. Upon return to Canada in 1999, he drew up plans and made preparations to attack Los Angeles International Airport. Ressam was finally arrested when he tried to enter the U.S. with explosives to carry out his plot.
Other notorious examples of terrorists or suspected terrorists who have entered the U.S. from Canada include Abdel Hakim Tizegha and Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer. Abdel Tizegha was another member involved in the millennium bomb plot, who, after being denied asylum in the U.S., went to Canada. He later snuck across the border to America with a plan to carry out a suicide bombing against the New York subway system. Thanks to a tip-off he was arrested before he could strike.
These are just a few of many individuals who have taken advantage of Canada’s hospitality while plotting to harm others.
Until Canada changes its naive mindset regarding asylum, immigration and border control, it will continue to be regarded as a safe haven by radicals and extremists. Surely Canadians can no longer be fooled into thinking that terrorists will leave them alone just because they have a liberal and multicultural society. “Canada remains on al Qaeda’s target list of six countries,” reported Canadian csis director Judd. “And it is the only one not to have been attacked. We live next door to target number one on that list ….”
This time, the terrorist plot was foiled. But considering Canada’s favorable conditions for terrorist infiltration and operation, we can expect to see further security breaches and terrorist plots come to light. And, sooner or later, the odds are that such diabolical plans will come to fruition. It’s a matter of cause and effect. And the effect has been prophesied in the Bible.
God foretold in Leviticus 26:16-17 about the terrorism problem the English-speaking nations (birthright descendants of ancient Israel) would face in this end time. Verse 17 says that terrorism will become so widespread that the people of nations such as Canada and America will flee even when no one pursues them, and those that hate them will rule over them.
But there is good news. For proof that the people referred to in Leviticus 26 include today’s nations of Canada and the U.S., and for the ultimate solution to the immigration and terrorism problems facing our nations, please write for our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.