April 27, 2011 by staff
Montreal Mosque, New WikiLeaks documents that describe a Montreal mosque as a center of terror are defamatory, according to a local Muslim spokesman.
The recently leaked U.S. documents Mauritania calls for a terror suspect detained in Guantanamo Bay was the leader of a Montreal-based al-Qaida cell that planned attacks in the United States.
The secret documents released by WikiLeaks on its website last week, also claim that al-Qaeda members were recruited and trained in Montreal Al Sunnah Al Nabawiah Mosque, where the alleged terrorist was short, possibly as a magnet.
But the president of the Muslim Council of Montreal said the documents serve as an example of how community institutions are unfairly by the authorities.
“Our allegations are indeed true that we have been targeted and it aims to set,” said Salam Elmenyawi in an interview.
“None of the information is based on evidence. It is rather on the basis of intelligenceanlysis and theanlysis certainly has ignored other data that contradicts the conclusion.”
Elmenyawi said the documents defaming the mosque and showed a clear bias against the Muslim community.
Mohamedou Ould Salahi came to Montreal from Germany on November 26, 1999, and served briefly in the mosque.
He left Canada after CSIS and the RCMP began to ask questions about ties to Ahmed Ressam, the so-called “Millennium bomber” who planned to attack Los Angeles airport.
According to documents, Salahi Ressam met four days after arriving in Montreal and had prior knowledge of the plot, as well as contact with extremists planning attacks.
The documents also state that the electrical engineer aged 39, hired three of the hijackers involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and provided training.
Salahi has acknowledged joining the mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But he says he had no role in the millennium plot and denies any association with al-Qaida, the Taliban or its affiliates since 1992.
Elmenyawi Salahi said time was short in the mosque during the Ramadan period of intense activity and nothing more is known about him.
“I know nothing of him in the mosque and nobody knows anything about it,” he said, adding that it is not clear Salahi was a magnet.
Elmenyawi said Salahi was available when additional prayers at night are the norm. The regular imam went on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
The mosque was the largest in Montreal at the time with 2,500 attend Friday sermons.
“There is nothing sinister about it,” said Elmenyawi.
Salahi said the leaked documents and several of his colleagues often met in a safe house operated by a Montreal friend and former classmate Salahi met in Germany. The person who was later arrested in Israel.
Salahi has tried, unsuccessfully; to obtain Canadian intelligence documents the RCMP conducted interviews with him in 2000, saying that would corroborate his claim of abuse by their U.S. captors.
The Supreme Court refused to hear his case while the Federal Court of Canada ruled last year that has no right to information because it is not a Canadian citizen or subject of legal proceedings in Canada.
He has been detained at the U.S. prison Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than seven years.
An attempt to chase was called off when questions arose about whether the key evidence had been obtained through torture.
“I’m not here to defend what is good or bad,” said Elmenyawi.
“If he’s bad, it loads in a court of justice, giving a fair trial, and eliminate it.
“But to smear the mosque in the process is totally unacceptable.”
Elmenyawi took note of the mosque is often involved in open events, often welcomed by politicians and is heavily involved in interfaith work with synagogues and churches of the city.
Several mosques in Montreal have drawn the attention of the authorities since late 1990.
The most notable of these is al-Sunna Al Nabawiah; intelligence officials have long maintained a faction of the jihadists from North Africa used it.
Another mosque in Montreal, Al-Quds is also mentioned in the documents. This made headlines in 2007 when Canadian immigration authorities deported her imam, Said Jaziri, for falsifying his application for refugee status.
Jaziri, a Tunisian who came to Canada in 1997, gained notoriety for advocating sharia law in Canada and organizing a large protest against cartoons of Mohammed published in a Danish magazine.
He was arrested in California earlier this year to try to sneak into the U.S. in the trunk of a car.
A t*rror*sm expert says that the revelations of the documents are not surprising at all.
“Canada for at least a decade has been considered a center of North African Islamist t*rror*sm,” said David Harris, a former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Intelligence Service and Security.
“Somebody has been trying to tell us something and we have not been very willing to listen.
“Finally we see the message. Just be a bloody message when we do.”
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