Canada’s Muslims highlight their role as tipsters in train plot
Canada’s Muslim community, which alerted police to an alleged plot to attack a passenger train that led to two arrests this week, said imams were ready to report radical members who seemed ready to cross a line.
Police arrested Raed Jaser of Toronto and Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal on Monday and said they had been investigating them since last fall after a tip from the Muslim community in Toronto. The men appeared in separate courts on Tuesday.
Muslims comprise around one million of Canada’s 34.5 million population.
While relations between Muslims and law enforcement are generally not as tense as they can be in the large Muslim communities in France and Britain, Canadian spy agency officials have often expressed concern about the dangers posed by radicalized youth.
Naseer Irfan Syed, a lawyer who initially approached police on behalf of a Toronto imam who was concerned about Jaser, said on Tuesday that community figures had to figure out what was just angry talk and when there was a real threat.
“People have to realize that the community leaders and imams are concerned about these accusations and are responsible people and they will report to the authorities when necessary,” he told Reuters.
“But at the same time they will also exercise judgment so it is not done frivolously or in a knee-jerk fashion,” he said. Syed declined to name the imam who spoke with police over the train plot.