Christie Blatchford: What if Toronto man’s not a terrorist, but the middle-of-the-road Muslim his family says he is?

More quotes from the wiretaps of Mohammed Hersi and Blatchford insinuating that these are normal part of Muslim Canadian discourse:

But in the excerpts of wiretap recordings that were played for the jurors, though the focus was on Hersi’s interest in Al-Shabab, he also talked at length about his unhappiness with Canada and his longing to live as a real Muslim.

“But you know I … long term I wanna live in the Muslim land and never come back, right?” he told the UC once. “I wanna live in a Muslim country where I can be … practise my religion and be a good person right?”

His scorn for non-Muslims was evident.

“But talking to a non-Muslim about morality and shit, they don’t even know what morality is, Christians. You know what I mean?,” he said. “Talk to a Christian about morality and they believe Jesus died for all their sins, oh man. That’s [lunacy] right there,” he said.

In that same conversation, he said flatly, “I realize this country has no future for me in it.” In another, he recalled warmly the month he spent in Saudi Arabia, and how, “the life is very peaceful, I felt very at home my heart was content, you know?”

On one occasion, he told the agent, “Living in Somalia today is much better than living in Toronto ‘cause when you live in a place where there’s Islamic law, there’s harmony, there’s no more raping or murder.

“In Toronto, there is rape and murder happening right now every day every minute…”

She lost her religion altogether, right. Very tyrannical

Once, he talked to the agent about a Tunisian girl he’d read about online who was critical of the hijab.

“See how secular her mind is,” he said. “She’s against the hijab, this is something that’s from Islam, right?

“She’s against it, you know. Allah tells the believing woman to cover up, right? And she’s against it ‘cause she does … she lost her religion altogether, right. Very tyrannical.”

In other excerpts, Hersi talked admiringly about some of the sermons he’d heard at his mosque and how the imam there liked to slip in things he believed might pique the attention of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service.

As he put it once, though Canadians want mosques to talk faith and faith only, “politics is a part of Islam, right?”

Hersi came to Canada as a refugee when his mother fled the civil war there. Though raised in public housing, he managed to get a degree from the University of Toronto.

As prosecutor Jim Clark said, arguing that Hersi should receive the maximum five-year sentence for both offences for a total of 10 years, and that he should serve half before being eligible for parole, “What we have in Mr. Hersi is a smart, educated guy who knew full well what Al-Shabab was all about…”

Even if Mohamed Hersi is that rarest of birds, the man who really did want to join a bowling league precisely so he could not bowl, it’s a shattering prospect that he might also be what those who love him claim — a typical, middle-of-the-road Muslim.

Christie Blatchford: What if Toronto man’s not a terrorist, but the middle-of-the-road Muslim his family says he is?

CBC story on prosecution asking for maximum penalty of 10 years:

Federal prosecutor James Clark urged an Ontario Superior Court judge to condemn Hersi to 10 years in prison to set an example.

“Canada has an international obligation to prevent the exportation of terror,” Clark said in court in Brampton, Ont.

Hersi’s defence counsel Paul Slansky, who has already pledged to appeal, said his client should get three to four years, calling him “youthful and immature.”

Throw book at Ontario terrorism convict, Crown urges

Hersi is a likely candidate for revocation under the new Citizenship Act, given that he was convicted in a Canadian Court. But of course, his radicalization occurred in Canada (he came as a child) and he would be treated differently than a Canadian without dual nationality (or the right to same), raising Charter and related issues.

Of course, if the Government decides to revoke his citizenship, it would essentially be enabling the “exportation of terror.”

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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