Abdurahman Khadr, 21, greets his brother Karim, 14, and mother Maha Elsamnah at Toronto’s Pearson airport Friday. (CP/Aaron Harris)
Canadian dhimmitude is a familiar story, but sometimes the sheer suicidal imbecility of it still takes my breath away. From CP, with thanks to Twostellas:
TORONTO (CP) – A mother and her paralysed son – members of a family that has been linked to al-Qaida – returned to Canada on Friday, bringing the controversy over their reputed ties to the terrorist network back with them.
Maha Elsamnah and her 14-year-old son Karim Khadr, who was shot in the spine in a shootout with Pakistani security forces, pushed their way through a crowd at Toronto’s Pearson airport after arriving from Pakistan via Britain.
The teen flashed a peace sign as his wheelchair was guided past a throng of reporters.
His mother, her face partially hidden by a white veil, walked slowly behind her son, tears welling up in her eyes as she uttered: “I have no connection to al-Qaida,” a statement that conflicted with her own past comments and with one of her son’s remarks that his was an al-Qaida family.
The pair was escorted by a half-dozen police officers to a van that whisked them away from the Good Friday frenzy at the airport.
Abdurahman Khadr, 21, who himself was held as a suspected terrorist for a time, greeted his 47-year-old mother and younger brother. He said last month that his family had al-Qaida ties.
“I’m happy they’re back and I’m hoping my sister, my other sister and her daughter will get back soon,” Khadr told reporters after helping his brother up a ramp and into the van.
“We hope to get him into a hospital here,” said Khadr, adding the family has no idea how they’ll pay for treatment for the boy, who is not entitled to medicare coverage because he doesn’t meet residency requirements.
Karim Khadr had been in a hospital in Rawalpindi since last October, when his spine was shattered during the shootout at a house in Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan.
The gunfight killed his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, 57, an Egyptian-born Canadian citizen and allegedly a close confidant of Osama bin Laden.
The Khadrs’ return to Canada was arranged in part by Ottawa – a move immediately condemned by Conservative foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day as “outrageous.”
Foreign Affairs spokesman Sameer Ahmed said the government contacted the Pakistani government and facilitated the Khadrs’ one-time-only exit visas because “we have a responsibility to ensure that Canadian citizens can return to Canada.”
Another government spokesman has said taxpayers weren’t paying for the Khadrs’ return, and the family instead used their own funds.
However, Day said the government’s actions have “insulted” many Canadians.
“Many Canadians are insulted that our citizenship could be diminished in this way,” said Day after the Khadrs’ arrival.
“Mrs. Khadr on national television not long ago claimed to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden, claimed to embrace the views of al-Qaida – views which focus on the extermination of Jews, the killing of peace-loving Muslims and attacking democracies,” said Day, referring to the woman’s comments on CBC-TV’s The National earlier this year.
“This whole thing is outrageous – that she (Mrs. Khadr) would be accorded the full rights of Canadian citizenship when she and her family . . . have been involved in the training fields and the killing fields of al-Qaida.”
Abdurahman Khadr – who returned to Canada last fall after being released from a U.S. prison camp for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – has said family members fought for al-Qaida and even stayed with bin Laden.
At the same time, Khadr – who has been pleading with Ottawa for months for help in getting his paralysed brother and mother back to Canada – has firmly rejected Muslim extremism and terrorism.
A spokeswoman for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service refused to confirm whether the national spy agency has plans to monitor the Khadrs.
“Our mandate is quite clear: It’s to investigate possible threats to the security of Canada,” said Nicole Currier.
“In order to do that, we do analysis, we do investigations, we meet with people, we gather information and we provide advice to the Canadian government about information and we provide advice to the Canadian government about possible threats – either from groups or activities or individuals.”
It wasn’t clear why Pakistani authorities did not want to detain the teen further in connection with the firefight that killed his father.
His older brother has described him as innocent victim and lobbied to have the teen, mother and sister returned to Canada, saying he was worried they were under the spell of Muslim extremists and needed to be away from them.
Another Khadr brother, 17-year-old Omar, remains in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay. He was arrested in Afghanistan almost two years ago and stands accused of killing an American soldier.