Another convert to Islam misunderstands the Religion of Peaceâ„¢: a profile of one of the Canadian jihad suspects, Steven Chand, aka Abdul Shakur. From the Globe and Mail, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
TORONTO — His lawyer says he is accused of wanting to storm Parliament so he could personally cut off the Prime Minister’s head.
But before those wild allegations came to light yesterday, terrorism suspect Steven Chand, a welfare recipient and basement-suite dweller, was better known for roaming east Toronto public schools trying to persuade students to convert to Islam — a path he took himself.
Mr. Chand was born in Canada into a Hindu family, but converted to Islam in his early 20s and changed his name to Abdul Shakur.
Little is publicly known about what drove Mr. Chand to convert. His parents are divorced, and Mr. Chand’s acquaintances say the split troubled him.
His mother and father, who both live in Markham, a suburb north of Toronto, refused to comment on his past.
Whatever his motivation to switch, Mr. Chand is a devout Muslim. He prayed two or three times a week at the Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, a mosque attended by at least four of the suspects picked up in Friday’s terrorism bust, said the mosque’s imam, Aly Hindy.
Mr. Chand also wanted to spread the faith. He spent two or three days a week going to local schools, distributing free books and written materials about Islam and encouraging school-aged children to become Muslims, said Mohamed Ally, a friend from the mosque….
Two of the youths charged in the sweeping arrests recently converted to Islam, according to friends from Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute in Scarborough. One was Hindu, another a Tamil.
Six months ago, Mr. Chand responded to an ad at the mosque and moved into a basement suite in the home of Mohammad Attique, an Islamic book publisher who has five sons, three of them in their late teens.
Mohsin Attique, 17, said he believed that Mr. Chand had a tense relationship with his family, partly caused by his religious conversion.