Stephen Harper for President. “Police criticized for apologizing to Ottawa Muslims for Ramadan arrests,” by Robert Sibley for The Ottawa Citizen, January 6 (thanks to Patricia):
OTTAWA — There is one law for all Canadians, and no religious group should expect special treatment when it comes to enforcement of the law, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.
The remarks were made in response to reports that RCMP officers had apologized for arresting Muslims on terrorism-related charges during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. On Aug. 25, the RCMP and Ottawa Police arrested two Ottawa men – Hiva Muhammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed – on terrorism-related charges. A third man, Khurram Syed Sher, was arrested in London, Ont.
The next day, Aug. 26, the RCMP and city police staged a special, hour-long meeting with members of Ottawa’s Muslim community with the ostensible purpose of ensuring them that their community was not regarded with undue suspicion despite the arrests. However, at least one officer was heard apologizing during the meeting for the timing of the arrests during Ramadan, which last year ran from Aug. 12 to Sept. 9.
Asked Thursday about the apology, Harper said: “In fairness, this is an operational matter for the RCMP and I wouldn’t pretend to know all the details and aspects of the story. But the general approach that this government would expect to see (from law enforcement agencies) is that the law, our important laws, are enforced every day of the year.” […]
At the time of the August meeting – sponsored by the RCMP A Division’s diversity consultation committee and the Ottawa Police Service’s community and police action committee – RCMP spokesman Cpl. Wayne Russett said it was intended “to open the lines of communications, to dispel any rumours and alleviate any fears” following the arrests.
However, prior to the meeting, Russett reportedly wrote to would-be participants in an e-mail, saying: “To show support to our Muslim brothers and sisters during Ramadan, there will be not food or drink during this most important meeting. This meeting is for one hour only, in order to observe prayer time and the breaking of the fast during Ramadan.” Russett could not be reached Thursday evening.
He was probably busy washing some imam’s car.