Again and again we see that Islamic jihad terrorists are devout Muslims. Yet to explore the implications of this and try to formulate ways to resist it would be “Islamophobic.” “Toronto terror plot: Suspects were religious men, according to colleagues, neighbours,” by Jennifer Pagliaro and Allan Woods for the Toronto Star, April 22 (thanks to Lookmann):
Raed Jaser’s neighbour remembers the Qur’an.
Small with a green cover, it was left in his mailbox one day last fall, unannounced and unexplained, a few months after he and his family moved to Cherokee Blvd., near Finch Ave. and Hwy. 404.
The man, who asked not to be identified to protect his family, said he put the Qur’an back on his neighbour’s car.
He never learned his neighbour’s name until more than a dozen RCMP officers arrived unannounced at his home on Monday around 3 p.m. “” the same time as a scheduled news conference.
The Mounties showed him a photo of the man next door, the same man whose Qur’an he had returned.
That man, now believed to be Jaser, 35, of Toronto, is suspected, along with Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, of hatching a terror plot to derail a VIA Rail train. Their arrests Monday by the RCMP put an end to the alleged scheme.
“I was OK, but now it’s scary because I saw the news,” the neighbour said over the phone while officers questioned his family in his home about anything they”d noticed.
He recalled how several months after the appearance of the Qur’an a woman believed to be living next door with his neighbour came to the door with books and a fruit basket for his son, who had been sick.
On Monday, police said neither Jaser nor Esseghaier is a Canadian citizen, but they would not elaborate on the men’s nationality.
According to sources, however, Jaser is Palestinian and immigrated here from the United Arab Emirates, and Esseghaier was a Tunisian national who appears to have been living in Quebec for the past four years. Esseghaier’s devout adherence to Islam reportedly set apart him from colleagues at a high-tech research facility.
He arrived in Sherbrooke, Que. from Tunis in late 2008 and rented a small apartment next to a laundromat for about six months. He then moved to Montreal, a city he often visited while studying at the UniversitÃ© de Sherbrooke, according to a former landlord.
In 2010, Esseghaier began working toward his doctorate at one of the province’s jewels of advanced research, the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), located just south of Montreal.
A spokesperson for the Institute said authorities did not forewarn them of his arrest, but confirmed that Esseghaier was indeed the student picked up by the RCMP”s anti-terror squad.
A former colleague at the Institute said she was stunned when she got a text message Monday afternoon informing her of the terror bust.
“I”m in shock, seriously. It’s just a big surprise,” said the woman, who no longer works at INRS.
The colleague, who asked that her name not be published, said Esseghaier was one of many international students who study at the Institute. She also remembered him making use of its prayer room.
“He was, from what I understand, very strict in following his beliefs,” the woman said.
Esseghaier’s profile on the business networking site LinkedIn makes no secret of his devotion to Islam. In place of a personal photo, there is a white-on-black image of Arabic script proclaiming: “There is no God but Allah.”
One of Esseghaier’s classmates told Radio-Canada that he had increasingly been sharing his “troubling” hardline religious views with friends. He said he considered the Tunisian national to be “dangerous.”
He spoke last year at conferences in Cancun and Montreal on his research in the field of biosensors had him speaking at conferences last year. As well, he spoke at the TechConnect World Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. last June, just two months before police said he came onto their radar as a suspected terrorism plotter.
Police did not say if his entry into the United States “” and the extra screening he would have been subjected to “” caught the attention of anti-terrorism authorities on either side of the border. They also said little about how Esseghaier and Jaser allegedly came to be connected.
An imam at the Islamic Society of Willowdale in Scarborough said Jaser regularly attended the mosque on Victoria Park. Ave. for over two years.
“He is a quiet person who always greeted everyone and was pleasant when he was here,” the imam said, adding members were shocked by news of the alleged terror plot. “He didn’t show any signs leading up to this that he was anything like this.”…
Of course. When do they ever do that?