by Tarek Fatah
Richard Fadden, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), created a firestorm in 2010 when he disclosed that the embassies of several countries were involved in trying to influence Canadian politicians and public servants.
Most of the media and politicians focused on China, not the other countries to which Fadden had referred.
This despite the fact that in the same television interview, Fadden spoke of Pakistan and his concerns with regard to terrorist plots targeting Canada and the West. He told the CBC:
“You know, to be honest, a lot of them came out of the Afghanistan-Pakistan area. People over there, you know, generated plots and they directed them towards the west.” Most contacts between Canadian politicians and foreign diplomats take place at multicultural events, where diplomats representing the countries of origin of their Canadian hosts get a chance to engage with our MPs.
Last week, such an event was organized in Mississauga by a group called the “Friends of Kashmir”, where Toronto’s Pakistani Consul General spoke as the chief guest.
A handful of Members of Parliament were billed as guest speakers, but when questions arose about the Pakistani consulate’s involvement in the event, all of the invited politicians became no-shows, leaving it for local MP Brad Butt to offer a brief speech before he, too, took his leave.
Perhaps Fadden’s warning has finally started to sink in.
However, outside the event, another Canadian politician with his sights on the leadership of the Liberal Party had set up tent. Supporters of Justin Trudeau were signing up the participants of the “seminar”.
Brampton Lawyer Hamid Bhashani is a Kashmiri-Canadian and author of the book The National Question of Kashmir. I asked him if he or other Kashmiris had been invited to the event.
Bhashani laughed at the suggestion. He told me the seminar was an event organized by the Pakistani Consulate in Toronto and had nothing to do with Kashmiri-Canadians. He also wondered if it was “an attempt by the Pakistan Consulate … to whip up anti-India, anti-Hindu hysteria among young Pakistani-Canadian Muslims,” he said.
“They are trying to capitalize on the problems inside Kashmir and inculcate a culture of victimhood among young Muslim men who were born in Canada,” he added.
What was ominous about the event was the presence of pro-Hezbollah Arab Canadians milling around with Pakistani militants.
One of the speakers was a former head of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA),better known for their association with the Al-Rahman Centre, where six of the Toronto-18 accused were nabbed in 2006.
Then there was Pakistan-born Zafar Bangash, a radical follower of Ayatollah Khomeni, who moderated the proceedings, while mocking Prime Minister Stephen Harper for bringing Canada closer to India (according to some attendees).
Bangash is better known as the former editor of a magazine that referred to Osama Bin Laden as a “famed Arabian” who “stands up to the West in the name of Islam”. His magazine described the West as “murderous, racist and virulent” while Canada was called a “fully paid-up member of the Anglo-Saxon mafia, which is responsible for most of the recorded genocides in the world”.
CSIS was back in the news this month when a secret study came out suggesting radical Muslim Canadian extremists are more likely to be born in Canada, relatively young and well-integrated members of society.
Canada should send a strong message to Islamabad to stop stirring hatred in Canada.
Categories: Contributor Columns