When fear reigns

posted on September 18, 2010 | in Category War on Terror | PermaLink

by Mohammed Adam Source: The Vancouver Sun URL: [link] Date: September 11, 2010 September 11 was the day the world changed. Fear followed, and many lived scared. As one observer points out, 'Fear can lead to scares and scares can lead to witchhunts'

OTTAWA — On a rainy Ottawa day, a man meets a friend at a popular shawarma restaurant for lunch. Another travels to his Middle-Eastern homeland to seek a wife. A routine check at a border crossing reveals a tourist map of the capital in a truck. A young volunteer travels to the Indian sub-continent to work for a charity. These mundane activities happen every day, and nobody pays any particular attention. However, since Sept. 11, 2001, when fear of terrorism swept the country, lunch at the Mango Café in Alta Vista suddenly took on a sinister meaning for Maher Arar, for example. Overnight, Muslim men fell under collective suspicion. As Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin and others found out, when people are scared, things can quickly turn nasty. A federal judge is preparing to deliver his ruling this fall in the case of Algerian immigrant Mohamed Harkat, 42, who came to Canada in 1995 as a refugee, but was arrested in 2002 under a security certificate on suspicion of being an al-Qaeda sleeper agent. It remains to be seen how society will judge him, but one thing is very certain: Shaking the terrorist label is difficult indeed.

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