Security targets Canadian Muslims: Report

Canadian security agencies use unacceptable intimidation tactics, aggressive behavior and threats of arrest against Canadian Muslims while investigating allegations of terrorism, according to a leading Muslim group.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) has said the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) used intrusive tactics such as discouraging legal representation and threats of arrest under the Anti-Terrorism Act, to compel individuals to accept interviews.

Security officials also used to ask intrusive and inappropriate questions, give improper identification and solicit informants through intimidation, the Muslim group said in a statement, a copy of which was e-mailed to Wednesday, June 8.

“It’s safe to say that the overall consequence has been one of alienation, loss of trust in our security agencies and civil cynicism. The results are quite alarming,” said Riad Saloojee, the council’s executive director.

A survey conducted by the Muslim civil liberties group showed that Canadian Muslims were routinely singled out and harassed by the security agencies. Eight percent of respondents to the survey, which included around 467 people, mostly young Arab males, said they were “visited” by the RCMP or CSIS officials.

Nearly half of respondents said visits by security officials made them feel fearful, anxious and nervous, while about one-quarter said they felt harassed and discriminated against. “What we found was that people are very scared in the Muslim community, even the people who filled out the survey were concerned about their safety,” council spokeswoman Halima Mautbur told CBC News Online.

The survey also showed that the interrogators asked questions on how the interviewed is committed to Islam, how often a day does he pray and what does he think of the Iraq invasion-turned-occupation. “They suggested that having a commitment to your faith is dangerous in this post 9/11 world or that it could get you into trouble,” Mautbur said.

Islam Online, 9 June 2005