Towards Understanding Terrorism in Canada: Perceptions and Realities

Mohammad Momin Khawaja

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you…if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him Who sent me.”            (The Bible: John: 15: 18-21)

My Profile and implications of “Terrorism” – Criminal Charges

As a fresh graduate in Computer Programming, I was working with a federal government contractor (Foreign Affairs Department) for a considerable time. I was dedicated to my job and excellence performance and so was the encouraging evaluation of my office boss. I had no knowledge what “terrorism” meant and how to define its implications in real life. Throughout the 2003-2004, there were highly charged global public outcries and massive demonstrations in UK, USA, Canada Australia and other parts of the world against Iraq War and how America and Britain were invading Iraq under a false pretext and bombing and killing the innocent people. It was aggressive dynamic connotation and its immediate impacts cannot be denied on all aspects of human life everywhere. My conscience and thoughts were disturbed and so were millions and millions of youngsters and educated masses across the globe by these unwarranted and charged warmongering.

While in office on March 29, 2004, I was arrested on accusation of being co-conspirator for the UK London ‘Bomb plan’ under the “Canadian anti-Terrorism legislation.” I was kept at the detention Center for five years without trial. In 2008-2009, during the trial, the Canadian Trial Judge Rutherford acquitted me of this focal allegation of the case. There was no evidence to support this scenario. Subsequently, the Government made up five other criminal charges under the ant-Terrorism legislation. The trial did not start because the Government wanted to hold a secret trial- away from the public. The legal defense team and public were against this approach.  I had no criminal background whatsoever. Coming from a highly morally and intellectually conscientious family, I was always active in pursuing a balanced life style conscious of real human values.

I was charged with financing terrorism by sending approximately $850. dollars to Displaced Afghan Women and Children Fund for medicine, foods and clothing; making of a cell phone jammer (device), sending emails to my girlfriend, taking one day trip to an open range to shoot stuff like they do in Las Vegas except in Pakistan tribal area where it is a cultural activity and not illegal; and one day travelling to London to meet few British youngsters whose intentions were unknown to me and who were later convicted of terrorism. I was accused of “bomb-making” but the prosecution chief witness Junaid Baber stated clearly in court that “momin khawaja had no knowledge and was never involved in “bomb-making” scheme of the UK groups. The trial judge  sentenced me to10.5 ( ten and a half years with 5 years for parole), but the Supreme Court of Canada increased the sentence to a Life and 24 years with 10 years for parole. I was not charged with any such crime to get this exceptionally harsh punishment.

Irony of “Terrorism”  Definition: What It is and What It Means

The term “terrorism” is highly controversial lacking any credible definition and its real meanings in the legal system of justice.

One finds a staunch irony of opinion when Justice Label of the Supreme Court of Canada (June 12, 2012 Appeal Hearing Judges), asked the Prosecution: “why should Mohammad Momin Khawaja be sentenced to a Life and 24 years when he was not charged with the crime nor he committed it?” The
prosecution asserted that “terrorism” is an international problem and they wanted to send a message to other offenders. Even though I was not charged with this crime. This shows that the Supreme Court verdict was influenced by the political governance of the time

Mr. Glenn Greenwald (“New York Top Court Highlights the Meaningless Menace of the Term Terrorism.”The Guardian: December 16, 2012), is a lawyer and internationally known American journalists explains the prevalent reality:

“ a fascinating ruling unwittingly illustrates the separate system of ‘justice’ invented for Muslims in the US after 9/11.”“Under the Law”, that “this newly created “terrorism” crime is committed whenever one acts with the “intent to intimidate or coerce a civilian population”, but the law contains no definition of that term.”

I Value Human Life, Canadian Society and Respect for All

I do not know how and why the Canadian mass media identified me as a “terrorist” simply for the thought process and expressing my opinions which were extracted and heavily influenced by the internet material on the Iraq War.  There was no evidence of violence or any threat of violence in my character or any acts –the record presented against me in the court. There is no one in the world to claim being victim of my thoughts and actions. There are logical gaps and factual contrasts between what I am, my life and character; and what media imagery was carved-up against me to distort the facts of my life as a member of the Canadian civic society. During the legal trial process, the news media had enlarged the scope of its campaign against me and my family as if we were all “terrorists.” The media pattern clearly illustrated a propaganda campaign by the vested interest against us. At the St. Anne des Plaine federal prison (Quebec), I was attacked by another inmate with boiling water causing life-threatening injuries to my body but I forgave that person. The scars of that incident are still fresh on me. I was kept in arbitrary solitary confinement for three years without any reasoning. This was clearly against the Canadian laws and Chartered Rights of the Canadian citizens. I have fist-hand experienced institutionalized scheme of torture like the Guantanamo Bay Prison.    

Alex P. Schmid, a scholar/researcher at the International Center for Counter-Terrorism (UK) compiled for the EU-UN mentions that among many things political discontent, alienation and humiliation are part of the process of violent extremism or sometimes individuals may be motivated by a desire for revenge against acts of repression in a society. Pinker Steven (The Better Angels of Our Nature, P.509), explain the neurobiology of violence- terrorism that most consequential cause of violence is ideology. I recognize the impact of violence of societies and how it disrupts the socio-ethical norms of a society. I never believed in violence nor had any intent whatsoever to act in any violent manner against anybody on this planet. If the groups in UK were engaged in violence or terrorism or “bomb-making”, it was not known to me and I was never a party to such cruel method against any people or society. It was all in all my thoughts and thought process under the influence of internet-generated syndrome and against unjust war in Iraq and its horrible consequences on the civilian population. It is estimated that 3 millions Iraqis were killed in the US-led war. Professor Noam Chomsky (Power Systems, p. 97), mentions that “historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon” and that the consequences of ignorance towards global policy and conflict undermines the founding principles of democratic freedom and just societies whose moral and intellectual integrity must have a high threshold. Chomsky adds that if you don’t recognize your own crimes, there is no impediment to continuing them.

There is no human being or any entity in Canada or elsewhere in this world impacted by my thoughts and individual actions. After more than 15 years being in incarceration, and pursuing my academic university degree program, I am remorseful for any unintended thoughts and action of internet-based affiliation with any group outside Canada that might have caused concerns in Canadian society. I do not believe in religious extremism nor can I ever be involved in any such ideological pursuit. When I hear about violent tragedies happening anywhere, it deeply affects me. I value knowledge, freedom and respect for the Canadian society in which I was born and highly value as a civilized way of living and human progress for the good of all.

(M. Momin Khawaja – a prisoner at the Correctional Service Institution, Bath, Ontario, Canada and currently doing a university graduate degree program from the prison, and welcomes your thoughts and concerns at his website:


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