And these decisions are made by Canadian-born individuals, schooled in Canadian institutions, assumedly socialized with Canadian values. Obviously, we assume too much.
In reality a fairly hard shell, a protective carapace through which the sensibilities and priorities and values of Canada cannot quite penetrate. Where loyalty to the country and its values are somewhat diluted by contrary loyalties that take precedence. For what, after all, can be greater to a man's honour than to cling to one's duty to the Almighty?
Which appears to be just what 20-year-old Awso Peshdary, a Canadian citizen working as a cell-centre employee, who grew up in Ottawa, attended Hawthorne Public School, and was seen to be a caring, lovely person, fully engaged with his religion, seemed to represent. He, it would appear, had the makings of a cleric, so involved was he with the tenets of Islam.
And he aspired, at the callow age of 18 to find a "special lady who first of all is a dedicated Muslim, second who looks very beautiful, (don't) mean to be rude but a virgin. A person I can never stop talking to, one who will raise my children according to Islam, and who will be my companion to the afterlife, inshallah." He found that special lady, married and at age 20 has a baby.
His pledge to cherish a wife who honoured and believed in the same faith as he somehow led to a charge of domestic abuse, strangely enough. But that charge, evidently, is not quite what has landed him in jail as a suspect in terrorism. Far more details have emerged thus far of the previous three arrests, of Hiva Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed and Khurram Syed Sher, all upstanding, educated young men.
The Muslim community appears to be divided between the quiet, back-lash fearing element, and the defensive portion from among which has emerged warnings not to offer information, not to speak with authorities about those thus far apprehended. A closing in, if you will, of the community, shielding themselves from co-operation lest they damage themselves. Circle the community wagons.
Mr. Peshdary has ample support from the community. Those who feel they know him well, and who claim he "would never harm anybody". Strange, how after the fact, they all present as really nice people, great to be around, good sports, well integrated into society, good sense of humour. Everyone now attests to the good working habits of Mr. Peshdary, and how incredulous they are at this turn of events.
Of course, these are alleged charges for the previous three arrests, and no details yet have emerged about the fourth suspect. Within the community, within the community of the mosque all are known to one another, to a certain depth of knowledge. And the possibility of one of their own being engaged in violently anti-social acts of depraved violent intent is simply indigestible.
There is a backlash, right enough. But it does not emanate, interestingly enough, from the non-Muslim community by and large, against the Muslim community. The backlash stems from the Muslim community being convinced that there is a conspiracy afoot to blacken the names and reputations of respected members of their community.
While most Canadians are aghast at the thought of home-grown terror, others are offended they appear suspect.
On the Montreal-based lecture series for Muslim youth, The Resurrection, advertised on MontrealMuslims.ca, a website administrator cautioned members not to speak to the media about the arrested. Mr. Peshdary hosted a communal prayer for Muslim Youth of Ottawa at Colonel By Secondary School where he spoke about paradise.
A friend of Mr. Peshdary's, who knew him from earlier days, when questioned, agreed that he possibly did know the other two Ottawa-based men suspected of plotting jihad. "I would think he knows them, but through, most likely, the mosque. Because the mosque is a giant family, everybody there knows each other."
"Racism around here still does exist, and I think it's because of his look that he's being suspected as a terrorist."
Think so? Nasty thought.