Saturday, June 9, 2007

Munir El-Kassem

At least he wasn't imprisoned and found to be an Al Qaeda member by an immigration court and then rendered to Syria as was Maher Arar. It is hard to believe that supposed professionals at the border could act in such a bizarre way. Will the persons involved be punished. I wouldn't hold my breath. Perhaps they will come up with a wildly different story even. While investigating US treatment of Muslims an even worse case is Benamar Benatta who was sent back to the US--he says involuntarily- before his refugee hearing and held in jail and allegedly tortured. He was held for about five years. He is back in Canada now. He is not a Canadian citizen though.

Ottawa to look into U.S. treatment of Canadian Muslim
Last Updated: Friday, June 8, 2007 | 3:24 PM ET
CBC News
The government will look into the mistreatment of a Canadian Muslim detained by U.S. border officials last month, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said Friday.

Munir El-Kassem, who is seeking an apology, said he was dehumanized and demeaned by American border authorities last month during a stopover at the Detroit airport en route to a conference in Milwaukee.

El-Kassem, a professor of dentistry at London's University of Western Ontario, said that when authorities found out he was Muslim, he was sternly ordered down a hallway into an interrogation room and questioned about whether he personally knew Osama bin Laden. He was also asked whether he believed in Allah or God.

"This was a very, very unfortunate incident," MacKay said Friday during question period, adding that Ottawa "will take the matter up" with U.S. border authorities.

El-Kassem, who was fingerprinted and detained for four hours, hopes his case will highlight the need for more interfaith dialogue.

With files from the Canadian Press

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