Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Feds defend efforts to find terrorists

Canada has done well to keep young people off the "path to radicalization," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday amid surprising revelations about the background of two disaffected Ontario men who reportedly played key roles in January's deadly terrorist siege in Algeria.

Canadian security agencies, with the help of religious groups, have successfully staged numerous interventions as part of "our containment strategy . . . on domestic radicalization," Kenney told a news conference in Vancouver.

His remarks followed a CBC News report that identified the two Canadians involved in January's deadly terrorist attack at an isolated Algerian gas plant: Ali Medlej and Xristos Katsiroubas, two high school friends from London, Ont.

Neither Kenney, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and the RCMP would comment directly on the report.

But Kenney expounded on the growing threat of homegrown terrorism in Canada, Western Europe and the United States. Police and the Canada Security Intelligence Service often get involved and prevent problems before they happen, he said.

"Frequently, for example, when information is obtained about perhaps a young Canadian who is on the path towards radicalization, often there's an intervention," he said.

During a conference call Tuesday from the United Arab Emirates, Baird was peppered with questions about the report - particularly about why the federal government had not been more forthcoming about the case.

"Our intelligence services, our law enforcement agencies have been doing some important work and I think it's best if I refer you to them for further comment," Baird said.

The RCMP says its investigation into Canadian involvement in the attack continues but is refusing to comment further.

CBC said CSIS began asking questions about Medlej and Kat-siroubas after a family member contacted authorities in 2007 with concerns about the pair.

Muslim leaders at the mosque in London that was reportedly attended by Katsiroubas - a former Greek Orthodox who converted to Islam - held a news conference Tuesday to distance their community from the attacks.

Munir El-Kassem said no one he has talked to in the community seems to know either man or their families. Their reported actions should not reflect on Islam nor on London, El-Kassem said.

"When something like this happens that puts a religious identity on a terrorist attack we should all come together to denounce that and say faith and terrorism is an oxymoron," he said.

"They do not exist together."

No comments:

Post a Comment