TORONTO — Mohammed Aqeeq Ansari stockpiled firearms, made trips to Pakistan to visit a cleric who fought “jihad” in Afghanistan and wrote provocatively about his beliefs on the Internet. His Facebook page showed a Toronto bank tower and the caption: “If I only had a plane.”
In a decision announced Monday, the Immigration & Refugee Board found that Ansari was a member of a terrorist organization and a danger to Canada’s security. It ordered him deported to Pakistan, the country he left when he came to Toronto as an immigrant eight years ago.
Anna Pape, the IRB spokeswoman, confirmed the decision but said a written ruling explaining the reasons was not yet available, although it was expected any day. “This is all the information available at the moment,” she said.
Ansari’s lawyer, Derek Lee, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, another Pakistani citizen arrested in Toronto, Jahanzeb Malik, was ordered to remain in custody because of the threat he posed to Canadians. A hearing on whether to deport him for allegedly plotting to bomb the United States consulate in Toronto was to begin Tuesday.
The ruling in Ansari’s case followed hearings in February and March at which the Canada Border Services Agency alleged he was a long-standing member of the Pakistani sectarian terrorist organization Sipah-e-Sahaba, or SSP.
The CBSA linked him to the SSP through his association with cleric and former jihadist fighter Ilyas Ghuman.
Officials said Ansari had been involved with the terror group since before coming to Canada and since then had been soliciting funds and promoting its goals online.
He had also “purchased a large number of firearms in a very short time,” CBSA officer Jessica Lourenco testified, noting he had spent $20,000 on guns and ammunition in 2012 while he was unemployed and living in his brother’s basement in Peterborough, Ont.
Testifying by video link from the detention centre in Lindsay, Ont., Ansari denied the allegations, portraying himself as a gun lover who supported Ghuman’s religious school in Pakistan. He said his comment about the Scotia Plaza tower was a joke.