Youth trying to reach Syria got instructions from Montreal mosque, family members say
Ten young Quebec Muslims who were detained for allegedly trying to join jihadist groups in Syria received travel instructions, financing advice and moral support from individuals they met at a Montreal mosque, family members have alleged.
PAUL CHIASSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO
Adil Charkaoui was detained and then subjected to restrictive conditions under a federal security certificate in 2003. He was never charged, the case against him was dropped, and he is suing over his ordeal.
MONTREAL—Ten young Quebec Muslims who were detained for allegedly trying to join jihadist groups in Syria received precise travel instructions, financing advice and moral support from individuals they met at a Montreal mosque, family members have alleged to national security investigators.
A source with knowledge of the allegations told La Presse that family members said they received advice so that their travel plans did not appear suspicious. Those instructions allegedly included advice to book tickets on an Italy-bound flight with a stopover in Istanbul. During the layover they were to make their way to the Turkish-Syrian border.
The source said the youths were also advised to get credit cards so that they could book their plane tickets and take out cash advances. The students also allegedly discussed details of their travel plan on a password-protected Internet forum.
No charges have been laid in the case and all 10 youths were released from police custody.
But the latest allegations raise more questions about the Assahaba mosque, which is run by Adil Charkaoui, a Canadian citizen whom security services long suspected of being an Al Qaeda sleeper agent.
Of 21 individuals who have either gone missing, been charged with terrorist offences, or had their passports confiscated in the last six months, at least nine have been linked in some way to Charkaoui or his mosque.
Charkaoui did not respond to questions Friday about the latest allegations, which were not directed at him. But in comments made to the Star earlier this week, he denied any wrongdoing.
“There is a lot of ignorance and malice. When we have both of them together it becomes toxic,” he said. “It’s as if everything that happens related to radicalization in this country is because of a single person.”
Charkaoui was detained and then subjected to restrictive conditions under a federal security certificate that was sought in 2003. He was never charged, the case against him was dropped, and he is suing the federal government over his ordeal.
Of the 10 who were arrested May 15, eight were picked up at the Montreal airport and two were arrested at their homes. Six of them regularly attended the Assahaba mosque.