Oust Khadrs, Tory demands
FAMILY WITH AL-QAIDA TIES BACK IN T.O.
AN OUTRAGED conservative opposition is demanding the federal government "revoke" the Canadian citizenship of the Khadr family and send them packing to Pakistan. Conservative foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day is fuming that two family members who have proudly espoused their ties to al-Qaida walked freely under a "Welcome to Canada" sign yesterday and out of Toronto's Pearson airport.
"Allowing (two members of the Khadr family) to return without Canadian passports and jump the queue ... diminishes the citizenship of all Canadians," Day said. "(The family) has been involved in the training fields and the killing fields of al-Qaida."
Maha Elsamnah, 47, and her 14-year-old son Karim Khadr -- wounded last fall in a gunfight with Pakistani forces -- flew here yesterday and mocked the controversy over their reputed ties to terrorists.
The two are the wife and son of Ahmed Said Khadr, 57, who was killed in Pakistan last year during a raid against suspected terrorists. They are a family long connected to al-Qaida. In a two-part CBC documentary they spoke of living in a compound with Osama bin Laden, of time spent in terrorist training camps and of supporting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
But yesterday, when asked about their association with the terrorist group, Elsamnah laughed. "I have no connection to al-Qaida," she said while her son Karim flashed a peace sign.
Foreign affairs spokesman Sameer Ahmed said the government contacted the Pakistani government and facilitated one-time-only exit visas because "we have a responsibility to ensure that Canadian citizens can return to Canada."
MP Dan McTeague, an aide to Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, said the Pakistani government, which is helping wage the war on terrorism, didn't consider the pair a threat.
The teen was shot in the spine during the shootout that killed his father.
Elsamnah's son Abdurahman -- who returned to Canada last fall after being released from the U.S. camp for terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay -- has said family members fought for al-Qaida and even stayed with bin Laden.