CBC : Ottawa not saying if Canadian linked to al-Qaeda can return
"Last month, U.S. federal prosecutors offered to drop the five charges of material terrorism if Warsame pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to support al-Qaeda."Mohammed Warsame has accepted the offer - and after four years in solitary in the US, so would I - but Warsame does not deny his association with al-Qaeda. In 2000, he left Toronto for Afghanistan to train with al-Quaeda. Disillusioned by what he found there, he returned to Canada in March 2001 - six months before 9/11 - was picked up by the FBI in Minneapolis in 2003, and has been held in custody without trial ever since.
As his lawyer puts it : "Like many young Muslims, he was attracted by the notion of an Islamic state he believed was a sort of utopia."
Reading this I was reminded of a Chris Sands interview with the wife of an American diplomat stationed in Kabul. She spoke of her husband accompanying the Afghan resistance on their missions across the border against Soviet troops and of her friendship with fundamentalist Mujahideen leaders.
"Then they were heroes. They were heroes," she said.
Yes. They were praised as heroes, we now know, for being used by the US to embroil the Soviet Union in a crippling unwinnable war. But what is not often mentioned is the effect all that hero worship and propaganda in the western press would have had upon young Muslim teenagers in Canada and the US.
Warsame's crime was to have believed it.