Sunday, 29 August 2010
Canada: 'Singing' Terror Suspect Volunteered in Israeli Hospital
The arrest of Dr. Khurram Sher on suspicion of plotting terror attacks has stirred up a storm not only because of his past appearance on popular TV show "Canadian Idol," but also because of new details according to which he volunteered at an Israeli hospital.
Last week, the Canadian intelligence agency reported the arrest of Dr. Sher, 28, and two of his colleagues on suspicion of terror-related offences.
Later on, the agency said it had uncovered explosives at the four suspects' residences, and that they planned to carry out terror attacks on Canadian soil and oversees.
According to reports, one of the suspects received special training in building demolition charges and bombs, but it was not clear which suspect received the training, or where it had been given.
Shortly after the initial news report, Canadian media outlets reported that Sher participated in the televised singing competition two years prior to his arrest.
During the auditions for the show, Sher identified himself as an immigrant from Pakistan, however CBC network claimed the future-terrorist fooled the judges by faking his accent, wearing special clothing and performing certain dance moves that befits the prejudice against Pakistanis.
Dr. Sher was in fact born and raised in Montreal, Canada and is fluent in both English and French. He studied Medicine at the prestigious McGill University and finished his residency two months prior to his arrest.
Sher's classmate told CBC that the terror suspect was as Canadian as they come. She said he was a fantastic Hockey player and used to organize matches.
Another classmate noted that Sher was funny, charming and smart – the kind of young Muslim that acclimated well in Canada.
'Active in positive way'
The imam of the mosque where Sher used to pray refused to believe the allegations ascribed to the young doctor and his friend Misbahuddin Ahmed, which was also detained on terror charges.
"I was really shocked to hear that two of our brothers were arrested. They're still young," Foudil Selmoune told CBC.
"Honestly, it makes me even depressed because you know that these kinds of brothers were active in the positive way," he said.
And indeed, Dr. Sher used to volunteer along with Selmoune, distributing food for needy families in Montreal.
In 2006, Sher traveled to Pakistan to help with reconstruction efforts in the Kashmir region, following a massive earthquake that devastated the area.
Sher's childhood friend, Faisal Shahbudin, told Canadian-based newspaper The Globe and Mail that Sher volunteered in an Israeli hospital for a month, but refused to name the medical institution, or the year he volunteered.
Dr. Sher recently moved from Montreal to the city of London, Ontario, along with his mother, wife and three small daughters, and started working at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital.
Relatives said Sher's wife used to wear a niqab, the traditional Muslim head cover, but was asked by her husband to take it off last year, because he was concerned people would think he was forcing her to wear it.