From Canadian Idol Contestant to Alleged Homegrown Terrorist

Published: August 27th 2010
in News » Local

Khurman Sher

Three terror suspects were arrested on Thursday for their alleged participation in a home terrorist plot, included Pakistani Khurman Sher, who sang a version of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” and moonwalked for the judges at the 2008 Canadian Idol competition.


The eccentric suspect was one of the three men the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested on Thursday. The RCMP told Toronto Star that the three men carried electronic components which could be used to create makeshift explosive devices. These included 50 electronic circuit boards, which police say can be used as remote control triggers for bombs. The RCMP also noted that one of the men was trained overseas in creating explosive booby traps.


Two of the men arrested were from Ottawa, while Police reportedly stated that more arrests are expected. The Ottawa convicts have been identified as Hiva Alizadeh and Ahmed Misbahuddin. The judge is holding Alizadeh and Misbahuddin in custody until their next appearance, by video, scheduled for next Wednesday.


Sher was arrested as part of an RCMP national security investigation called “Project Samosa,” which began in response to information passed on from Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Police are continuing with the investigation and are currently investigating a possible mobile phone which may be used to attack targets from home.


Sher’s neighbour, Carolina Ayala, reportedly told the Toronto Star that Sher was actually a Canadian-born physician and graduate of McGill University. “I saw the man wearing blue hospital scrubs and I think he may have worked at the hospital,” Ayala told the paper.


The other two men, Misbahuddin and Alizadeh, have been charged with conspiracy and other unspecified terrorism charges. The two men were being tracked for months prior to their arrests, one of them allegedly having ties to high-level Al Qaeda affiliates abroad, the Toronto Star reported.


Misbahuddin, like Sher, also worked at a hospital, specifically Ottawa’s Hospital Civic Campus. Misbahuddin, however, worked as a general radiography technologist and was highly revered by his director of diagnostic imaging, who told the Star he was a “stellar technologist.”


The men’s neighbours, who have reportedly described the men as “friendly,” were unpleasantly surprised by the raid carried out where Misbahuddin lived.


“I live two doors down. It’s very scary,” said neighbour Janice Burtt.


Another raid was carried out in a seven-storey apartment complex about five kilometres away early Wednesday. This is the second time the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team has arrested a group of Canadian suspects who plotted to strike in their own home.


Salma Siddiqui, the Muslim Canadian Congress vice-president, told The Star in a telephone interview that she was “livid and frustrated” that young Muslim men are still being enticed by a romanticized view of a holy war in the name of Islam as she explained.


“It has to stop” she said. “Why are they not understanding that this is not acceptable? Why are they still going on accepting the doctrine of jihad? That is the where the whole problem is.”


Home-grown terrorism has been showing an increase since 9/11. Spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has reportedly stated that this particular case shows “Canada is not immune from international or home-grown radicalization.”

Related articles: (Terrorism, Canadian Idol, project samosa)
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