Mohammad Momin Khawaja, a young computer programmer from an Ottawa suburb, has been convicted of five terrorism related charges.
Khawaja was arrested on March 29, 2004 at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, where he worked on contract. He was the first Canadian to be charged under our country’s Anti-terrorism Act. This represents the government’s first major terrorism conviction since 9/11.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford ruled that Khawaja was part of a terrorist group of Islamist extremists who wanted to bomb targets in Britain. Five British Muslims were convicted last year in the foiled bomb plot and are now serving lengthy prison sentences.
This case was considered a test of our Anti-terrorism Act, which expanded the application of the Criminal Code to a wide range of terrorism-related activities following 9/11. And the fact that the Act stood up in court should provide some measure of comfort to those of us who believe Islamist extremism continues to be a serious threat to our country.