An Ottawa man became the first person charged under Canada's new anti-terrorism laws Tuesday when police accused him of terrorist activity in Canada and in England.
Mohammad Momin Khawaja, 24, is charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act with participating in the activity of a terrorist group and facilitating a terrorist activity.
The RCMP arrested Khawaja at work on Monday. He appeared in court on Tuesday and will stay in jail until at least Friday.
He is the Canadian-born son of Pakistani immigrants.
A publication ban has been placed on court proceedings.
Late Monday, members of the RCMP's national security investigation section raided Khawaja's house in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans.
Mohammad Momin Khawaja's brother Qasim and his older sister were in the family home alone, watching television when more than a dozen police burst in.
"The door was blown open and guys with masks and guns came in, told us to get down on the ground," the 26-year-old Qasim Khawaja said.
He said police handcuffed him with plastic restraints and took their time driving him to the Ottawa police station. "We were passing by the American embassy and I said, 'You aren't going to send me to Syria are you?' And they said, 'No no, we don't do that here.'"
Once at the police station, Qasim Khawaja learned police had rounded up his mother, who was grocery shopping, as well as several brothers. He said he realized that police had had the family under surveillance.
"How else could they have approached us all at different places at the same time, how do you explain that?" he said.
He said police interrogated each family member separately for seven or eight hours. He said they asked him if the house was booby-trapped with explosives, what his religious and political views are, and whether he harboured any anti-western feelings.
"They asked me what my personal views were on the Madrid bombing in Spain... I told them it was a sad tragedy, and that's it."
Qasim Khawaja won't describe the questions police asked him about his brother Mohammad Momin Khawaja, who is a software developer who works on contract for the Department of Foreign Affairs. A department spokesperson said Mohammad Momin was hired through a private company and hasn't worked on any classified software.
Mohammad Momin Khawaja's arrest was significant enough for Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan to be personally informed. "This is an ongoing RCMP investigation," she said. "I cannot comment on that investigation."
Qamar Masood, a family friend and president of the regional Canada-Pakistan Association, says it's all a case of mistaken identity. "Just imagine how they're going to live through this ordeal. And after that, living in a neighbourhood with so many eyes looking at them, it's very hard."
The RCMP said it "does not target individuals or groups based on their racial, cultural or religious backgrounds. The actions taken [Monday] were directed at criminal activity with respect to national security."
Qasim Khawaja denies the family has any links to terrorism. He said when the family was allowed to return home after spending the night in a motel, their house was a shambles. Personal papers, passports, money and computer equipment were missing.
He said his mother is in shock.
Mahboob Khawaja, the father, is in Saudi Arabia where he works at a technical college. Mahboob Khawaja has published a number of books and papers critical of western influence on Mideast politics since coming to Canada more than 30 years ago from Pakistan.