Canada

B.C. Muslim leader faces security probe

Canada's national security squad is looking into the activities of a Muslim cleric in Vancouver who has been the subject of a hate crime investigation for the past year.

Canada's national security squad is now looking into the activities of a Muslim cleric in Vancouver who has been the subject of a hate crime investigation for the past year.

They're focusing on comments made in the spring of 2004 by Sheik Younus Kathrada – comments that some say promoted an Islamic holy war against Jews and other non-Muslims.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tom Seaman said the hate crime investigation has been turned over to INSET, the Integrated National Security Enforcement team, which is a counter-terrorism group made up of police, CSIS agents and other national security experts.

In an audio recording of a sermon Kathrada gave at the Dar al-Madinah mosque in East Vancouver after Israeli rockets killed Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader and founder of Hamas, Kathrada calls Jews "brothers of monkeys and swine."

Kathrada also said the enmity between Muslims and Jews will never go away and lashed out at Muslims who believe bridges should be built between the two religious communities. He said there will never be peace, and instead there will be an apocalyptic war.

The cleric has said his comments were taken out of context.

RCMP first questioned Kathrada after two young British Columbia men who regularly attended his talks went missing during a trip to Azerbaijan last October.

One of the men, 26-year-old Rudwan Khalil Abubaker of Vancouver, was believed to have been killed in a shootout with a Russian army patrol.

The second man, Kamal Elbahja of Maple Ridge, has yet to be found.