McGill grad charged in terrorism plot

A former Montrealer and McGill graduate, now living and working as a pathologist in London, Ont., is one of three men charged Thursday with taking part in a terrorist plot.

Arrest shocks imam at Khurram Sher's former mosque

A Montreal native and McGill graduate, now living and working as a pathologist in southwestern Ontario is one of three men charged Thursday with taking part in a terrorist plot.

Khurram Sher auditioned for the 2008 edition of popular reality show, Canadian Idol, in Montreal. ((YouTube))
Khurram Sher, 28, was arrested in London on Thursday. He and two other men are facing charges of conspiracy to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity.

All three men are Canadian citizens.

Sher, who was born and raised in Montreal, moved to London, Ont., in July with his mother, wife and three children to start work as a pathologist at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas, near London.

In 2006, Sher went to Pakistan as part of an aid group sent to help out after an earthquake in Kashmir.

Two years ago, the doctor auditioned to take part in the Canadian Idol singing competition in 2008 in Montreal. He sang an off-tune version of Avril Lavigne's hit song Complicated while wearing a traditional Pakistani outfit.

Sher also showed off his dance moves in front of the judges on the popular reality TV show, telling them he was a fan of "hockey, music and acting."

Friends shocked at charges

The imam at the mosque where Sher and Ahmed worshipped — the Islamic Community Centre in Brossard on Montreal's South Shore — found news of the arrests depressing.

"I was really shocked to hear that two of our brothers were arrested. They're still young," Foudil Selmoune said.
Khurram Sher used to pray at this mosque in Brossard, on Montreal's South Shore. ((CBC))

"Honestly … it makes me even depressed because you know that these kind of brothers were active in the positive way."

Selmoune said Sher used to volunteer to collect and distribute food for needy families on the South Shore, as part of the mosque's activities.

The imam said it's too early to jump to conclusions about the arrests.

"Right now it's only charges. Nothing is proven that they've done something wrong," Selmoune said.

'Fantastic hockey player'

Other friends of Sher describe him as well-adjusted Canadian.

A friend from McGill, who preferred not to be identified, said Sher was a "fantastic hockey player who was an avid organizer of ball hockey."

The friend, who knew Sher for three years, said he was "funny, charming, intelligent — the kind of Muslim youth that is well adjusted to life in Canada."

A doctor who invited Sher to participate in the relief mission to aid earthquake victims in Pakistan said he was "surprised" at Sher's arrest.

Paul Collins, chief executive of St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, said Sher began work at the hospital as a pathologist on Aug. 3.

"From what I understand, he was pretty much head down, getting the job down," said Collins, who had not yet met the doctor.

Collins said the hospital was not contacted by authorities involved in the investigation that led to Sher's arrest.