The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is conducting regular interviews and interrogations with hundreds of Arabs and Muslims across Canada at their work places, homes and in the vicinity of local mosques, say national and Montreal-based Arab and Muslim community groups. The groups are reporting major increases in the numbers of calls from distressed community members concerning CSIS interventions. According to the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations in Canada (CAIR-Canada), CSIS intelligence gathering activities have increased over the past year.

“Community members who have been approached by CSIS across the country are calling our office on a weekly basis,” says Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-Canada’s communications coordinator. “This hike in CSIS visits is alarming to CAIR-Canada as it casts a blanket of fear and intimidation that is spread over our entire community.”

In response to increased CSIS activity, CAIR-Canada has shipped thousands of copies of a publication designed for Canadian Muslims dealing with CSIS and other Canadian authorities, entitled Know Your Rights Guide, to local mosques and community centres.

“I got a call from a CSIS agent a couple of months ago asking for a meeting at a café downtown on Peel street,” says former Concordia student Mohammed over the phone from Kuwait, where he is currently working as a mechanical engineer. He asked that his last name not be used due to fears of possible repercussions. “I was asked numerous questions concerning my own involvement in the Muslim community [and] was asked by the CSIS agent to not bring a lawyer to the meeting. The agents acknowledged that they had no specific incriminating evidence against me but explained in a non-direct fashion that they simply wanted to gather information on our community, leading me to feel suspect in Canada simply because of my religion.”


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