Muslim FBI agent who helped Canada wants to reclaim his religion from

first_imgOTTAWA – A Muslim FBI agent who helped Canadian authorities foil a terrorist plot says his religion is being desecrated by violent jihadis — and he wants the public to hear a different story.The keys are educating people about the true tenets of Islam and including Muslims in the fight against those who warp the faith for their own ends, said the undercover agent, who has written a candid book as Tamer Elnoury, his cover name during the Canada-U.S. operation.“Al-Qaida and ISIS are the only ones with a voice,” Elnoury said in an interview. “I wanted to start the conversation. Because at the end of the day, the only way we’re ever going to win this global war on terror is if we stand united against it, and we understand it, and we don’t just use the jihadi brush to paint every Muslim.”An Arabic speaker, Elnoury has been doing undercover counter-terrorism work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation since 2008, a calling that has taken him around the world.In 2012, he found himself posing as a wealthy American real estate player and al-Qaida backer to halt a plan to derail a passenger train that travels from New York to Toronto.“American Radical” is his story of the investigation that led to terrorism convictions and life sentences in 2015 for Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian citizen doing advanced research in nanotechnology in Montreal, and Raed Jaser, a stateless Palestinian who settled in Toronto with his family.The look in Esseghaier’s eyes when he talked about killing infidels was something Elnoury had never seen before, he writes. “It was a look of hatred and death. It made me physically sick.”Elnoury testified, using his pseudonym, during the rail-plot trial in Toronto, and was dismayed by the media focus on Islamic extremism.“Nothing true about Islam,” he writes. In the media’s defence, he adds, all they heard were Esseghaier and Jaser’s interpretations.Elnoury recounts how, despite the concerns of the Crown prosecutor, he wanted to squarely address the question in the witness box.“These religious views that are presented are a complete desecration of my religion,” he told the court. “So it stands out to me when I am having a discussion about rationalizing killing innocent women and children.”Elnoury said in the interview it was important to speak his mind.“I felt like it was lost on the world at that moment that the person testifying against them was an American Muslim,” he said.“I know people in the Islamic community — in mosques, family members, relatives, friends — who can’t even say the word ISIS because they’re so disgusted by the fact that it’s even said in the same breath as the religion of Islam. So what I would love to see is their voice heard.”Canada’s nice-guy international image won’t protect it from extremists, Elnoury said.“When you send troops overseas in this war, you put a bull’s-eye on your back, regardless of your stance in the world. That’s the way you will be viewed by our enemy.”Bridging communities through education and inclusion is the best way to ensure “we’re going to have someone who looks like them or sounds like them to help defeat them,” he said.For those Muslims wary of being profiled or targeted by police and intelligence services, Elnoury points to himself as “living proof” the agencies simply follow the evidence.“And if you see something that stands out, stand up — stand up for your religion, stand up for your country, and make sure those individuals are stopped dead in their tracks.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img

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