The right decision by Canada

Zakaria Amara, the jihadist mastermind of a plot to terrorize Canada, has been stripped of his Canadian citizenship by the federal government. In announcing this decision on September 26, Defence Minister Jason Kenney said, “This man hated Canada so much, he planned on murdering hundreds of Canadians.”

Canada should be commended for acting so decisively against this terrorist and traitor. Under Bill C-24, Canada is entitled to revoke the citizenship of a dual national who’s been convicted of offences relating to terrorism, treason and espionage.

Amara, a citizen of Canada and Jordan, is the first known Canadian whose citizenship has been revoked under the revised Citizenship Act. He was a member of the Toronto 18, a group which planned to wreak death and destruction in Toronto and Ottawa in 2006.

He and his fellow jihadists intended to bomb power plants and RCMP headquarters and to attack Parliament, all in the hope of forcing Canada to withdraw its contingent of combat troops from Afghanistan.

Exposed by an undercover police agent from the Canadian Muslim community, Amara pleaded guilty of  two counts — knowingly participating in a terrorist organization and intending to set off an explosion that could kill people and damage property.

In 2010, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole until 2016, when he’s expected to be deported to Jordan.

Amara, 29, was the author of his fate.

As Kenney correctly said in an interview with The Canadian Press, “If somebody is found guilty of violent disloyalty to Canada, in this instance planning to murder hundreds or potentially thousands of Canadians for ideological reasons, they are … forfeiting their Canadian citizenship.”

Amara was no mere cog in the wheel of this terrorist machinery.

First, he confessed he had planned to rent two trucks, pack them with explosives and detonate them by remote control in the Toronto area. Second, he admitted he had played a leadership role in organizing a terrorist camp, north of Toronto, in which recruits were given combat training and indoctrination in Islamic radicalism.

Amara is not the only dual national who has the dubious distinction of having plotted against Canada. Four other Muslim citizens of Canada, two of whom were members of the Toronto 18, have been informed by letter that they, too, will lose their Canadian nationality under Bill C-24.

It’s important for Canadians to understand why the federal government, headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has adopted a hard line toward malcontents like Amara.

Canada, which was targeted by Muslim extremists in two separate incidents in 2014, cannot and should not give terrorists a wide berth. Weakness and irresolution will only encourage and embolden them. Islamic radicals in our midst must be deterred. They must know that their beliefs and actions are beyond the pale and will not be tolerated.

Canadian political party leaders who claim that Canada is creating a two-tiered system of citizenship by revoking the citizenship of terrorists and traitors like Amara are wrong and astonishingly naive. Canada must be strong and consistent in combating terrorism. It’s not a narrow political issue. It’s a national imperative.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,