CN Tower protest focuses on anti-Muslim prejudice

Last Updated Mon, 04 Oct 2004 10:14:37 EDT

TORONTO - About 100 people photographed the CN Tower Sunday, protesting the treatment of an Egyptian-born man who says he was detained for making a video of the popular tourist attraction.

The demonstrators mostly Muslim men, women and children took pictures of the Toronto landmark, imitating the actions that got Kassim Mohamed arrested.

Kassim Mohamed gets a video of the CN Tower



The RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service targeted Mohamed as a terrorist after he videotaped the CN Tower in May.

Mohamed says he spent nearly two weeks in an Egyptian jail as a result, and he's suing the federal government for $1 million and a letter stating he's not a terrorist.



The protesters, armed with cameras of all sorts, on Sunday dared authorities to target them as well, as they took their pictures.

"I'm Canadian like everybody else. I can take pictures like everybody else," Mohamed said. "Why was I stopped?"

Still nervous about what happened to him, he didn't bring his own camera to the protest. But supporters lent him one and encouraged him to make his own point by doing something thousands of tourists do every day.

Mohamed was near tears as supporters surrounded him. "I feel like crying now," he said. "I seriously feel like crying now."

One demonstrator, Mahmoud Idris, said, "We're just pissed off, pissed off for taking stabs and interrogating people for nonsense."

But some wouldn't give their names. A woman spoke from behind a veil: "We think it's absurd and we want other Muslims to know that there's nothing to be afraid of. We can take pictures of whatever we want, it's a free country."

The RCMP won't comment on the case, except to say they take every incident of that may involve terrorism very seriously.

The protest was organized by the outspoken Muslim cleric Aly Hindy, who himself has been held and questioned in Egypt. "[It's the] opposite of intelligence it's ridiculous. They waste taxpayers' money in this kind of investigation. This is not intelligence, it's the opposite of intelligence...I don't say the word for it," he said.

Written by CBC News Online staff