Protest over treatment by CSIS


October 4, 2004

Edmonton Sun

TORONTO -- Kassim Mohamed was looking for strength in numbers. So there he was, surrounded by fellow Muslims and supporters, at the base of the CN Tower, taking snapshots. "You've done it now!" joked one of his companions yesterday. "Here's the evidence."

"Please, please, I'm begging. Protect my rights like everybody else," said Mohamed as he turned to supporters at the demonstration. "Everybody has cameras now ... I am Canadian, like everybody else. I can take pictures like everybody else. Why was I stopped?"

Earlier this year, Mohamed, a Muslim who splits his time between Canada and Egypt, where he sent his family so his children could study at Islamic schools, came under scrutiny for videotaping the CN Tower.

He says he was making the tape and adding other Toronto landmarks because his children missed the city they once called home. Mohamed was unaware that he had come under suspicion until he attempted last May to return to Egypt for a visit with family.

He was stopped at Pearson International Airport and his souvenir videotapes were seized. That led to an ordeal involving numerous meetings with CSIS agents, subjected to polygraph tests and eventually being detained in Cairo for two weeks.

Mohamed is suing the federal government and hopes to get a letter confirming that he is no longer suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization.