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QC Muslim 1st woman charged under 9/11 terror law for shipping wpn parts to LBN

Edward Campbell

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This, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the National Post, is why o0ur security services need to remain vigilant in both directions - in and out:

Quebec woman charged with trying to export assault rifle parts to Lebanon

National Post Staff

Oct 21, 2011

By Stewart Bell and Graeme Hamilton

MONTREAL — Young and striking in her black hijab, Mouna Diab was once active in a Quebec youth group that fought discrimination against Muslims by challenging the stereotypes that too often associate them with violence and terror.

But the outspoken 26-year-old activist had little to say this week after appearing in a Montreal courtroom to face a charge alleging she had violated a United Nations Security Council arms embargo that prohibits the export of weapons to Lebanon.

“I really have no comment to make,” she said. At the bungalow where she lives in suburban Laval, friends and family likewise declined to talk about the case. “She’s finding the whole ordeal very difficult,” her lawyer, Richard Prihoda, said.

Police said Ms. Diab was arrested at Montreal’s Trudeau airport on May 19 as she was departing for Beirut. In her luggage, investigators allegedly found parts of AR-15 assault rifles. Other parts were allegedly shipped separately.

Police said the components could have been assembled into working firearms. “If you put all the pieces together you could build or make two weapons with it,” said Cpl. Luc Thibault, a spokesman at the RCMP’s “C” Division in Montreal.

She pleaded not guilty on Thursday and returns to court Nov. 10. She is the only person charged so far in relation to the alleged scheme, which comes as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is struggling to staunch the flow of illicit arms into an unstable Lebanon.



The RCMP investigation was opened eight months ago by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in Montreal, a unit set up following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and made up of Mounties, Quebec police and Montreal police officers.

“This investigation launched in February 2011,” Cpl. Thibault said. “It targeted a Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin who exported parts of assault weapons, which they call an AR-15.” He added, “Any criminal act that poses a potential threat to national security is dealt with very seriously by all law enforcement agencies including our national security enforcement team.”

Criminal charges against alleged violators of UN sanctions are rare in Canada, but not unprecedented. Last year, Mahmoud Yadegari of Toronto was sentenced to three years for attempting to ship nuclear-related items to Iran despite a UN embargo.

The charges against Ms. Diab do not specify any intended recipient of the gun parts, and police would not elaborate. Nor is it apparent why anyone would take such a risk when Iran and Syria already keep their Lebanese allies armed to the teeth.

“Lebanon itself is awash in weapons so this strikes me as very fishy to begin with,” said Frederic Wehrey, a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. “If they were to go that route, smuggling, it would be for some sort of high-end capability. And even then, to my knowledge, I’ve never heard of this.”

He said one possibility was that a Lebanese group might be trying new methods to acquire firearms, fearing that Syria’s days as a transshipment route for Iranian weapons could soon end if unrest topples President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

“Are they trying to set up redundant networks as insurance against what’s happening in Syria?” the Lebanon expert said. “If they do this with enough people, if they have enough people trying to do onesies and twosies, then maybe they calculate that enough will get through, but it just strikes me as so much effort.”

The arrest of Ms. Diab has drawn renewed attention to her activism. The website of the Montreal-based association des jeunes libanais musulmans, or Association of Young Lebanese Muslims, listed her as vice-president in 2007.

At the time, the website was linked to the sites of several anti-Western Shiite clerics, including Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and the Iranian hardliner Mesbah Yazdi, who claims the West is trying to “wipe out” Muslim culture.

It also linked to the late Lebanese cleric Mohammad Fadlallah’s website, which says it is “obligatory to wage war” against Israel and that making peace with Israelis is “not permissible.” Muslims in “occupied land” must provide “material or moral support” to fighters, the cleric’s website adds.

The association was one of many that signed a statement in August 2006 denouncing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s position on the deadly war that had erupted when Hezbollah attacked an Israel military convoy across Lebanon’s southern border.

The following February, Ms. Diab was part of a delegation that traveled to the Quebec town of Hérouxville to try to counter violent stereotypes of Muslims. The town had passed a code of conduct directed at immigrants that, among other things, banned stoning, female genital mutilation and head coverings. Ms. Diab told La Presse at the time that she found the Hérouxville code hurtful.

Later that year, she was quoted in a Le Devoir article about the one-year anniversary of the month-long Hezbollah-Israel war. In the article, she told about speaking to a cousin in Lebanon who was hiding from Israeli planes that were attacking near the village.

“It is difficult to present yourself differently when you are being attacked and the only ones defending you are members of Hezbollah. So you identify with Hezbollah, it’s normal,” she was quoted as saying.

Canada calls Hezbollah “one of the most technically capable terrorist groups in the world.” Providing support to Hezbollah was outlawed by Ottawa under the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2002. Ms. Diab has not been charged with any terrorism offences.

In the aftermath of the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war, the UN Security Council passed a resolution that called for Hezbollah to be disarmed and disbanded. To that end, member nations were ordered to halt all transfers of arms, ammunition and “spare parts” to Lebanon, except with the approval of the Lebanese government. Canada adopted the sanctions in 2007.

Ms. Diab is accused of violating Section 3 of the Canadian Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolution on Lebanon, which reads: “No person in Canada and no Canadian outside Canada shall knowingly export, sell, supply or ship, directly or indirectly, arms and related material, wherever situated, to any person in Lebanon.”

Ali Chibli, a member of the executive committee at the Lebanese Islamic Centre in Montreal, where Ms. Diab organized occasional events when she was involved in the youth association, said the centre never condones breaking the law.

“Anything that is against the Canadian law, we are against it,” he said. “The law is for everyone, so everybody has to respect it. This is our mandate. It is what we tell people, even the imam in his speeches.”

He said he was puzzled when he learned of the charge against Ms. Diab. “In Lebanon, they don’t need people to ship them [gun] parts from here. . . . In Lebanon, it’s easy to get weapons. It’s easy to get rifles. It’s easy to get whatever you want.”

National Post

Many Lebanese and Syrians have settled in Montreal and have made common cause with domestic anti-Israel groups as well as pursuing their own "old country" political agendas.
Quebec Muslim activist becomes first woman charged under 9/11 terror laws over Hezbollah gun-running plot

Stewart Bell
13 July 2012


A Quebec woman who was once active in a youth group that fought stereotypes against Muslims has been charged with terrorism for allegedly trying to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah.

The RCMP said Friday Mouna Diab, 26, had been charged with a terrorism count after an investigation found she had bought firearms in the Montreal area to ship to the Iranian-sponsored terror group.

Ms. Diab is the first woman to be charged under provisions of the Anti-terrorism Act passed by Parliament in response to the 9/11 attacks.

The case also marks the first time Canadian police have laid criminal charges in connection with Hezbollah; previous cases all concerned pro-al-Qaeda groups or the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said in a statement authorities were “taking concrete steps to ensure that Canada will not be a source of weapons or other resources for groups or individuals associated with terrorism.”

Ms. Diab was arrested last year at Montreal’s Trudeau airport as she was departing for Beirut. She was charged with export violations but the RCMP said it had now linked the scheme to Hezbollah.

“It is alleged that Diab was acting under the direction of a contact person in Lebanon who is associated with Hezbollah,” the RCMP said in a press release. In addition to firearms parts found in her luggage, she was allegedly shipping other components to Lebanon through travelers destined for Lebanon. The parts were for AR-15 military rifles.

“The victims were unaware of the contents of the packages they were carrying for the accused,” the RCMP said. The new charge followed an investigation called Project Sagittaire by a Montreal-based inter-agency counter-terrorism unit.

Hezbollah is armed, trained and financed by the Iranian regime, which uses it as a proxy force around the world. Western security agencies are concerned that Iran is preparing to use Hezbollah to conduct international terrorist operations in the event its nuclear program is attacked.

“The RCMP has the mandate to investigate activities of terrorist groups in Canada such as Hezbollah, a group that is primarily involved in logistics and operational support activities and fundraising destined for terrorist purposes overseas,” the RCMP statement said.

Ms. Diab was vice-president of the Association of Young Lebanese Muslims and was part of a delegation that traveled to Herouxville, Que., in 2007 in an attempt to counter stereotypes of Muslims she said were “hurtful.”
With an atta' boy from the Minister:
The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, today issued a statement following the announcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of the laying of a new terrorism charge against a Montreal woman who is accused of exporting firearms parts to Lebanon.

“The threat of terrorism around the world and here in Canada remains real and multifaceted.  I would like to recognize the Montreal Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET), which includes members of the RCMP, Sûreté du Québec and the Montreal Police Service, for their vigilance and determination.  With strong cooperation between Canada's law enforcement agencies and international partners, we are taking concrete steps to ensure that Canada will not be a source of weapons or other resources for groups or individuals associated with terrorism.

The Government of Canada takes the threat of terrorism seriously and our approach is laid out in Building Resilience Against Terrorism: Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy.  Canadians can rest assured that terrorism and those who support terrorist activity has not and will not undermine our way of life.”

For more information on this case, visit: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/qc/nouv-news/com-rel/2012/07/120713-eng.htm ....