Tip From Imam Foiled Canada Terror Plot

2 men planned to derail passenger train: RCMP
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2013 6:54 AM CDT
Tip From Imam Foiled Canada Terror Plot
The skyline of Toronto's downtown is dimmed as many of the lights are turned off for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)

Yesterday, Canadian authorities said they foiled an alleged terrorist plot—the "first known al-Qaeda plan of attack that we’ve experienced," one detective says—and they have a Toronto imam to thank for the bust. More than a year ago, the still-anonymous imam told authorities he was concerned about the behavior of Raed Jaser, 35, one of the two individuals arrested yesterday, the imam's lawyer tells the Globe and Mail. The imam was unnerved by what his lawyer calls Jaser's "attempts to approach young Muslims," and so he "took the initiative to notify the authorities."

The single tip from the imam led the RCMP to Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, who are accused of plotting to derail a passenger train on a Toronto-New York route; they face charges including terrorism, terrorist recruitment, and plotting murder and will appear in court today. After the arrest, Canada's top counterterrorism officials gathered about 20 Islamic leaders to thank them. "The first comment they made ... is that, but for the Muslim community’s intervention, we may not have had the success we’ve had," says a lawyer who was present. (More al-Qaeda stories.)

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