1st Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 151, Issue 26

Tuesday, June 23, 2020
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Fighting Terrorism

Hon. Yuen Pau Woo: Honourable colleagues, on this, the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Air India bombing, an event often referred to as the largest mass murder in Canadian history, I’m pleased to read a statement on behalf of Senator Mobina Jaffer from British Columbia.

Today as our Canadian flag is at half-mast, the nation mourns victims of the senseless act of terrorism that took 329 precious lives. I remember that day, June 23, 1985. I especially remember the shock, the anger, the pain and the grief.

Thirty-five years have passed since then, and still, across our world, so many lives continue to be cut short by acts of terrorism. In 2018 alone, almost 33,000 people were killed by terrorists. Globally, terrorist organizations employ sinister recruitment tactics.

Senators, we too have a role and a responsibility to stop using divisive language in our politics. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of meeting so many incredible community leaders who have dedicated their lives to fighting global terrorism. I work with Hamtosou of Nigeria. She works and negotiates with Boko Haram to stop them from causing further damage to the local community and to urge the release of girls and women they have kidnapped.

I also work with Fatima in Iraq. She is on the front lines of the war zone where she meets with and implores young Iraqis to stop fighting for and fuelling terrorism in their region. Part of this work entails interpreting the Quran to them. She tells them that the Quran speaks of peace and not the violence that they are taught to believe in. She also rescues young men and women from volatile war zones, bringing them to the refuge of cities and continuing her work with them.

For many years, I have worked with my very good friend Mossarat Quadeem. I am privileged to have gone to Peshawar, Pakistan to observe her work. Mossarat goes into prisons to debrief convicted terrorists. As she says, when someone has done wrong, you do not simply throw away the key. One day, the young boys in those cells will be released as men. Instead of relegating them to institutional nonexistence, we have to convert them to the belief that terrorism is not the answer to their very real problems. We have to show them that it is not the way, nor is it the way of Islam.

Colleagues, I ask that you join me in working to ensure that not one Canadian man, woman, boy or girl becomes trapped in dangerous terrorist organizations. Thank you.