Malik ordered deported to Pakistan
Handcuffed and wearing an orange prison uniform, Jahanzeb Malik looked unsurprised when he was told Friday he would be deported to his native Pakistan as a terrorist and a danger to Canada's security.
After two days of hearings, the Immigration Refugee Board ruled the Toronto flooring installer was a devoted jihadist who fought with al-Qaida in Libya before returning to Canada and began plotting a car bombing.
"Mr. Malik stated that he believes that there is one true Islam," read the IRB decision. "He stated that to follow this ideology a Muslim must be prepared to die in the path of Allah. He stated that where Muslims are attacked anywhere Muslims are called upon and justified in killing and causing terror in the hearts of their perceived enemies."
He planned his attack "in detail" and believed he would be rewarded with a "path to heaven" for bombing Toronto's financial district - a target he chose because he thought it would disrupt Canada's economy. (The United States consulate was also in his sights.)
The 33-year-old father of two was expected to be deported within three weeks. He waived his right to an assessment of the risks he might face in Pakistan. The Canada Border Services Agency said all that remained was to make the travel arrangements.
But then what?
A jihadist deemed a "significant" threat to Canada will be escorted by CBSA officers to Pakistan, where there is no indication he faces arrest, detention or even de-programming to address his fanatical devotion to violence. "Makes little sense to me," said his lawyer, Anser Farooq, who has argued that if Malik was truly a security threat he should be prosecuted in criminal court. "Except that the government was scared he would be acquitted."
Malik is the second Toronto-area Pakistani ordered deported in recent weeks for security reasons. Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari is also awaiting removal after the IRB
ruled May 8 he was a member of a Pakistani terrorist group.
While the government has provided no explanation why the men were not charged criminally, the answer may lie in the fact that less than three months after his arrest on March 9, Malik's case was already wrapped up. By contrast criminal prosecutions take years.
But even after he is deported he could still pose a security problem, particularly if he returns to Libya or joins ISIL.
"Mr. Malik made it clear that he regards all Canadians who pay taxes as supporters of the military and legitimate targets," the IRB wrote.
He had cited Qur'anic references he claimed justified the killing of civilians, and he condoned the beheadings of news reporters on the grounds that "Western journalists are with the military and misrepresent ISIS actions."
ISIS is another acronym for ISIL.
Sergio Karas, a Toronto immigration lawyer, said the government may be testing a new method for dealing with potential security threats.
Usually, a foreign national deemed a risk would be deported after he or she was convicted and had exhausted all appeals.
"This is completely a novel approach by CBSA. I suspect that the evidence they have is not strong enough to obtain a conviction in a criminal proceeding," he said. "If they succeed, however, they may have successfully found a shortcut to the process."
Malik arrived in Canada in 2004 to study at Toronto's York University. He later married a Canadian who sponsored him and he became a permanent resident in 2009, although he was arrested in 2012 for allegedly assaulting and threatening her.
In 2012, he left for Libya and upon returning to Canada in April 2013, told border officers he had been teaching at a school in Benghazi. But the IRB decision said the evidence showed he had really gone to Libya to fight with an al-Qaidalinked group.
The RCMP launched an investigation last September involving an undercover Mountie who posed as a former Muslim fighter from Bosnia. Over the next five months, Malik attempted to indoctrinate the officer into his extremist belief system.
"He played videos of the terrorist attacks in Ottawa and Montreal and expressed his approval of the perpetrators," the IRB wrote.
While Malik said he wanted to fight in Libya or Syria, he ultimately decided to conduct an attack in Toronto and recruited the undercover officer to help, believing he had bomb-making skills, the IRB ruled. Malik intended to make a video that would be "inspirational to all of the Muslims in the world."
He remains in custody while the CBSA plans his removal.