MOHAMMAD SHAFIA MURDERED HIS FAMILY - IN JAIL HE BECAME AN ISLAMIST TYRANT
A new kind of torture for prisoners in Canada
MONTREAL, QUE.: DECEMBER 13, 2011 -- Mohammad Shafia (left), Hamed Shafia and Tooba Mohammad Yahya leave the holding cell at the Frontenac county courthouse in Kingston, Ontario on Tuesday Dec. 13, 2011. Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 and Mohammad Shafia's first wife Rona Amir Mohammad were allegedly killed by Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their adult son Hamed. Their bodies were found inside the family Nissan Sentra in Kingston Mills Locks on June 30, 2009. (Lars Hagberg/The Gazette)
Photograph by: Lars Hagberg , Ottawa Citizen
May 04, 2015 | Last Updated: May 05, 2015 - 2:40 UTC
Kingston Penitentiary was already a very scary place the day Mohammad Shafia
walked into the joint.
The Montrealer was convicted for the 2009 murders of his three daughters and first
wife in a barbaric "honour killing" in which the women were incapacitated and dumped into the Rideau Canal near Kingston. In Shafia's twisted interpretation of Islam, his daughters were too Western, had brought shame upon the family and therefore had
It wasn't long before he unleashed another reign of religious terror at the notorious slammer, a jailhouse insider revealed Monday.
Ottawa psychologist Robert Groves, testifying about prison Islamic radicalization
before a Senate national security committee, described to the spellbound parliamentarians how Shafia used ultraradical Islam and old-fashioned big house
bullying to control and intimidate about 25 other men.
Canada's only Muslim prison chaplain would occasionally lead Kingston's Muslim
inmates in Friday prayers. "There would be a general atmosphere of jovial
camaraderie among themselves and the non-Muslim," said Groves, who did
psychological counselling at the prison.
But when the Muslim chaplain was frequently absent, it was Shafia who apparently appointed himself spiritual leader and led Friday prayers.
"The normally pleasant atmosphere associated with Muslims gathering for prayers
was absent. Inmates on the same range who came to see me expressed fear of him. (About one-third) were not Muslims but believed they dare not refuse to attend
Friday prayers. They had no choice. He was an angry little man."
One, a Christian, "felt so intimated by Shafia and some of his lieutenants that he
chose to give up his relative freedom of movement on the range and in the general population for a much more restricted life on a social isolation range. He advised me
that confinement was worth it to avoid the hassle of dealing with 'the Muslims.'
"This form of intimidation is something one finds routinely with zealot extremists. In other circumstances it's called bullying."
Shafia, an Afghan, his second wife in the polygamist family, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, were convicted on four counts of first-degree murder. The bodies of his three daughters -Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 - were found along with that of Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, in June 2009 in their submerged Nissan Sentra in a canal lock near Kingston.
The family immigrated to Canada in 2007. Shafia believed his daughters were
becoming too interested in boys and too immodest. And he believed his childless first wife, Rona Amir, was a bad influence on the girls.
While Groves described Shafia as a "radical" Islamist, his observations were anecdotal and he acknowledged having no evidence to show Shafia's followers were radicalized by his authoritarian religious beliefs.
"There wasn't a gang yet of radical Muslims out to conquer the whole prison
He added in a later interview that he never heard Shafia promote terrorist violence or hatred - just an uncompromising adherence to hardcore Islam.
"Many of them expressed views that, although all prisoners believe they're innocent, these people really did believe that their behaviours were acceptable … like
terminating someone's life."
He suggested prison officials took no action against Shafia because his behaviour wasn't considered inappropriate.
"Corrections Canada does an excellent job generally speaking in implementing
policies that work well in the prison system. But we don't know how radical ideas
operate in closed populations. I observed some it, but I have no confidence that Corrections Canada has a way - and this is no criticism - to canvass that issue and
so they don't find it. You can't find something (if) you don't know what it looks like."
Groves' testimony follows the release last week of Correctional Service of Canada research that found federal prisons are not the hotbeds of radical extremism some
make them out to be. Compared to other inmates, radicalized offenders are more
likely to have moderate-to-high potential for rejoining society.
The preliminary findings were obtained by The Canadian Press from an ongoing,
multi-year collaboration between the prison service and Defence Research and Development Canada aimed at developing a solid basis to assess and manage jailed extremists.
"Though concern over the spread of violent ideologies has been expressed, this
concern is supported by limited qualitative, anecdotal evidence," it found.
The Kingston Penitentiary closed in 2013. It's not clear where Shafia is now serving
his life sentence.
With a file from Postmedia News archives firstname.lastname@example.org