25 July 2014, Montreal – At noon yesterday, more than 19 years after his family came to Canada seeking a better life, Adil Charkaoui became a citizen of Canada.
The Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui considers the government’s decision to grant Canadian citizenship to Charkaoui a final admission by Canada that it was profoundly wrong to have pursued Charkaoui through the fundamentally unjust, racist and Islamophobic “security certificate” process. Charkaoui successfully challenged the first certificate in 2007, with a historic victory at the Supreme Court (Charkaoui I), and the second in 2009, when it was annuled in the Federal Court by Justice Tremblay Lamer.
For Adil and his family, it is impossible to forget the years of separation and imprisonment, the crushing house arrest conditions and electronic and physical surveillance imposed on the entire family, as well as the horrible allegations spread around the globe. The damage is irreparable: those years will never come back, the painful memories will not disappear, Adil may never be able to travel with any safety again. And until there is a final decision in the lawsuit brought by Charkaoui in 2010, the false and damaging allegations may continue to circulate.
But it is also impossible to erase what was built in those years of struggle: the inspiring community response that came together in solidarity with Adil and his family against the racism and violence of the immigration system’s laws of exception. This is a victory for the thousands of people of very diverse backgrounds and different beliefs, who joined forces to march, write letters, speak out, contribute funds, host and organize events, sit through the endless court hearings, offer moral support to Charkaoui and his family. It is also a victory for the community organizations, NGOs, unions and MPs who provided support throughout the years; for those journalists who covered the story critically and intelligently; and for the legal team, who put in thousands of hours of meticulous work at all hours of day and night. Most of all, it was a victory for the courage and strength of Adil and his family, who refused to be destroyed but retained their full dignity and integrity throughout the years of struggle.
Today, we celebrate this victory and gather strength to challenge the reality that Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohamed Harkat remain under security certificates, their lives endlessly postponed; that many thousands of others suffer the crushing daily violence of Canada’s immigration system; and that openly Islamophobic acts have been on the rise in Quebec over the past year.
Justice for Adil Charkaoui