Cultural Revolutions

Displaying Moral Outrage

Canadian officials have been badgering the United States for deporting Syrian Maher Arar from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in October 2002.  The Canadian government, however, is not entitled to display such moral outrage. 

Mr. Arar was removed from the United States for alleged terrorist connections.   Because he held both Canadian and Syrian citizenship, the U.S. authorities were well within their rights in sending him to Syria.  Since Mr. Arar flew to New York from Tunisia, the United States could even have chosen to return him to that country.  These are the normal procedures for the deportation of aliens who do not meet a country’s entry requirements; indeed, Canada’s immigration law has similar provisions.  Before his removal, Mr. Arar was seen by a Canadian consular official and was allowed legal representation at his deportation hearing.  This incident received considerable attention in Canada, with most stories high-lighting outrage that a Canadian citizen should be treated in such a manner.  The fact that Mr. Arar was also a citizen of Syria was never taken into account.

Arar’s suspected terrorist connections appear to have been ignored by the Canadian media and neglected by government officials.  During his recent visit to Canada, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell revealed that evidence linking Mr. Arar to Al Qaeda had...

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