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Canadian Immigration Laws Allow Convicted Terrorist and Killer to Make Home in Ontario

This is part of the America's Future series airing on FOX News Channel, looking at the challenges facing the country in the 21st century.


BRANTFORD, Ontario — Once home to inventor Alexander Graham Bell and hockey great Wayne Gretzky, the small Canadian city of Brantford is now home to a terrorist — and the Canadian government might not do anything about it.

Forty years ago, Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, a former teacher, joined the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Click here to see more on Canada's resident terrorist.

On Dec. 26, 1968, Mohammad and another gunman launched an attack on an El Al airliner at Athens International Airport. The two ran up on the tarmac firing guns and, throwing grenades at the passenger jet, wounded a flight attendant as she opened an emergency exit and killed a 50-year-old passenger, Leon Shirdan.

The gunmen were captured, tried and convicted in Greek court, and they were sentenced in 1970 to serve 17 years in prison. But they were released just months later after the PFLP hijacked an Olympic Airways flight and demanded their release as part of a hostage exchange.

In 1987, when a much grayer Mohammad arrived at Canada's doorstep, his entry visa made no mention of his terrorist act. Canadian authorities later determined Mohammad was a convicted terrorist, and they ordered him out of the country.

Yet Mohammad, having repeatedly appealed government orders for his expulsion, has extended his stay for 20 years. He still resides in the same house in Brantford.

"You have many sources to know what you want to know, but don't ask me anything," Mohammad, now 65, said when confronted by FOX News.

The Canadian government has also played a large part in Mohammad's stay; Canada will not send its deportees — even convicted terrorists and murderers — just anywhere .

"The rule is you can't send someone back to [face] torture," said Lorne Waldman, Mohammad's former attorney.

Mohammad's family left for Lebanon after the state of Israel was formed, and despite a government recommendation that he be sent to Lebanon, the Canadian government believes he may be tortured or ill-treated if returned there. Canada will not send him to Israel, and no other country has stepped forward to take him.

These days, Mohammad lives in his Brantford home, tending the fruit trees in his back yard. Despite the terrorist attack he launched in 1968, he is not deemed a threat to public safety.

When asked by FOX News whether he regretted his crime, he would not answer.
"[It's] not your business. [It's] not your business," he said. "This is not your business."

Mohammad calls himself a freedom fighter, not a terrorist. Either way, he is living free in Canada, which doesn't seem to bother his neighbors.

"No, I'm not concerned," said Gayle Cunningham, who lives nearby. "Maybe I should be. Should I be? I don't know."

Click here to see more reports on America's Future.