Letter to The Honorable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, Regarding alleged terrorist plot on the VIA rail and linking the suspects to Iran

April 29, 2013 – Download PDF version here: ICCC_ Letter-The Honorable Vic Toews

The Honorable Vic Toews
Minister of Public Safety
Parliament Hill
Suite 306, Justice Building House of Commons
Ottawa. Ont. K1A 0A6

It is with grave concern for the reputation and well-being of the Iranian-Canadian community that I am writing this letter.

On April 22nd, following the exposure of an alleged terrorist plot on the VIA rail, the Canadian press was informed that the suspects may have been tied to an

Iranian al-Qaeda group. This information was widely reported by Canadian media outlets before it was confirmed to be valid and accurate. This kind of quick declaration of Iranian involvement by government officials continues to have damaging and irreparable consequences for the Iranian-Canadian community as it further confirms pervasive social misconceptions and stereotypes that paint the Iranian-Canadian community in a negative color.

While the Iranian-Canadian community struggles to counter negative social perceptions, on a daily basis, it is incredibly disheartening to realize that our government officials seemingly work against our efforts by disseminating accusations of connections between our country of origin and al-Qaeda groups.

The repercussions of this misleading information affect all members of our community and make us an easy target for rejection and discrimination in all aspects of our social life.

Considering the grave consequences of such irresponsible acts, we urge all levels of government to be extra cautious about releasing unfounded information to the public.

Niaz Salimi
Iranian Canadian Community Council