The fact that former Canadian Idol contestant Khuram Sher has been charged after an RCMP investigation called “Project Samosa” proves that truth really is stranger than fiction.
Project SAMOSA? What the hell? Who names these things?
Sher, also known as Khurraum Syed Sher, was charged after two other men were arrested into in relation to an alleged Ottawa-based Al Quaida terror cell.
The others, Hiza Alizadeh and Misbahuddin Ahmed both appeared in court in Ottawa this morning.
Neither one did the moonwalk, or sang an Avril Lavigne song.
I doubt if Sher will either, whenever he appears in court. But until now that was his chief claim to fame in Canada, based on a brief and bad appearance on Canadian Idol.
The urgent and obvious question this raises is, was an Al Qaida terror cell operating in Canada? If so we have great cause to be worried, and we need as much information as possible. The Toronto 18 may have been isolated and inept, but they still might have done immense damage. How much worse would it be for Al Qaida to be guiding the actions of “homegrown” terrorists?
But it’s the seemingly trivial question that really sticks with me: what would have happened if Khuram Sher had been successful on Canadian Idol? I say “seemingly,” because understanding motivation is critical to getting a handle on home-grown terrorism.
There’s a line of thinking that says one motivating factor among Islamist-leaning young radicals in the West is a sense of failure to fit in. Trapped between two worlds, the thinking goes, some young men – many from moderate first-generation Muslim families – feel like aliens in their new home but have trouble fully connecting with their heritage.
What made Sher, a mediocre singer and laughable dancer, risk his dignity in front of the surly judges of a nationally televised talent show? How did he feel when he failed? Would the acceptance and C-grade celebrity that goes with being a successful Idol contestant in Canada have filled some long-lurking need within?
Or did bombing on Idol just increase the likelihood of a bombing on Parliament Hill?
We need to get the facts first. Then we need to understand the characters.
And then just maybe we’ll get the story – a tragicomic tale we can’t afford to ignore.