National Muslim civil liberties organization concerned by government information-sharing directives

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – August 2, 2013) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties organization, today expressed deep concern with reports that Canada’s cryptography spy agency has been quietly permitted to share information with foreign security agencies even where there is a risk of torture.

Earlier this week, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), confirmed that it is following a directive issued by the Public Safety department permitting the sharing of information among various foreign security and border agencies even where such practices could lead to torture.

“This directive was wrong to begin with in that it overturns long-established Canadian policies that ruled out any participation in practices which were derived from, or could lead to, torture,” says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM Executive Director.

“Canadians are well acquainted with the ramifications of sharing information with foreign agencies. Our government spent millions of taxpayer dollars on two major inquiries in the past decade which concluded that these questionable practices can result in the detention and torture of innocent Canadians.

“We look to the government to protect the civil liberties and human rights of all Canadians while protecting all of us from security threats. There is no dichotomy between the two.”

In March 2012, NCCM voiced identical concerns about the same government directive to CSIS on information-sharing with foreign agencies.

NCCM (formerly CAIR-CAN) was an intervener in the Arar Public Inquiry from 2004-2006, and the organization further intervened in the Iacobucci Internal Inquiry from 2007-2008. Both inquiries involved troubling information-sharing practices by security agencies.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613-254-9704; 613-853-4111