Meeting a seven-year-old terror suspect

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By Rick Salutin,, September 3, 2010

I met Abdullah, the seven-year-old terror suspect, at a dinner near Toronto on Canada Day. He came last year from Gaza with his dad, Izzeldin Abuelaish, who’s here teaching global health at the med school, and five surviving siblings. His three oldest sisters were killed in their home in Gaza by Israeli shelling during the 2008 invasion. His mother died shortly before, of cancer. You can read about it in Dr. Abuelaish’s remarkable book, I Shall Not Hate. Abdullah has a sweet, mischievous look. Fireworks went off nearby and he asked his dad, Is it the Israelis? His dad reassured him.

This summer he took the kids back to Gaza to visit family. He hoped to vacation in the United States first but learned, after a blizzard of visa forms, photos etc., that the visa for his 12-year-old, Mohammed, was suspended for “review,” so they just went to Gaza. On their return and after a U.S. congressman intervened, he went for the visas, so he could take the kids on his book tour. He was told the rest were fine but the seven-year-old’s was now under review. No reasons or discussion.

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