Awso Peshdary, Khadar Khalib ran ‘Syrian fundraisers’
By Keaton Robbins, Ottawa Sun
First posted: Thursday, February 05, 2015 08:10 PM EST | Updated: Thursday, February 05, 2015 08:55 PM EST
Students in the Muslim Student’s Association (MSA) at Algonquin College expressed shock this week when they learned former members of the club had been charged by RCMP for terror-related activities.
One Syrian student who is member of the MSA — and asked not to be named because she fears for her safety — even said Awso Peshdary, 25, and Khadar Kalib, 23, were “very involved” in “Syrian medical relief fundraisers.”
RCMP arrested Peshdary Tuesday and charged him with participating in terrorism and facilitating terrorist activity, alleging he financed efforts to send homegrown jihadists Syria to join the ranks of Islamic State fighters.
The Mounties said Peshdary — the sixth local terror suspect to face charges in the past three weeks — conspired with Khalib as part of a terror network operating in the capital.
On Thursday, a student member of Algonquin’s MSA recalled the pair’s involvement in raising funds.
“Last year, there were fundraisers for Syria and they were the leaders for a lot of this stuff,” she said.
But the MSA’s former vice president — who also asked not be named — and Jack Doyle, general manager of the Algonquin Students’ Association, had never heard of any Syrian fundraising events at the college.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I can assure you it wasn’t on campus,” Doyle said.
The Algonquin MSA’s former vice-president said funds were low during her time with the club.
“When the club started, we got $1,000 (from the Algonquin Students’ Association). But we couldn’t do much with it.”
And despite being on the executive board, she wasn’t sure how the club spent its money.
“Our biggest event was Muslim Awareness week,” she said, “which we did fundraising for.”
However, Doyle said the school paid all of the expenses during the week-long event, at which Peshdary was an invited speaker.
“Clubs shouldn’t be doing any fundraising,” he said adamantly.
Doyle said he and his staff have looked into the club’s finances since the RCMP charged Peshdary, Kalib and John Maguire on Tuesday.
“We went back and had a look at the few events. Almost all the funding went to food. Like a couple hundred of dollars for pizza and pop,” he said.
At least seven former members of the club are on Peshdary’s no-communication court order, but Doyle made no connection between those men and the club’s current members.
“It’s important to understand their members (executive board), are all new,” he said.