Zeynab Khadr's 4th husband is the son of a judge. She is still under a burqa
- Apr 01, 2009 08:48 PMhttp://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/612188
When Ottawa police received a routine 911 call for a suspected break-in last month, they could never have foreseen the strange saga that would unfold – one that involves a federal court judge, the notorious Khadr family, RCMP protection and a wedding that would set tongues wagging among Ottawa's political elite.
The home belonged to Patrick J. Boyle, a well-known and connected judge of Canada's tax court. Police reportedly found the front door smashed, the house ransacked and what appeared to be holes from .22-calibre bullets in the windows.
The incident combined with Boyle's position raised alarms since the police force was already investigating the murder of his colleague, former Tax Court Chief Justice Alban Garon, who was killed alongside his wife and a neighbour in 2007.
But then another connection came to light. Boyle had recently become the father-in-law of Zaynab Khadr, the outspoken sister of Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr.
The link to the Khadr clan, once called "Canada's First Family of Terrorism" because of the patriarch's former association with Al Qaeda's elite, would make the already curious March 20 break-in even more suspicious. Boyle and his wife were given RCMP protection and the federal police force's INSET division, which normally investigates terrorism cases, was called in.
Although Ottawa police and the RCMP would not comment on the details of the case, the Star has learned that documents were reportedly taken from Boyle's home and that the three bullet holes indicated the shots were fired from close range. No one was home at the time of the break-in, which was discovered by Boyle's teenaged daughter that Friday afternoon.
The investigation and the marriage are the latest twists in the Khadr family saga that has been ongoing since the mid-1990s.
In a phone interview and through questions answered by email, Patrick Boyle and his wife Linda said they were unnerved by the break-in, but have been told by the RCMP that it is likely not related to their son's marriage or the unsolved homicide.
"Our response was typical of how I believe most families would react upon a break-in – we felt that our sense of privacy and safety in our own home was violated," the couple wrote.
As for their son Joshua's marriage, they said they have welcomed their new daughter-in-law and Zaynab's daughter from a previous marriage into their family.
"As we have slowly begun sharing the news of our son's marriage with our close friends and colleagues, we have been touched by the sensitivity and concern shown in their responses, and in their unwavering support for our family," they said.
"While we recognize that both Joshua and Zaynab come from different backgrounds and grew up in different cultures, it is our hope that love will prevail over these unique challenges," Linda wrote. "Zaynab is a part of our family now. She refers to me and my husband as 'Mom' and 'Dad,' and she treats us with all the respect you could hope for from a daughter-in-law. She has brought into our lives the gift of her daughter, now our granddaughter."
Now 29, Zaynab enraged Canadians in 2004 for comments she made in a CBC documentary praising her former life in Pakistan and Afghanistan and downplaying the 9/11 attacks. When Zaynab returned to Canada with her daughter and younger sister the following year, RCMP officers seized her laptop and personal possessions at the airport. The RCMP's Toronto national security unit continues to investigate her but she has not been charged.
Her 25-year-old husband says she has been unfairly vilified.
"If you take any person and the worst statement they've made at a difficult time and you repeat it ad nauseam in the press, anybody can look like a super-villain," Joshua Boyle said in an interview this week.
Boyle, a recent University of Waterloo graduate, met Zaynab in 2008 after becoming interested in national security cases and human rights issues. He later offered to work as a spokesperson for the family and issued press releases during Zaynab's October 2008 hunger strike on Parliament Hill as she tried to raise awareness about her brother's detention in Guantanamo.
Boyle said he would not discuss his religious beliefs or where the couple were married. Although he was raised in a Mennonite community in Waterloo, his parents are active within Ottawa's Catholic community while the Khadr family is Muslim. Zaynab said she did not want to comment for the article.
The marriage is Zaynab's fourth and her first in Canada. Her father, Ahmed Said Khadr, had arranged her previous marriages beginning when she was just 16, as he shuttled his children around Canada, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Khadr, a Canadian citizen born in Egypt, operated various charities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but after 9/11 fled with his family to the tribal border region. Long suspected of connections to Al Qaeda due to his acquaintance with its leader Osama bin Laden, both the UN and U.S. listed him as a suspected terrorist financier. He was killed by Pakistani forces in October 2003.
U.S. Special Forces fighting in Afghanistan captured Zaynab's younger brother, Omar, in July 2002. The Pentagon held and interrogated the 15-year-old at Bagram for three months before transferring him to the American base at Guantanamo Bay where he remains today. Now 22, Khadr was charged under the Bush administration with five war crimes, including murder for allegedly throwing a grenade that fatally wounded U.S. soldier Christopher Speer. The case is currently under review and U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered the Guantanamo prison closed by next year.
The eldest Khadr son is also in custody. Abdullah Khadr is fighting his extradition to the U.S. where he has been indicted on terrorism charges. His extradition hearing is set to begin later this month.