Terrorism hoax against Quebec college

Third such hoax in the last year to result in charges being laid in Quebec alone

A Montreal man faces a serious criminal charge following a terrorism-related hoax last year involving a suburban college. The RCMP said Wednesday that 50-year-old Murad Hossain has been charged by summons and is to appear in court on Sept. 28 on a charge of perpetrating a terrorist hoax and another of public mischief.

The charges were laid Tuesday following a year-long investigation into the alleged attack aimed at John Abbott College, said RCMP Cpl. Caroline Letang. The threat had been kept under wraps by police and the institution at the time. Mounties, Montreal police and John Abbott College received a letter in mid-May 2009 warning of a potential terrorist attack against the college by a group of Pakistani students.

A police investigation revealed the letter was a hoax and the alleged attack was unfounded. “It was a hoax resulting from a single isolated action,” Letang said. Letang says investigators weren’t able to establish any ties between Hossain and any known terrorist group.

The hoax charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail. An official at the college located on the western tip of the Island of Montreal had no comment as the case is before the courts. But the college did confirm that at no time was Hossain a staff member or student at the institution.

Letang said this is the third such terrorism hoax in the last year to result in charges being laid in Quebec alone. “The RCMP has also investigated two other similar cases that resulted in serious criminal charges that were laid,” Letang said. “It is important to remind people that allegations of that nature are taken seriously.”

The Canadian Press