August 15, 2005
Who are your neighbours?
This was in our local community paper, but didn't seem to be carried by the major newspapers.

EXCLUSIVE: Weapons stockpile confiscated
By Martin van den Hemel
Staff Reporter

Aug 12 2005

Before he was disarmed in January, Richmond's Jeff Chen was ready to strap on bombs or fight for Islam at the word of his Muslim leader.

But an alarming e-mail the young Steveston High graduate sent to Sheik Younus Kathrada led the RCMP's national anti-terror team to a large cache of powerful weapons in January, a seizure that made Chen view the world differently.

Before the police's intervention and his subsequent enlightenment and more moderate view of Islamic teachings, Chen said he was willing to sacrifice his life if Sheik Kathrada had ordered that.
"At that point, I believed whatever the Sheik told me, ok, because I didn't have any other information, another view of Islam...I didn't know better than that."

Acting on behalf of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, the Richmond RCMP found Jeffrey Chung-Ping Chen, 28, in possession of a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, a U.S. M-1 gauge rifle, a M-1 carbine module rifle with a scope, a Winchester magnum, rifle shells, two ammunition belts, five rifle cartridges, a 15-inch dagger and two 14-inch daggers.

The police were alerted to Chen by Kathrada, who first made national headlines late last year for calling the assassins of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin the "brothers of the monkeys and the swine."

When contacted by The Richmond Review Thursday, Kathrada, a Richmond resident, acknowledged that he knew Chen, who attended Kathrada's lectures a few times a week initially last year, but then was seen less often

"In the past I had received some e-mails that I saw as potentially, I guess, dangerous if you will, so I passed them on to the authorities basically.

"I did what I thought was right."

In a Dec. 13, 2004 e-mail to Kathrada, the leader of the Dar Al-Madinah Islamic Society which operates out of a hall in East Vancouver, Chen wrote that he was willing to become a "die hard" and that he was "itching to use the rifles that I have in actual combat (jihad in Middle East and elsewhere)."

Asked what he meant by being a "diehard," Chen said: "Like do whatever he says."
Kathrada said the e-mail made him feel "uneasy" and that's why he alerted the authorities
Chen and his lawyer, Carlos Charles, appeared in Richmond provincial court on Thursday morning, where Chen consented to the Crown's request that he be banned from possessing any firearms for the next three years.

But Chen wanted his weapons back, and that was denied, however he will have the opportunity to sell them.

Chen has not been charged with any criminal offence

RCMP Insp. Lloyd Plant, of INSET, would not comment on the Chen case although he said he was familiar with it.

Crown Counsel Vanessa Soon also chose not to comment.

Asked if his client is a danger to the community, lawyer Carlos Charles said: "He is not a danger to the public. We have what you call freedom of religion in this country and he was just searching for something I guess. He is not a dangerous person, nothing happened. It's just that he wanted to get his firearms back.

"I think the police made a mistake, but in any event we solved it."

Charles said his client is an English-as-a-second-language teacher who last taught in Japan and doesn't teach locally. He said his client has some job prospects in other countries.
"He was born and grew up here. He's a local boy."

Chen, who lives with his parents and has younger siblings, said he doesn't believe he's a danger to the public, and called terrorists who bombed London's transport system last month "ignorant, because they followed the leaders blindly. They just took orders and destroyed themselves."

But before the RCMP took his weapons, which he described as novelty items, Chen said he was ready to take arms if Sheik Kathrada had told him to do that. He noted two Lower Mainland men who regularly attended Kathrada's lectures (Vancouver's Rudwan Khalil Abubaker and Maple Ridge's Kamal Elbahja) disappeared, with one of them reportedly killed in Chechnya and described as an explosives expert by Russian special forces

In his Dec. 13, 2004 letter, Chen wrote: "Asalaam Alykum (peace be upon you), while at Haji you will meet some brothers that made Dawah (invitation to Islam) to me in Japan. If you should meet and talk to them and convince them of true Islam, then I will return to Daral Madinah and become a diehard. Btw (by the way) I also am itching to use the rifles that I have in actual combat (jihad in Middle East and elsewhere)."

But of course, the bad thing that happen in other parts of the world could never happen here, right? Just ask Carolyn Parrish.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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