Putting to bed the myth Islam is a race, a white Canadian women of Christian heritage was shocked to discover that after converting to Islam and running pro Jihadi web sites, her visit to Pakistan was sheer hell for all the attempts to kidnap her and other common crimes against foreigners.
Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008
VANCOUVER – Canadian officials were working with their counterparts in northwest Pakistan Thursday in a bid to win the release of a B.C. woman who was kidnapped Tuesday along with her three local guides.
A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman confirmed a report in The Daily Times in Lahore that negotiations are continuing to free Khadija Abdul Qahaar, 52, formerly of West Vancouver.
She was seized at gunpoint on Tuesday while travelling to record video footage for a British journalist.
Negotiations are continuing to free Khadija Abdul Qahaar, 52, formerly of West Vancouver, Foreign Affairs employees said Thursday. She was seized at gunpoint on Tuesday while travelling to record video footage for a British journalist.
“The government of Canada is aware of the kidnapping of a Canadian citizen in Pakistan,” said Lisa Monette, of Foreign Affairs. “Our Canadian officials are engaged with Pakistani authorities in seeking a safe and early release.”
Qahaar changed her name from Beverly Giesbrecht after converting to Islam after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. She is the owner and publisher of a controversial pro-Islamic website called jihadunspun.com, which is registered to a West Vancouver address.
Qahaar’s website was criticized by the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, which flagged it as “a Canadian pro-terrorist website” in its report Online Terror and Hate: The First Decade.
In an “urgent request” posted on her website on Oct. 22, Qahaar asked for financial help to get out of Pakistan, which she described as “erupting into a full-scale war zone.
“Allah knows that I really dislike having to ask but please know how hard we work for Allah,” Qahaar wrote. “As a woman, I have already had a few close calls in the tribal areas as kidnappers and thieves are running loose even in Peshawar . . . With no family, it is my brothers and sisters that I must turn to for help.”
At the end of her post, Qahaar lists payment options for Paypal, credit card and Western Union.
Friends said they last heard from Qahaar about 11 days ago.
Vancouver mayoral candidate Peter Ladner hired her to work as a sales manager at his Vancouver Business Report magazine in 1987.
“She and some partners bought it from me in 1988,” Ladner recalled. “I was completely surprised by this – she was not at all that way (into Islam). I was surprised she converted.
“She was a hard-working, hard-living and very feisty and outspoken and determined,” Ladner said.
Qahaar later created Venture Quest magazine before developing the website described by friends as “an alternative source of news on the Islamic world.”
Qahaar is divorced with one child.