King’s University College hasn’t thought through their offer to Omar Khadr
By Saba Kaidani
EDMONTON (CUP) — At the University of Alberta, students aren’t able to experience passing by alleged terrorists or ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoners on campus. Edmonton’s King’s University College, however, could have its students receiving this unconventional experience come 2013.
It’s shocking that a man who has gone through so many conflicts is somehow expected to immediately return to normal life and school upon his parole. The problem is that King’s University College doesn’t recognize the potential disruption this man could cause at its institution.
In the summer of 2013 Omar Khadr will be eligible for parole — and this is where King’s University comes in.
They’ve opened their doors to Khadr, saying that if he were to apply, they would treat his application like any other potential student’s. The controversy over whether Omar Khadr really did kill American Military Medic Sgt.1st Class Christopher Speer has been put on the back burner. Now the debate is about what to do with him once he potentially gains back his freedom.
Protesters are claiming he was a child soldier, and really had no control over what he was taught or what he did. However, he might not be not be the picture of innocence that some make him out to be.
His family line does have some connections with Osama Bin Laden, and his father, Ahmed Said Khadr was on the U.S. list of possible suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
Then there’s the issue of Khadr being sent to one of the world’s most controversial detainment and interrogation facilities, more formally known as Guantanamo Bay, at the young age of 15 in 2002. There, he spent years being abused both verbally and physically alongside other detainees.
It might have slipped King’s mind that war, prison and abuse were major parts of Khadr’s life. Or maybe those are the three aspects of a true survivor that make King’s University College students who they are. To send someone to university who has spent years sitting in a jail cell, supposedly for violent war crimes, is an unsettling thought.
On top of all that, Khadr’s psychological state is likely extremely fragile. People argue that his integration back into society is the first step to his rehabilitation, or that going to school will change his outlook on life and encourage him to move forward and think positively.
Khadr doesn’t have much to think positively about right now.
He’s just been let back into a country with a prime minister who initially stated he would leave Khadr’s case in the hands of the U.S. while Khadr was a minor in Guantanamo. I’m sure Khadr isn’t too pleased with Mr. Harper’s efforts.
To make matters worse, he could be a potential target for any Canadian citizen who believes he is guilty. He could easily become the target of a random act of violence — something universities have enough problems dealing with already.
Even if that isn’t the case, he could be the one aiming the gun. Although Khadr was a child soldier when he committed the crime, and there still is some debate as to whether he knew what he was doing, in the eyes of the law he is still a criminal.
The risks that trail Khadr wherever he goes are too heavy to be carried on the shoulders of our city. If he is released, he would be too much of a potential threat, and not worth admitting into a post-secondary institution. King’s should take a step back and let the proper care, such as a psych evaluation, be given to Khadr before anyone starts talking about school.