The english language media adds that the book comes out Wednesday.... but I haven't seen anything deeper in the reporting than that, compared to what is available in Quebec's french media on the upocming book.
Therefore I've translated two full articles from their original French, to provide more background to this very important story.
From Friday March 16:
PORTRAIT OF 20 ISLAMISTS
Montréalistan builds new portraits of 20 radical islamists in Montreal, at the heart of the terrorist menace.
Who are they? What have they done? Are they dangerous? We discover these Montrealers through their judicial quarrels, their religious beliefs, and also, sometimes, [through] their own testimonials taken from rare interviews obtained after months of effort.
“Some have completed their prison terms and are in the process of returning to Canada”, said the book’s author Fabrice de Pierrebourg.
Like a crime novel
Their portrait is always drawn without complacency: their points of view are often placed in contrast with those of police and judicial authorities. For the great majority of the activists encountered deny their terrorist activities, even when these earned them prison convictions.
The book reads sometimes like a crime novel, other times as an introduction to the terrorist menace here. A troubling menace. Yet this is also a first Quebecois Who’s who of persons associated with “terrorism”.
First encountered at the corner of a street in the Rosemount neighborhood, Fateh Kamel, who had always fled the press, had accepted to confide in Fabrice de Pierrebourg.
The author offers a unique overall blueprint of the ex-con, condemned to 8 years in prison in France, in 2001, for having directed a network that supplied false passports for militant islamists. He would have nothing of “jihadists with long beards, shaggy hair, eyes filled with hate ready to leap upon the first Westerner in sight.”
“It’s Richard Gere and Jesus Christ combined”, says one of his friends about him. After having served a shortened sentence, the 47 year old taxi driver, returned to Montreal, admits [that he finds himself] “pulled between the wish to live the life of an ordinary citizen […] and the wild urge to clean up his reputation”.
The man that Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) describes as “head of a jihad cell” does not accept Ottawa’s refusal to give him a passport, describing himself as “a humanitarian worker”.
On the subject of his years in prison, he says: “The human being is not created to be locked up. But I have grown. I went in like a caterpillar, I came out like a butterfly.”
Hard work to [gain] trust
The author had also met Abou H., true blue salafist imam who, from his mosque on Jean-Talon, describes Quebecois women as perverts and labels non-muslim Quebecois as “miscreants”.
And [de Pierrebourg] dissects the agitated past of Saïd Jaziri, the imam with very controversial positions, well known in Montreal, whom he met on numerous occasions.
He also interviewed, for a year, several investigators, agents and officials implicated in the struggle against terrorism in Canada and in France. Here again, it was a long process to win trust. “You can’t show up and say: give me the list of potential terrorists under surveillance!” he quips.
Fabrice de Pierrebourg used more than 300 pages of confidential documents from Canadian secret services during his investigation. These documents, which he usually received censored and [blacked out], were obtained by virtue of the Law on access to information.
Also from Friday March 16:
Welcome to Montréalistan
Thirty Montreal islamists considered as potential terrorists are “actively under surveillance, followed or listened to”, by the police, reveals the book Montréalistan, which comes out next week.
Considered as a potential menace to the nation’s security, these Montreal radicals are followed by teams of stalkers, filmed by hidden cameras or put under electronic eavesdropping 24 hours out of 24.
Following his field research,… Journal de Montréal journalist Fabrice de Pierrebourg warns Montrealers that they are wrong to believe themselves sheltered from terrorism.
“All the ingredients of radical Islamism are present in Montreal, says the author. A good number of key people in international Islamic terrorism are based or have lived in Montreal.”
From charismatic ideologues to soldier underlings, going through forgers, recruiters of potential martyrs, purveyors of money, etc.
Until now, the plots planned here had aimed at targets elsewhere. The city of Roubaix and the Paris metro, in France, in the 1990s. And more recently, the Los Angeles airport, in the United States, whose intercepted attempt in 1999 earned a prison term of 22 years for Montrealer Ahmed Ressam.
The enigmatic Fateh Kamel
The author has also succeeded in meeting the alarming persons living in Montreal. Among them: Fateh Kamel, presumed overseer of Ahmed Ressam many years ago. Kamel had played a “central role in the wave of terrorist acts” in France during the 1990s, according to CSIS. He had been described as an “executive in international terror […] whose boss was none other than Osama ben Laden.”
Back in Montreal after leaving prison in France in 2005, the man condemned for terrorist acts earns his living at the wheel of a taxi, without being recognized by his Montreal clients.
Montreal, land of welcome
“Montreal is a haven, a logistical base for planning, preparing and financing terrorist attacks, says the journalist. We have the belief that no one would want to do us harm because we think of ourselves as kind.” But it is not the case, as is testified in a “top secret” report from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), of which he obtained a copy. “For the year 2005, they say they dismantled 12 terrorist plots”, reports Mr de Pierrebourg.
The odds of Canada being made a target for terrorist acts “increases from day to day”, according to experts quoted by the journalist, who has filed a shocking news story on the many security problems at the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport [in Montreal], last fall.
Elsewhere, the Montrealistan inquiry tries to sound another serious warning about security.
“For a long time, the police and justice authorities from here did not take the radicals seriously”, emphasizes the [writer, of Parisian origin], marked by the attacks that killed dozens in Paris during the 1980s and 1990s.
Another factor: the French language attracts more francophone immigrants from North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) to Montreal than anywhere else in Canada.