Concerns over potential relocation of the MEK members to Canada has been on the rise. Regardless of the group’s violent acts against Iranian people, regarding the previous experiences of France, Iraq and Albania in hosting the group, Canada should be aware of the problems it will face with.
in 1986 France’s Prime Minister Jacques Chirac evicted the MEK out of France. Massoud Rajavi and approximately five to ten thousand MEK members were received by the Iraqi government. Rajavi moved to Iraq –which was then fighting Iran– and set up a base on the Iranian border.
As Saddam’s private army, the MEK collaborated with former Iraqi dictator for spying and launching cross border operations against Iran and then for suppressing Iraqi Shiites and Kurds’ uprisings. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein, the newly established Iraqi government as well as the Iraqi nation did not want the Cult of Rajavi in their soil. The group had occupied the land, named Camp Ashraf, which originally belonged to Iraqi farmers of Diyala province.
Iraqi authorities made efforts to convince the MEK leaders to leave their territory peacefully, but they clashed with Iraqi security forces who wanted to build a guard post inside Camp Ashraf. The result was violence. Massoud Rajavi ordered the unarmed MEK members to resist Iraqi soldiers not allowing them inside the camp. Nouri al-Maliki, the then prime minister of Iraq – whose ambassador to the US called the group “nothing more than a cult” – insisted it leave the country.
Last month, the same scene was repeated in Albania. The Albanian state Police tried to enter the group’s camp in Manez named Ashraf 3, residents of the camp were ordered not to allow the Police to touch their computers –their main tools to fight the Iranian government. The Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, in an interview for German network Der Spiegel, said that the Mujahideen cannot use Albania to fight against Iranian government. Rama said that currently Albania is being “used as a trench in a war that is not ours,” warning that if the MEK insists on fighting Iran, “they must leave Albania.”
As a country that still hosts the MEK’s main headquarters in the suburb of Paris, Auver Sur d’Oise, France has witnessed the most violent scenes from the MEK members and sympathizers. In June 2003, after the group’s base was raided by the French Police and Maryam Rajavi was arrested under the order of Frech judiciary, the group followers were ordered to commit self-immolations to protest the arrest of their she-guru. Several MEK members set themselves on fire in 6 European cities. Two women died of self-immolations.
The Iranian Canadian Congress is truly concerned about the probable risks that the Canadian might encounter in case of the MEK’s immigration to Canada. “The MEK organization’s history and actions have raised significant alarm within the community”, the ICC’s Vice President, Mona Ghassemi wrote in a letter to Canadian Immigration Minister.