However it looks like they leaped without looking because Ms. Mohamud has some explaining to do. According to new information first reported by the CBC Ms. Mohamud, when questioned, gave contradictory evidence. The Toronto Star reports on it here. According to the Star, migrant integrity officer Paul Jamieson says in an affidavit that he suspected the woman claiming to be Ms. Mohamud was really her sister.
First of all, the woman bore a family resemblance to Mohamud's passport photo, he said.
As well, a sister Jihan, younger by 10 months, appeared on Mohamud's Canadian immigration application years ago; the woman in Kenya knew Mohamud's basic biographical details, and finally; "in my experience it is common for imposters to be related to the rightful holder of the passport," he said.
Paul Jamieson interviewed the woman three times over a five day period while she was in Kenyan custody. According to Jamieson the woman claiming to be Ms. Mohamud said she was a student at Humber College and named Randy Jackson as one of her professors but he found no such professor listed on the college website. She also could not name the Canadian prime minister or Toronto's mayor and could not name teachers at her 12-year-old son's Toronto school. Also, according to Jamieson, a sample signature differed from the passport and immigration application signatures and the first name she variously spelled Suaad and Suad. She also could not tell what ATS, the courier company that employed her, stood for.
More curious is the woman's inability to name the lake the city of Toronto is located on or what TTC (Toronto Transit Commission, the city's public transit system) stood for even though she took it to work. This failure to name even basic facets of Toronto life after living in the city for ten years does raise flags but this ignorance isn't that uncommon in many of Toronto's insular immigrant communities. There are immigrants who have lived here for years who would be hard pressed to tell you what great lake the city resides on, that is if they can speak the language.
There are other oddities as well. She got her son's birthday wrong; she gave two separate years of her marriage, 1996 and 2006, and couldn't explain the contradiction; she was 6cm or 7cm shorter than what her driver's license states. And these are items Mr. Jamieson states in an affidavit.
The woman claiming to be Suaad Hagi Mohamud presented customer loyalty cards unique to Canada to support her claims that she is who she said she is but this was unconvicing to Mr. Jamieson.
"When an individual gives their passport to someone else to use, they often also provide a package of secondary identity documents," he says. "At the close of our interview, I addressed the person with whom I was speaking as Jihan, and advised her that I believed she was using her sister's passport," Jamieson says. "She smiled briefly, then looked away.
These bits of information were not reported when the Toronto Star first covered the story. The National Post takes the Toronto centric daily to task here. The Post's Jonathan Kay brings the Star's Christopher Hume back down to earth here.
Suaad Hagi Mohamud maintains that she was the one at the airport. But can she be trusted? She initially told the Toronto Star that she is a divorced single mother but now we learn that she is in fact married to a Somali man living in Kenyan who she wed in 2007. She also said that she went to Kenya to visit her mother but now she states that she went to Kenya to visit her husband as well. Oh, and Suaad's husband and mother each want a piece of that $2.6 million lawsuit she filed to the tune of $100,000 each.
Now we come to the part I wanted to get at in the first place. Assuming that Suaad Hagi Mohamud tried to smuggle an imposter into Canada by lending her passport, how common is this practice? Who else is doing it? How do they get their passports back? From what I can extrapolate from Mr. Jamieson's comments this behaviour may be more common than we know. What does it say about these immigrants who have taken a citizenship oath? What does this tell us about how they view Canada? Are we truly the land of trusting fools?
From what we now know let me reconstruct the "crime scene" so to speak. The real Suaad Hagi Mohamud went to Kenya and indeed visited her mother and her husband. She also met her siblings with one of whom she planned to sneak into Canada. This is the one who appeared at the airport and got caught. She was detained for five days by Kenyan officials and interviewed by Canadian officials. They concluded she was an imposter. With passport confiscated she was released to linger in Kenya for three months. The Toronto Star picked up the story and ran with it, eventually relinquishing control of it to ideology, agenda, and editorial bias, pointing an accusing finger at the big bad racist conservative government. Political pressure mounted to get a DNA test from the woman and to bring her back to Canada. This is when the real Suaad Hagi Mohamud appeared. Recall that she was in Kenya for three months. She wasn't in custody all that time. That's why the DNA test was 99.9% in the affirmative.
Seeing an easy and lucrative paycheck an opportunistic lawyer contacted her and took up her case. They filed a $2.6 million lawsuit against the government. However, I suspect, her lawyer was as ignorant of the finer details of her story as was everyone else, going by what he read in the Toronto Star. Now he is in the unanticipated role of playing spin doctor.
The above is all speculative. I don't know how this will play out or what actually happened in Kenya. It may very well be that Suaad Hagi Mohamud was mistaken for an imposter and her lawsuit justified. Her almost complete ignorance of Canada and the Canadian city she lived in for ten years is, sadly, too common a characteristic of many so called "new Canadians", an unsurprising outcome of multiculturalism and the insularity of ethnic enclaves. But it's fun to speculate and assume things, facts be damned. Anyone at the Toronto Star editorial board will tell you the same thing.
Now the Toronto Star has brought in photo experts to salvage what they can from a story that took an unwanted turn. According to them the woman in the photos presented to prove Suaad's identity are the same woman. So, we are now to believe photo experts far removed from the situation instead of the KLM employees who first suspected her, the Kenyan officials who concurred with the suspicion, and the Canadian officials who interviewed her and arrived at the same conclusions. We are to believe Suaad Hagi Mohamud and her husband, two people with incentives to lie, and photo experts living in Canada instead of the evidence provided in affidavits from a man who was actually there, on location, and met the woman, and talked to her.