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February 7, 2005 -
Canadian Down Syndrome Society horrified
by murder of young man with Down syndrome

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is deeply appalled at the use of a person with Down syndrome as a suicide bomber during the recent Iraq elections. Amar Ahmed Mohammed, a 19-year-old man with Down syndrome was murdered on January 30, 2005. According to Iraq's interior minister quoted in the Associated Press, insurgents against the Iraq election strapped explosives to the young man's chest and directed him to walk towards a polling booth. Apparently Mr. Mohammed triggered the bomb before he reached the intended target killing only himself. It appears his selection was opportunistic, and that this young man was a victim of abuse, apparently due to his intellectual difference.

This tragic international matter received very little coverage by Canadian news media.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable Pierre Pettigrew has publicly congratulated Iraq on the fact of their free elections. In the CDSS we believe it would be important for him to also publicly acknowledge the price paid by some such as this young man, to achieve this result.

The fact that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, publish that they "develop and implement strategies to promote the Government of Canada's agenda abroad: global peace and security, prosperity and employment for Canadians. We also work to better worldwide understanding of Canada, our values, our culture and our capabilities." .. reinforces and highlights the need for such a public comment by our Federal Minster NOW.

In the view of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, the government of Canada must take a stance on this callous event and make this stance a public notification. If we do not clearly express our disgust and intolerance for these actions to the international community, we are not doing what we can to prevent this type of act from happening again.

Further details of the tragedy can be found at the link to the
Washington Post coverage from January 31 of this story.

The CDSS has formally requested the involvement and voice of the Canadian Government in this matter on an immediate basis.

For additional comments, please contact Elizabeth Dolman, Executive Director, Canadian Down Syndrome Society at 1-800-883-5608. Additional information about the CDSS is available at www.cdss.ca

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