I thought this was a joke. This guy literally lives down the street from me. Video on the link below.
August 26, 2010 7:01pm
London Free Press
A former Canadian Idol contestant who is also a St. Thomas doctor living in Byron has been arrested as part of an investigation into a terrorist ring that also saw two arrests in Ottawa Wednesday.
Khurram Sher's journey from reality-show joke to coveted doctor to suspected extremist ended Thursday in an upscale west London neighbourhood with his arrest in a sweeping terror bust that's sending shockwaves nationwide.
The 28-year-old pathologist, hired just weeks ago to work at a St. Thomas hospital, was arrested outside his Bramblewood St. home in Byron at about 7:30 a.m. as he pulled out of his driveway.
Sher was slated to work Thursday, he started the job on Aug. 3, hired out of McGill University's medical school but didn't show up, said Paul Collins, president and CEO of St. Thomas-Elgin General hospital.
As news of his arrest spread through the national and international media, the colleagues so excited by Sher's arrival just weeks earlier were grappling with disbelief.
"It's very surprising to be suddenly caught up in this," Collins said.
Though he hadn't yet met Sher, Collins says he got the sense the McGill-trained doctor was fitting in well.
"I think everybody was quite happy that we were able to recruit him," Collins said. "There was no indication at all . . ."
Collins said the hospital had not been contacted by police. On Thursday afternoon, hospital officials called the RCMP to confirm their suspect is the man who'd been working in pathology in St. Thomas since early this month.
Interestingly, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario notes Sher was hired to St. Thomas's "department of anatomical pathology" under the supervision of Dr. Fasahat Hussain Wasty, its pathology chief.
Public tax records show the home where Sher had been living and was arrested is co-owned by Fasahat Hussain Wasty. The other co-owner listed on the tax records is Zeba Umbareen Hashmi.
The home, a grey-brick one-storey house on a quiet, high-end street, is valued at $252,000.
A vehicle in the home's driveway Thursday bore Quebec licence plates and a St. Thomas hospital parking pass.
Collins is asking his staff to handle the situation calmly.
"With our community internally we want to ensure (it's clear) these are allegations and we must live up to our values as a hospital in terms of compassion and respect and not jumping to conclusions," he said.
Sher auditioned in 2008 for Canadian Idol, singing -- possibly in jest -- his version of Avril Lavigne's Complicated . The bizarre dance moves that accompanied his off-key rendition included the robot and the moonwalk. He told the judges he arrived in Canada from Pakistan in 2005 and likes hockey, music and acting.
While living in Montreal, Sher played in the Muslim Ball Hockey League, where he's listed as a forward who "virtually knows every deke in the unwritten encyclopedia of dekes," according to a "scouting report" on the website, written in 2007.
"When playing, his hockey stick develops into his arm," the report says.
"Other than his fancy jaw-dropping moves, he has a quick and precise wrist-shot, great ball control and good hand-eye coordination."
His NHL equivalent is listed as Jaromir Jagr.
The league's "Khurram Sher Award for Scoring Leader" is given to "the most offensively-inclined player in the league."
"Despite being labeled a puck hog and a defensive liability, Sher has improved those aspects of his game and thus may very well be the most valuable player in the league this season," the scouting report states. He was named playoff MVP and team MVP in 2007.
Neighbours on quiet Bramblewood St. said Sher moved to Byron about a month ago.
"We both moved in around the same time and I first saw him on Tuesday when we were both getting our mail at the same time," said one neighbour, who didn't want her name used.
"He said he'd just moved to London from Montreal and that it was nice to meet me. He seemed really nice."
Sher's house had previously been occupied by a tenant with pitbulls and people were seen coming and going in the last month with renovation tools.
"I think they were replacing the floor in the house," said Pat Graham, whose lives next door to Sher.
"We just had a two, three minute talk to say hello and welcome him to the neighbourhood. This doesn't scare me because nobody's guilty until they're convicted."
Sher mentioned to one neighbour that his family would be moving into the Bramblewood St. home soon.
"This is such a surprise because there was nothing strange in that house," said another neighbour. "The idea that something like this is happening next door is not comforting."
Sher is married. He reportedly has three children, ages 4, 2 and eight months.
Khurram Sher was among a group of doctors who in 2007 signed a letter to Stockwell Day, the public safety minister at the time, protesting the treatment of three men being held on security certificates in a Kingston prison.
Sher is also listed on the editorial board of a McGill campus publication called Radix, an interfaith student newsletter overseen by the McGill Chaplaincy.