Associated Press
This courtroom artist sketch shows Chiheb Esseghaier in a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Esseghaier, a man charged in an alleged al-Qaida-directed plot to attack a Via Rail passenger train was remanded in custody Wednesday after telling the court the Criminal Code is "not a holy book." (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Tammy Hoy)

TORONTO — One of two men accused of plotting with al-Qaida members in Iran to derail a train in Canada became radicalized to the point that his father reached out to a Muslim support group for help and advice, a local religious leader said Wednesday.

Muhammad Robert Heft, president of the Paradise Forever Support Group Inc., a non-profit organization that provides support to Muslims in Canada, said Mohammad Jaser came to him several times citing concerns about the radicalization of his son.

"He came to me about his son saying he how concerned he was getting about the rigidness of his son and his interpretation of Islam. He was becoming self-righteous, becoming pushy, pushing his views on how much they (his family) should be practicing as a Muslim," said Heft.

Comment on this story

Jaser's son, Raed, 35, has been charged along with Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, with conspiring to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group in their plot to derail a train that runs between New York City and Montreal.

Canadian investigators say the men received guidance from members of al-Qaida in Iran. Iranian government officials have said the government had nothing to do with the plot.

"His son was becoming overzealous and intolerant in his understanding of the religion," Heft said. "Those are the telltale signs that can lead into the radicalization process."

The discussions took place between 2010 and 2011, while the father was renting a basement apartment in Heft's home in Markham, Ontario.