So why would a Conservative PM pick a Liberal MP as his point person on the single most important issue of this government?
A huge part of it is just a simple attempt to patronize the Muslim community. Of course anyone with half a brain can see through all the crap, considering every public view ever expressed by Conservatives on this matter have been skewed strongly in favor of pro-American positions. Its similar to people I've heard in the past saying "I can't be racist because I have a ___ (insert appropriate race here) friend". Right now Harper is trying very hard, in urban areas, to find some "friends" of more than just the middle class "mainstream" rural variety.
Conservatives tend to have a very restricted world view. They typically won't read anything they don't care about. Very few have experienced humanities or a liberal arts education. When they take a stand on world affairs, it is usually measured by what the most capitalist nation in the world would say. Their opinions are always tainted with religious, social, fiscal, and ethnic extremism.
When you're a conservative, and you don't care about a people, or a certain part of the world, you really don't bother learning more about it. Open-mindedness is not a conservative trait. The logical conclusion to this is a party which typically elects closed-minded MPs, who then take closed-minded opinions on any public issue - from the environment, to the economy, to world affairs. The Canadian Conservatives are the result - a party with no link to foreign lands (through a clear lack of visible minority MPs, and party faithful), and very little ability to build diplomatic bridges when needed.
The Cons have no-one who can appeal to foreign powers. Now, in a dangerous move for all those involved, Harper has appointed Khan. Khan will be trotted out in front of the public any time the Cons' stand on the Middle East is criticized. This may have an adverse affect on the Liberals. The best bet we Liberals have, is to say that we want to get Canada out of the mess the Cons have gotten us into, hence we are helping them out of a jam (that's our story - let's stick to it). This may make Harper appear to be a "bridge-builder", but it will make his party appear weak, ineffectual, and lacking key components that would make it a stong government.
Harper's gambits over the last several months have always been poised to make him appear more moderate. The thing that Harper may not be counting on, is that the Liberal assault on the Cons in the next election will not be on Harper, but on the ability of the Conservative Party to govern. So far they have only shown incompetence... A party without any effective cabinet minsters or MPs. We might be at a point where the Cons will try to buy floor-crossing MPs from the Liberals, just to fulfill their glaring lack of ability as a government.