When a country produces its own homegrown terrorists, it’s always a disaster and shameful for such a country. Following the arrests of 17 would-be terrorists in Toronto this past week, the media devote lots of time to pundits and experts who try to find out why Canadians, or people who came to Canada when they were five years old, would turn against their own country in such a barbaric way.
Islam, in itself, is a peaceful religion, but it is used by fanatics as a means to recruit people to commit terrorist acts. Just as Catholics are shocked and aghast when a priest is found to have committed terrible acts, such as sexually abusing a child, Muslims must show that they are offended by terrorist acts committed in the name of their religion. While a large number of Muslims in the West condemn terrorism, there are an almost equally large number of Muslims who either tacitly condone such barbarism or even support them in some way.
The press conference in Toronto, where Muslims and Muslim leaders had a chance to meet with the chief of police of Toronto, was, sadly, an example of the latter rather than the former. Muslims wanted to know of the police chief what he intended to do to protect the Muslim community in Toronto, and not what he planned to do for all residents of the city. Amidst the questions, which revolved around this common theme, one person stood out: an engineer who works for an auto company and who immediately let loose an anti-American tirade. Thankfully, he was cut off before he could do even more damage.
Only the most narrow-minded among us would paint all Muslims with the same brush. There is good and bad in any group of people, regardless of religion, race or origin. I still have fond memories of a group of truckers in Toronto who were all devout Muslims from Somalia. We’d spend hours at the local coffee shop discussing everything under the sun.
Right after 9/11, we had long discussions about terrorism and its connection to Islam into the wee morning hours. Those Somali truck drivers were as outraged at the events of the time as any other American or Canadian. One of them kept saying, “If you kill only one person, it’s as if you kill all of humanity.” Indeed, this is what it says, more or less, in the Koran.
But in the same coffee shop, there was also another Somali, with a degree in philosophy, according to some who knew him, who would sing a different tune: “America and the West are evil and need to be fought all the way!” In terms of immigration, it goes without saying that Canada can count its blessings for having such people as those truck drivers settle in Canada, but as for that “philosopher”, he should have been stopped at the border and sent back straight away.
It is people like that philosopher who recruit young people for their cause. In the group of 17 arrested last week, one man by the name of Jamal stands out. At 43, he’s the oldest in the group and most likely the “brain” behind that cell. He is also the one who was not born in Canada, but found his way here some time ago.
People like that seek out the impressionable young to brainwash them. If that’s indeed the case, it is safe to assume that these 16 young people might have never been drawn into radical Islamism and terrorism if Canada’s immigration officials had not fallen asleep at the switch and had rejected his application.
When people say that the Liberals and their lax or non-existent enforcement of immigration laws are to blame for what is happening now, Liberals and others on the left are quick to jump in and point to the age of those arrested. “They were born here, or they were five years old when they came to Canada. That was before Chrétien was prime minister,” they say.
This is true, of course, but that does not change the fact that the people who infect such adolescents with murderous ideology have entered Canada only over the last five to ten years – in other words, during those years when Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were in power and flouted most, if not all, proper rules under Canada’s immigration laws in their quest for votes from ethnic communities.
Whether or not they realized this, they actually did themselves and the Liberal Party a lot of harm, because a growing number of immigrants are not too happy with the sort of people who have landed in Canada on a Liberal ticket. A young student from Pakistan in his early twenties, with whom I also spent many hours discussing the politics of Canada and the rest of the world, actually left Canada again after several years in the country, because, according to him, he was utterly disgusted with the Liberal approach to immigration, and he simply did not like what he saw.
If Somalis and Pakistanis are unhappy about the current state of immigration to Canada, one can only wonder what “native born” Canadians must be thinking.
It is so ironic, really, that homegrown terrorism in Canada should have become such a hot issue within barely a month of the U.S. State Department’s publication of a report that labeled Canada a “haven for terrorists” due to the “liberal immigration system that allowed terrorists to infiltrate the country.” (The existence of this report is now being denied by some Liberals – the same ones who only a month ago railed against the U.S. government for issuing the report in the first place)
In light of what we know now, it should have been worded more correctly as saying that Canada is a haven for terrorists due to the “liberal immigration system that allowed radicals and fundamentalists to infiltrate the country for the sole purpose of recruiting young Canadians of the Muslim faith for jihad.”
Many Muslims have found a new home and life in Canada, and they have accomplished a lot. They have become good Canadian citizens who enjoy being part of Canadian society and the Canadian way of life. Immigration of such people is good for Canada, as many of them tend to be engineers, scientists or academics. But we need to draw a line between them and Islamists, that is, those who propagate an extremist and fundamentalist ideology of hate and murder. It is those that Canada needs to keep out. Unfortunately, the Liberals failed to do so miserably. We can only hope that the new government will do a better job at finding those who are already in Canada and having them deported as well as at separating the wheat from the chaff at the border.