Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.
Keeping Canadians Safe by Tackling Radicalization
by Dr. Keith Martin, P.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca
For immediate release
OTTAWA – Keeping Canadians safe and secure is one of the most important roles of the Federal Government. Under the guise of removing the threat al-Qaida poses to Canadians, billions of dollars are being spent in Afghanistan. The reality is that, according to the Central Intelligence Agency, there are only about 50 to 100 al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan. Their major centre of operations is in Western Pakistan and the organization has no central command and control structure. It is really a loose affiliation of people and groups in many countries with various ideologies grounded in a gross misinterpretation of the Koran.
The much larger threat to us lurks closer to home. When one looks at the Toronto 18, the London subway bombings, the terrorist attacks in Madrid, and of course 9-11 where many of those involved in the attack had spent years living in the United States, it is clear that a far greater threat exists within our own borders. Right-wing anti-government groups and radicalized Islamic youth are a much greater threat to us and live within our borders. They represent a tiny number of people but, as we have seen, can inflict carnage.
Leaders in the Canadian Islamic community are deeply concerned about the radicalization of some members of their youth. Primarily through the internet, a small number of young Muslims are receiving poisonous messages that are goading them into taking up arms against Westerners. They are not driven by poverty or marginalization, but rather through ongoing exposure to destructive ideological diatribes they can access online. Some have gone to countries such as Somalia where they have been trained by groups like Al Shabab to engage in Jihad when they return to their countries of origin. Islamic leaders are reaching out to Canadian authorities for help to stop this. Sadly the Canadian government has done very little to embrace this opportunity to work together for our common security. This failure of inaction is a failure against all Canadians.
There is a solution. The Canadian government must work with moderate Islamic leaders to diffuse this threat. Sheikh Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin is one of those leaders. He has a 12-step de-radicalization program that focuses on creating a counter-narrative to these poisonous diatribes that are on the internet, identifying at risk youth to illustrate to them that murder is a violation of the Koran and God, and ensuring that those suffering from psychiatric illnesses get the medical treatment they need.
The Canadian government must work with Sheikh Amiruddin and other Islamic leaders like him to implement programs that identify at risk youth and de-radicalize them. Over 50 Imams in Canada have already publically supported this initiative. It is time for our government to do the same.
The federal government must also work with members of other communities to help them identify those who are at risk before they pose a danger to society. We saw the devastating effects of fanaticism in the United States that were responsible for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 that killed hundreds of civilians. Until September 11, it was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil in U.S. history.
The time for action is now. The time to reach out is now. We are all Canadians, regardless of where we came from, or what our cultural and religious beliefs are. For the sake of our collective security, let us work with leaders in all communities to ensure that the radicalization of our youth does not occur and attacks are thwarted before they are executed.
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