Guest Column: Terror’s Virus on the Northern Border

1069by David B. Harris
Special to IPT News
October 7, 2014

Ever since full-blown cases of the disease hit the United States, Canadians have dreaded the contagion’s arrival north of the 49thparallel.

Its effects: blindness and a deadly incapacity to recognize and adapt to reality.

The malady? The White House’s refusal to identify the leading terrorist enemy by name and combatant doctrine.

President Obama began his administration by avoiding counterterror language likely to link Islam with violence. This reflected a civilized and practical impulse to avoid alienating Muslims at home and abroad.

But perhaps influenced by the demonstrable fact that President Obama, as former terror prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy put it, “made Islamic supremacists key administration advisors,” this effort quickly got out of control. Now the White House fetishizes and enforces on its security agencies, a refusal to identify the doctrine underlying the bulk of the world’s terrorism woes: radical Islamism.

Remarkable, considering that Muslims sounded the alarm years ago.

“Obviously not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims,” wrote Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed in a 2004 Al-Sharq Al-Awsatarticle flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Despite this, the Obama White House banned words like “Islamists,” “Muslims” and “jihad” from security documents, even from FBI and other government agencies’ counterterror training manuals.

Lawyer and retired US military intelligence officer Major Stephen C. Coughlin exposed the censorship’s extent at a February 2010 conference. In 2004, he noted, the 9/11 Commission Report made 126 mentions of “jihad,” 145 of “Muslim,” and used the word “Islam” over 300 times. No surprise.

But Washington later purged such terms completely from the FBI counterterrorism lexicon (2008), National Intelligence Strategy (2009) and even the 2010 panel reviewing jihadi Nidal Malik Hasan’s 2009 Fort Hood massacre – except as unavoidable parts of names of terror organizations or the like. The practice seems to continue.

Consequences?

Understanding the threat – extremist Muslims, in this case – requires understanding their doctrine. If terrorists were invoking Christianity – it has happened – security and intelligence organizations would focus on problematic churches and related facilities connected to radical preaching, funding and recruitment. Christian holy literature would be scrutinized, in order to anticipate terrorists’ plans, targets and attack-dates. Redouble the guard on Christmas or Easter? Could atheists, Muslims or Jews be targets? Regardless whether extremists’ interpretations should, in any objective sense, be true or false representations of the ideology in question, serious intelligence must look at these things in order to understand and master the threats posed by all extremist strains of religion or other ideologies. Politicians and the public must discuss them. Public education, transparency, democracy and our defense, demand this. Anything else is misleading, self-deceiving and likely self-defeating.

Northern Exposure

So it was that, three years ago, the Canadian government published the first of its annual series of public threat reports. This straight-talking assessment pinpointed “Sunni Islamist extremism” as a primary menace to Canadians.

But, tragically, the D.C. disease had overtaken Canada’s security bureaucracy by the time August brought the 2014 Public Report On The Terrorist Threat to Canada. This report expunges all direct references to Islamists, other than in terror-organization names.

Take, for example, the latest report’s warning about Canadians joining terror outfits abroad. Gone are terms like “Islamist extremists” and even “violent jihad.” The report’s authors – apparently burdened by “advice” from misguided outreach to Canadian Islamists – slavishly substituted generic terms like “extremist travellers” for language revealing the religious claims, affiliations, motivations and doctrines of our enemies. “Extremist travellers” appears dozens of times to the exclusion of meaningful nomenclature – an editing embarrassment, on top of a national-security one. From the 2014 report:

Europol estimates that between 1,200 and 2,000 European extremist travellers took part in the conflict in Syria in 2013. There appears to be an increase in extremist travellers. This suggests that the threat posed to Europe by returning extremist travellers may be more significant than the threat facing North America because greater numbers of extremist travellers are leaving, then returning to Europe, than are leaving and later returning to North America. This difference between Canada and Europe in numbers of extremist travellers can be attributed to a variety of factors. Regardless, Europe and Canada face a common, interconnected threat from extremist travellers. [Emphasis added.]

In just one paragraph, Canada’s self-censoring report says that many Europeans are “fighting abroad as extremist travellers“; “they attract extremist travellers … and continue to draw European extremist travellers“; there were “European extremist travellers in Syria and other conflict zones”; the “influx of these extremist travellersinto Syria” increases the European terror risk; “an extremist traveller who returned from Syria” allegedly slaughtered several Belgians. (Emphasis added.)

This doubletalk undermines public awareness, public confidence in authorities and the ability of officials and citizens alike to recognize, assess and confront terrorist and subversive enemies and their doctrine.

We saw the absurd far reaches of this self-blinding mentality a few years ago when Canadian police officers at a terrorism news conference thanked “the community” for facilitating an Islamist terrorist take-down. When a journalist asked which community they meant, the officers – not daring to say “Muslim” – all but froze, thawing only enough to become caricatures of stymied stumbling. Because paralyzing PC protocols banned the M-word, the conference ended without the officers having been able explicitly to thank the deserving “Muslim community.”

How has Canada come to this?

Among other sources, Canadian security officials get advice from their federal government’s Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. Prominent member Hussein Hamdani reportedly campaigned to drop language implicating things “Islamic.” Meanwhile, Hamdani, the subject of a just-released report by Canada’s Point de Bascule counter extremist research organization, remains vice-chair of the North American Spiritual Revival (NASR) organization. On its website, NASR boasts – as it has done for years – of sponsoring an appearance in Canada by U.S. Imam Siraj Wahhaj, frequently tagged a radical and a 1993 World Trade Center bombingunindicted co-conspirator. Fellow American Muslim Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, once said of Wahhaj: “He’s the No. 1 advocate of radical Islamic ideology among African-Americans. His stuff is very appealing to young Muslims who are on a radical path.”

Hamdani’s NASR also brought American Imam Ziad Shakir to Canada. His disturbingideology, as I’ve written elsewhere, “was condemned by moderate American Muslim leader and retired U.S. naval Lt. Cmdr Zuhdi Jasser, and by the American Anti-Defamation League.” Some have other concerns about Hamdani.

Now comes word that Hamdani, squired by Angus Smith, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) analyst sometimes linked to the censorship policy, will appear on a Montgomery County, Md. panel tomorrow to enlighten Americans about radicalism and the ISIS terror threat.

Much more here

Justin Trudeau’s Islamist Revival

790_largeby David B. Harris

Nothing says bug-eyed clerical fanaticism more than inviting a hate-spewing Saudi cleric to address your religious revival meeting. But this is part of the under-reported history of the Reviving the Islamic Spirit (RIS) Convention, a conference that Justin Trudeau, a frontrunner in Canada’s Liberal Party leadership race – and son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – will address this weekend in Montreal. It’s also why moderate Muslims and non-Muslims are aghast at the prospect of Trudeau’s presence legitimizing the conference and some of its notables.

Immigration, Infiltration and Canada’s Growing Islamist Threat

by Jerry Gordon and David B. Harris (August 2012)

On December 14, 1999, Ahmed Ressam, an Al-Qaeda trained Algerian Jihadi and resident of Montreal, was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington after he drove off a ferry from Canada with a trunk load of explosives. Thus began the unraveling of the Millennium plot, an attempt by al Qaeda using sleeper cells in the US and Canada, to conduct an attack on the Los Angeles International Airport.

Canada has witnessed its own spectacular Islamist attack plots. On June 2, 2006, counter-terrorism raids in Metro Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario netted 18 suspected Al Qaeda terrorist cell (“Toronto 18”) operatives at several para-military training camps. In Toronto, the suspects were planning to detonate truck bombs, to open fire in a crowded area, and attack the Canadian Broadcasting Centre and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) regional headquarters. In Ottawa, Canada’s Parliament was to be invaded and the Prime Minister of Canada, beheaded. A trial subsequently disclosed significant evidence that resulted in guilty pleas and convictions that were later upheld by an Ontario appeals court in 2011. In April 2004, a Canadian citizen of Lebanese Muslim background firebombed the library of the United Talmud Torahs Jewish School in Montreal, Quebec. This was a clearly Islamist antisemitic attack that sent a fearful message to Canada’s 380,000 Jews.

Then there was the gruesome evidence of honor killings in the Shafia and Parvez cases. The quadruple murder involving the Quebec Afghan Shafia family resulted in the conviction of the father, his second wife and son in a Kingston, Ontario Court in early 2012. In 2007, 16-year-oldAqsa Parvez was strangled by her brother in Mississauga, Ontario, allegedly because of Ms. Parvez’s penchant for Western dress, flaunting Sharia compliance traditions of “modesty.” The Parvez case sparked international outrage about Islamist treatment of women.

We have written extensively on the case of Canadian-born al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo, Omar Khadr, who may soon be an unwelcome returnee in Canada. According to arrangements made between the US State Department and Canadian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Canada seems disposed to consider accepting Khadr’s return to Canada in order to serve the remainder of his sentence. He was sentenced to 40 years at a Guantanamo Tribunal in October 2010 for his act in August 2002 of killing of Sfc. Christopher Speer, a US Army Special Forces medic, after the battle for the al Qaeda bastion of Khost, in Afghanistan.

Then there were the human rights tribunals in Alberta, Ontario and elsewhere. Among other things, these saw free-speech advocate Ezra Levant and Maclean’s magazine pursued for what seemed to most Canadians to have been the reasonable exercise of rights of free expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Levant had published some of the Danish Muslim cartoons in the Western Standard magazine, while Maclean’s had published excerpts from the bestselling book by columnist Mark Steyn, America Alone. Questionable complaints against Levant were laid by a radical imam, and against Maclean’s, by the Canadian Islamic Congress, Muslim Brotherhood-oriented group. While the complaints ultimately did not succeed, the processes involved cast a chilling effect, at least for a time, over free speech in Canada.

Taken together, recent instances of home-grown Islamist terrorism, honor killings and suppression of free speech, can be regarded to varying degrees as byproducts of Canada’s very liberal immigration and multiculturalism policies.

Jerry Gordon:  David Harris thank you for consenting to this interview.

David B. Harris:  Thank you for inviting me

Gordon:  Why do you refer to Canada as Islamism’s “happy hunting ground”?

Harris:  The Islamists have been highly active in infiltrating and penetrating a variety of institutions within Canada, ranging from government and the private sector, through academe and certain police elements, not excluding the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “outreach” function. In recent days, FOX News and other news sources have reported that, through its Embassy in Canada, Iran may be attempting to recruit Iranian Canadians for the purposes of infiltrating government, and terrorism and subversion, some of it targeting the United States. These are disturbing and arresting developments in themselves, but especially striking to those of us who traditionally have been brought up to view Canada as, as the old expression has it, “the peaceable kingdom”.

Gordon:  Has Canada’s peaceable kingdom, its governing structure and multiculturalism given rise to this predicament?

Harris:  I think it has to be conceded even by those who have been among the greatest enthusiasts of multiculturalism – and here I refer to the statist multiculturalist phenomenon as understood in Canada – that multiculturalism has been a serious problem and promises to become an even greater one. In Canada, the state, which is to say, the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments, has been inclined to involve itself, through funding and various other forms of support, in multiculturalist policies and a variety of related initiatives. These, taken together, seem to reinforce the separateness of any number of groups, including most notably those that might be inclined to self-isolate within the larger Canadian community. If we are dealing with certain sorts of radical groups, and the Islamists most emphatically count significantly among these, we find that radical tendencies within these streams will be inclined to be reinforced, rather than to diminish, over time. When one takes into further account the virtually unprecedented and unparalleled nature of immigration in Canada and Canadian immigration policy and approaches, one can see a combination that promises to be all the more difficult in the future for Canada and allies intimately involved with Canada.

Gordon:  How have Canada’s immigration policies aided the rapid growth of its Muslim population?

Harris:  The situation in Canada, especially Islamic radicalism, cannot be understood without registering the fact that Canadian immigration inflows are the biggest per capita of all 193 countries on the planet.

Read more at New English Review