Islamophobia is often a byproduct of media reports of homegrown terrorism

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      Expect the recent CBC News report that two Canadians were part of a jihadist attack in Algeria to set off a new wave of Islamophobia in right-wing media outlets.

      That's despite a growing evidence that politics, not religion, is often the primary force driving young people in the West to join violent Islamist groups.

      Two 24-year-old men from London, Ontario—Xris Katsiroubas and Ali Medlej—were among the extremists who died in an assault that killed 37 workers at a gas plant in Algeria.

      Katsiroubas reportedly converted to Islam from the Greek Orthodox Church.

      Last night on CBC TV, the former deputy head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Ray Boisvert, explained to Peter Mansbridge that homegrown terrorism is not isolated to any one ethnic or religious community.

      Boisvert pointed out that these young extremists are attracted to violence for many reasons, ranging from an adrenaline boost to carving out an identity. They also have a religious and political motivation, but in Boisvert's view, "it's mostly political."

      This has also been demonstrated in research by Britain's intelligence agency, MI5, which was highlighted in Doug Saunders's 2012 book The Myth of the Muslim Tide. 

      After studying several hundred people associated with violent extremism including suicide bombing, Mi5 concluded that they fit no single demographic profile and most were "religious novices".

      "Rather than intense monastic religious devotees, they tend to be non-faithful individuals who are drawn to radical peer groups for political or personal, but not religious reasons," Saunders wrote.

      Richard Reid, the notorious British shoe bomber who tried to blow up an American Airlines flight in 2002, was of mixed white and Jamaican heritage. He reportedly converted to Islam while in jail for theft. This came after his father told him that Muslims get better food behind bars.

      Meanwhile, surveys have shown that Muslim youths across Canada sometimes feel under siege whenever there's an upswing in concern over Islamic radicalism or a rise in Islamophobia.

      Jasmine Zine, an associate professor of sociology at Wilfred Laurier University, noted last year that many of the Muslim youths she has interviewed have reported a feeling of being under surveillance. She emphasized in her presentation to the W2 Media Café that their preferred tool of political resistance is artistic expression.

      Of course, these nuances will probably escape the talking heads on the Sun News Network and The Roy Green Show.

      If the past offers any lessons, they're likely to seize onto the latest news of homegrown terrorism to call for a curtailment of civil liberties while promoting a fear of Muslims.

      Ironically, Saunders reported that Muslims themselves have often been "the most effective forces" in combatting terrorist movements.

      "In Britain, London's Metropolitan Police successfully purged the Finsbury Park mosque of al Qaeda–linked sympathizers and activists by working closely with Salafist groups prevalent in the community," he wrote in The Myth of the Muslim Tide. "Scotland Yard found that the Salafists (who seek a theocratic Muslim state through political means) had both the most detailed knowledge of fellow immigrants who were susceptible to terrorist radicalization and also the strongest determination to keep violent and jihadist tendencies out of their mosque."

      Somehow, I doubt this will get mentioned in any rants by Ezra Levant.




      Apr 2, 2013 at 1:49pm

      I'm concerned about how "Aryan white power" groups might produce violent extremists. Does that make me Aryanophobic?

      I'm concerned about how certain Christian sects might teach members that non-Christians are purely evil. Does that make me Christophobic?

      Does my concern about the potential for terrorists to grow within the Islamic community make me Islamophobic?

      At what point, in Charlie Smith's mind, is rational thought immediately translated as racist phobia?

      I despise Muslims who practice violence. Charlie would probably put the period after "Muslims" and condemn me for racism.

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      Apr 2, 2013 at 11:25pm

      This is a very good article, but Doug Saunders' summary of the assistance given by the Metropolitan Police to forces in the Muslim community who ousted Abu Hamza al-Masri and his supporters from Finsbury Park Mosque is confused.

      This successful intervention involved an alliance with Muslim Brotherhood sympathisers, not Salafis. An alliance with the latter was involved in countering al-Qaeda supporters who were trying to take over Brixton Mosque.

      Bob Lambert, who headed the Muslim Contact Unit at Scotland Yard, has written about this in his book Countering Al-Qaeda in London: Police and Muslims in Partnership.

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      Apr 3, 2013 at 9:02am

      Glad to see Ezra Levant's name here. He's the one commentator in Canada who's not afraid to tell the truth about the "media Party" of which Charlie smith is a member. Charlie Smith is an example of political correctness, not good journalism.

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      not afraid of truth

      Apr 4, 2013 at 11:08am

      Utter apologist crap from C. Smith. Islamism which is the root of Jihadistic terrorism ignored by political correctness BS. See this interview by Tarek Fatah for the real story of what goes on in the Mosques:
      What do you think is in the rice crispies? By teh time Canadians wake up it'll be too late.

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      Apr 5, 2013 at 8:16pm

      The media is responsible for dehumanizing Muslim people with their lies and omissions of the truth of what really happened on 9/11. This was obviously a false flag operation and had nothing to do with 19 young Arab amateurs and a boogie man. The left media is just as retarded as the right on these MI6, Al CIA da, Mossad Operations.

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      Anon 1962

      Apr 6, 2013 at 8:18am

      Right, it's the reporting of the Muslim violence that creates a fear of Muslims, not the actual violence that they commit on a grand scale in many countries throughout the world (sarc).

      Maybe if we didn't talk about it and pretend that we don't have a huge problem on our hands it will all go away like it did in Europe. Oh, wait a minute. Their problems only keep getting worse.

      I know I feel a lot safer knowing that CSIS monitors mosques and the hate spewed by some imams. Anyone who listens to the media coming out of Arab and Muslim countries knows that racism, Christian and Jew-hatred, homophobia, the subjugation of women etc. are the norm and we are accepting immigrants fed this diet of hatred en masse and money to build mosques from totalitarian regimes and the influence that comes with it etc.

      Problems like we have never faced before are coming to Canada, violence like we have never seen in this country before. And I for one would gladly give up some of my civil liberties to know that my kids, family and friends will be safe.

      Sorry if some Canadian Muslims don't like it. But I a sure they are used to having restricted freedoms anyways considering the repressive regimes they all come from.

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      Apr 8, 2013 at 11:32am

      Dividing religion from politics is like dividing the wheel from the tire. You *can* discuss them as separate things. However, when the jobs in government and the politcal agenda of the day are being influenced by rants from the pulpit, or inside the madrassas, then it's perfectly fair to conflate them.

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