Stop quibbling over terror profiling
by Salim Mansur
The arrests last week in Ottawa and London, Ont., of four of eight suspects allegedly linked with the global Islamist movement reveal again how vulnerable Canada and other democracies are to Islamist "homegrown" terrorism.
The arrested suspects — Canadian Muslims with college degrees, of Pakistani and Middle Eastern origin, in their 20s and two of them trained as medical professionals (Dr. Khurram Sher, 28, and X-ray technician Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26) — fit the profile of a segment of young Muslim males in the West embracing the terror-filled "jihadi" ideology of Islamism, and allegedly prepared to kill and maim their fellow-citizens.
These alleged terrorists are not emerging from the ranks of the desperate poor, hungry and homeless. They come mostly from the aspiring middle class background of immigrant families, and their education ironically makes them readily susceptible to the sort of identity politics that thrives on the cocktail of Third World resentments and grievances.
As I have written on numerous occasions, Islamism is a political ideology dressed in religious garments. It is a modern phenomenon — a totalitarian movement alongside the two other similar movements from the last century, fascism and communism — and appealing to those college educated Muslims who feel acutely distressed by the disparity between their native culture and the modern West.
Islamism appeals to the wounded pride of Muslims, and it offers a hodge-podge of incoherent explanations to dress their wounds by blaming the West for ills of the Muslim world.
This is the politics of Muslim victimhood. It blames the West, deemed rapacious, and those Muslims considered misguided, or worse, who have the temerity to embrace modernity, for the faults of Muslim failure as an individual, or as a people collectively.
From blaming the West — or Jews in the Middle East and Hindus in South Asia — to making war against the West is the journey Islamism prepares for young Muslim males like Khawaja Momin, who was convicted under Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act in 2009.
There will be more such cases, and the terrible thought is some of these homegrown terrorist plots may succeed as it happened with the July 2005 London, U.K., bombings, or get barely foiled as were the attempted attacks in July 2007 in Glasgow and London (those arrested in this episode of terrorism were all Muslim doctors), or the failed bombing in New York's Times Square by Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American.
There is ample evidence, if proof is still needed, that homegrown terrorists in the post-9/11 world are predominantly Muslim males primed by Islamist ideology.
Since Muslims have failed to effectively counter Islamism, it is long overdue for governments in the West to implement more robust measures of information gathering about that segment of the Muslim immigrant population most susceptible to Islamist ideology.
In other words, time to quibble over "profiling" is long past. This is not a matter of becoming "illiberal," for liberalism, which I hold dearly — as I do my faith tradition as a Sunni Muslim — is not a suicide pact.
Our common security requires a clear understanding of where our threat emanates from, to focus on that threat with necessary resources, and to remove blinders of political correctness that only weakens our efforts in defeating Islamism.