Facing Jihadi Threats in Canada
"[ISIL and al-Qaeda] continue to appeal to certain individuals in Canada."
"[While some Islamists promote violence online and radicalize their peers, recruit and fundraise] others may consider travelling abroad to join a terrorist group or conduct terrorist attacks themselves."
"[By the conclusion of 2015, roughly 180] individuals with a nexus to Canada [were suspected of being involved in terrorist activities abroad, an increase from 140 the year before]."
"[Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group under Iran's tutelage] remains one of the world's most capable terrorist groups."
"Hezbollah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement. Hezbollah terrorist operations abroad represent a threat to Canadian interests."
2015 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada
"Canadians can be assured that the RCMP is carefully monitoring these individuals who have returned to Canada as it is a top priority."
"[Government is making use of] a number of tools [inclusive of passport revocation]."
Scott Bardsley, press secretary, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale
"It's tremendously difficult to collect credible evidence that would satisfy a Canadian court for prosecution."
"Nobody likes to lose a case, but federal prosecutors seem to be loathe to do anything but an open and shut, iron case."
Larry Brooks, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service counter-terrorism official
"Canada is fundamentally a safe and peaceful nation, but we are not naive about the security issues that dominate the world's attention."
"[Canada's threat level stands at medium; an attack] could occur."
Ralph Goodale, Public Safety Minister
At least two terrorist groups out of the Middle East, both of which, Hezbollah and Hamas, are registered on Canada's list of terrorists, have had a long, infiltrated presence in Canada. What's more they have a surprising level of support among Arab-Canadian Muslims. Flags symbolic of both terrorist groups show up unfailingly at various Muslim-Arab-initiated protests, despite the outlawed status of the two groups.
A new report just released by Canada's public safety minister outlines Canada's "principal terrorist threat", and directly identifies both Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but also identifies Hamas and Hezbollah. Obviously, these groups have reason to feel they can operate within Canada, to recruit and to fundraise without fear of detection, much less repercussion. Canada's intelligence agencies know of their existence and where they pose potential threats but it seems in the interests of not offending the groups among whom they have support, little is done about their presence.
Of those Canadian Muslims who have exited Canada to travel to Islamic 'places of peace', which is Islamspeak for Muslim countries, and those countries engaged in violent jihad, a good many have returned to Canada after their fighting sojourns abroad. Those in the 'extremist travellers' category number 20 percent women who serve as 'brides' for the jihadis, and become trained in fighting as well. Some go abroad with their children in tow.
And some of those children are indoctrinated into conflict themselves, as Islamist-celebrated 'lion cubs' of Islamic State, of Hamas, of Hezbollah who provide the children with miniature-sized uniforms and teach them how to shoot guns, accustoming them to bloodshed initially through the videos of conflict and beheadings, occasionally allowing the children to star in their own roles as executioners.
The report mentioned the manner in which authorities handle jihadi returnees to Canada once their overseas terrorism experiences are behind them. An estimated 60 jihadis have left Syria to reenter Canada, with newfound skills in the craft of terror-conflict, and they set out to indoctrinate, to recruit, to increase the membership of Canadian Muslim men and women eager to become part of the new reality in Islamist jihad.
Where investigative, intelligence and policing authorities come up against a brick wall is providing satisfactory proof of a legal nature acceptable to a Canadian judge that someone with Canadian citizenship had engaged themselves in terrorism in a foreign country where terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL have their base of action.
Thus far in this tense atmosphere of Islamist terrorism, twenty Canadians have been convicted of offences relating to terrorism in the past dozen years with another 21 having been charged and either awaiting trial or being situated on outstanding warrants. The latest such threat, unrecognized until the 11th hour that he was a threat to Canada, was neutralized by police, on the cusp of his plans to use an explosives vest in a busy shopping mall.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang Aaron Driver switches off his video camera in a screen capture of a recording seen during a press conference for what the RCMP are calling a terrorism incident, in Strathroy, Ontario on Thursday, Aug. 11.