Sourcing Out Terrorism in Canada
"Since their emergence in the 1980s, environmentalist-motivated incidents have been slowly increasing as a proportion of overall terrorist activity."
"This trend shifted, however in 2010-15, when religious attacks emerged as the most prominent type of terrorism, along with pockets of anarchist and supremacist activity."
"No organizations of the same scale [Front de liberation du Quebec/Sons of Freedom] have been active in Canada's recent history. Rather, incidents in Canada represent groups of individuals who come together for a single attack, or individuals who share a common ideology."
"As Canada and other countries around the world take action to address the activities of terrorist travellers, individuals who are unable to travel to conflict areas could feel a heightened motivation to carry out an attack in their country of origin, including Canada."
Study, Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society
"Rather than reflecting broader motivational trends, these distributions [high proportion of cases with no motive identified] may reflect a tendency for some groups to advertise their motives more explicitly than others, or certain groups to have better success at evading detection following incidents."
Professor Daniel Hiebert, University of B.C., study principal investigator
This study, prepared for the 2016 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, commissioned by the federal government, has led its researchers to conclude that 29 percent of terrorist incidents were religiously motivated, committed between 2010 and 2015. Another seven percent of incidents were recognized as anarchist motivated, while three percent were given the category of supremacist in nature and origin. The bulk of terrorist attacks, at 61 percent, were classified as unknown for their motivation.
The study states that all religious terrorism dating back to 2001was recognized to have been "motivated by jihadist beliefs". (But one mustn't link that by prefacing 'jihadist' with Islamist.) A conclusion that should surprise no one. Where the surprise comes in is that huge bloc of 61 percent where the motivation for the events remained unsupported by any type of conclusion as what caused them. It also seems a little far-fetched, given the propensity of government agencies and the news media to be reluctant to name terrorism for what it is, and its proponents for what they represent.
There have been a number of well-recognized plots that were apprehended by security and intelligence agencies in the country before their plans could be carried through. There were also the commission of violent Islamic State-inspired deadly attacks, one of which was an audacious and amazingly effective attack by a lone gunman on Parliament Hill, in the wake of the gunman shooting to death a military reserve guardsman standing sentry at the national war memorial a stone's throw from Parliament.
At least the study's principal investigator had the good sense to urge caution in reading the results arrived at, given the large number of instances lacking identification of motive. But rather than subscribe to his recommendation that groups themselves lacked the will to identify themselves and their actions it makes eminently greater sense to scrutinize the unwillingness of government and media to zero in on Islamist jihadis as perpetrators of violent action and destabilization, a denial that none of this has anything to do with Islam, a 'religion of peace'.
Europe too, is extremely concerned over the large numbers of Muslims that have migrated out of their Muslim-majority countries to settle across Europe since the continent and some countries in particular; France, Belgium, Norway, Germany and Britain as example and the United States in North America, have experienced far more Islamist violence resulting from the large numbers they have absorbed. And it is those large numbers, assertive in their entitlements, representing a restive, potentially threatening demographic, that restrains government from citing Islam as a cause for fear of generating even greater threats.
Since, in Canada, the threats from the Muslim community focus for the time being on the much smaller Jewish-Canadian community, and 'activists' in sympathy with the Palestinian 'cause' against the 'occupier', requiring 'resistance' embarking on a deep-rooted anti-Semitism, seek to slander and delegitimize Israel, while agitating on university campuses and denigrating and threatening Jewish students, the concern is not as large yet as when the general indigenous community comes under threat.
In and of itself, the study which sets out to perform an analysis of a database of terrorism and extremism incidents, examined identifiable incidents back to 1960, encompassing the Animal Liberation Front and on up to vandalism at two Ontario mosques in the wake of the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris. That far greater incidents of attacks and vandalism occur toward Jewish targets becomes a non-issue. As in Europe, such incidents come at the hands of racist Muslims.
Professor Hiebert, the study's lead author, is a geographer, his profession is not known to study terrorism and why he was chosen to lead the study is yet another puzzle in the results so far known. He undertook to distinguish between acts of terrorism from the categories of violent extremism and hate crimes. Why this should be is strange indeed, since there are definite links in many instances with all three.
The study did point out the emerging trend of overseas terrorist attacks committed by Canadians of Islamist persuasion, particularly since 2013. Most, it was pointed out, were committed by terrorists "affiliated with jihdist-motivated organizations". In good conscience, an inescapable conclusion. The Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre singled out the Islamic State group for its success in persuading, through its social media links, Muslim Canadian youth to join its jihadist movement.
A special nod was given to the future and what it may portend as Canadian extremists determined to travel abroad to join jihad in the Middle East, North Africa or South Asia see their attempts foiled and turn instead to expressing their belief in their sacred obligation to Islam to engage in jihad, making their mark right here in Canada.
Ottawa Citizen A tourist shot this photo of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau during his attack near Parliament Hill.