Responding to: Radical Islam, Canada-style
Original Article By: David Frum – October 24th, 2014 http://bit.ly/1wtEC5J
In light of the two separate attacks that occurred in Montreal and Ottawa earlier this week, significant speculation and discussion has focused on Canada’s national security. Canadian citizens have had been rudely awakened to the fact that their country is not immune to the types of ideologically motivated attacks that have been seen in the neighbouring U.S.A. David Frum’s article as read on Maclean’s website attempts to provide the reader with some valuable context regarding the individuals responsible for the two separate attacks mentioned above. In addition, the article gives information on persons of similar circumstance that had their plan of derailing a passenger train foiled prior to conception in April of 2013.
The article begins with a premonition delivered to the Canadian Senate by the country’s head of security. The address warned against the increased likelihood of smaller-scale terrorist activities being conducted against unpredictable targets. Without spending too much time dwelling on the specifics of both attacks mentioned above, it is worth noting that they could both be considered small in scale and perpetrated against unpredictable targets. While some may have initially cast this warning off as paranoia based propaganda (communication designed to elicit an emotional response leading to change), there does appear as though there was some validity to the concern brought before the Canadian senate.
In addition to being a very recent and traumatic event, the article is also relevant given the topic of worldviews that was recently covered in my Religious Studies 349 course. As the concept was defined there, a worldview can be seen as either a roadmap, or a controlling vision for one’s life. The latter definition allows for less individual choice, and a more coherent group ethos (characteristic spirit of a culture). Regardless of how one’s worldview can best be defined, it will inherently aim to create religious and/or political commitment. The discussion of worldviews is always a pertinent topic when addressing the concept of “radical Islam” (as referred to in the article).
Without providing a concrete definition of what exactly constitutes “radical Islam”, the reader is directed towards blaming this “specific” worldview for the incidences of violence that occurred in Montreal and Ottawa earlier this week. In addition, it is suggested that radical Islam is to blame for the majority of political violence that has occurred or been plotted in Canada since 2001. While it would be foolish to deny the connection between these attacks and Muslim extremist positions, we must remember the context within which these incidents occur. Islam is the second largest religion in the world, and it would be an act of extreme prejudice and paranoia to suspect that all proponents of this religion share the extremist position.
The article suggests that the marginalized individuals in society may be more easily motivated to action by radical Islamic propaganda compared to their more well off counterparts. Perhaps “radical Islam” is seen as a convenient alternative to poor circumstances in life. If this is true, providing assistance to individuals identified as marginalized may be more effective than attempting to track those who have already become radicalized.