National Post’s Jonathan Kay asks how much should the state intervene in Islam’s internal debate?

June 24, 2011

Earlier this month, Jonathan Kay attended a Parliament Hill conference in Ottawa entitled “Terrorism in Canada: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Strategies,” put on by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), featuring prominent terrorism experts from both sides of the border.

In the Canadian context, David Harris, the former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, expressed doubt about whether even limited forms of community “outreach” were viable, given that governments generally have trouble distinguishing radicals from moderates. Naheed Mustafa, a CBC Radio producer and author with extensive knowledge of issues affecting the Canadian Muslim community, also critiqued the current approach – albeit from a different perspective. As she sees it, the constant focus on fixing Islam helps reinforce the incorrect idea “that religiosity is necessary and sufficient to create terrorism.”