Searching for a radical solution to Islamic extremism

The Toronto Star – June 26, 2011

Mubin Shaikh, a police insider who infiltrated a group plotting in 2006 to blow up Toronto’s downtown, along with Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a 37-year-old Somalia-born Canadian who has experienced the frontlines of Mogadishu’s relentless war and Kamran Bokhari, a Pakistan-born, U.S.-raised and -educated analyst with an American private sector intelligence firm, attended the Summit Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) in Dublin, Ireland.

Co-sponsored by the Council of Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival, the summit has been designed to probe why young people turn to violent extremism.
90 “formers” — past members of violent groups ranging from neo-Nazis to Islamic extremists to Latin American street gangs — will come together with a hodgepodge of academics and analysts from around the world. They will join the “survivors” — victims of violence or terrorist attacks.

Bokhari believes there is general reluctance in Canada, both within Muslim communities and at the federal government level, to talk openly about the problem. Shaikh’s grievances have been more public. After the Toronto 18 case, he says, he wasn’t prepared for the backlash from many Muslims who regarded him as a traitor.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced a new, five-year program to combat terrorism while commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Air India bombing. The $10-million initiative will focus on anti-terrorism research and conferences, a press release stated.