Montreal Gazette – September 8, 2011
A majority of Canadians say society has become less tolerant of various ethnicities and faiths since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a new study shows. Over half of Canadians surveyed in an Ipsos Reid poll for Postmedia News and Global TV said that Muslims are discriminated against more now than they were 10 years ago. However, Canadian Muslim groups say the impact of 9/11 was good and bad on the Muslim community.
“On the good side, there has been the ability for Canadians to access their fellow citizens with Muslim backgrounds, to get to know them more, and essentially have the ability to get accurate information about Islam in the Muslim community which has been a great thing for those who want to have that information,” said Kashif Ahmed, a national board member with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Other findings include: 74% of Canadians agree that “our society has become less tolerant of others since the 9/11 terrorist attacks”; 60% think that Muslims in Canada are discriminated against more than before the attacks; and 59% say the 9/11 attacks have given them a negative impression of certain ethnicities and religious faiths.
The National Post – September 12, 2011
A majority of Canadians believes conflict between Western nations and the Muslim world is “irreconcilable,” according to a new national survey that revealed a strong strain of pessimism in the country. The survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted over three days for the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, showed 56% of respondents see Western and Muslim societies locked in an unending ideological struggle, while about 33% held out hope the conflict will eventually be overcome.
Another 11% of those polled didn’t answer the question. ACS executive director Jack Jedwab said the finding has “serious ramifications” for Canadian policies aimed at bridging divides between cultures, which are based on the premise that citizens believe significant progress in mending such religious and cultural conflicts is achievable.
The results also confirm the findings of other recent surveys highlighting Canadians’ ongoing anxiety about the state of security in the post-9/11 world and their deep doubts about whether the long and bloody war in Afghanistan has done much to thwart the threat of terrorism.
The National Post – May 28, 2011
Peter Beyer, a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, has conducted a study to gather insights from about 350 second-generation Canadians aged 18 to 30 through 36 focus groups in Sydney, N.S., Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. Muslim young adults attributed the discrimination they felt to racial or cultural prejudices rather than religious issues, saying they felt they could follow their faith unfettered in Canada. “They feel that they’re perfectly free to practise Islam here in Canada, unlike some of the Christians who feel that their ability to practise their religion is restricted in this country,” Prof. Beyer said. “But they did feel Islamophobia.”
Second-generation Canadians are both optimistic and critical of the concept of multiculturalism in Canada, he said. They believe integrating and learning from each other could be a hugely positive experience that too often turns into immigrant communities living in “silos” side by side -and they blame their immigrant parents, not the rest of society, for that.
National Post – May 13, 2011
A former Toronto man who is now a commander of the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab has called for revenge over the killing of Osama bin Laden in an audiotape posted on the Internet. Photos that accompany the recording show Omar Hammami, alias Abu Mansour the American, speaking at an Al-Shabab rally called “We are all Osama” along with other leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked group.The son of a Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian father, Hammami, 27, grew up in Alabama and moved in 2004 to Toronto, where he married a Somali-Canadian and was recruited into Islamist extremist ideology. Since arriving in Somalia, he has posted scores of videos on the Internet urging Western Muslim youths to join Al-Shabab, a Taliban-like armed group trying to impose its version of Islamic law on Somalis.
Officials say up to 20 young Canadians have already travelled to Somalia to join Al Shabab, which Canada outlawed as a terrorist organization last year after it began aggressively recruiting Somali-Canadians.
News Agencies – March 15, 2011
The RCMP have charged two Canadians with terrorism-related offences in connection to a 2009 plot to blow up packed subway cars in New York. The RCMP allege that the al-Qaeda terrorists behind the plot were trained by a University of Manitoba student who has disappeared from Canada.
Ferid Imam vanished from Winnipeg in 2007 and is now suspected of being in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan. He is now being sought on terrorist-training charges as part of a new criminal case. The case, which alleges lesser offences by a second suspect, amounts to a crucial test of the reach of Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it allows police to charge suspects who are suspected of committing terrorist offences outside Canada’s borders. The new case is the first time that the Mounties have charged someone with acts taking place entirely overseas.
Police hope the case against Mr. Imam – who faces a life sentence if he is caught and convicted of being a terrorist trainer – will alert the public about what they say is the growing threat posed by radicals from the West who want to join al-Qaeda and its affiliates.
The Globe and Mail – March 10, 2011
Is Canada doing a better job of integrating Muslims and preventing Islamist extremism from taking root? Canadian officials speak of having done a relatively good job of fighting radicalization. These officials say subtle policy initiatives, including managing immigration flows and reaching out to Muslim communities, can make a huge difference.
Al-Qaeda and its adherents recruit Western acolytes by framing the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as aggression against Islam. Canada was named as a target by Osama bin Laden years ago, but it may be a lesser target today – the Canadian Forces never sent soldiers to Iraq and are now ratcheting down operations in Afghanistan. Whatever gains have been made in the fight against extremism of late, some Europeans, Americans and Canadians continue to flock to terrorist training camps in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia – prompting fears that at least some of their ranks will eventually return to attack the West.
News Agencies – January 27, 2011
The Muslim population of Canada will nearly triple over the next 20 years, according to a new study of global demographic trends focusing on the faith. The number of Canadians who identify themselves as Muslim will reach 2.7 million by 2030, up from approximately 940,000 today, and will make up 6.6 per cent of the total population.
The projections were released Thursday by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life, the first in a series of population projections of major world religions.
Around the world, the Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35 per cent, rising to 2.2 billion by 2030 and increasing at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population.
Wahida Valiante, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said she is concerned that the numbers will be used by some to stoke the flames of anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Before this study, which relies on census data and other national demographic records from more than 1,500 sources worldwide, there was no reliable global population data for the Muslim faith.
In Canada, Muslims are expected to make up 6.6 per cent of the total population in 2030, up from 2.8 per cent today. In the United States, the Muslim share of the population will rise to 1.7 per cent in 2030 from 0.8 per cent in 2010. The sudden growth is partly explained by a higher fertility rate among Muslim Canadians, and the large percentage who are approaching their child-bearing years.
The RCMP is investigating a claim that a dozen Canadians in al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan are preparing to mount terror missions in Canada. The Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online reported Friday that “well-placed” Taliban sources say a group of Canadian militants is receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in North Waziristan for terror attacks in Canada.
12 Canadian men allegedly departed for Afghanistan last February and, after nine months there, al-Qaeda dispatched them to the Darpakhel area of North Waziristan in November. The 30-year-old Canadian head of the group, they say, converted to Islam in 2007, “sports a golden beard,” and goes by the alias Abu Shahid.
Several recently convicted Canadian terrorists followed Awlaki teachings, including members of the Toronto-18 terror group convicted of planning attacks on targets in Ontario. News reports in October said three young Winnipeg men ventured abroad in 2007 after first undergoing conversion to radical Islam. They were tracked to Waziristan.
A British right-wing group responsible for a wave of violent anti-Islamist street protests in the United Kingdom will attempt to spread its message to Canadians at a rally in Toronto. A “support rally” for the controversial English Defence League is scheduled to take place at the Toronto Zionist Centre. The event is being organized by the Jewish Defence League of Canada.
Tommy Robinson, the EDL leader, will speak at the rally through an on-line hookup. It is believed to be the first Canadian rally for the EDL, repeatedly linked to violence since it formed in 2009 to counter Islamist militancy in Britain.
December 20, 2010
More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an Al Qaeda-affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims. Some of those named say concerned Canadian intelligence officials have contacted them.
The Shumukh-al-Islam website, often considered to be Al Qaeda’s mouth piece, listed pictures, addresses and cellphone numbers of Coptic Christians, predominantly Egyptian-Canadians, who have been vocal about their opposition to Islam. In a forum on the website, one member named Son of a Sharp Sword, says “We are going to return back to Islam and all of the Mujahedeen (holy warriors) will cut off their heads.” Among those named on the Shumukh-al-Islam website is Samuel Tawadrus, a Coptic Egyptian living in Quebec. “This is a direct threat against our lives,” Tawadrus said in an interview. A spokesman for CSIS was not immediately available for comment.