Allegedly spurred on by images of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and angered by what they saw as the mistreatment of Muslims at home, they became increasingly aggressive in their beliefs, according to media reports.
This is how London's Sunday Telegraph explained the decision of 17 Canadian Muslims to stockpile three tons of ammonium nitrate and plot acts of war against their country.
These men – all Muslims – who reportedly planned to blow up the headquarters of Canada's Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in Toronto, are what Canadian officials refer to as "home-grown terrorists," and products of the "jihad generation." Before their arrests on Friday, they had never visited Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or the Palestinian Authority. They chose the path of jihad in the streets and mosques of Toronto. They learned how to build bombs from the Internet. They trained for their mission in a training camp in Ontario.
Like the Telegraph, most media reports claim that these men were prompted to wage a war against their country because they believe that their fellow Canadians are launching war against Islam. But why would they think this?
Canadians are outspoken in their anti-Americanism. They have contributed generously to the Palestinians. It only took the Canadian government a few weeks after the Palestinian elections to announce it would fund a Hamas-led PA. Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the US-led war in Iraq and President George W. Bush.
A Canadian Muslim friend who lives in Ontario told me recently that he has been unwelcome in his local mosque since the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York. His fellow Muslims have blackballed him because he made public statements critical of the hijackers and of al Qaida and the Palestinians and supportive of the US and Israel. He informed me that while in absolute numbers, mosque attendance in Canada has dropped since Sept. 11, those who continue to attend are fervent in their devotion to jihad against the Western world.
That is, the Muslims who have been forced from the organized Canadian Muslim community are those who believe in Muslim integration in the West while those who remain within that community are radical separatists who cannot abide their pro-Western Muslim brethren.
My friend and his fellow pro-Western Muslims are doubly ostracized. Not only are they rejected by their fellow Muslims who decry their denunciations of jihad, they are also rejected by the intellectual and cultural elites in their countries who insist on apologizing for jihadists in the name of multiculturalism and anti-racism.
The depth of my friend's isolation was made clear this weekend when, in the wake of the arrests of the Canadian jihad cell, Luc Portelance, the CSIS assistant director of operations told his countrymen, "It is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community, or ethno-cultural group in Canada."
FOR ITS part, the Canadian Islamic Congress (whose leader, Mohamed Elmasry has openly stated his view that all Israeli citizens are legitimate targets for terrorist murder), attacked Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper for what it referred to as his decision to "paint today's arrests as a battle between 'us' and 'them.'" The CIC alleged that "Such statements put all Canadian Muslims in great danger," and demanded that the Canadian government fund "legitimate academic research to diagnose this serious social problem [of Canadian Muslims waging war against their country] and provide scientific solutions to it."
Justifications for the actions of Western born and raised jihadists – and indeed for all jihadists from Osama bin Laden down – like that published by the Telegraph are of course par for the course. As author Bruce Bower exhaustively demonstrates in his book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, there exists a unity of purpose between Islamic extremists and Western elites in Europe and throughout the world. Both sides wish to hide the fact that Islamists seek to dominate the Western world while painting the US and Israel as the greatest threats to international security.
There seems to be no limit to the willingness of Western elites to justify jihadist acts of war against their societies. The Telegraph's apology for the Canadian jihadist terror group came at the same time as Britain's counter-terror forces were conducting a desperate search for a chemical bomb they fear was built by two British born terrorists who were also arrested on Friday in London. The fact that Britain's own jihadists were planning to attack Londoners with sarin gas made no dent in the Telegraph's willingness to make excuses for radical Islamic warriors.
THIS PATTERN of collaborative dissimulation between leftist Western elites and jihadists manifested itself last week in Winnipeg, Canada. There, as the Ontario 17 steadily advanced their plans of war, Muslims in Manitoba launched an attack against a film that exposes the nature of the global jihad against the West. Last Monday and Tuesday the documentary film Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West launched its Canadian premiere in the city. (It will be premiering in Israel at Hebrew University on June 14.)
Obsession was produced by the media watch group Honest Reporting. It effectively shows the depth of the hatred and indoctrination to jihad that is taking place worldwide. Interweaving clips from Arab television, recordings of mosque incitement, interviews with extraordinarily brave Muslim heroes like The Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh and renowned historians such as Sir Martin Gilbert, Professor Robert Wistrich, and Daniel Pipes, the film seeks to fill the void left by the Western media and academia to alert regular citizens to the reality of the threat that jihadist ideology presents to their freedom.
In light of the film's purpose, (and having participated in the project myself and viewed the film several times, I can attest to its success), it is not surprising that the Muslim community in Winnipeg sought to have it banned. It is also not surprising that in reporting the protest, the Winnipeg Sun used the misleading headline, "Aspers sponsor hate film, say critics."
Ahead of last week's screenings, members of the Winnipeg Muslim community filed a complaint about it with the city police's hate crimes unit. Shahina Siddiqui, the president of the Islamic Social Services Associations told the press, "I want the police to identify this as hate propaganda. I want them to be aware who the sponsors are and what they are doing."
SO FOUR days before Friday's arrests, the Canadian Muslim community attempted to prevent Canadians from watching a film that explains why it is that Canadian born Muslims are trying to destroy their country. And four days before the arrests were made, the Winnipeg Sun maintained faith with its colleagues throughout the Western world by running a headline that gave its readers the sense that there was some legitimacy to the Muslims' complaint.
And even though the apparent ringleader of the terror cell served as a prayer leader and a member of the board of directors of his local mosque, in the wake of Friday's arrests, Canadian and other Western commentators and editors continued to argue that the arrested terrorists bore no relationship to the larger Canadian Muslim community.
It is against the backdrop of the refusal of Western elites to acknowledge the fact that there is a global jihad that the true danger of radical Islam becomes clear. Many argue that the forces of global jihad are no match for their enemies because they lack regular armies.
Yet because of the defiant, irrational and immoral refusal of Western political, cultural and media elites to acknowledge the threat that internal and external jihadist forces manifest to the very notion of human freedom, they make it impossible for their societies to take measures to protect themselves.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.