I grew up in Windsor, Ontario, and during the early 1960s recall only one controversy involving Jews. Isaac “Izzy” Novak, a local version of Sandy Koufax, created a stir by declining to pitch a baseball game on Yom Kippur. Things are quite different now. As the Windsor Star reports, an Arabic-language newspaper is calling knife attacks on Jews in Israel a “sacred duty of jihad.”
According to Michael Mostyn, chief executive of B’nai Brith Canada, “A number of community newspapers, such as Windsor’s Al Forqan, are directly contributing to the radicalization of Canadian youth by glamorizing murder as a sacred religious duty.” The headline of the Al Forqan editorial in question, Mostyn said, was “The Duty of Jihad” and “a matter of great concern.”
B’nai Brith compiles an Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents and, wrote Mostyn, “the data gleaned from our extensive history of recording such incidents strongly suggests a correlation between rhetoric, such as that found in Al Forqan, and increasing levels of anti-Semitism. Calls for violent jihad and support for listed terrorist groups have no place in a civilized democracy.” Mostyn is urging police, public safety officials, and Michael Coteau, Canada’s Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, to “launch a full investigation of the paper and particularly the offensive editorial published in Issue 33, October – November 2015.”
“The Duty of Jihad” editorial appeared only in the Arabic part of Al Forqan, and the writer denied supporting terrorism. “The editorial was saying we support Palestinians resisting the Israeli occupation,” author Mohammed Khalifeh told the Windsor Star. “We do not support any terrorist act. And we try to stand against all extremism, especially in the Middle East, like ISIS and al-Qaida and all those kinds of groups.” As it happens, the “Duty of Jihad” editorial is hardly the only issue related to terrorism in Canada.
The previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper passed Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. Harper was ousted last fall by Justin Trudeau, and as the CBC reports, “the federal government is scrapping measures brought in by the Conservatives that allow Ottawa to revoke the citizenship of Canadians convicted of terrorism and other offences.” Under the legislation, dual nationals could be “stripped of their Canadian citizenship if they were found guilty of terrorism, treason or spying offences.”
Conservatives had sought to revoke the citizenship of Zakaria Amara of the “Toronto 18” group convicted in a bombing plot. As the CBC reported, Amara planned to pack trucks with explosives and detonate them over a period of three days “to maximize the panic.” Targets included RCMP headquarters, nuclear-power plants and Parliament. After this “Battle of Toronto,” the group sought to target Sears Tower in Chicago or the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Amara was arrested in 2006 and pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in a terrorist group, and intending to cause an explosion that could kill people or damage property for the benefit of a terrorist group. The government informed Amara and two others, Asad Ansari and Saad Khalid, they would be stripped of Canadian citizenship under Bill C-24.
That would be reversed under a new bill from Immigration Minister John McCallum. Conservative Michelle Rempel called the bill “a win for Zakaria Amara and not many other Canadians.”
This comes some two years after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Canadian Forces reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a sentry at the National War Memorial. Zehaf-Bibeau, an Islamic convert, also wounded a guard in the House of Commons. The RCMP had received warnings of potential terrorist attacks, yet, as the CBC reported, the force “wound down extra patrols around the parliamentary precinct just days before the tragedy.” The RCMP had also been put on notice that “ISIS threats against law enforcement in the West are real,” and that “Canada is not immune to such threats.”
In 2013, Canadian counter-terrorist operations foiled a plot to bomb the British Columbia legislature. Canadian Muslim convert John Stewart Nuttall aimed to plant pressure-cooker bombs at the scene of a mass celebration for Canada Day. Canadians are not immune to such threats when they travel or work abroad.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 killed at least 24 Canadians. More recently, in January, an attack in Burkina Faso by Al Qaeda jihadists claimed six Canadian lives and more than 20 others from 18 different countries. In a statement on the attack Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians are “deeply saddened by these senseless acts of violence on innocent civilians.”
0In his argument against revoking the citizenship of terrorists, Trudeau said, “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” For an Islamic terrorist, a target is a target is a target, regardless of whether the target is Canadian.