Terrorism is on the minds of many people these days, given last week’s events in France.
Canada is not immune to the challenges posed by terrorists, with ISIS specifically naming Canada as a target last week.
The organization, which holds parts of Iraq and Syria and continues to engage in brutal attacks on innocent people, is under attack by Canada and many other allied nations.
It has been threatening Canada for months, with at least one Canadian, John Maguire, appearing in ISIS videos and calling for attacks on his countrymen.
Many Canadians felt immune from terrorism until the attacks on Canadian Forces members in Ottawa and Quebec last fall. While the people involved in both of those cases apparently acted on their own – and at least one was suffering from mental illness – the attacks shook many Canadians. An attack on a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial, and the lone shooter then getting into the Parliament Buildings, was a brazen and chilling moment.
The federal government is ready and willing to boost surveillance of potential “radicalized” individuals, and its moves in this area will be supported by a large majority of citizens. They want to get back to the “peace and order” that usually characterizes Canada.
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that. The world is a much smaller place, with air travel to almost any place easily available, and social media used extensively to shape and change peoples’ attitudes.
Some people suggest that all terrorists belong to one specific religious group and feel that the root of the problem is that particular religion. This is a very narrow-minded and clearly wrong-headed approach to take. The fact is that there are people of many different ethnic and religious backgrounds who feel they need to take their grievances and explode them on the world stage. Some are born and raised elsewhere; some are homegrown.
Our leaders have no easy task. They must determine effective ways to combat terrorist threats, balancing the need to retain public freedoms.
And we members of the public must educate ourselves, so that we do not create the kind of terror we hope to eradicate.