Investigation shows cracks in Canada’s plan to stop homegrown terrorism

More indications of the gap in the Government’s anti-radicalization strategy:

Federal authorities argue they are tackling the problem in a number of ways, by enhancing enforcement powers, toughening laws and developing strategies to counter terrorist propaganda.

But with gaps in programs to prevent radicalization, grassroots communities across Canada have stepped up, using their own time and money to stop young people from reaching the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.

“We Canadians have been scared into believing that there are locust-like masses” of terrorists, says Hussein Hamdani, who’s helped with 10 intervention cases of young would-be terrorists, and sat on the government’s terrorism advisory panel for a decade.

“All this rhetoric, and there seems to be no corresponding investment in prevention.”

Instead of being given counselling or mentorship, he argues Canadian youth at risk of radicalization are largely ignored, left to watch videos glorifying their compatriots abroad.

… Security experts such as Phil Gurski say Canada is at risk of losing the battle for the hearts and minds of at-risk youth, without improved efforts to combat the underlying message of violent extremists.

“The Islamic State has a lot going for it. It’s got territory, it’s got quasi-religious authority,” says Gurski, who spent 12 years as a Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent and has specialized in al-Qaida-inspired radicalization for three decades.

Others like Blaney argue Canada has a solid record of deterring attacks and thwarting terrorist travel, but it’s hard to deny ISIL’s momentum.

…“There’s a sense of purpose, there’s a sense of addressing historical grievances,” Gurski explains. “That’s why people are flocking to it — that’s why it’s got 20,000 foreign fighters.”


… But how big is the threat?

By last October, the RCMP flagged 80 Canadians as having returned after supporting groups like ISIL abroad.

Source: Investigation shows cracks in Canada’s plan to stop homegrown terrorism | Calgary Herald

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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