Is ‘counter-radicalization’ just another way of blaming all terrorism on Muslims? – iPolitics

Still in the denial stage: Monia Mazigh and Azeezah Kanji on counter-radicalization. Would be more helpful and useful to suggest or recommend better ways to engage Canadian Muslims and counter-radicalization strategies:

Which leads to the question: What exactly will Canada’s new Office of Counter-Radicalization be countering?

Few answers are to be found in the written output of Canadian security agencies: Their reports are opaque regarding the mythical connection between religious/ideological radicalization and “terrorism” — which seems to be assumed rather than proven. A 2011 CSIS study acknowledged that “the search for patterns and trends on radicalization remains elusive”, even while a report produced the very next year claimed, with surprising confidence, that “the Service has a solid grasp on this topic.”

Questionable as the concept of radicalization is, CSIS publications manage to cast a broad pall of suspicion on Muslims in Canada. “Islamist radicalization,” according to one (unsupported) CSIS assessment, can occur “just about anywhere … these people gather.”

open quote 761b1bCounter-radicalization programs in Western liberal democracies have largely been thinly-veiled exercises in targeting Muslims — even though non-Muslims have been responsible for the majority of political violence in both America and Europe.

Even Muslims’ dreams have been represented as a site of potentially dangerous activity – putting a strange new spin on the concept of “sleeper cells.” The generally overwhelming focus on Muslims is curious, given that CSIS’s own internal documents identify right-wing and white-supremacist violence as a greater threat than violence by Muslims (as described last year in the Toronto Star).

Source: Is ‘counter-radicalization’ just another way of blaming all terrorism on Muslims? – iPolitics

Phil Gurski’s similar and well-expressed take:

I have to admit I feel exasperated when I read things like this. Can we not get past these issues? Can we not at least agree on the following fundamental truths?

a) a small number of people will embrace radical ideologies

b) an even smaller number of these will plan acts of serious violence

c) a subset of b) will be Muslim

d) doing nothing is not an option.

What is so problematic about this? How can anyone who cares about Canada not see this as a priority? No, it is not our top priority and never will be, but that nevertheless does not mean we an ignore it.

I know that a number of serious missteps have been made (i.e. every time Donald Trump opens his mouth) and that the programmes that have been initiated have not been perfect (the UK’s PREVENT strategy comes in for some particularly scathing criticism). But I also know that there are some who seem to stop at complaining and don’t offer anything helpful in exchange. This is not going to help us solve this problem.

A few things need to happen. Governments have to work much more closely with communities, religious leaders, teachers, doctors. social workers, parents and anyone who is in a position to observe radicalisation at work and who wants to play a role in countering it. Communities need to get off their “woe is us” bandwagon, acknowledge there is a problem that needs fixing and stop denying reality. We all must figure out ways to move this dialogue beyond finger-pointing and acrimony.

If we don’t people are going to continue down the path to violent extremism, leaving behind traumatised families and broken communities, and others are going to die.

Source: Borealis Threat & Risk Consulting

Azeezah Kanji: Counterpoint: While on the topic of Muslims, here are a few other numbers to note

Kanji effectively rebuts Barbara Kay’s early piece stoking fear of Muslims (Barbara Kay : Most Muslims aren’t jihadists, of course. But some of them are), providing context to the numbers Kay uses and comparisons to attitudes within other religious groups:

In order to cast her net of suspicion beyond the small number of Muslims actually involved in violent activity, Kay cites data regarding the percentage of Muslims around the world who “hold beliefs in retrograde cultural practices that cannot co-exist in harmony with Western civilization.” These beliefs include a minority of Muslims’ endorsement for capital punishment for apostasy, adultery, and homosexuality: opinions which are certainly disturbing, and are vigorously opposed by Muslim activists in those countries. But the Pew study Kay relies on does not suggest that Muslims are trying to impose these beliefs in “the West” (on the contrary, available research indicates the opposite) — so on what basis is the threat to Western civilization construed?

Indeed, when it comes to attitudes deleterious to “harmony,” surveys suggest that Kay should be directing her gaze elsewhere. American Muslims are more likely to oppose attacks on civilians (which Barbara Kay defines as “terrorism”) than any other major religious group polled in the United States. And while Kay claims that “support for terrorism is high in Islamic countries” (where, according to Pew, support for such attacks ranges from 1 per cent to 40 per cent), a 2011 Gallup poll question on whether it is ever appropriate for a military to target civilians reveals it is proportionately far higher among Christian Americans (58 per cent) and Jewish Americans (52 per cent). Curiously, Kay references the numbers on Muslim support for “terrorism” but is silent on the non-Muslim statistics.

Kay’s tunnel-vision perspective leaves out more than half the picture. In addition to her selective use of statistics, Kay also makes unsubstantiated accusations about Muslims’ use of the legal system and “political/institutional membership” to advance some nefarious but unspecified agenda — recalling the fomentation of moral panics about other minority groups in other periods of history. Exaggerated narratives about the “disease of radical Islam” have been debunked by government dataacademic analyses, and expert commentary. The fact that they still have any purchase reveals the perturbing resistance of stereotypes to reality.

Source: Azeezah Kanji: Counterpoint: While on the topic of Muslims, here are a few other numbers to note | National Post

The misplaced moral panic at York University | Toronto Star

Amazing. Much of what is said is valid. Of course the male student had the right to request accommodation, of course we have to take accept his beliefs as sincere, but we do not have to accept this request. The authors of this piece skirt that key issue: do they favour the granting or not of the request?

The implication is they do but lack the courage to state so clearly, and just muddle things up with general comments about lack of gender equality and participation in Canada.

Importantly, the Canadian version of secularism does not require people to abandon their deeply held beliefs. Religious people are welcome to bring their ideas to the public table. As Muslim women, we may disagree with the accommodation-seeking student that Islam requires absolute social segregation between men and women (assuming the student is Muslim; his religious affiliation has not been confirmed) – but we defend the right of individuals, including this much-maligned student, to hold their personal religious opinions and to ask the state to accommodate them.

Moreover, as Canadian women, we appreciate how far academic institutions, and Canadian society in general, still are from the ideal of gender equality. Women in Canada – like women in other recovering patriarchies – experience high rates of gendered violence; are persistently underrepresented in the senior ranks of politics, law, business, and academia; and face a significant gender wage gap (Canada’s is among the highest of the OECD countries). Islam is not the threat to gender equality in Canada: patriarchy, in all its various manifestations, is.

The misplaced moral panic at York University | Toronto Star.