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After Aaron Driver, How Will We Confront Jihadi Ideology In Canada?

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The Aaron Driver case has led Canadians to ponder many complex issues.

The top issue in my opinion should be how to counter Islamist extremism. Unfortunately, our law enforcement institutions and politicians are mainly focused on violent extremism, which is the last stage of the extremism cancer.

But we need to pay more attention to Islamist extremism before it becomes violent extremism.

In fact, extremist ideology is a breeding ground for any potential violent extremism. Sadly, in our environment of political correctness, the phrase of "Islamist extremism" may offend many from my own Muslim community.

On one hand, they may feel disgusted by hearing a phrase such as "Islamist extremism," but they can't ignore the fact that the majority of terror incidents in today's world are related to Islamist ideology.

So let's face this reality and address Islamist extremism within.

A fundamental question that often arises here is what's Islamist extremism? The roots of Islamist extremism stem out of the concept of armed Jihad, which endorses the idea of domination of Islam through armed struggle. The very same concept is being adopted by ISIL.

A Canadian white convert to Islam, Aaron Driver, was one of the followers to this extremist ideology. Mainstream Islamist groups such as Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami and Hizb ut Tehrir also adhere themselves with the path of armed Jihad.

Canada's leading Islamic Group, The Muslim Association of Canada, openly claims its association with "the writings of the late Imam Hassan al-Banna and the movement of the Society of Muslim Brothers (commonly known as the Muslim Brotherhood)."

The writings of Imam Hassan Al-Banna suggest, "it has become an individual obligation, which there is no evading, on every Muslim to prepare his equipment, to make up his mind to engage in jihad, and to get read for it until the opportunity is ripe and God decrees"

The Muslim Association of Canada apparently condemns some acts of terror but still adheres itself with the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood. This group claims to have more than 20 Islamic schools across Canada and several Mosques as well.

Similarly, ISNA, ICNA and NCCM, other influential Islamic groups in Canada don't distance themselves from the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami.

Jamaat-e-Islami's founder Maududi writes in his book Al Jihad fil-Islam ("Jihad in Islam"): "Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam, regardless of the country or the nation which rules it." Jamaat-i-Islami is the Asian offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood.

Although the major Islamic groups in Canada denounce ISIL-style violent extremism, they don't seem to distance themselves from the extremist ideology of Muslim Brotherhood, jamaat-e-Islami and alike. And thousands of Canadian Muslims follow these major Islamic groups, many not knowing about their adherence to certain ideology.

There is a dire need of an open discussion amongst journalists, islamic centres, politicians and law enforcement agencies on issues of Jihadi mindset in Canada.

We have about 10 members of parliament from Muslim background. They should play a role in these talks. Unfortunately, some Muslim Canadian parliamentarians happened to be intolerant to dissident ideas in the past. They should abandon such attitude and should respect different ideas.

Without candid talks that will bring people with diverse ideas together, it would be harder for Canadians to confront Jihadi ideology like Aaron Driver's in Canada.

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