As a talk radio host -- and a talker, in general -- I can rarely say that I'm at a loss for words. Yesterday, there was nearly an exception to that rule when a caller into my talk show on the London, Ont., station AM980 uttered a veiled terror threat before expressing his support for the terrorist group Hamas.
Near the end of my show today, I was taking calls on the subject of convicted terrorist and murderer Omar Khadr's petition to be transferred out of the maximum-security prison in Edmonton in which he is presently serving out his sentence. After a series of callers who agreed with my position that Khadr's comfort should not be a priority for the justice system, a man who identified himself to my producer as Abdul called in.
Abdul started off on a low note.
"The American dog was an invader. He (Khadr) was a freedom fighter," Abdul said. "There's a difference. If Russian or Chinese dogs invaded Canada, and you killed one of them, are you a murderer or are you defending your country?"
"Anybody who kills an invader is a freedom fighter. American dogs invaded a sovereign nation," he added.
I then asked him whether he supported the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
After a menacing cackle, he said, "You wait, my friend. You wait. You will see things in this country--"
"Yes or no, Abdul. Do you support Hamas?", I pressed.
"Yes, I do," he replied, prompting me to end the call.
The fact is, I know nothing about this man. Is he a jihadi-in-training waiting to attack the West? Is he merely a Muslim Canadian with contempt for Canadian values?
All I know is that he was prepared to state support for an organization responsible for the merciless deaths of countless innocents, and call a convicted terrorist a "freedom fighter."
I also know that this attitude exists within the fabric of Canadian society, which is why I was startled, yet also unsurprised by Abdul's call.
To me, it wasn't the sentiments expressed by Abdul that I found so shocking, it was his brazenness in stating them so openly on live radio, knowing full well that technology exists to determine the identity and location of phone callers.
The call, and the caller, have been reported to the terrorism and national security division of the RCMP, but a question far bigger than whether or not Abdul supports any potential terrorist attack against Canada: how did he get that way in the first place?
Did he come to Canada with these views about our country, in which case our immigration system is partially at fault, or did he develop them here after choosing to make Canada his home? If the latter is true, then an even bigger problem presents, which is the ongoing threat of homegrown radicalization.
Either way, this isn't welcome in my Canada.