The last few days have been very difficult for most Canadians. The horrors of the Boston terrorist attack last week shocked us. The announcement that two Canadian residents have allegedly planned to blow up a VIA passenger train bound from Canada to the U.S., has stripped we Canadians of our fragile immunity to al-Qaeda-like violence.
Gone forever our smugness, vis-a-vis our neighbors to the south. Our sense of moral superiority.
And dare I say, among some Canadians. And some Canadian political leaders. Our own unique brand of good old Canadian Schadenfreude. Simply defined as pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.
(You have to hand it to those Germans. They have given the world, great cars like Beemers and Audis, speedy autobahns and a rich expressive language. But I digress.)
Recall post 9/11, our leaders Liberal Jean Chretien and NDP Leader Alexa McDonough, took pleasure in scolding the Americans for bringing the 9/11 terrorist attacks upon themselves. McDonough in the House of Commons argued:
"In the wake of these terrifying events, we need to reflect on the kind of international community we have created, where the images of mass destruction in the United States last week saw some Palestinian children actually dancing in the streets, where an international community can allow 5,000 children a month to die of malnutrition in Iraq, or hunger and preventable disease can claim the lives of thousands and thousands of children in the too many impoverished nations of the world.
We have to ask ourselves and consider what it means. What kind of political leadership funds and trains the likes of the mujahedeen and Osama bin Laden to overthrow the Afghanistan government and then gets caught out when these same people turn their evil skills on their former supporters?
Unless and until we base our policies and our allegiances on long term values, as the Prime Minister said this morning, and not on short term strategies, we will continue to create the monsters that come back to haunt us."
But those who have been doubly hurt by the Boston bombing and the recent arrest of the two alleged Canadian terrorists on Monday, are the vast majority of hard-working, law-abiding Muslim Canadians.
Because once again, Canadian Muslim men, or Canadian converts to Islam, are seen to be planning, organizing or actively engaging in terrorist activities. Some in Canada. Or some in troubled and dangerous countries on the other side of the world.
Rosie DiManno recently in the Toronto Star reminded us of the following sad and disturbing list of Canadian Muslim men:
"Radicalized high school students from London, Ont., lured to a distant desert in Algeria...A young man from the GTA suspected of leading a suicide attack in Mogadishu. Somali Canadians from Edmonton who've vanished into the jihad wind...And the Toronto 18"
However, this time there was a marked difference. This time the Toronto Muslim community and some Muslim leaders became actively involved with RCMP, CSIS, and the authorities. And this time they were instrumental in stopping this alleged terrorist attack from becoming a horrible reality.
Apparently, the original tip, about one of the alleged conspirators, to the authorities came from a Muslim community leader.
It also seems that some members of the Muslim community have been working with CSIS and the RCMP since 9/11 in a joint effort to fight the rise of terrorist behavior within the community and to educate the Muslim community about the dangers of certain forms of radical Islam which promote, champion and encourage this type of terrorist and violent behavior.
Accordingly, this week in the House of Commons both PM Harper and NDP Opposition Leader Mulcair joined together and commended the Muslim community for helping the security forces thwart this alleged terrorist plot. And in the process, probably save many people from death or grievous injury.
I too, would like to take this opportunity to humbly salute and commend the Toronto Muslim community and those leaders who helped the authorities avoid a terrible terrorist outcome.
I also do not dispute the Canadian Muslim leader who stated that those people who engage in criminal activity have nothing to do with the Islamic faith.
However, the harsh and brutal reality is that terrorism is the expression of a violent ideology, that has disturbingly taken root among some Muslims.
As the above list of Canadian Muslims so indicates.
Accordingly, I hope and pray that the Canadian Muslim community never returns to business as usual. And collectively buries its head in the sand. But continues to work co-operatively and effectively with Canadian authorities to prevent any future terrorist plots, as true and honorable Muslim Canadians, who care about Canada and their fellow Canadians.