The recent statements by Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding his view that the most pressing threat to Canada’s security is Islamicism got me wondering whether the time has finally come for plain talk from our political leaders. I assume the prime minister was referring to radical Islam in general and to Islamic terrorism in particular, and to the Islamists who carry out horrific acts against Western democracies, like the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 and attacks in Spain, England and elsewhere since then.
I believe absolutely that Canadians face a clear threat from radical Islam. And, frankly, I care little that Muslim leaders object to PM Harper using the term Islamicism, claiming he was wrong to associate Islam with radicalism and fanaticism. Too many Muslims were for too long a time silent in the face of the most horrific deeds committed by an extremist minority who lived in their midst. And by too many Muslims were these acts condoned, excused and rationalized.
Overwhelmingly, terrorist acts in the 21st century have been committed by those who claimed to be practicing Muslims. We know that. Some of these mass murderers even left videos to tell us so. To pretend otherwise is to dishonour those innocents whose lives were brutally ended in the name of a religion-based belief system rooted in the darkness and ignorance of the middle ages.
Yes, there have been other terrorist acts that cannot be attributed to Islamists, but they are comparatively few in number.
When thinking about the treats that face Canadians, the only other clear threat that might be more pressing is that posed by illegal drugs and associated issues. And, personally, I might have given that first place. But PM Harper has a better view of these things than almost anybody in Canada—given his security advisors and his access to our intelligence agencies—so I’ll happily defer to him.