Friends of fanatics

Brian Jones
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These must be difficult days for the friends of fanatics.

Let’s qualify that. The vociferous defenders of alleged terrorists must find recent events “difficult” if they are willing to engage in open-

minded re-examination of the facts.

To borrow a phrase, that’s about as likely as a snowball’s chance in Baghdad.

The esteemed Liberal MP Justin Trudeau — P.E.T. Lite — and his pals are strangely silent when airline passengers are molested before boarding a plane, but they howl with indignation whenever an accused terrorist’s rights are supposedly trampled.

Mohamed Harkat would apparently be a model citizen — an ideal immigrant, just like your grandparents — if only the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would stop harassing him.

Except that, last week, a Federal Court judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to believe Harkat is a “sleeper agent” with ties to al-Qaida as well as an extremist group in Egypt, had worked with extremists in Pakistan for more than a year, had been to Afghanistan, had regular contact with famed model Canadian citizen Ahmed Said Khadr and had used false documents to enter Canada in 1995.

Gee, just like Granddad.

In Canada, of course, we like to be nice to everyone, even those who are allegedly members of groups planning mass murder. That is why you can still find — even after the Federal Court’s ruling that Harkat is potentially dangerous — people who will oppose sending him back to his native Algeria. And just to prove how gentle and kind we all want to be, Harkat is out on bail.

Roots blossom

It is becoming rare to hear the friends of fanatics use the phrase “the root causes of terrorism.” Former NDP leader Alexa McDonough uttered it whenever she saw a microphone. Poverty and American imperialism were broadly indicted as guilty parties.

But the poverty explanation lost credibility every time a doctor attempted a suicide bombing in Glasgow or a successful real-estate agent planned a train bombing in Madrid.

Commentator Gwynne Dyer, among others, is holding true to the American imperialism interpretation. (Altogether, now: “It’s all about the oil.”)

We eagerly await an explanation of what American imperialism had to do with this week’s attempted suicide bombing in Stockholm.

As Europe’s coming religious war makes the continent resemble Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Europeans and Dyer can throw an angry tantrum and declare, once again, “It’s all because of American imperialism.”

Except that Taimour Abdulwahab, the Stockholm bomber, was not an American imperialist. He was a Swedish citizen who had lived in Britain for a decade. According to investigators, and an email Abdulwahab had sent to the media shortly before his promotion to paradise, he was interested in “jihad.”

Don’t say that

Unfortunately — the Federal Court ruling on Harkat notwithstanding — the main result of having extremists in Canada and jihadists in Britain is that governments feel a need to suppress free speech. You wouldn’t want anyone to embarrass the government or alarm citizens by pointing out extremists are immigrating to Canada, or that jihadists are frequenting mosques in Britain.

Only a generation ago, anyone who felt inspired to do so could stand on a street corner in Toronto or London — or, if they preferred, Brampton or Bristol — and read from “The Communist Manifesto,” or “Mein Kampf.” Back in that quaint era, it was widely believed people had the right to hold ideas and choose beliefs, no matter how obnoxious.

Of course, that was all before the invention of “hate speech.”

This week, the British government said it would consider barring the Florida pastor who earlier this fall had threatened to burn copies of the Qur’an.

Prevent loudmouthed pastors from entering the country, but stand idly by while jihadists jaunt over to the continent with suicide-bomb belts. It doesn’t even need a punchline.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at

Organizations: Federal Court, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Al-Qaida The Telegram

Geographic location: Canada, Egypt, Pakistan Afghanistan Britain Algeria Glasgow Madrid.Commentator Gwynne Dyer Stockholm.As Europe Northern Ireland Stockholm Toronto London Bristol Florida

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Recent comments

  • ed power
    December 18, 2010 - 15:57

    Well said, Politically Correct. Mr. Jones seems to belong to the former CSIS Directors " Canadians are Pollyannas" school of thought. A close examination of the case in question would show that Mr. Harkat has been held for years without charges, without trial, without basic legal counsel, without access to the "proof" against him, and without the ability to challenge the Crowns' evidence in a court. In short, a violation of every principle that we are supposed to hold true, and that which our men and women are fighting for in Afghanistan. Why is this any different from Pinochets' Chile or Hitlers' Germany? Because it just one, or ten, and not thousands? The people they detained were also condemned by government decree as "dangers to the state". If the state has a case, prove it. If not, process him as an illegal immigrant. As to the dismissal of American Imperialism as a underlying cause of this mess, please refer to Maj. Gen Smedley Butler, USMC, the only person twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour, and his 1932 "War is a Racket" speech, available on YouTube. I also recommend reading "The Great War for Civilization" by Robert Fisk and "Holy War- The Crusades and Their Impact on Todays World" by Karen Armstrong, for some enlightenment on the historical roots of our current conflict. Robert Baer, the retired CIA agent who spent twenty years in the Middle East, has also written extensively about the politics behind US involvement in the ME and Central Asia. One doesn't have to be a "Pollyanna" to understand that we, the public, are being treated as musrooms; kept in the dark and fed crap. Thank you WikiLeaks

  • Abdul Saieed
    December 17, 2010 - 13:07

    I wonder if your tacit support for loud mouth Qur'an burning preachers to spew their racist venom is indicative of a friend of a fanatic. No, no; that only applies to us Jihadists and our left-wing cohorts who don’t gasp in horror at the sight of a minaret or a hijab. Go and look up ‘jihad.” On second though, don’t bother. I wouldn’t want to disturb your comfortable ignorance.

  • ron
    December 17, 2010 - 10:17

    I wonder if our doctors are part of a sleeper cell too..

  • Politically Incorrect
    December 17, 2010 - 09:43

    Okay Brian, so our continued support of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, our armed presence throughout the region, our unquestioning support of Israeli terror of its own citizens, our relentless undermining of international sovereignty, our ongoing pursuit of the control of resources (as admitted to by so many US diplomats and backed up by documents released by WikiLeaks) has nothing to do with why the “uncivilised” world does not appreciate our benevolence? I’m not so much as bothered by this imaginary influx of “Jihadists” (a la Faux News) as I am by people like UK MP George Galloway being denied entry into Canada while ultra-racist Anne Coulter is welcomed. I’m more concerned that the government line equates any criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic” while anti-Muslim diatribes, such as expressed here, is commonplace. I am more unsettled that high level officials can get away with calling for the murder of those who are principled enough to shine light on the hypocritical and criminal activities of the State while those exposed continue to subvert the very ideals on which our society is supposedly based. The cowards who hide behind the skirts of privilege are the real Friends of Fanatics, Brian.