By Gerry Dantone
A very disturbing story emerged in June 2006; the arrest of 17 Toronto area Canadians that Canadian investigators claimed were planning massive terrorist attacks in that country.
Everything about this story points to the complete and utter misunderstanding of the “War on Terror” in which the “West” is supposedly engaged.
All the suspects lived in Canada, many were long-time residents and citizens. Their radicalization was not born of any particular impoverished situation or other oppression. Most were suburbanites.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service Deputy Director of Operations Jack Hooper said, “They are virtually indistinguishable from other youth. They blend in very well to our society, they speak our language, and they appear to be, to all intents and purposes, well-assimilated.”
Police believe the Internet played a role in the suspect’s planning and that they frequented the Al-Rahman Islamic Center isMississauga, a western Toronto suburb. The only suspect over 25 was known to have vocal and extreme views within the mosque.
Sheik Husain Patel, an Iman at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto believes that some leader led the younger suspects into extremism. Patel claims violence has no place in Islam and that mainstream Muslims need to be more vigilant in protecting the young from getting caught up in such movements.
Of course, Sheik Patel cannot admit what is obvious: magical and faith-based thinking cannot be controlled for long, and violence, particularly when scripture and religious tradition do have violent and intolerant aspects, is inevitable. After all, it is only a matter of opinion whether killing infidels or heretics is “Islamic” or “Christian.” What we DO know is that the First Commandment of the Old Testament, a document that many religions consider foundational, calls for killing many transgressors, including non-believers or heretics.
Exactly why should an impressionable young believer reject what is written in scripture? Yet that is precisely what moderate religious leaders are asking them to do!
There is but one answer to religious extremism and it is not that they moderate their violent directives found in scripture; it is that they understand that scripture is NOT the word of a god and that obedience is NOT a virtue.
The moderate religious person walks a near invisible tightrope: Praise God and scripture and obey your religious beliefs, just don’t take it too far.
Of course, this makes no sense to a person who wants to be devout all the way.
Dogma, obedience and the supernatural are the issues that embody the actual “War on Terror” and need addressing. Once again, it is clear that the war has not yet begun.