The Muslim Community is the main reason Canada has stayed safe
On a day the Harper Government began debating a controversial anti-terrorism bill, two terror suspects were arrested for allegedly plotting to attack a Via passenger train. Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser were arrested in Montreal and Toronto; neither is a Canadian citizen.
The investigation was a joint effort by the RCMP, CSIS and the CBSA with assistance from the FBI. Assistant RCMP Commissioner James Malizia said the plot was reinforced by Al Qaeda elements located in Iran, but added there was no evidence to suggest it was state-sponsored.
The suspects were targeting what would have been a train travelling from New York to Toronto. The RCMP believed the accused had the capability and resolve to carry out the attack, but there was no imminent threat to the general public. If the allegations are true, it would mark the first time Al Qaeda has attempted to aid terrorists within Canada.
Much praise has been given to law enforcement agencies in Quebec, Ontario and the United States and deservedly so. They work extremely hard to keep us safe and have thus far foiled every major attack on Canadian soil.
When a terrorist attack such as the one in Boston is successful, the media focuses their attention on the alleged perpetrators. When such an attack is thwarted, the attention is again focused on the criminals, but much deserved praise goes toward law enforcement.
In both instances Muslims the world over take the blame. Islamophobia takes hold and hate crimes rise toward the Muslim public. What the media fails to report all too often is that without the Muslim community, law enforcement would be in the dark.
Early reports regarding the two arrests in Canada suggest that the initial tip to police came from someone within the Muslim community. In other words, if a Muslim hadn’t taken it upon himself to go to police with the information, law enforcement might be none the wiser and an attack might still be imminent.
The arrest of the so called “Toronto 18”, the domestic terrorist cell in Ontario was also made possible thanks to the Muslim community. The Toronto 18 were accused in 2006 (and later convicted) of planning to detonate truck bombs, storm the CBC, the Canadian Parliament, CSIS headquarters and to behead the Prime Minister.
The terrorist cell was infiltrated early on by Muslim CSIS agent Mubin Shaikh. Despite the danger to himself, he pretended to act one of the “18” for eight months. Without Shaikh keeping tabs, gathering intel and providing valuable evidence who knows what would have happened.
I think it’s important to cast Muslims in an equal light. When we hear or see them get caught before a terrorist act is followed through, it’s important for us to know so that we remain vigilant. At the same time, it’s just as important to know when they help us foil the attack in the first place.
If the true heroes behind the heroes go unnoticed, law abiding Muslims will continue to suffer unwarranted racism and prejudice. Let’s face it, the main reason Canada remains unscathed by a major terrorist attack is thanks to the Muslim Community.