When a country produces its own homegrown terrorists, it’s always a disaster and shameful for such a country. Following the arrests of 17 would-be terrorists in Toronto this past week, the media devote lots of time to pundits and experts who tried to find out why Canadians, or people who came to Canada when they were five years old, would turn against their own country in such a barbaric way.
Islam, in itself, is a peaceful religion, but it is used by fanatics as a means to recruit people to commit terrorist acts. Just as Catholics are shocked and aghast when a priest is found to have committed terrible acts such as sexually abusing a child, Muslims must show that they are offended by terrorist acts committed in the name of their religion. While a large number of Muslims in the West condemn terrorism, there are an almost equally large number of Muslims who either tacitly condone such barbarism or even support them in some way.
The press conference in Toronto, where Muslims and Muslim leaders had a chance to meet with the chief of police of Toronto, was a sad example of the latter rather than the former. Muslims wanted to know from the police chief what he intended to do to protect the Muslim community in Toronto and not what he planned to do for all residents of the city. Amidst the questions, which revolved around this common theme, one person stood out: an engineer who works for an auto company and who immediately let loose an anti-American tirade. Thankfully, he was cut off before he could do even more damage.
Only the most narrow-minded among us would paint all Muslims with the same brush. There are good and bad in any group of people, regardless of religion, race, or origin. I still have fond memories of a group of truckers in Toronto who were all devout Muslims from Somalia. We’d spend hours at the local coffee shop discussing everything under the sun.
Right after 9/11, we had long discussions about terrorism and its connection to Islam into the wee morning hours. Those Somali truck drivers were as outraged at the events of the time as any other American or Canadian. One of them kept saying, “If you kill only one person, it’s as if you kill all of humanity.” Indeed, this is what it says, more or less, in the Koran.