CANADA – International news reports concerning jihadists and terrorists do not usually mention Canada as a country where their violent activities are focused, but the threat of terrorism is very real in Canada.
In 2017, three terrorist attacks in Canada made local and international headlines.
The most recent one took place in Edmonton, Alberta on September 30, 2017. A 30-year-old man hit and stabbed an Edmonton police constable, and then proceeded to drive and ram his rental van against four pedestrians. The criminal was identified as Abdulahi Sharif, a suspected terrorist with connections to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL, also known as IS, ISIS or Daesh, is an organization of jihadists and terrorists operating in many countries worldwide.
Earlier in 2017, on June 3, another violent incident took place, this time in Toronto. Rehab Dughmosh, a 32-year-old Muslim woman, attacked several people with a golf club and a knife in a Canadian Tire store. No one was killed, but the authorities raised alarms because Dughmosh had links to a terrorist organization. The possibility that she may also have a mental disorder is being investigated as well.
Another attack happened in Quebec City on January 29, 2017. It involved a shooter, 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonette, who killed six men and injured five others in a mosque in Quebec City. The victims in this case were Muslim worshippers, and the perpetrator was identified to have far-right political leanings. He also appeared to be a supporter of Donald Trump and held anti-immigrant views. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the shooting a “despicable act of terror,” and Quebec police likewise handled the incident as an act of terrorism. Despite these, Bissonette was charged for murder, not for terrorism. Many Muslims were not happy with this, citing a double-standard against their religious group. They observe that a Muslim is very easily branded as a terrorist, but a non-Muslim who clearly commits a terroristic act avoids being labeled as such.
Other terrorist incidents had taken place in Canada earlier. Two of them happened in October 2014, and one in August 2016.
Regardless of who perpetrates the act of terrorism, and who the victims are, terrorism is beyond a doubt a real threat that Canadian authorities and citizens face. The police and government institutions, including the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency, are working hard to protect future attacks.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.