And the terrorism merry-go-round continues…..sigh

As we still try to process the horrific attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by an Australian white supremacist we are also immersed into a debate, less fruitful than many think in my opinion, over whether far right extremism presents more of a menace than Islamist extremism. I and many others have taken sides on this matter already. For the record, my answer is no and I hope today’s blog provides a little more ammunition (oops, maybe that is not a great term to use when talking about terrorism) for my views.

Since the massacre on March 15, here is what has transpired in the world of terrorism over the past 72 hours. Note that this information is derived solely from open sources and reflects only what I was able to glean from my individual efforts while scanning the Web (FYI all these attacks are regularly listed in the supplement to my fortnightly podcast ‘An Intelligent Look at Terrorism, now available for free on iTunes).

What does this data tell us? A couple of things. Firstly, it is typical of what happens every few days around the world. I have been monitoring attacks of this nature since I retired from security intelligence in 2015 and the above list is all too familiar to me. In fact it is usually much longer as countries where we see a lot of terrorist activity such as Nigeria, Egypt and Afghanistan have been eerily silent over the last three days.

Secondly, with the exception of the stabbing in the UK every single one of these attacks was perpetrated by an Islamist extremist, not a far right one. My scanning shows 28 deaths and 19 injured over this time frame although casualty counts are notoriously inaccurate and I have included military deaths, which I normally do not. My point here is to push back against the argument that the far right represents a larger threat than the jihadis. This debate is useless. We need to confront and prevent terrorism no matter what flavour it is.

Sometimes I fear that many among us are becoming numb to terrorism. It’s almost as if we shrug our shoulders and accept what is taking place as normal and beyond fixing. Suffice to say that I feel this is the wrong approach and that we must never resign ourselves to deaths and shattered lives at the hands of terrorists. We may take two steps back for every one forward at times but we have to keep going. Terrorism must not just fade into the background noise.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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