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Perspectives

When religious freedom and intolerance clash

I have often said that we here in Canada are living in a post-religious society.  This is not to imply that religion does not exist here or that faith is not very important to many Canadians, but rather that it does not have the profile it once did and does not appear to have a […]

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Perspectives

Fringe theories on terrorism – 2: Engineers and extremism

(I just realised that the title of this blog could be seen as offensive.  Please believe that I am not equating those that build bridges and improve our way of life with those who wantonly slaughter innocent people in the name of ideology.  The two have nothing in common.  Or do they?) Building on my […]

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Perspectives

Terrorism and cultural destruction

We all remember when the Taliban blew up two huge Buddha statues in Bamyan, Afghanistan back in March 2001.  These religious objects, almost 1500 years old, were reduced to rubble when the extremists gleefully dynamited them and bragged about their act of demolition.  At the time, their crime made headlines around the world and was, […]

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Perspectives

When is a war not a war?

The new Liberal government in Canada has been talking about terrorism quite a bit lately.  We now have a decision on what Trudeau’s policy on Islamic State (IS) will be as well as a renewed – and much needed – emphasis on countering radicalisation in this country. And the Defence Minister, Harjit “bad-ass” Sajjan, has […]

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Truth or consequences – the terrorist version

I am fairly certain that many people are getting sick and tired of hearing about terrorism.  IS this.  AQ that.  Some guys called Boko Haram.  The Taliban.  Etc.  Etc. Etc.  The so-called war on terror (a terrible description as I have said before) has been going on for 15 years or so.  When will it […]

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Good intentions, but…

Do you remember when former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in an interview with the CBC, said that “Islamicism” was the greatest threat to national security?  I think we all knew what he meant – Islamist extremism – but his use of “Islamicism” was roundly criticised and led to accusations that the Conservative government viewed […]

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Perspectives

Who should we worry about more: Saudi Arabia or Iran?

I bet some of you are wondering why this blog post is being written, in light of the title.  Surely, you are probably saying, there is no contest.  Iran meddles in the affairs of other countries, supports terrorist groups like Hamas and Hizballah and is trying to acquire nuclear weapons.  And then there is that […]

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The beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  According to Google, this famous phrase was uttered either by Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke or former Minnesota governor and ex-WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura.  I’ll go with Burke. What is more disconcerting is when we forget our history that happened, say, 4 years ago.  Remember the […]

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Global warming and terrorism

As we continually seek to understand terrorism and what makes a terrorist, we hear many reasons brought forward and defended as THE answer or cause.  I have already, on several occasions, discussed and dismissed the perennial disenfranchisement/alienation/poverty…. myth and will not return to it here. Now another “soupe du jour” has arisen, probably not coincidentally […]

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Perspectives

Choosing between the letter and the spirit of the law

We make laws to reflect our values and to protect ourselves from those that would undermine them.  For instance, we say that murder is a crime because we value life.  We have laws against the theft of personal goods because we value our property.  In a more controversial vein, we have hate laws because we […]