Canadian Intelligence Eh!

Why can’t Canada call Islamist terrorism what it is?

Squeamishness over terms like Islamist or jihadi terrorism appears to have led some to ban the term from official documents – is this a good move?

Episode 180 – Why can’t Canada call Islamist terrorism what it is?

For decades the world talked about Islamist and jihadist terrorism using very specific terminology.  Not everyone was happy with those words, suggesting that they cast Islam in a bad light.  As a consequence, perhaps, the Canadian government and  others have decided to stop using them, replacing them with the phrase RMVE – religiously motivated violent extremism.  Alas, this term is very inaccurate and may hinder counter terrorism efforts.  Borealis talks with Professor Emeritus Lorne Dawson on the ‘disappearance’ of religion from terrorism studies.

About my guest

Dr. Dawson is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Religious Studies and the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies. He served as the Chair of both departments. He has published three books, five edited books, and 90 academic articles and book chapters. Until 2008 most of his research was in the sociology of religion, in particular the study of new religious movements. Since then, the primary research focus has been terrorism, in particular the process of radicalization leading to violence. He co-founded and co-director of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS, 2012-2023), operating with funds competitively awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Public Safety Canada, and Defence Research and Development Canada. Over his career Dr. Dawson made numerous invited presentations to a wide variety of government, academic, and public groups and was interviewed by the media frequently. He has been involved in the supervision of over thirty PhD students.

Challenging the Curious Erasure of Religion from the Study of Religious Terrorism

Canadian Intelligence Eh

In a world of multiple voices and opinions it can be very hard to know where to turn.  One choice is to look to those who actually worked in counter-terrorism in the national security world. In these half-hour podcasts, 30-year Canadian intelligence veteran Phil Gurski is joined by a fascinating array of individuals with something meaningful to say about these issues as they provide insight into what they mean and what we need to do about them.

About Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. He worked as a senior strategic analyst at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) from 2001-2015, specialising in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation, and as a multilingual analyst at CSE (Communications Security Establishment) from 1983-2001. He is the author of six books on terrorism, including the second edition of The Peaceable Kingdom: A history of terrorism in Canada from Confederation to the present, published by Double Dagger in February 2023.

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.