The attempted terrorist attacks in Canada in May revealed a small but radical segment of disaffected yet “homegrown” young Muslims in the country, reports the Christian Science Monitor (June 6). The planned massive terrorist attacks using powerful explosives were to be carried out by 17 males, including five juveniles, targeting Canadian buildings and institutions. Terrorism experts see a good deal of similarities between the perpetrators of the London bombings last year and what Canadian police have nicknamed the “jihad generation” in Canada.
Both groups of perpetrators and would-be perpetrators “became radicalized not in Al Queda training camps abroad but in suburban neighborhoods where they led relatively unremarkable lives,” writes Rebecca Cook Dube. The fair number of juveniles involved suggests to some observers that a segment of the younger generation of Muslims is adrift, unsure of either a Canadian or Muslim identity.
But both the London investigation and the Canadian case reveals that the perpetrators and suspects were “virtually indistinguishable from other youth,” as they are described by friends and neighbors as normal young adults– some with well-to-do parents, promising careers, and young families. In the Canadian case, there was a radical older charismatic leader, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, whose extreme interpretations of Islam alarmed some Muslim leaders, as well as the influence of the Internet, which served as a propaganda and training tool for extremists.