Tolerating Intolerance in the Name of Toleration

Mar 15, 2009

I think it was during Day Three of SARS Outbreak Two that the wisdom of what Dr Jim Young had been saying really struck me. “The best strategy to manage an emergency or mitigate a disaster is to prevent it from happening in the first place, beginning with understanding what causes it.” I couldn’t help but reflect on that as I read the intriguing article in this issue of FrontLine entitled. “When Faith Becomes a Political Force.”

On the surface, of course, the emergency is the very real potential for terrorist violence being committed in Canada. We have been specifically named by al Qaeda as meriting that violence, and we are undeniably part of their Dar al Harb (lands of unbelievers), against whom submission or death are uncompromisingly sought. We are also clearly understood by the growing numbers of Islamist terrorist groups to be part of the Western “crusaders” who have a military presence in Muslim lands resulting in the deaths of Muslims. The fact that our presence is saving untold Muslim lives is, of course, beside the point for people whose idea of rationality and courage is convincing children to blow themselves up. In fairness, they are at least aware of our international role, which is more than can be said for the morons at Fox “News.” I digress.

History has shown us, with violent clarity, that terrorist attacks have a multiplicity of delivery methods of which we must be both unrestrictedly aware and comprehensively prepared. The constant feature is the motivation itself. All of the Bojinka plotters, World Trade Center, Embassy and USS Cole attackers, London and Madrid bombers, Beslan child killers, Bali bombers, would be UK plane hijackers, and Mumbai murderers were driven by a single unyielding cause for which murder is an acceptable means to an end.

The same is true of people like the Canadian raised Jabarrah brothers, Ameer el Maati and Momin Khawaja, and literally hundreds of others in Western countries that take pride in their tolerant secular democracies. While some of this latter group received their specialized training abroad, the recruits were persons usually born and raised in the very countries they sought to attack. Some were even converts to the religion they believed that compelled them to attack. Many of them were swayed to their intent by others living openly among us that preach and promote this irrational hatred. As one frantic parent said following the Toronto arrests, “they’re stealing our kids.”

Call it what you want, ‘Islamism,’ Islamofacism,’ ‘Salafist’ or ‘Wahabbi’ Islam, the uncompromising, authoritarian intolerant phenomena we now reluctantly confront is very much an emergency that needs to be ‘managed’ by preventing it from taking hold here in the Land of Roll Up the Rim.

It is genuinely difficult for us to believe that anyone would want to destroy our purposely tolerant societies – but believe it we must – and without prevarication or political correctness. The stakes are high because tolerating intolerance in the name of toleration could get us killed one day.

Central to this recognition is our need to confront the professional ‘woe is us (them)’ crowd who immediately denounce any description of these would-be killers as ‘Muslim’ extremists because “Islam is a religion of peace that doesn’t approve of violence and murder.”

The simple fact is that for these bad guys, who are in fact Muslims, Islam is a religion that not only permits violence and murder but in fact demands it.

Muslims need to work out who’s right or wrong on theological interpretation, but the rest of us don’t have to wait on that before we take the necessary steps to keep our societies safe and secure. Speaking as someone who got kicked out of Anglican confirmation class at the age of 12 for challenging the payer “We are not so worthy as to eat the crumbs under Thy table...”, this is not a religious debate; it’s about preserving a society and culture that cherishes freedom, liberty and the rule of secular law.

This challenge is compounded by the deliberate decision of those, like the Muslim Brotherhood and their multiple front organizations, that patently seek our internal collapse to engage in deception as a tactic in their struggle. They find support for this from the Quran itself, where the concept of ‘al taqqiya’ or lying to infidels is approved for promotion of Islam. The information is readily available and indisputable (have a read of the recent Holy Land Foundation conviction in the U.S. for example) and our intelligence agencies need to point out the truth to political decision makers about who is trying to cozy up to them.  

Preventing indoctrination and radicalization must be our goal. This too will have a spectrum of methods, and will include clear eyed recognition that faith itself is not suspect, and free speech includes political discourse (even from pompous windbags like George Galloway). It doesn’t mean, however, providing financial support to terrorist entities, advocating hatred against identifiable groups, polygamous or forced marriages, repressing women or demanding imposition of shari’a law. Government will have to make hard decisions and choices in support of Muslims who came to this country precisely to get away from the thuggish, self appointed ‘Supreme’ leaders who would rule autocratically over them. As residents of Canada, they deserve nothing less. It’s who we really are.  

Scott Newark is an Associate Editor of FrontLine Security magazine.
© FrontLine Security 2009