‘Before tragedy strikes’: Liberals launch centre to prevent homegrown terrorism – Politics – CBC News

Good and appropriate that it includes all forms of radicalization and violent extremism:

The federal government has launched a new centre tasked with preventing the radicalization of Canadian young people.

A special adviser will be named in the coming months to oversee the local outreach and research projects funded through the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence.

The centre will have dedicated staff, but will be located within the existing Public Safety Canada space.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada must become a world leader in understanding and dealing with radicalization that leads to violence, in order to retain its national character as an open, diverse society that is also safe and secure.

“The new Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence will help us do as much as humanly possible to prevent radicalization to violence before tragedy strikes,” Goodale said in a statement. “It will support and empower local leaders to develop initiatives that are suited to their community.”

Last year’s budget set aside $35 million over five years and $10 million each year after to combat radicalization and violence in Canada.

Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of heritage (multiculturalism), said the new centre will drive better research, understanding and engagement, with a special focus on youth vulnerable to radicalization. Building up trust relationships and opening lines of communication are critical to combating radicalism at the ground level, he said.

No boundaries to extremist views

The centre will not focus on Islamist extremism alone, but will cover a wide spectrum, because while some attacks are perpetrated by Islamist extremists, others target Muslims, Virani said.

“When we look at what’s happening across the country, radicalization is not endemic to any one group, institution, race or religion,” he said. “It doesn’t have particular boundaries that are tied to a religion or an ideology. That’s very important to keep in mind because that’s a situation we need be upfront about in terms of where the threats are coming from and not focusing on any one particular community.”

In January, six people were killed and 19 others injured in an attack by a gunman at a Quebec CIty mosque.

Source: ‘Before tragedy strikes’: Liberals launch centre to prevent homegrown terrorism – Politics – CBC News

Inside French Prisons, A Struggle To Combat Radicalization : NPR

Good long-read on the challenges of radicalization and French prisons:

Yannis Warrach, a Muslim cleric who works in his spare time at a top-security prison in Normandy, says prison is so brutal, inmates can only survive if they’re part of a gang. He has seen how the radicals recruit newcomers.

“The ones who preach and proselytize will at first be nice to a detainee. They see his desperation,” he says. “They’ll befriend him, give him what he needs. Then they’ll say it’s destiny. They’ll say that God has a mission for him. And little by little, they brainwash him, telling him French society has rejected him, he can’t get a job because of his Arab last name, and he was always put in the worst classes at school.

“The problem is,” says Warrach, “it’s often true.”

Warrach says these young men must have hope for a different future to break out of the spiral of failure. He says French leaders have failed to change the socioeconomic factors that keep many French people of Muslim descent on the bottom rungs of the ladder.

Another big problem, he says, is the prevalence of hard-line, Salafist reading material in jails — often French translations of Saudi, Wahhabist tracts that advocate literal, strict interpretation of religious doctrine.

“I work to debunk this stuff,” says Warrach. “I give inmates under pressure a historical context of the faith and another narrative of Islam.”

He says that because of the pressure from radicals, who consider him an agent of the French government, he has to meet secretly with inmates who desperately want his help. Instead of meeting in rooms designated for religious worship, which are open, they meet in special prison visiting rooms for inmates’ lawyers, where no one can observe them.

Because of its strict separation of religion and state, Warrach says France is the only country in Europe where being a prison cleric is not considered a profession. He says he only receives a small stipend, but that he can’t build a life around it — there are no retirement plans or other benefits. Because of this, there can’t be an imam at the prison every day, which creates a huge void, he says. And it leaves plenty of room for uninformed, extremist interpretations of Islam in French prisons.

Source: Inside French Prisons, A Struggle To Combat Radicalization : Parallels : NPR

‘It is a battle for hearts and minds’: Trudeau’s $35 million gamble to counter radicalization

No easy solutions but these approaches are part of the toolkit. Small change compared to security expenditures:

A growing number of experts are advocating for a more holistic approach to countering violent extremism — one that attempts to address community grievances and feelings of social exclusion, he said.

Still, some say the terrorist propaganda and violent narratives on the Internet and social media sites — often infused with glorious references to past and valiant warriors — cannot be ignored and efforts must be made to squarely refute  their often misleading claims.

“It is a battle for hearts and minds,” Shaikh said.

Some of this is already happening in Canada. In 2015, Public Safety Canada threw its support behind a video project, Extreme Dialogue, that highlighted the stories of individuals who had walked away from extreme Islamist groups or far-right groups, as well as family members impacted by extremism.

Last year, Montreal’s Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence created a comic book that used humour to try to address some of the underlying causes of radicalization.

But do these counter-narrative campaigns ring hollow for their intended audiences? And how do you gauge success? By clicks and web visits?

Phil Gurski, a former CSIS strategic analyst, said trying to deconstruct and counter every piece of propaganda ends up being a never-ending game of “whack-a-mole.” He suggested putting more emphasis on alternative narratives, for example, emphasizing Muslim empowerment and success stories.

But that still leaves the question of how to deal with individuals who are more deeply entrenched in their radicalization, such as foreign fighters who have returned to Canada. About 180 Canadians are known to have participated in terrorist activities overseas — mostly in Turkey, Iraq and Syria — and about 60 have returned.

If police fear someone may commit a terrorism offence, but don’t have enough evidence to charge them, they have sometimes gone to court to apply for peace bonds, which temporarily restrict an individual’s movements. But as the case of Aaron Driver showed, these bonds cannot always be relied upon to prevent violence.

Driver had been the subject of a peace bond that restricted access to his computer and cellphone and barred him from possessing firearms or explosives. Yet, last August, the Islamic State sympathizer was able to shoot a martyrdom video and get into a taxi with a homemade bomb before being shot and killed by police in Strathroy, Ont.

For those not quite as far down the path of radicalization, police in Toronto last year announced they had been experimenting with an early intervention model, not dissimilar to the one in Britain. Individuals deemed at-risk for violence are steered to “hubs” of community representatives who assess whether they might benefit from spiritual guidance, family counselling or mental-health support. Calgary police have a similar program in place.

Yet this approach creates other conundrums: Should such voluntary programs be mandatory? And should the goal be “de-radicalization” — the suppression of extreme ideology? Or is it more realistic to settle for “disengagement” — allowing a person to continue to harbour radical ideas so long as they do not resort to or support violence?

“The dangers to democracy are obvious here and not at all easy to reconcile,” Littlewood said. And, “success in one year may be undone two or three years later,” he added.

Whoever takes the helm of Canada’s new counter-radicalization office is in for a “mind-boggling” ride to try to create a coherent national framework for best practices, Gurski said.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever know what works,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.”

Chris Selley: If the Brits can handle terrorism properly, surely we sheltered Canadians can too

Selley takes down Sun columnists on their alarmist calls for internment and other measures:

Brits are reacting to the latest terrorist attacks on their soil more or less as usual, though Thursday’s election adds an extra bit of urgency and drama. Conservatives, including Prime Minister Theresa May, are calling for ramped up anti-terror measures: more surveillance, more punishment, more online censorship. “Enough is enough,” May said Sunday.

A few unreconstructed lefties still bang on about Western civilization’s just desserts, but as Terry Glavin observed in the National Post after last month’s attack in Manchester, that species of urban sophisticate is less welcome at parties than ever. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used to be very much of the “Terrorist? Or freedom fighter?” set. With Labour shockingly competitive in the polls, he now accuses May of cheaping out on policing and supports a “shoot to kill” policy that he used to oppose.

Some are calling for much stronger measures indeed. Tarique Ghaffur, a former assistant commissioner for London’s Metropolitan Police, argues “special centres” should be set up where some 3,000 known Islamic extremists could be forcibly de-radicalized — i.e., internment camps. Professionally hysterical Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins, who is very un-British-ly proud of being frightened to death, is foursquare behind the idea (though she has apologized for her post-Manchester demand for a “final solution”).

“We face an unprecedented terrorist threat in Britain,” Ghaffur wrote in the Mail on Sunday. There are “way too many (potential threats) for the security services and police to monitor (otherwise).” Ghaffur conceded the precedent was not entirely compelling: the internment of nearly 2,000 Irish nationalists between 1971 and 1975 “led to hunger strikes,” he noted. “But the centres I’m proposing would be different as they would have backing from Muslim leaders.”

One rather suspects they would not. And the problem in Ireland was quite a bit larger than hunger strikes. Setting aside civil liberties and other such malarkey, it didn’t work: 1972 was the deadliest year of the Troubles. With all those suspected threats locked up, the IRA blew up pubs, hotels and army barracks across the U.K.

That took gumption and significant resources. Nowadays, it would take very little effort at all for ISIL to leverage internment as powerful inspiration for amateur jihadists who see glorious carnage to be made with a white van and kitchen knives.

Internment is a God-awful idea, but it’s at least understandable in the British context. Terrorism is hardly an existential or an unprecedented one: 2005 was the deadliest year for terrorism in the U.K. since the Troubles, and it pales by comparison. But when cars and kitchen knives become threats, the cowardly have all the more reason to hide under their beds and demand martial law so they can be comfortable going to the theatre again.

It’s quite ridiculous to see this nonsense crop up here in Canada, however, where the domestic death toll from Islamic terrorism stands at three people, all of them soldiers. “All people (who are) on terror watch list in Canada or are in terrorist rehab programs should be detained and in some cases deported,” Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington tweeted. His colleague Anthony Furey followed suit: “Get the RCMP to arrest the dozens of known jihadists now walking around freely on Canadian soil. Just do it.” Furey’s demand was all the stranger considering he wrote a column explaining how implausible it would be to build a legal case against someone for his activities in ISIL-controlled Iraq or Syria.

Sheltered as Canadians have been from these threats, there is a streak of performative unseriousness that runs through our anti-terrorism discussion. “Let ‘em go,” some chortled when Canadians were found to be heading abroad to fight for ISIL. And when they come back, what then? “Lock ‘em up,” they’ll say — but of course we can’t, or not while respecting the rule of law.

Our relative unfamiliarity with terrorism might make it understandable that we would overreact to whatever threat there is. But it’s all the more disreputable for that reason — especially considering police keep foiling plans that do exist. “Go out as you planned and enjoy yourselves,” senior U.K. anti-terrorism officer Mark Rowley advised Brits heading into last weekend — not because they had everything totally under control after Manchester, you understand, but because MI5 believed “an attack is no longer imminent.”

The Brits, by and large, went out as they planned. Overwhelmingly, Canadians seem to be doing likewise — and rightly so. The rest of us should get with the program.

Source: Chris Selley: If the Brits can handle terrorism properly, surely we sheltered Canadians can too | National Post

Countering extremism requires political honesty from Theresa May: Shaista Aziz

A valid critique of May who, after all, was Home Secretary for six years before becoming PM:

And what of the woman who wants to be elected Prime Minister when the U.K. goes to the polls in three days time?

Theresa May has shown that she is not interested in looking for real and meaningful solutions to deal with the new reality that terrorism poses to the lives of British people. Instead, she has hit repeat, saying there is “too much tolerance of extremism” in the U.K. – implying that British Muslims have turned a blind eye to individuals pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, trotting out the tired-out trope that British Muslims are the only ones who can stop the terrorists.

Such a claim disregards that the Manchester bomber, Salman Abeidi, was flagged to the authorities at least five times as an individual who was showing signs of radicalization. The same pattern is being repeated (so far) following the London attack, with reports that locals contacted the police two years ago to report the individual believed to be the terrorist ring leader.

After the London attack, Ms. May responded by saying “enough is enough,” and I couldn’t agree with her more: enough is enough, Ms. May.

Enough of the police cuts that have removed 20,000 officers from our streets, including community police officers. We need a properly funded police service to deal with the terrorism threats to our country.

Enough of the narrative that there is an us and them when it comes to tackling terrorism – there is only we.

The U.K. is deeply polarized, and there is a growing trust deficit between many of our politicians and the people. Empty sound bites will do nothing to heal these divisions.

Nobody in this country tolerates extremists, other than extremists.

And enough is enough of Britain’s blind support for the likes of the Saudi Arabian government, responsible for promoting extremism and its sectarian agenda around the world.

If Theresa May is serious about tackling extremism, she will ensure the long-delayed inquiry report into foreign funding and support of jihadi groups in the U.K. will be released immediately.

We are judged by the company we keep and by our actions. It is time for Ms. May to walk the walk and not just talk the talk on countering extremism.

Source: Countering extremism requires political honesty from Theresa May – The Globe and Mail

Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) chief says radical Sunni Islam creates terrorists, not being a refugee | Australia news | The Guardian

Spymasters versus demagogues:

The head of Australia’s spy agency, Duncan Lewis, says people become terrorists because they adhere to a violent interpretation of Sunni Islam, not because they are refugees.

Lewis has come under intense pressure from conservative commentators, including the News Corporation columnist and Sky News broadcaster Andrew Bolt, after his response to questions from the One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, on 26 May about whether there was a connection between terrorism and refugees.

The Asio chief told Hanson at Senate estimates last week he had no evidence of any connection. He said the source of terrorism wasn’t Australia’s refugee program, but “radical Sunni Islam”.

Bolt’s critique was echoed by the former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who suggested Lewis was tiptoeing around the subject. “Asio has to command the confidence of the Australian community, and that’s why you’ve got to be open and upfront about these things,” he told 2GB.

Hanson later told 2GB the response from Lewis at estimates was “not what the Australian public want to hear”.

She was “gobsmacked” by his evidence at estimates.

On Wednesday morning Lewis had a rare public interview with the ABC. He stood by the evidence he gave last week, but provided some more context.

“We have had tens of thousands of refugees come to Australia over the last decade or so and a very few of them have become subjects of interest for Asio and have been involved in terrorist planning,” he said.

“I’m not denying that. I’ve not said that there are no terrorists who have not been refugees or who have not been the sons and daughters of refugees born in this country.

“But the context is very important. The reason they are terrorists is not because they are refugees but because of the violent, extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam that they have adopted.”

Lewis said sons and daughters of refugees were “in the group that have resorted to radicalisation but I think it is very wrong to say that it is because of their refugee status”.

“They are radicalised for different reasons,” he said.

He said he had no intention of appearing contemptuous of Hanson’s line of questioning: “The point I am making is we need to stick to the facts.”

Source: Asio chief says radical Sunni Islam creates terrorists, not being a refugee | Australia news | The Guardian

How the Muslim community can tackle the scourge of extremism: Sheema Khan

Her latest op-ed and usual sensible suggestions and recommendations:

In the elusive search for clues on radicalization, there are meaningful steps that Muslim communities can take toward addressing this scourge.

There should be “safe” spaces available for Muslim youth to discuss their concerns and passion for justice, in the company of those with sound knowledge of Islamic teachings. Rather than the traditional one-way lecture, there should be round tables in which topics are discussed frankly in context with normative Islamic principles. Currently, most Muslim institutions shy away from such discussions, for fear of being accused of fomenting extremism. Local organizations can sponsor a screening of Tug of War, a short Canadian indie film that boldly tackles this topic.

Grassroots initiatives that teach resiliency to Muslim youth must be developed. Since Canada opened the doors of immigration, a plethora of ethno-religious groups have experienced racism. Yet, such groups have found the resiliency to survive and thrive.

Muslims have deep resources within their faith about dealing with hostility through patience, principled justice and forgiveness. They can also use valuable anti-racism tools developed by civil society. For example, the National Council of Canadian Muslims plays a key role by empowering Muslims to address xenophobia through engagement with civil institutions.

Mentorship will also play a key role in helping youth to integrate. There are many Muslim professionals, entrepreneurs, artists and activists who have faced challenges and succeeded. Their experiences are invaluable for the coming generation. We need forums where such knowledge can be shared and mentoring partnerships established.

Civic engagement is the key to non-violent activism. Whether the focus is local justice or foreign policy, there needs to be further education about the role of NGOs, government institutions and one’s responsibility in the democratic process. The 2015 federal election prompted many Muslims to initiate grassroots campaigns for political engagement. As an example, The Canadian-Muslim Vote provides regular updates about House deliberations, along with interviews of MPs.

Perhaps the most difficult, yet necessary, component is to ask some tough questions. Why is it that a small minority of Sunni Muslim youth is latching on to a death cult? How are the teachings of Islam being twisted to appeal to a hateful, morally bankrupt mindset? Why are appeals to basic morality (e.g., forbiddance of murder and suicide) failing?

Finally, those espousing violence must be reported to the authorities. Friends, family and mosque congregants had warned police about Mr. Abedi’s extremist views – without success. This means we must all try harder to prevent the next incident.

Source: How the Muslim community can tackle the scourge of extremism – The Globe and Mail

Manchester attack: It is pious and inaccurate to say Salman Abedi’s actions had ‘nothing to do with Islam’ | The Independent

Patrick Cockburn on Salafism and Saudi Arabia’s role in spreading fundamentalism. Bit over the top in terms of wording used, but basic point about Saudi Arabia’s role valid:

In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world. Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to recruitment by Isis and al-Qaeda clones.

This approach of not blaming Muslims in general but targeting “radicalisation” or simply “evil” may appear sensible and moderate, but in practice it makes the motivation of the killers in Manchester or the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015 appear vaguer and less identifiable than it really is. Such generalities have the unfortunate effect of preventing people pointing an accusing finger at the variant of Islam which certainly is responsible for preparing the soil for the beliefs and actions likely to have inspired the suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

The ultimate inspiration for such people is Wahhabism, the puritanical, fanatical and regressive type of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, whose ideology is close to that of al-Qaeda and Isis. This is an exclusive creed, intolerant of all who disagree with it such as secular liberals, members of other Muslim communities such as the Shia or women resisting their chattel-like status.

What has been termed Salafi jihadism, the core beliefs of Isis and al-Qaeda, developed out of Wahhabism, and has carried out its prejudices to what it sees as a logical and violent conclusion. Shia and Yazidis were not just heretics in the eyes of this movement, which was a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, but sub-humans who should be massacred or enslaved. Any woman who transgressed against repressive social mores should be savagely punished. Faith should be demonstrated by a public death of the believer, slaughtering the unbelievers, be they the 86 Shia children being evacuated by bus from their homes in Syria on 15 April or the butchery of young fans at a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night.

The real causes of “radicalisation” have long been known, but the government, the BBC and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias. It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers “have nothing to do with Islam”. This has been the track record of US and UK governments since 9/11. They will look in any direction except Saudi Arabia when seeking the causes of terrorism. President Trump has been justly denounced and derided in the US for last Sunday accusing Iran and, in effect, the Shia community of responsibility for the wave of terrorism that has engulfed the region when it ultimately emanates from one small but immensely influential Sunni sect. One of the great cultural changes in the world over the last 50 years is the way in which Wahhabism, once an isolated splinter group, has become an increasingly dominant influence over mainstream Sunni Islam, thanks to Saudi financial support.

The culpability of Western governments for terrorist attacks on their own citizens is glaring but is seldom even referred to. Leaders want to have a political and commercial alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. They have never held them to account for supporting a repressive and sectarian ideology which is likely to have inspired Salman Abedi. Details of his motivation may be lacking, but the target of his attack and the method of his death is classic al-Qaeda and Isis in its mode of operating.

The reason these two demonic organisations were able to survive and expand despite the billions – perhaps trillions – of dollars spent on “the war on terror” after 9/11 is that those responsible for stopping them deliberately missed the target and have gone on doing so. After 9/11, President Bush portrayed Iraq not Saudi Arabia as the enemy; in a re-run of history President Trump is ludicrously accusing Iran of being the source of most terrorism in the Middle East. This is the real 9/11 conspiracy, beloved of crackpots worldwide, but there is nothing secret about the deliberate blindness of British and American governments to the source of the beliefs that has inspired the massacres of which Manchester is only the latest – and certainly not the last – horrible example.

Source: Manchester attack: It is pious and inaccurate to say Salman Abedi’s actions had ‘nothing to do with Islam’ | The Independent

Smothering the burning embers of terrorism: Sears 

Good and balanced commentary:

Canada had been astonishingly blessed to be mostly free of all but a few murders by angry young men mimicking serious terrorists — so far. But that is surely not a predictor of our future. Those more brutally stung by repeated attacks have moved far ahead of us in radicalization prevention, at-risk youth outreach, monitoring and countering incitement rhetoric online, in school, and in the community.

It is way past time that we made compulsory again the study of civics, in every elementary school year. A program of learning on the responsibilities of citizenship, on why a socially tolerant Canada is the only path to a safer Canada, on the story of the giants of our history on whose shoulders we stand, having been bequeathed this blessed, but always fragile, new nation.

This is not about attacks on other communities, other cultures, disguised as a “discussion about Canadian values.” Nor is it jeremiads like Supreme Court Justice Abella’s against “narcissistic populism” as powerful as they have been. It’s about demonstrating to everyone the meaning of the shared responsibilities of citizens in our democracy, and those we have to each other. What Toronto political sage Bill MacDonald has so elegantly dubbed the “Canadian culture of mutual accommodation.”

As we celebrate our 150 years of success in building a new form of nationhood, we cannot let our pride blind us to its perennial fragility. Canadian religious and public safety leaders, for example, need to deepen their conversations about the boundaries between acceptable and illegal hate speech, develop stronger models of shared engagement focused on mutual education and prevention, not merely surveillance and arrest.

Perhaps most important of all, Canadian business, civic, and community leaders need to make it clear to politicians and pundits who use racial, religious and ethnic divisions for votes or clicks, just how certain will be the destruction of their reputations and careers.

For it is not insensitive to the suffering of the Manchester families of the children who were victims of this latest atrocity to remember this: it is how we react to attack that is the path to less terror. We invest in prevention, we make punishment certain, and we double down on the peddlers of hate.

Perhaps with a deeper commitment to prevention our day will never come. But as the Japanese cliché has it, “People don’t learn from experience, only from catastrophe.” If, despite all our efforts, the one-time we fail leads to tragedy, we must ensure that our defiance in the face of attack includes a resolute commitment to the open inclusive Canada that so much blood was shed to build and to guarantee.

Source: Smothering the burning embers of terrorism: Sears | Toronto Star

Des radicaux aussi chez les catholiques | Le Devoir

Indeed. Extremism and fundamentalism is not unique to any one religion:

« En ce qui concerne les morts, c’est 6 à 2 pour les intégristes catholiques », lance le sociologue Martin Geoffroy. C’est un drôle de décompte, convient ce professeur au cégep Édouard-Montpetit et directeur du Centre d’expertise et de formation sur les intégrismes religieux et la radicalisation (CEFIR). Mais il illustre bien que, malgré le fait que l’attentat de la mosquée de Québec a fait six morts, ceux reliés à l’islam radical jouissent encore d’une attention disproportionnée dans les médias et l’esprit des Québécois. « On n’hésite pas à associer les attentats terroristes au groupe État islamique et à l’intégrisme religieux, mais quand ça émane de notre propre culture, c’est plus difficile à reconnaître. »

Il rappelle que seulement deux attentats djihadistes, celui de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu et celui au parlement d’Ottawa, qui ont fait en tout deux morts, ont été perpétrés chez nous. Le fameux complot des Toronto 18 planifié en 2006 a quant à lui été déjoué, et les liens de ces terroristes avec al-Qaïda ne seraient pas prouvés.

Fort de 20 ans de recherche sur l’extrême droite, son postulat se confirme. « C’est toujours plus facile de blâmer la culture de l’autre plutôt que de regarder notre propre culture. Mais l’intégrisme catholique, tout comme l’intégrisme islamique, a aussi un rôle à jouer dans le terrorisme », dit M. Geoffroy, reconnaissant qu’il y a d’autres facteurs, notamment psychologiques, pour expliquer cette violence extrême.

Dans une conférence qu’il donnera dans le cadre du colloque international du Centre de recherche Société, Droit et Religions de l’Université de Sherbrooke (SoDRUS) sur le thème « Les racines religieuses de la radicalisation : fait ou fiction » (les 4, 5 et 6 mai), il défendra la thèse voulant qu’au Québec, les deux formes les plus habituelles d’intransigeance religieuse sont l’intégrisme catholique et le fondamentalisme protestant. Mieux ancrés dans notre société, ces intégrismes bien de chez nous passent sous le radar des médias alors qu’ils vont pourtant à l’encontre des valeurs de la société moderne. « La radicalisation des jeunes et le djihadisme sont dangereux, je ne veux pas le minimiser. Mais cela étant dit, il faut se préoccuper de nos propres affaires. Et il semble plus difficile de regarder le côté sombre de la force de notre propre culture. »

Intégrisme catholique

Martin Geoffroy se heurte d’ailleurs souvent à des regards surpris lorsqu’il rappelle qu’il existe encore plusieurs sectes catholiques, antisémites, anti-islam, anti-immigration. Ses plus récentes recherches l’amènent à conclure que ces groupes sont « complotistes, à base d’intégrisme religieux ou les deux », soutient le chercheur, qui rappelle que des députés conservateurs avaient des liens avec l’Opus dei et la Fraternité sacerdotale Saint-Pie-X. Cette société controversée de prêtres catholiques traditionalistes fondée en Europe, qui a des ramifications au Québec, avait été vue comme trop d’extrême droite par l’Église, qui avait notamment excommunié son fondateur, Mgr Marcel Lefebvre, en 1988.

La fraternité Saint-Pie-X est aussi dans la mire d’Atalante, a-t-il remarqué grâce à une veille de ces groupes sur Internet et les réseaux sociaux, où des vidéos ont clairement établi ces liens. La dimension religieuse, à tout le moins sacrée, est également présente chez les Soldats d’Odin, un groupe d’extrême droite d’origine finlandaise qui a rapidement pris de l’ampleur au Canada. « Dans les groupes suprémacistes blancs, il y a une adoration des dieux vikings, car ils sont blonds, etc. Et Odin, c’est le dieu principal de la mythologie nordique », rappelle le chercheur, qui entamera sous peu une collaboration avec le sociologue français Gérald Bronner, pour comparer les initiatives contre la radicalisation.

Le colloque du SoDRUS fera la part belle aux présentations sur la radicalisation au sein d’autres groupes religieux (bouddhistes, sikhs, anabaptistes, etc.). Martin Geoffroy s’étonne que certains doutent encore du lien entre la religion et l’extrême droite. La radicalisation et les actes terroristes des djihadistes sont automatiquement associés à la religion, alors que la majorité des djihadistes ne sont pas pratiquants mais plutôt convertis « à la version intégriste de l’islam, un islam pour les nuls », dit-il, pointant la thèse du politologue français Olivier Roi sur la déculturation du religieux. « Mais quand on parle de l’extrême droite chez nous, on ne parle pas nécessairement de la religion catholique. On dit que ça n’a pas de rapport, comme si on voulait déconnecter l’extrême droite de notre culture », dit-il. Or ce n’est pas parce que les gens ne sont pas pratiquants qu’ils ne sont pas croyants, rappelle-t-il, précisant que le taux de catholiques pratiquants (15-17 %) est presque aussi élevé que pour les musulmans (20 %).

Source: Des radicaux aussi chez les catholiques | Le Devoir