Sat 26 Apr 2008
Byline: Stewart Bell
TORONTO – The Canadian government is working on a plan to curb the use of the Internet for radicalization and recruitment into terrorism, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said yesterday.
The Minister said he was enhancing "investigative capabilities" in the area and working with Canada’s G8 partners "to combat terrorist use of the Internet for radicalization and recruitment, propaganda and fund-raising."
"Preventing and addressing radicalization leading to violence is a priority for me and is a key element of how the government of Canada addresses terrorism," he said in a statement released by his office.
Yesterday, the National Post published an interview with a 23-year-old Toronto man who calls himself a supporter of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. The article also revealed that moderate Muslims are concerned about comments Naeem Muhammed Khan has posted on the Internet singling them out as "apostates" who should be killed.
The Canadian Jewish Congress yesterday called on Toronto police to investigate Mr. Khan for online comments about Jews who support Israel, whom he wrote "deserve to die."
"These comments are both shocking and horrifying," said Rabbi Reuven Bulka, co-president of the CJC. "Promoting violence towards members of the Jewish community and those whose practice of Islam is deemed to be inferior is an affront to Canadians. There is no room for this kind of blatant hatred in our society."
Mr. Khan, who was born in Pakistan and immigrated to Canada in 2006, said he meant only that Jews killing Palestinians deserve to die and that under Islamic law the sentence for apostasy and insulting Islam is death.
Many Western countries are struggling to deal with a growing population of radicalized youths who believe that bin Laden is a hero. Some have gone on to plan or commit acts of terrorism at home, or have travelled to Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia to participate in what they consider a Muslim holy war.
Intelligence studies in several countries have identified the Internet as a catalyst for radicalization and recruitment.
Canada is co-funding an international study on the issue by the British think-tank Demos. Canadian security officials have also been holding outreach meetings with Muslim community leaders.
Mr. Day said that during a recent trip to the Middle East he was advised that while law enforcement and intelligence efforts are needed to deal with violent radicalization, "outreach and prevention are also key."