“If your morals make you dreary, depend on it they are wrong.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
Stewart Bell reports in Canada’s National Post newspaper that a certain Mohammed Aqeeq Ansari, a 30 year old Pakistani citizen who’s been living in Canada since 2007, was arrested on Oct. 2, “just days after two fatal attacks on Canadian Forces members in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., by men espousing Islamist extremist views.”
Well, anyone who’s been following the news of late realizes that whenever a Muslim is arrested in the USA or Canada for “espousing Islamist extremist views,” it’s not like he’s been espousing Republican ideals, or striving for Tommy Douglas’ lofty vision of universal health care for all Canadians.
What this word espouse means to Canadians like me is that those extremist views have acts of terrorism in mind. This may not be the meaning Stewart Bell intended for the word (after all, journalists these days are keen to avoid saying or writing anything that might cast “the religion of peace” in a bad light), but time and again we are discovering a much darker side of Islam and its followers than the pluralists and the apologists of this world insist we cannot see. The Islamists are “hijacking” Islam, their storyline goes, and we’re all crazy and wildly unrealistic for saying otherwise.
A Canadian Border Services Agency officer reported to the Immigration and Refugee Board that Mr. Ansari confessed to being sent to Canada from Pakistan (that beacon of light to the Western world) on a “military mission he can’t speak of” and that “he also professes his hatred of Canada and the United States.” Of course, such hatred and malefic intent are not passions we here in Canada or the USA find surprising coming from the mouth of a “radicalized” Muslim. What is surprising to me is that this same Pakistani Muslim, while “espousing Islamist extremist views,” has been living in Canada since 2007, even after he was charged with 21 firearms offenses in connection to a stockpile of weapons he kept in Peterborough, Ontario; even after it was discovered he was involved in Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a group, Mr. Bell points out, often “blamed for attacks on journalists and minority religious groups, and is affiliated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which Canada has outlawed as ‘one of the most violent Islamist extremist organizations in Pakistan’ ”; even after he was arrested in January 2013 for trying to destroy newspapers belonging to a Muslim sect which Sunnis regard as heretical; even after he was seen at a shooting range the same day police noticed that he drove there (a distance of 300 kilometers) “in a manner consistent with somebody trying to counter police surveillance.”
And then we have Mr. Ansari’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, deeply concerned for the welfare of his dear client. But this concern, I should mention, is rather confusing, even contradictory: in one breath he accuses Canadian authorities of “sending him abroad so he can cause more problems,” indicating an opinion that said Pakistani citizen really is a terrorist deep down and irredeemable, therefore a danger to society. But in the next breath he laments what might be Canada’s decision to deport him, as though said Pakistani citizen is redeemable, asking, “How does it benefit Canada to deport someone alleged to be a terrorist? If it’s true, he cannot be rehabilitated after being thrown out of Canada.”
And we arrive at the point I’m trying to make here, about how the Western world deals with potential terrorists in our midst: we are too nice to them, too considerate, and definitely insouciant about their potential terrorist capabilities. We are too easily satisfied with merely appearing “moral” in regards to our treatment of those walking among us whose religious bearings have convinced them to hate us simply because we’re non-Muslims and democratically inclined. We are being merely good instead of being effectively good. As Henry David Thoreau counseled, we must “…aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”
It is imprudent of Western democracies (those still exhibiting signs of life) to allow Islam its violence and anti-Jewish hatred simply because it’s forbidden by pluralists and apologists to hold Islam [the religion] culpable for that same violence and anti-Jewish hatred. Moreover, it is even more imprudent of us to haphazardly trust that those Muslims who have “espoused” Islam’s extremist views can somehow be “rehabilitated” back into the same society whose demise they have for years been pleading with their god to bring about. Such morals are wrong, and they are making us dreary.
Michael Devolin has been a member of JDL Canada since the 1980s, and has served as the personal bodyguard to Meir Weinstein, National Director of JDL Canada, at several high-profile trials, including the Jim Keegstra hate crimes trial and the Imra Finta war crimes trial.