(Originally published on TSEC Network March 27, 2016)
An ISIS inspired or ordered attack on Canada is a direct possibility. Should it occur tomorrow or a year from now, a chorus of voices will express surprise and shock. The main narrative from pundits and politicians will be “We never thought it could happen here.”
Just for the record, and from an open source intelligence point of view, here are the “indicators and warnings” of an attack on Canada which will occur based on either orders from ISIS or by someone in Canada who is inspired by the Islamist/ISIS ideology.
INDICATORS AND WARNINGS
- Where will it occur
In order for an ISIS inspired or ordered attack to take place, a local network of sympathetic followers is required for logistics support (food, shelter, transportation, comms etc). This means Montreal, Mississauga or Calgary as the most likely locations. Other include Ottawa and the GTA.
- An ISIS inspired attempt to take over parts of Maisonneuve College is already underway
Five Maisonneuve College (CEGEP) students left to be ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq in January 2015 while a further four Maisonneuve students tried to leave Canada in May of 2015. Another two students from Maisonneuve College have been arrested and are in jail awaiting trial. They (allegedly) had the components for a pressure cooker bomb and were ready to carry out a domestic attack. They had expressed interest and sympathy for ISIS and had tried to leave Canada, but their passports had been revoked.
An attempt has been made by Maisonneuve College to take over control of parts of the library and other facilities. The police have been called due to violence on campus The staff union at the college has made a formal complaint about violence and intimidation of the staff. Who is identified as being at the centre of this problem? One of the students who tried to leave Canada for ISIS. More on this sordid affair can be seen at La Presse in their article titled: Tensions et intimidation au collège de Maisonneuve by Gabrielle Duchaine, 19 February 2016.
- Canada has had three recent terrorist attacks inspired by messages from Islamists
The murder of Warrant Officer Vincent (Oct 2014) and the attack on Corporal Cirillo/Parliament Hill (Oct 2014) and the attack on the recruiting center in Toronto (March 2015) all have clear ties to Islamist influence. Despite claims of them being “lone wolves” at least the first two had ties to other individuals and organizations of an Islamist nature.
- Arrest of Kevin Mohamed (March 2016)
Kevin Omar Mohamed, 23, was arrested and charged with five terrorism related offences 25 March 2016. He was a member of the Waterloo University Muslim Student Association (MSA). The MSA in Canada has a rather long list of alumni who have become ISIS suicide bombers, ISIS propagandists, jihadist fighters, martyrs and leaders in Islamist organizations.
Of general interest, he was also an engineering student, which informed observers will note is rather common for Islamist terrorists.
- The Muslim Student Association may be a recruiting mechanism for extremists and terrorists
As noted above, the Muslim Student Association of Canada has been at the centre of recruiting for extremism. This has been an issues since at least the early 1980s. Ahmed Sayed Khadr was a University of Ottawa student and a member of the MSA when he was radicalized in the early 1980s. The list of students from Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa by itself is rather discouraging, but others from across Canada show this is not a localized problem.
- Canada has a long term problem with extremist groups
A number of extremist groups have been operating in Canada since the 1960s. Among them are the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Iranian sponsored Khomeneists. Each one of them has an ideology which is political (i.e. Islamist), supremacist and anti-democratic. Despite the size and power of these organization and their extremist agenda, little is done to address them.
- The Government of Canada has several “interesting” Members of Parliament
The current Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is Omar Alghabra. Referring to the Brussels attacks, he stated in Parliament that he is angry that terror groups pretend to speak in the name of Islam. Yet he is also on the record as saying that HAMAS (Muslim Brotherhood) and Hezbollah (Iran) are not terrorist groups. Does he mean that they do speak for Islam? Mr. Alghabra is also on the public record as saying he is in favour of Sharia for Ontario. A variety of other political figures have interesting views as well.