It is increasingly certain that nearly all of the people involved in the Paris attacks were citizens of France or Belgium; only one may have entered as refugee — though he didn’t come from the refugee camps but directly from Syria through Greece. Or maybe not at all. There is logic to that. It is far easier to recruit disaffected young men and women in Europe or Canada or America than it is to plant them in camps in Turkey and Lebanon in the vague hope that they will somehow make their way into another country – while still retaining the indoctrination they received.
In fact home grown terrorism is and always has been the greatest threat to the safety of western citizens. Those who want to deny entrance to Syrian refugees are the same ones who refuse to do the hard work of preventing radicalization at home. They don’t want to practice ‘sociology’ when that is exactly what is needed.
To some extent of course they are willing to accuse Muslim citizens of harbouring potentially dangerous thoughts; they support greater surveillance of Islamic communities, as well as arbitrary arrest.
But at the same time they ignore the larger world around them. The majority of home-grown terrorists in the west have never been Muslim; they have been white men with a grudge against society. We could go back to Patty Hearst, millionaire heiress, kidnapped, indoctrinated and turned into a bank robber by the SLA or Tim McVeigh or David Koresh of the Branch Davidians, or all those men’s rights guys who gun down women who won’t have sex with them. Some of these homegrown terrorists act alone like Anders Breivik in Norway, who claimed to be a Christian defending his country from immigrants. Others cling to anarchist ideas – but act in groups – like the shooters at Columbine. Then there were the four Canadians from Halifax who planned to carry out a mass shooting, inspired by neo-Nazi and white supremacist philosophies.
I could go on but those who are open to these arguments already know the countless examples I could list; those who won’t be persuaded will refuse to acknowledge white terrorists – dismissing them as criminals or crazies. Which, of course, they all are. Just as crazy and criminal as those Daesh recruits in Europe. The same crazies and criminals that refugees are running away from.
But why stop there? Weren’t the people who firebombed a mosque in Peterborough terrorists? What about the thugs who attacked a Muslim woman trying to pick up her children from school. She and her children were born in Canada – but what about their attackers? Maybe they slipped over the border from Wisconsin.
Home grown terrorism. Here’s a question for you. If you’ve recently called for a halt to the refugee program in order to advance your political career (I’m looking at you Wall. You, too, Kenny) or merely expressed a fear of the ‘barbaric cultural practices’ of your neighbours and co-workers, ask yourself this: Do I know where my children were last night?
Because if you don’t, maybe they were out putting your words into action.
In the meantime, the rest of us have to figure out a better way to fight violence than with more violence and to stop reacting to terrorism by being terrorized.
And that’s ten minutes.