A Hate That Has (Officially) No Name

As expected, media and politicians play down latest Islamic terrorist attack in Canada.

Last Monday, a man walked into a Canadian Armed Forces recruiting office in Toronto and began to attack the military personnel working there. After first assaulting the soldier stationed at the reception desk, he pulled out a knife and, while yelling “Allah told me to do this,” slashed two military workers who had come to their comrade’s assistance. Other center personnel then joined in the melee and subdued the attacker, Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, a Montreal-born man of Somali descent, holding him for police.

The surprising thing about this attack is not that it took place. Islamic terrorist attacks are now so common worldwide that they are almost routine. And this one also did not garner much media attention internationally, probably because no one was killed.

But what was noteworthy about Monday’s attack is the growing, and annoying, tendency to downplay such crimes, omit the word terror in describing them as well as any connection the attacks may have to Islam.

The most conspicuous example of this was provided by Toronto’s police chief, Mark Saunders. At a news conference on the day of the attack, he refused to say what Ali was yelling while trying to murder Canadian military personnel.

“There were some comments made by the suspect at that time, and without getting into it, I want to be very careful, very cautious with what I do say,” he said, adding ‘the subject matter is sensitive, you want to make sure that you don’t have to unring a bell.”

A curious statement, to say the least. One is left wondering what is so sensitive concerning words someone is yelling while he is trying to murder people, especially when his words may reveal the motives for his attack. And since when does attempted murder involve sensitivity? 

Even stranger were Saunders’s comments on Monday that Toronto police were working with federal security officials because Ali’s comments (which Saunders had yet to reveal) indicate his motives may be linked to a brand of extremism (which remained unnamed).

However, given that most people are familiar with Islamic terrorism by now, anyone yelling “Allah told me do this,” while attempting to kill Canadian military personnel would indicate even to the most obtuse that the attack had something to do with Islam. Even lacking any knowledge concerning the comments, some Canadians had probably immediately and rightly suspected it was an Islamist terror attack. It is well known by now that Muslim terrorists are targeting Western soldiers in their native countries for their governments’ participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and that Canada is not immune to this.

The last Islamic terrorist attack to strike America’s northern neighbour, for example, saw two Canadian soldiers killed in 2014: Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Montreal and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo in Ottawa. Cirillo was standing guard with an unloaded rifle at the National War Memorial when he was shot down. The ‘Toronto 18’, an earlier Islamic terrorist group, also plotted to kill Canadian soldiers. Fortunately, the plot was broken up in 2006 and the people involved arrested before anyone was hurt.

And although this is the first attack on a Canadian military recruiting center, the fact that Muslims have targeted similar centers in the United States in places like Chattanooga and Little Rock was probably for some also an immediate indication that Islamic terrorism was involved.

Monday’s attack was at first so downplayed, the Canadian newspaper, the National Post, reported that it was “initially overlooked by local media as being one among Toronto’s daily dose of low-level violent crimes…”

This may account for why the story did not appear on the front page of three of Toronto’s four daily newspapers the following day.

Joe Warmington, a columnist with one of those papers, The Toronto Sun, indicates this downplaying of Monday’s attack occurred even at the country’s highest political level.

Warmington pointed out that Canada’s new Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for whom President Obama recently held a state dinner at the White House, issued only a tweet regarding the attack. In it, Trudeau wrote Canada’s soldiers “will not be intimidated by terror and hate” and wished the injured from Monday “a full recovery.” 

“He (Trudeau) and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tweeting out that soldiers were “injured” make it sound like they slipped on an orange peel when in fact they were wounded in the field of battle because they were wearing that uniform,” Warmington stated. “But at least he did call it terror.”

An improvement over his performance after the terrorist attacks in 2014 that left two Canadian soldiers dead. As leader of the opposition that year, Trudeau could not bring himself to utter the word terrorism in Parliament when condemning the murders.

Warmington also called Trudeau’s tweet “certainly better than his response after the Boston Marathon bombing.”

“We have to look at the root causes,” Warmington records Trudeau as saying about the bloody attack. “We don’t know if it was terrorism or a crazy domestic issue or a foreign issue.”

The Toronto Sun journalist only wished that Trudeau had exhibited the same outrage about Monday’s Toronto attack as he did about a Muslim mosque that was set on fire in Peterborough, an Ontario city, the day after the Paris terrorist attack last November. Trudeau called that incident “reprehensible” and said he was “profoundly disturbed,” as other Canadians he met were. Strong words that were conspicuously missing from his Tweet.

Trudeau also personally visited the mosque in January after its reopening.

On Tuesday, the reason for the hesitancy behind calling a spade a spade regarding Monday’s terrorist attack was revealed. Saunders warned against tying the attack in with any religion in case it may incite ‘Islamophobia’, a word that sometimes is used more often nowadays than the word ‘terrorism’ after such attacks. In other words, political correctness.

Saunders believes that while “certain comments were made that fit a profile,” more than one statement is needed to discern whether it was a terror attack.

“One of the things I want to be very, very careful of when it comes to the security piece is that we don’t go to the Islamophobia nonsense,” he said. “I don’t want this categorizing a large group of people. That would be very unfair and very inaccurate.”

But while no one is saying that a whole group of people is guilty of the attack, many believe that it does have something to do with a specific religion and its holy book with its verses instructing believers to kill infidels. After all, individual Islamic terrorists, terrorist groups and entities like the Islamic State and Boko Harem themselves say these are what provide the motives for their hate-filled, murderous rampages.

People also believe that there are greater evils in the world than Islamophobia. And one of the worst of them all is terrorism. Not to realize this, and to even equate them, as some in the West now appear to do, shows a terrible and dangerous lack of a sense of proportion.

One therefore should not be ruled by political correctness and political considerations when it comes to calling things concerning terrorism by their correct names and pointing out their sources. Lives depend on this correct identification. After all, saving lives, including Muslim lives, is not Islamophobic.