Edmonton terror attack: no lessons have been learnt
London: October 6, 2017. (PCP) Chairman of the BPCA Wilson Chowdhry who was 'shocked to his core', by a near miss during the Edmonton terror attack (click here), was interviewed on 100 Huntley Street yesterday (click here).
He iterated the fear felt by many in London of neighbours they know little about, a consequence of new migrant communities with a very insular outlook. This allows myths about 'other' faiths to proliferate causing social disunity.
Mr Chowdhry explained how he was threatened by a Jihadist trainer believed to have trained the trio involved in the London Bridge terror attack. The man named Ismael tried to frighten Mr Chowdhry into converting to Islam stating it would be safer for him to become Muslim. Ismael displayed images and videos of aggressive martial arts he was teaching local Muslim youth using a phone, which Mr Chowdhry later discovered were ultimate fighting techniques (click here).
Though Mr Chowdhry reported Ismael to local police 3 years before the London Bridge attack, but felt police took little notice of his concerns. He said:
"My mistake was a failure to speak to members of the local mosque Ismael visited - fearful that they were in collusion. However, after holding an interfaith peace vigil in which some of those members attended, I discovered that some members of that local mosque were also concerned about Ismael. Communities have to connect with one another if we are to win the war against terror."
He added: "I am concerned that western media and statutory authorities refer to many recent perpetrators as lone wolves - this is crazy. Obtaining ISIL flags is not an easy process, they have to be acquired from somewhere. Moreover the terrorists are not simply brainwashed through reading a few websites, their hate ideology is fermented by peers and radical preachers who remain behind the scenes.
"Newly radicalized individuals exhibit their beliefs through their word and deeds and become apparent to members of their community. However community leaders choose to dispel the inculcated doctrine through scriptural instruction and debate and fail to report the problem to authorities.
"This is a dilemma, as this community response serves only to alienate the radicalized individuals and cements their warped beliefs.
"Though such action is meant to protect Islam from shame the actual result is quite the opposite and hence counterproductive. Muslim Communities need to be more open about this growing social malaise that threatens all of us.
"Canada is now as much a target for extremists as any other country in the west thanks to the call for 'lone wolf attacks' from Al Queda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (click here), and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (click here). However, I don't believe western police are ready for the heightened threat they face.
"The fact that the perpetrator of this latest attack Abdulahi Hassan Sharif (30 yrs), was on the radar of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Counter terrorism department and yet was never charged or placed a dangerous persons list, or even placed on a bond is disconcerting. The same error is being made by police forces across the globe, despite witnesses in most cases reporting radical behaviour. .
"The attack in Edmonton illustrates an alarming targeting of cities of a size not usually expected to face terrorism. Policing structures in such areas are not designed to cope with threats of this kind Furthermore failure to charge Mr Sharif under terrorism laws means that he may be free to repeat his violence in a few years, sentencing under attempted murder charges undermines the whole process and fails to recognize the true intent of this Islamic extremist.
"An urgent review of policing priorities, counter terrorism laws and practice and sentencing structures for known terrorists and jihadists from from Iraq and Syria is necessary. We also need to expand community programmes that restore community cohesion at a time when negative emotions are at their peak. Our global goal must be the prevention of alienation, quite simply the fundamentalists must not be allowed to polarize our peaceful societies in the west.
"At a peace rally held on Jasper Road in Edmonton on Monday the compere from the Muslim PR Group for Canada was heckled by a local woman who asked 'What are you going to do about it? People are growing impatient and don't want to hear speeches they want to see action from all sectors, together we are stronger but only if we are genuine with our allegiances."