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Defend with Vigour, Not 'Sensitivity'

By David Warren

In the words of one of my correspondents, "I have been going around trying to believe that we haven't been harbouring a Fifth Column, a blatant Fifth Column, and, lo, we have."

My reply to everyone in her condition is, now you know. And now that you do know, do not forget what you know.

The arrest of 17 alleged terror cell members around Toronto last weekend could not surprise anyone familiar with police and intelligence work in this area. We have been repeatedly warned that fanatical Islamists have been organizing, with a view to terror strikes -- not only abroad, but here. And as we should have observed already from England, and elsewhere in Europe, they have surprisingly little difficulty recruiting suicidal young Jihadis from the second and third generations of peaceful Muslim immigrants.

These are facts that we must face, one way or another. Pretending it's not happening, or that it will stop happening if we meet some fanciful demands (such as withdrawing from Afghanistan, or surrendering Andalusia), does not change the reality.

We should take pride that, working with their contacts throughout the West, our police and intelligence may very well have prevented the destruction of prominent public buildings, and the violent deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent people. Prime Minister Harper was right to express satisfaction in this.

We should be prepared to express outrage at the apologists for fanatical Islam, who attempt to run interference on behalf of those arrested by raising specious counter-charges of "racism" and the like.

But get used to that. Intrinsic to the threat against the West is not terrorism, alone, but terrorism in combination with legal efforts to use the more fatuous provisions of our "human rights" codes to subvert our defences.

Still, be clear: this does not come from the Muslim majority, who have no desire whatever to be associated with acts and arguments that give Muslims a bad name. It comes from a small, determined, and disciplined community of religious fanatics. Appeasing them, as if they represented Muslims at large, only empowers these fanatics.

Nor hold it against "moderate" Muslims that few of them speak up. They are even more prey to the fear that is stalking the non-Muslim population, because they are closer to the threat. As I began my first column after the 9/11 attacks on the United States, "The purpose of terrorism is to terrify, so that the first response to it must be the Gospel response: 'Be not afraid'." This is what we should communicate to every decent Muslim. That we are in this together.

Do not listen to the nonsense that will be argued, increasingly, by the bed-wetters of the Left in our academic and media establishments, who blame the terror not on its perpetrators, but on their own domestic political opponents. In particular, now that Parliament has affirmed our troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2009, anyone who demands a quicker exit should be publicly labelled as the terrorists' stooge.

Accept, that we are going to be in this for a long time. From everything I know, I can tell you the arrests are not the end of the Islamist threat in Canada. Police have evidence of other cells operating; and conditions for Islamist recruitment among young Muslims in Canada, as throughout the West, continue to improve.

The threat -- both international and local -- is real, large, and growing. We remain at the point of deciding whether to defend against it with "sensitivity", or with vigour. "Both" is not an answer.

Let me repeat myself. Every time we show "sensitivity" by trying to appease the sort of people who would drive explosive-laden trucks into buildings, and machine-gun the survivors, the fanatics advance.

© Ottawa Citizen

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