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27 January 2007

Jihadization of youth a 'rapid process'

medium_camping_muslims.jpgTORONTO - Canada's intelligence service says a "very rapid process" is transforming some youths from angry activists into jihadist terrorists intent on killing for their religion

Enraged over what they perceive as a Western "war on Islam" and coaxed on by extremist preachers, a few have embraced terrorism with frightening speed, the service warns in a new study. "The transformation from radical to jihadist can be a very rapid process," says the "secret" report by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, obtained by the National Post.

The study, released under the Access to Information Act, is the government's latest attempt to understand why a handful of Canadian Muslims are alleged to have become involved in terrorist plots. It comes as a preliminary hearing is underway in Brampton, Ont., for four of 18 suspects charged for their alleged role in a Canadian terrorist group accused of plotting attacks in southern Ontario.

For at least the past two years, CSIS has been studying how some young people have been lured into terrorism. They are particularly interested in what made them radicalized and how they evolved from radicals to violent terrorists, a process known as "jihadization."

The conclusion: It depends on the individual. But analysts have come up with a list of factors they say are leading some Muslims to radicalism. They include the belief in the need to defend Islam from perceived Western aggression, the influence of spiritual leaders and extremist family members, and overseas training, the report says.

"The most important factor for radicalization is the perception that Islam is under attack from the West. Jihadists also feel they must preemptively and violently defend Islam from these perceived enemies.

"They also watch what is happening in the Islamic world and the many conflicts that involve 'Western' or other aggression: Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, and others.

"A few will act on these events and support or carry out terrorism in an attempt to change Western foreign or military policy. These individuals take the violent defence of Islam as a personal goal and religious obligation."

Those who undergo this process of radicalization reject mainstream Islam and instead adopt a narrow, literal, intolerant interpretation, CSIS says.

The CSIS report notes that the failure of some Muslim immigrants to integrate into Western society is also a factor, but "this is seen more in European countries where the Muslim communities are more homogenous and there has been less integration than in North America."

Many Canadians were shocked when the RCMP announced last June 3 it had arrested a group of adults and juveniles for allegedly planning truck bombings in Toronto. The group had also allegedly stockpiled firearms and intended to take hostages at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa and behead them unless Canada pulled its troops out of Afghanistan.

Prosecutors allege the suspected terrorists were encouraged partly by an extremist leader who has claimed that Canadian troops are only deployed to Afghanistan to rape Muslim women.

The report notes that younger jihadists are now often getting their inspiration online from spiritual leaders who are "available 24/7."

While most of those allegedly involved in the "homegrown" terror group were arrested, investigators say Canada harbours other pro-al-Qaeda extremists who could quickly escalate to violence.

POSTED BY/http://www.canada.com/

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