Starting in the 2010s, the major terrorist threat to Canada has been the violent brand of extremism inspired by jihadist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda is notorious for instigating many bombings and terroristic activities worldwide, the most gruesome of which is probably the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York City in 2011.
Prior to this, the group had been around for a few decades already, but they kept a relatively low profile.
Al-Qaeda was actually founded way back in the late 1980s by the infamous Osama bin Laden. He and other Arab personalities were “freedom fighters” that opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at that time.
From this small (and not entirely dishonorable) beginning, the group has expanded and evolved to become a massive global terror threat.
This group of jihadists and terrorists have launched numerous attacks on both civilian and military targets. As mentioned, they are responsible for the September 11 attack of the World Trade Center in New York City, which killed almost 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others.
This shocking and tragic event inspired the “War on Terror” campaign of the United States and its allies, which include Canada.
Bin Laden was later hunted down and killed, and the operations of Al-Qaeda weakened. But they have not ceased. To this date, the group continues to be very dangerous, and Canadian authorities remain vigilant of any possible Al-Qaeda activity in the country.
While Al-Qaeda seems to be on the wane, the terroristic operations of ISIS appear to be intensifying.
ISIS—also known as IS (Islamic State), ISIL or Daesh—is an offshoot of Al-Qaeda that engages in bizarre and cruel activities that go beyond “traditional” terrorism.
IS first made itself known to the world in 2014, when it drove government forces out of key cities in Iraq. It proceeded to occupy a number of Iraqi and Syrian cities, and its followers later expanded their operations to more than 15 other countries.
They are notorious for broadcasting executions and beheadings of innocent people, and for destroying cultural heritage sites, apart from the usual bombings and killings in public places. Their ultimate purpose, purportedly, is to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate, but the majority of Muslims condemn the group for its decidedly un-Islamic methods.
It may be hard to understand, but some Canadians are attracted to the ideologies of these terrorist organizations.
They become followers who participate in online extremist forums, circulate jihadist propaganda, finance terrorist activities, or even travel abroad to join other terrorist cells.
In some cases, they even plan and execute attacks in Canada.
The Edmonton incident in September 2017, in which a police officer was stabbed and four pedestrians were vehicle-rammed, was carried out by a man who had the ISIL flag in the van used for the attack.