Montreal would be the first hotbed of terrorism in the country

michael-zehaf-bibeau-originaire-montrealOne quarter of criminal offenses of terrorism hints occurred in Canada last year were recorded in Montreal, reveal new figures from Statistics Canada. Quebec’s metropolis she attracts extremists?

In recent months, Montreal has often made about him for the wrong reasons: hometown of Michael Zehaf Bibeau, bomber Ottawa; Instead of starting at least seven college students parties do jihad in Syria and Iraq; city ​​of residence of a teenager 15 years became the first Canadian in December on charges of attempting to leave the country to participate in a terrorist activity under the new law on the fight against terrorism … The events of this kind were likely to make headlines.

And now new figures compiled by Statistics Canada sit the reputation of the metropolis as extremists nest.

In 2014, the various police forces in countries identified 67 criminal offenses related to terrorism cases, from participation in the activities of a terrorist group to hoax terrorist activities.

Near the business quarter occurred in Montreal, or a total of 14, only 4 against and 6 in Toronto to Vancouver. Ottawa, Canada’s capital, which, as we know, has housed at least a radical Islamist cell in recent years reaches the same level as Montreal.

WHY MONTRÉAL?

The experts consulted agree: Montreal is indeed a hub. But why? “A network appeared at one point, Benjamin believes Ducol the Canada Research Chair in Conflict and Terrorism. We may not know why, but there is a tissue that is set up and there is not necessarily elsewhere. ”

Professor at UQAM and member of Prevention Centre of radicalization of Montreal, Jocelyn Bélanger said that Quebec’s metropolis has long been the haunt of radicals. According to him, they gradually convert new followers. “Mosques in the city were already monitored by the Pentagon there for years,” he said. In 2011, documents released by WikiLeaks have revealed that eg Parc-Extension mosque was in the crosshairs of the FBI.

“There seems to be a pool, a well-established network. One or cells organized with an agent provocateur that influences the people around him. ”
Jocelyn Bélanger,
professor at UQAM and member of the radicalization of Montreal Prevention Centre
“In terrorism, the social network, peers, this is very important. “The researcher cites studies wanting in at least 70% of cases, people become radicalized because they already know someone who is a member or supporter of a terrorist group, be it a friend, relative or close. Where there’s one, so there may be several. “And with the internet, it is even less complicated. ”

Dave Charland, a former officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), it’s also a matter of geography if Montreal is at the heart of the storm. Terrorist groups making the headlines today, the Islamic State (EI) or the Al-Nusra Front, are mainly established in Syria, near the Maghreb countries. “For this reason, these groups attract more people from North Africa,” said the expert, who, however, that only a tiny minority of people are radicalized. In Canada, Montreal is home to a very large North African community because of the French. “If terrorist groups were more active in Afghanistan, for example, as was the case with Al-Qaeda, I believe that the situation would be different. ”

Obviously, adds Benjamin Ducol, Montreal is a great city. It is also a bilingual city, he said, “is connected to Europe, [some cities such as Brussels are crossroads for extremists], more than many other North American cities.”

POLICE MORE CAREFUL

The other element to be reckoned with by analyzing the numbers, experts warn, is the vigilance of the authorities. Data published by Statistics Canada are from statistics compiled by the police. A police force that gives more importance to the fight against terrorism inevitably declare more events a little sensitive body that question.

Montreal and Ottawa were both stung by attacks in 2014. It makes sense that the fight against terrorism will be a priority. “That does not necessarily mean that the threat is greater, but that more cases are judiciarized there,” notes Ducol.

Dave Charland, who himself worked on terrorism investigations, believes that Montreal and Toronto at the forefront in terms of extremism. “They are more proactive than other cities,” he said.

Yes, Montreal is a hub, but the gap with other Canadian cities is perhaps not as great as leave to believe the numbers.

Terrorism is gaining ground

The number of criminal terrorism offenses reported by police has doubled in five years in Canada, from 38 to 67. These figures correspond to the global trend, says Jocelyn Bélanger Prevention Centre radicalization of Montreal. This is particularly because of the persuasiveness of the Islamic State group and its propaganda worldwide. “The IE is rendering a trademark. ”

Parties do jihad
New figures from Statistics Canada released in July show how many cases of people parties do jihad with terrorist groups were compiled in each city in 2014. This is Toronto that takes the cake, with 7 out of 14. It is reported in 3 to Montreal. With the group of students from Collège de Maisonneuve party in early 2015, the figures for next year will be higher for Montreal.

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