Voices Against Extremism”

IDI hosted discussion  series in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton on themes around Radicalization and Extremism

Ottawa’s Intercultural Dialogue Institute hosted its annual Interfaith Dialogue Supper and Colloquium at the Turkish Cultural Centre in Kanata with the theme “Deterring Homegrown Extremism: Can Faith Communities Help?”. According to Colonel Guy Chapdelaine from the Office of the Chaplain General, National Defence Headquarters, “Radicalization” is one of the “alchemies” of the human mind, a complex and mysterious process of transformation. As Colonel Chapdelaine spelled out, not all extremism leads to violence; it always comes down to individuals, their personal sense of alienation, anger, poverty, ideological commitment, or craving for rebellion against the society that fostered and failed them. There must be a critical magnitude of grievance and alienation that leads to an ideology of violence. Other speakers of the panel discussion include Prof. Karim Karim, Director of Carleton University’s Centre for the Study of Islam and René Tenasco, Sacred Fire Keeper, Kitigan Zibi Algonquin.  Speakers addressed the collateral damage done to the Muslim communities within Canada through projections of fear and blame. Many of the evening’s reflections were devoted to distancing faith groups “from such phobias by underscoring their mutual desires to oppose radicalization and to maintain a spirit of ecumenicist dialogue. IDI GTA convened a panel on “Radicalization and Homegrown Extremism”. The panel participants included George Zefkic, Deputy Director of CSIS Toronto Region; Dr. Hamid Slimi, Chairman of the Canadian Centre for Deen Studies; Superintendent Doug Best from RCMP; Alexander Corbeil, Syria/ Iraq Analyst at the SecDev Group &Senior Middle East Analyst at the NATO Council of Canada. The panel was chaired by Dr. David Nussbaum, Chair of the Extremism and Terrorism section of the Canadian Psychological Association. The panelists spoke about different aspects of radicalization and extremism. Dr. Slimi stressed the negative role of internet in how radical ideas and influences are being spread. Supt. Best touched upon the importance of collaboration between security/ intelligence services and communities in dealing with the problem. The keynote speaker in Edmonton was the Brent Rathgeber, Member of Parliament for Edmonton – St. Albert and he focused on the root causes of the “Radicalization of Youth”.