Muslim Immigration Fuels the Terrorist Threat to Canada

Muslim Immigration Fuels the Terrorist Threat to Canada

By Patrick Grady

The 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to mention (about Muslims) is that successive Canadian Governments have made Canada increasingly vulnerable to Islamic terrorism through its immigration policy.

It should have been obvious following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that North America was going to be facing an increasing threat from Islamic extremists. Yet the Canadian Government actually continued to admit an average of over 56 thousand immigrants from Muslim countries each year, bringing the total admitted over the 2002 to 2012 period to 623 thousand . Of these, 101 thousand came from Pakistan and 71 thousand from Iran, both countries with governments that have supported international terrorists. As a consequence of immigration, the Muslim population has risen from 579,640 or 2 per cent of the Canadian population in 2001 to 1,053,945 or 3.2 per cent of the population in 2012, a hefty increase of 82 per cent.

The problem, of course, is not that all Muslims are extremists, but rather that Muslim communities seem to spawn and harbor an extremist minority. That this is the case was confirmed by a February 2007 Environics poll that revealed that 13 per cent of Muslim Canadians surveyed believed that the terrorists attacks planned by the 18 young Muslims arrested in June 2006 were justified.

It should not be surprising that many Muslim immigrants admitted to Canada share the jihadist sympathies prevalent, but not universal, in the Muslim countries from which they come. They were never subjected to any serious security screening to weed out radicals. Indeed it would have been impossible to do that given their large numbers, not to mention the lack of available security resources, and the difficulty of obtaining reliable information in their home countries.

And even if they had been, it would have been impossible to prevent many young Muslims from being attracted to extremist points of view after they arrived even if they were born and raised in Canada as is evidenced by the attraction of Islamist groups like the Islamic State and Al-Shabaab that seem to be proliferating throughout the Islamic world. This is fed by access to radical material and conducts promulgated over the internet and social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The religious inspired desire to fight for Islam and the sense of grievance against the United States and the West for the military interventions in Muslim countries is a very strong motivating factor for young Muslims.

A worrying, and even more puzzling phenomenon, is the extent to which even Canadian converts can become radicalized and become terrorists. People must have very empty alienated lives if they reject their own culture to take up the cause of terrorism. In addition, many Muslim immigrants do not remain in Canada even after getting Canadian citizenship (comparing the census with administrative data suggests that somewhere in the range of twenty to thirty percent of all immigrants do not stay). This means that many young Muslims residing outside Canada and deprived of Canadian moderating influences have Canadian passports, which they can use to their advantage if they become radicalized.

The fact is that Islamic extremism is deeply rooted in the Islamic community, and the larger the community is the more extremists are likely to be produced. This is why European countries which have a proportionately larger Muslim population like the United Kingdom (4.6 per cent), Germany (5 per cent), France (7.5 per cent), Belgium (6 per cent), Netherlands (5.5 per cent) and Sweden (4.9 per cent) have bigger problems with radical Islamic youth than Canada and the United States (Pew Forum).


This is an excerpt from a longer article written by economist Patrick Grady. The longer article can be found at