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ANDERSON: Migrant danger?

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November 17, 2015 - 7:09 AM

In the wake of the Paris and Beirut bombings, Canadian social media is starting to polarize. The "Muslims are going to creep in and shove a bat up our nightdress" gang are busy posting bloodcurdling memes garnered from across the internet, while the "Canadian values" crew has hunkered down behind the barricades lobbing "xenophobe" and "racist" hand grenades at anyone who shows the slightest hesitation at throwing open the doors to a flood of 25,000 largely unscreened refugees entering Canada by Christmas.

So lets clarify some things. First, Canada is not going to be overrun by Muslims in black balaclavas. In fact, setting aside the Paris attack for a moment, the body count in ISIS' wake is much higher amongst Muslims than it is amongst non-Muslims. Indeed, the attacks by (Sunni) ISIS and its offshoots all over the world are as much or more against Shia Muslim "apostates" as they are against the west or other non-Muslims. Granted, the vision of both Shia and Sunni cheering when the Trade Towers fell in 2011 lends itself to the perception that all Muslims are out to get non-Muslims, but at its root ISIS' raison d'être is to establish a Caliphate. A Sunni Caliphate. 

This is as much an Islamic civil war as it is a fundamentalist Islamic war against the west. 

In terms of strategic hard power, ISIS can't field more than 50,000 fighters, and although they can leverage terror tactics both on the ground and abroad, there is zero chance of them conducting an armed territorial invasion of any country in the west, never mind all of the west. They can destabilize us, maybe, but that's the limit of their hard power.

Does this mean there's no danger from 25,000 largely unscreened migrants entering Canada? Of course there is. Both ISIS and al Qaeda have sworn to send operatives over amongst the migrants, and have already proved they will. At least one of the Paris attackers has been identified as an operative from Syria, and while one is not very many, it only took a few to create utter havoc in Paris, and even fewer to bring down the twin towers.

But won't we screen out the bad apples?

Well, lets look at the alleged screening the Trudeau government claims it will do. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said that "effective security screening has always been paramount" in the government's refugee resettlement plan, but consider for a moment that in the U.S. the FBI has said that it can't even adequately screen the 10,000 migrants that the U.S. is accepting. "You have to have information to vet,” said FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, who heads the bureau’s counterterrorism division. “Databases don't [have] the information on those individuals, and that's the concern.” As one pundit said, it's not like you can phone up Syria and get background checks.

So if the U.S., with the vast resources of the FBI and CIA and assorted acronyms at its disposal, can't even screen 10,000 migrants by sometime next year, how can Canada, with much more limited resources, screen 25,000 by Christmas?

Lumping all Muslims together as conniving terrorists is idiotic. Being concerned, deeply concerned, about a massive influx of unscreened migrants from a terrorist war zone is not xenophobic or racist or Islamophobic or anything else. It's common sense. 

— Scott Anderson is a Vernon City Councillor, freelance writer and a bunch of other stuff. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Philosophy, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode.

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