Two years ago, an Australian police officer named Joe Ilardi arrived in Toronto to try to answer a disturbing question: what was turning some young Canadians into raving Islamists who yearned to wage anti-Western violence at home and abroad?
With the help of the RCMP, Senior Sgt. Ilardi interviewed seven young Toronto men he defined as “Canadian Muslim radicals.” All but one, an immigrant from Pakistan, were Canadian-born. Four had converted to Islam, including a former Mohawk Warrior.
After meeting the men several times for up to six hours in total, Sgt. Ilardi came to an unconventional conclusion: while they had bought into the narrative that justifies violence as a response to the West’s so-called “war on Islam,” they had done so largely for personal reasons.
They were not the downtrodden seeking political justice. Rather, they were deeply troubled youths who had found, in extremism, a reason to feel superior…
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