The attack on the Canadian parliament yesterday gives us a glimpse of a terrifying future.
The perpetrator of the crime, which left one Canadian soldier dead and resulted in the attacker himself being killed, was a native Canadian, a 32-year-old white male who recently converted to Islam. Whether there was a formal link to ISIS is irrelevant – he was certainly influenced by ISIS and the terrorist organization’s call for westerners to stage terrorist attacks at home in protest at their countries’ bombing ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq. Canada joined the coalition bombing campaign just a few days ago.
Only two days earlier, another Canadian soldier was killed by a fellow citizen, a Canadian convert to Islam, in a hit and run in the province of Quebec.
The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quick to describe both incidents as terrorist attacks. This is in stark contrast to US authorities who dismiss a serious attack as “a work related incident” (Fort Hood and the recent beheading of a woman in a food factory).
Similar attacks to those in Canada will follow soon in the US, UK, Australia, Denmark and other western countries.
This does not mean that only government buildings will be targeted. Security will no doubt be strengthened in the countries concerned, following yesterday’s attack. Other potential targets include schools, football stadiums, malls and grocery stores.
My wife and I lived through a terrorist war in Rhodesia forty years ago. Before it was over, every building and grocery store checked our bags when we entered to make sure there was no bomb inside. It was all very time consuming, but necessary. We even had to check under our cars before driving to make sure there were no explosive devices underneath.
What is interesting in the Canadian incident is that the young man was a convert to Islam. He was not an immigrant or the son of an immigrant from a Muslim area. Ironically, his father is an immigration official. Our prisons are full of Muslim converts. They are all around us – the daughter of one of our neighbors converted some years ago. Earlier this week, three teenage girls from a Denver suburb were detained in Frankfort, en route to Turkey to join ISIS forces in neighboring Syria.
A radio program I listened to sometime ago asked converts why they changed their religion. One answer was that Islam is a more simple religion, the Trinity being rather confusing. Another answer was particularly interesting, that Islam is essentially anti-western and anybody disillusioned with the western way of life will be attracted by Islam’s strict rules on morality. Watch for the religion to grow, as people perceive Islam is winning against a degenerate West! As the religion grows, countries will be faced with civil war. In both Canadian attacks, we saw a Canadian killing a fellow Canadian – this will soon likely happen on a much bigger scale and not just in Canada.
Division surfaced in the wake of the Canadian attacks. Many people thought the attacks would not have happened if Canada had decided not to support the bombing campaign against ISIS. They said that Canada should concentrate on humanitarian missions in Syria and Iraq and be ready to take in thousands of refugees from the region. This would, of course, increase Canada’s Muslim population.
Similar divisions exist elsewhere. The UK National Union of Students has voted not to condemn ISIS.
In previous clashes between Islam and the West in past centuries, battle lines were drawn, with Muslims on one side and mainstream Christians on the other. This time, it’s more complicated. There are millions of Muslims inside the West, while only a handful of westerners live in the Islamic world. Islamic countries may allow westerners to work there on contract (I have a nephew in Oman) but they never receive permanent residence or citizenship.
We start out at a disadvantage as this clash of civilizations progresses.
It’s a troubling time. As a Christian, I take comfort in God’s assurance of protection. In Psalm 91:5-7 we read:
5You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.