Police cordon off a street leading to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday Oct. 22

Ottawa attack brings risk of ‘grotesque overreaction’ against Muslims

Bolstered security inevitable, many questions persist: SFU expert

Expect an inevitable tightening of security at government buildings in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on Parliament Hill and the danger of a “grotesque overreaction” by some Canadians against Muslims.

That’s the prediction from SFU criminology professor Rob Gordon, an authority on terrorism, in the wake of the attack Wednesday in Ottawa.

The Canadian-born gunman who shot and killed a soldier at the National War Memorial and then died forcing his way into Parliament is reported by the Globe and Mail to have had growing interest in Islam, praying at a Burnaby mosque before becoming unwelcome there, and whose passport had been confiscated as a travel risk.

(The gunman has since been identified by authorities as Michael Zehaf Bibeau, a man reportedly known to police in Vancouver and Montreal. On Thursday, the suspect’s mother Susan Bibeau addressed the incident in Ottawa in a telephone interview with the Associated Press: “We are sorry,” she said. “If I’m crying it’s for the people. Not for my son.” In a later email with AP, she said, “I am mad at my son, I don’t understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time… I his mother spoke with him last week over lunch, I had not seen him for over five years before that… So I have very little insight to offer.”)

Gordon said he has no doubt the attack was a “classic terrorist act” of revenge in response to Canada’s recent move to participate in the air war against ISIS in Iraq.

“It’s a tragedy for the Muslim communities in Canada because people will be extra careful around them,” Gordon said. “It’s going to test the boundaries of our tolerance. Hopefully people will not succumb to base emotions and will continue to treat ethnic and religious minorities in the same way they would want to be treated themselves.”

He said the attack does not appear as sophisticated or successful as might have been expected had attackers been trained in the Middle East – a scenario that might have involved multiple synchronized attacks with bombs.

Instead, he said, it appears more likely to be an ISIS-inspired attack by a homegrown sympathizer without direction from organizers in Damascus or Baghdad.

“It’s to try to deter and to demonstrate they have the power to bring the war to Ottawa – that you can’t sit thousands of miles away and expect to get away with it.”

Gordon said more attacks are probable, adding various softer targets could be vulnerable.

Remembrance Day is coming soon and will be a major test of bolstered security.

“Major cenotaph gatherings have to be watched very carefully, if not cancelled.”

As for Parliament Hill, Gordon said security there was clearly inadequate in light of how close the gunman got to MPs and cabinet ministers, including the prime minister.

He said he’s surprised there was no apparent move to bolster security on Parliament Hill – a “very obvious target” – in light of Monday’s attack against soldiers in Quebec by a man RCMP had previously identified as a “radicalized” threat.

“That would have signalled to me the need to ramp up security at all potential targets.”

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey council to consider a $150 FOI fee for attendance requests at city facilities

This is expected to come before council during tonight’s council meeting, on Monday July 13.

Heritage rail to remain closed for both July and August

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society may open Cloverdale Station in September

Delta launches online engagement portal

“Let’s Talk Delta” offers variety of feedback methods including surveys, polls, forums and Q&A boards

Story of ‘A Mother’s Journey to Adoption’ told in book by first-time Surrey author

In the 1990s, Raj Arneja and husband Gurpreet adopted two children in India

Proposed White Rock development a ‘nightmare’ for Elm Street neighbours

Density, traffic, loss of views among chief concerns of residents

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Chilliwack

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

Most Read