Licia Corbella, Calgary Sun, Feb. 18, 2007
In the news business, it’s called burying the lead.
It means you missed the most important or interesting part of a story and led with something less significant.
On Feb. 13, the CBC published and aired the results of an Environics poll, which on their website was billed as “Glad to be Canadian, Muslims say.”
Apparently “more than 80% of Canada’s roughly 700,000 Muslims are broadly satisfied with their lives here.”
That’s a nice and cuddly kind of story, but hardly surprising. I’ve been to Afghanistan—where many of Canada’s latest Muslim population comes from—and even the upper-middle class in Afghanistan live in difficult conditions. I stayed in Kabul’s only five-star hotel in December 2003 where hot water was available one-to-two hours a day, electricity was sporadic and my lovely room was utterly freezing.
Poor and middle-class Afghans—the vast majority—have no running water, no heat, no electricity and most are totally illiterate to boot.
They are handsome hospitable people—and extremely resourceful—but Canada’s homeless shelters would look like luxury to your average Afghan refugee. But I digress.
Waaaay down in the online CBC story about this poll is the news that when “asked about the arrests last summer of the 18 Muslim men and boys who were allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in southern Ontario, 73% of Muslim respondents said these attacks were not at all justified.” That portion of the poll ended there. No more details. Why? The Environics website made no mention about this portion of the poll either.
However, on CBC’s The National television program on the same day, this part of the poll was fleshed-out and the results are alarming.
Fully 12% of Muslim Canadians polled by Environics said the alleged terrorist plot—that included kidnapping and beheading the prime minister and blowing up Parliament and the CBC—was justified.
Predictably, the CBC managed to find a talking head—in this case York University sociology professor Haideh Moghissi—who dismissed this disturbing revelation.
“It’s really negligible that 12 percent feel that the attacks would be justified,” said Moghissi. “I don’t think it even warrants attention.”
Clearly, other news agencies and those who put the poll results on the CBC website agree with Moghissi.
But just how “negligible” is 12% of 700,000 people.
Well, if Moghissi knew arithmetic like she knows denial, she’d know if this poll is accurate, 84,000 Canadian Muslims think it’s justifiable to behead our democratically elected prime minister and blow up the very symbol and centre of our democracy!
The Environics poll interviewed 500 Canadian Muslims and 2,045 members of the general population between Nov. 30 and Jan. 5 and is said to be accurate within 4.4 percentage points with regard to the Muslim respondents and 2.2 points with the larger sample group 19 times out of 20.
So, let’s err on the side of caution here. Let’s subtract the margin of error—4.4%—from 12%. That comes to 7.6%, so let’s say, just to be really non-alarmist, we round that down to 7%. That still means 49,000 Canadian Muslims believe conducting a terrorist attack on their own country—Canada—is justified.
Is it just me, or does this not strike anyone else as the opposite of “negligible?”
Isn’t this significant news?
Considering this poll was published on the same day it was learned al-Qaida—the Islamic terrorist organization behind the 9/11 attacks—was urging its followers to target all oilfields, including Canada’s, should wake complacent Canadians up.
“We should strike petroleum interests in all areas which supply the United States and not only in the Middle East, because the target is to stop its imports or decrease it by all means,” it states.
That threat was made on an al-Qaida online magazine called Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Holy War) and was discovered by a U.S. non-profit group that monitors militant websites called Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE).
In other words, the Environics poll indicates anywhere between 49,000 to 84,000 Muslim Canadians likely would view attacks on our oilsands development justifiable, and if that’s the case, it’s safe to assume some portion of those tens of thousands of people might be prone to carrying out such an attack.
We already know calls to martyrdom and jihad have been made from Canadian mosques, including one in B.C. and the one in Ontario the 18 alleged wanna-be beheaders attended. It’s safe to assume there are more.
But, hey, this is Canada, where in the interest of political correctness and fear of offending, the lead on these kinds of stories gets buried and our heads remain planted where there is no illumination and therefore, no truth.
That wilful blindness will likely only end the day innocent Canadians get buried instead of just leads by those who justify terror on their fellow citizens and country.