The Radical Indoctrination of Canadian Muslim Youth


The Radical Indoctrination of Canadian Muslim Youth

David Ouellette
6 avril 2005 

Canadian Muslim youth are increasingly being exposed to radical Islamist ideology outside of schools, be it in madrassas, at the mosque or through youth associations.

(Originally published on 6 April 2005)

As the Ontario Education Ministry launches an investigation into the Ottawa-area Abraar Islamic school at the centre of a controversy for the alleged involvement of at least two of its teachers in a student’s essay glorifying the murder of Jews, public attention should be drawn to the fact that Canadian Muslim youth are increasingly being exposed to radical Islamist ideology outside of schools, be it in madrassas, at the mosque or through youth associations.

One such association is the Ontario-based Young Muslims of Canada (YMC) whose stated objective is no less than “the establishment of Islam in North America in its entirety and comprehensiveness”. The YMC, just as its US-based sister association Young Muslims of North America, constitutes the youth wing of the Islamic Circle of North-America (ICNA).

ICNA is the United States’ second largest mosque federation. It maintains a Canadian division as well, though it does not federate mosques as in the US. Often called the North American branch of the al Qaeda-allied Jama’at-I-Islami Pakistani jihadist group by leading experts on radical Islam[1], ICNA is under investigation by FBI counter-terrorism agents[2] for alleged terror ties and fundraising activities. ICNA is also listed among 24 other Islamic organizations suspected by the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance of “finance(ing) terrorism and perpetuate(ing) violence” in a December 23 2003 letter sent to the IRS requesting a thorough examination of ICNA’s financial records[3].

Unsurprisingly, given its genealogy, YMC propagates a radical brand of Islam among Canadian Muslim youth through Halaqas (youth study circles) which serve as nodes in the association’s network. In order to make its message more attractive to its young audience, YMC publishes a wide array of colourful brochures written in hip colloquial English and French. One such brochure warns for instance against “Shaytan’s arrows” (Satan’s temptations) and recommends young men living in “Temptation Island” (i.e. Canada) to “step out only when you have to” to avoid throwing glances at “scantily dressed girls”[4].

Downloadable lectures sponsored by YMC condemn the Western way of life and warn Muslim youth not to stray from the path of virtuous Islamic behaviour. For instance, a lecture entitled “Amusing ourselves to Death” warning about nightlife and the perils it poses to Islamic youth describes Yonge Street Friday night revellers as “cockroaches”[5]. YMC acknowledges the difficulties tied to resisting the call of Western lifestyles and offers this tip: “It is through sacrifice that you can truly learn to love Allah, and to live and die for Him!”[6]. As if to bluntly overstate the ontological irreconcilability between Muslims and Kafir (disbelievers) and inspire fear of adopting non Islamic values or practices, YMC quotes Abul A’la Maududi, founder of the Pakistani terror group Jama’at-I-Islami: “God is pleased with Muslims and displeased with unbelievers. He promises award of Heaven to Muslims and warns unbelievers that they will be consigned to Hell”[7].

Beyond the obvious teaching of contempt for non Muslims’ lifestyles and Canadian society as a whole, YMC props Jihadist radicals as role models for Muslim youth. In a section of its website dedicated to “Great people of Islamic revival”, one comes across radical Islamists such as Hassan al-Banah, founder of the seminal Islamist organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, of which the terror group Hamas is a Palestinian “military” branch, Pakistani Jihadist Abul A’la Maududi, or Palestinian-born Sheikh Abdullah Azzam[8], one of the first “Afghan Arabs” and founder of the Mujahideen Services Bureau, an organization whose structure would form the base of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda[9].

YMC ‘s online library is virtually a who’s who of radical Islamic teaching. Young Canadian Muslims can delve into radical propaganda such as al-Banah’s Jihad[10] which teaches “Holy war is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded” and to “prepare for jihad and be the lovers of death”. Young minds are encouraged to feel hostility for their Canadian homeland in Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones[11] which propounds that “any place where the Islamic Shari’ah is not enforced and where Islam is not dominant becomes the home of Hostility [Dar-ul-Harb, more precisely translated as the House of War] for both the Muslim and the Dhimmi [religious minorities tolerated by Muslims in exchange of a special tax]” and that “A Muslim will remain prepared to fight against it…”. Alternatively, YMC members also learn to fear and loathe Jews on the basis of exiled Tunisian Islamist Rashid al Ghanuchi’s explanation that “The Zionist threat is endangering the Islamic nation and the world, and is a threat to values, family and religion. It aims to get rid of everything good about humanity”[12]. Characteristically enough, enlightened Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Rushd , Al-Kindi, or Al-Farabi are not on the YMC reading list. No counterweight is offered to YMC’s library of extremist thought.

The continued existence of associations such as YMC which extols contempt for non-Muslims, rejection of the West and Jihad against the “disbelievers” quite literally constitute a ticking bomb for Canada. Terror experts all point to the fact that the new generations of jihadists are increasingly composed of Muslims born and raised in Western societies. Letting YMC and like-minded associations prosper in Canada and other countries will guarantee that young Canadian citizens are indoctrinated in the ways of radical Islamism and Jihad. Reluctance on the part of Canadian authorities to take on such associations and failure on the part of parents to expose those who would let the deadly poison of jihadist ideology seep into the young and ductile minds of their children is a recipe for social unrest, if not disaster. It will take a lot more than a mere investigation into the Abraar Islamic school to uproot the seeds of hatred sown by the Islamists among us.


[1] See for example Stephen Schwartz: Wahhabi Lobby Crack-Up? In: Frontpage Magazine, August 11 2004; Dr. Sohail Mahmood, Good Governance Issues and the Musharraf Regime In: Academic Open Internet Journal, Vol.4, 2001




[5] Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Amusing Ourselves to Death

[6] SACRIFICE: The Making of a Muslim

[7] Abul A’la Maududi, Let us be Muslims

[8] Azzam is also the author of one of political Islam’s most influential works, Join the Caravan, a book exhalting Jihad (“Jihad is the most excellent form of worship, and by means of it the Muslim can reach the highest of ranks”) and still in use to recruit Mujahideen. UPDATE: Azzam’s biography was removed after the publication of this article on August 6 2005. Here is a link to the page in Google’s cache


[10] Hassan al-Banah, Jihad

[11] Sayyid Qutb, Milestones

[12] Rashid al Ghanuchi, Islamic Movements. Self-Criticism and Reconsideration

Categories: Archives, Islamisme

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