'We had no clue." "He was very quiet." "I never would have guessed."
But as the list of Canada's own extremists grows, from the Toronto 18 - who plotted to storm Parliament - and the London, Ont., schoolmates who waged war in North Africa to Quebec's roster of not-solone wolves, profilers from different fields of study are throwing away these clichés and trying to understand the process of radicalization that can transform an ordinary individual into a dedicated killer.
Last week's arrest of two B.C. residents charged with planting bombs outside the provincial legislature have given that quest for understanding added urgency.
Since the arrests in April of Chiheb Esseghaier and Ahmed Abbassi, former Quebec science students and alleged conspirators behind the Via Rail plot, theories have multiplied.
Perhaps a collision of immigrants' religious values and the secular society of their new homeland contributes to a radicalization. Or a sermon about the latest insult visited upon those of their religion abroad. Or maybe extremism was fostered by a mentor.
It takes a perfect storm of circumstances to create a jihadist in Canada, profilers say...Silly profilers. What it takes is the purported perfection of Islamic dogma, ideas that are bound to appeal to some Muslims, especially young ones who are trying to find their path in life. The "perfect storm" arises from Islam's doctrines of supremacism and conquest via jihad. Until and unless mainstream Islam admits that such beliefs are inherent to the religion, and repudiates them once and for--something which has a snowball's chance in Hades of happening--storm clouds will continue to gather.