Following this very, very bad news story with morbid curiosity. The Star, the CBC, the Post and even the BBC have all made this their lead story of the hour (check out BBC's really old stock photo of Toronto - no condos around the CN tower). Most reports are talking about how the people nabbed are 'homegrown'.
As a Torontonian this is ofcourse bad news for us, and for Muslims as a whole, if only because an RCMP source says it "anticipates more arrests". Although the men are innocent until proven guilty (remember not a single successful conviction has so far resulted from RCMP arrests in this arena lately), the Muslim community of Canada must take its head out of the sandbox and realize that there are some Canadian Muslims who don't feel the love of Canada the same way as the rest of us do, and they will not care what happens to Canadians (and their fellow Muslims) as long as they can blow up something.
The black community seemed to be in denial for a long time about the 'gangsta' and thug culture that led to many young black men choosing a life of crime, and the consequences are not pretty. Thankfully, statements such as these was only the start. Time and again I have gone to the mosque to hear the imam preach that as Canadians it is our duty to stop terrorism and protecting Canada is a holy duty. Yet you will see many older immigrant Muslims pretending the problem does not exist or is a vast conspiracy. Thankfully the younger generation (homegrown Muslims) are more aware of the dangers. Most of them blame illegal immigration, propose a tougher line on immigration than many Conservatives I know, and are more likely to question radical views than the older folk.
"Islamic extremists" as mentioned by the news reports are an oxymoron, any more than Mc Veigh was a "Christian extremist" or an IRA member was a "Catholic extemist". However, the Western world themselves were Christians, so could understand that the IRA did not represent Christian values (just as Iraqi Muslims blown up by other Iraqi Muslims never blame 'Islamic' bombers - just bombers). Muslims in the West are a minority and not enough is known about us. As such, people can be ready to assume the worst about us - that's why Muslims in the West will face a greater burden to explain themselves to their neighbours and friends when such issues crop up. That can only be resolved when more and more young Canadian Muslims (and other immigrants) are ready to involve themselves in the Canadian society politically, or in the media.
Having said all of this, I condemn Mr. Harper's act of issuing a statement on the issue. This is a law-and-order arrest situation, the men have not yet been convicted, this is just a photo-op and another political opportunism on his part.