Wednesday, January, 07, 2015

Undercover Jihadi : Inside the Toronto 18 – Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism in the West, New America DC


Undercover Jihadi

Inside the Toronto 18 – Al Qaeda Inspired, Homegrown Terrorism in the West

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

9:00 am – 10:30 am

New America

1899 L Street NW Suite 400

Washington, DC 20036


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Born and raised in Toronto, Canada amidst 21st Century Western values, Mubin Shaikh seemed to fit in with other peers his age – attending public school, joining the Canadian Army cadets, and partying just like everyone else. Though he attended an Islamic madrassa at night, it wasn’t until an acute identity crisis at age 19, that Shaikh recommitted himself to Islam. Then, a chance encounter with the Taliban in Pakistan and exposure to Canadian extremists took him down the militant jihadi path.

After 9/11, Shaikh traveled to Syria to wage jihad, but had trouble reconciling the violence against innocent civilians with the tenets of his faith. He faced a fork in the road, and when he returned to militant Islam, it was as an undercover officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Ultimately joining the “Toronto 18,” Shaikh walked a tightrope between Western culture and Islamic jihad. Risking everything, he gathered inside information about the group’s plans for catastrophic terror attacks: to detonate truck bombs around the city of Toronto, behead the prime minister, and storm the Parliament building in retaliation for Western intervention in Muslim lands, all of which were ultimately prevented.

New America is pleased to welcome Mr. Shaikh​ and Dr. Anne Speckhard, his biographer, for a discussion about what it was like going undercover in a terrorist cell, growing up Muslim in an age where militant jihad is glorified, being caught between two identities, and finally emerging victorious.