By Hussain Ehsani, January 8, 2023
When ISIS conducted its terrorist attacks on Mosul, Iraq in June 2014, several Mosul residents celebrated it as a victory for the terror group and welcomed them to the city. In March 2019, ISIS was defeated in a fight with Kurdish special units Peshmerga, Iraqi Forces, and the international coalition, and this time, five years later, Mosul celebrated the defeat of ISIS. Mosul had learned its lesson under ISIS’ reign of terror. Likewise, the fantasy of celebrating Islamic Jihadist and terrorist groups as liberators has disappeared, for the most part, across the Middle East.
However, the same cannot be said about the veneration of terror in the West. Less than 24 hours after the brutal October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas on civilians and the Jewish state, Canada witnessed horrific and unimaginable scenes. People across the country paraded with Palestinian flags, chanting “Allah Akbar,” “Free Palestine,” “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Long live Intifada” — celebrating the Hamas attack that resulted in the murder of 1,200 Israelis. The scenes reminded me of Mosul’s celebration of ISIS’ victory in 2014, but this time they took place in in Mississauga, Ontario.
As Israel began its counter-terror operation the mobs became more aggressive – organizing rallies across the country, blocking intersections, threatening Jewish Businesses, attacking synagogues with guns and Molotov cocktails, and issuing bomb threat against the largest Jewish high school in Canada.
Although Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are listed as terrorist organizations by the Government of Canada, these groups are being praised by the pro-Jihadi mobs. They have flown the flag Hamas and the PFLP, they have worn green headbands representing Hamas, and yellow armbands of PIJ. Some in Toronto even raised the flag of the Taliban. Others have worn jackets with the symbols of Jihad, martyrs, and Al Qaeda symbols during protests. All while they scream “Intifada, intifada, long live the intifada,” “Globalize the intifada,” and “There is only one solution, intifada, revolution” – unmistakable calls for violence against Jews that refer to the bloody Palestinian terror campaigns of the late 80s and early 2000s.
Despite the clear connection between the terror groups and this violent call, law enforcement across the country have been reluctant to act and make arrests on those shouting “Intifada.” This refusal encourages the pro Hamas mobs to continue their antisemitic rallies and disguises calling for violence as a progressive solution for the Palestinian cause.
There is no doubt that calling for intifada is calling for violence. This is most clearly demonstrated by the Second Palestinian Intifada which consisted of suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, and other terror tactics. These tactics have been used by other major Islamic Jihadist groups such as the Taliban, ISIS, and Al Qaeda. In April 1993, during the first Intifada, Hamas suicide bomber Saher Tamam Al Nablusi detonated the switch under the seats in his car and blew himself up on the West Bank. Based on the result of this attack, Hamas and its allies kicked off massive campaign of suicide attacks up against Israel. According to the statistics of Israeli institutions and studies, during two phases of Intifada, Hamas, PIJ, and PFLP conducted more than 130 suicide attacks. In the aftermath of the Intifada, the tactic of car bombs was vastly used by the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
And Intifada is not restricted to terror attacks but includes a clear strategy undergirded by religious ideology. For example, the book “Palestinian Resistance against Israel in Jerusalem” lays out the rhetoric and chants that Palestinians shouted in protests during the first Intifada, including: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jewish! The Mohammad Army will come back.” This chant refers to the Battle of Khaybar in which Muslims fought against the Jews in the first era of Islam in the Khaybar district of Medina in Hejaz in early 628 CE, which led to the victory of Muslims. “Mohammad Army” in this context is a metaphor for all Muslims around the world, and the chant is calling all Muslims to assemble another Khyabar, which strives to provoke and unite all Muslims against Jews. Another example “Praise the God O Muslim – explode the head of Zionist.” This chant was yelled in Toronto, Ontario. This has no other meaning except Jihad and the militarization of Muslims around the world to eliminate Jews and Israelis.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and their allies are utilizing Jihadi tactics to pursue their objectives here in Canada. Calling for “Intifada” in the streets, malls, subway stations, and university campuses in Canada is a direct call for Jihadism and its principles to be enacted in the West. This is why the globalization of Intifada means globalizing the Jihad. It means globalizing violence against Jews.
Canadian authorities should realize that calls for “intifada” constitute hate and even potentially an incitement to violence. If they fail to, it will not be long until we see ISIS flags and chants for reviving the Caliphate. They are one and the same and we cannot allow this hate to fester unaddressed.
Hussain Ehsani is a Middle East affairs expert focused on the Abraham Accords and Canadian foreign policy.