Are there Terrorists in London, ON? As shocking as that question may be, I was exponentially more amazed to read the London Free Press (LFP) articles that suggested that this may actually be true! This was not a welcoming site after returning from March/Easter Break. According to the LFP, two Londoners were identified as being part of, what has been deemed to be, a terrorist attack on an Algerian pipeline: Xristos Katsiroubas and Ali Medlej were the two Canadians involved.
(One of the full articles can be found at: http://www.lfpress.com/2013/04/03/terror-thrusts-londons-south-collegiate-institute-under-spotlight.)
As the investigation into how these young men became involved with terrorist activities continues, a manhunt has begun for Benjamin Caleb Thomas who is alleged to have had connections to Medlej and Katsiroubas. This, according to a separate LFP article (that can be found at: http://www.lfpress.com/2013/04/03/londoner-on-most-wanted-list-may-be-connected-to-two-city-terrorists). In the meantime, in an effort to understand the sequence of events that lead to their involvement, nearly every aspect of Medlej and Katsiroubas’s lives are under strict scrutiny (see the above-cited article) – everything from their friends to their school are being investigated.
While I commend the investigators’ efforts to find out how this happened, it is all-too-easy to turn a man hunt into a witch hunt. As investigations progress, it is far too easy for accusations to be laid and even easier for hysteria to over-come rational sense. As a Londoner, myself, I hope that the questions of cause and effect surrounding these Canadians can be answered. But, as a defence lawyer, I also hope that the investigations maintain a level-headed approach.