Real and digitally-enabled violent extremism – global threats and risks to Canada

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This paper reviews emerging extremist threats and the potential for their disruption, with a specific focus on city spaces. It considers both exposure to foreign, domestic and home-grown extremism in Canada, as well as bottom-up and top-down responses. It was prepared as a contribution to the SecDev Foundation's 2015 Kanishka project funded by Public Safety Canada.

The paper is grounded in an assessment of the global threat environment – conflict, ‘terrorist’ and crime-related – and the relative risks posed by violent extremism. Section two considers the changing dynamics of extremism, and in particular its increasingly hybrid, irregular and networked character. The third section hones in on the Canadian experience of digital and real extremist violence. Section four examines a number of the structural drivers of extremist violence including rapid urbanization, connectivity and climate change. The fifth section explores responses to disrupt digitally-enabled extremist violence from the top and bottom.


Robert Muggah

July 2016