CSIS Recognition Of Incel Extremism Opens Door To More Terrorism Charges In Canada

Zi-Ann Lum
File photo of a sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. Its latest annual report, Canada's spy agency now considers gender-driven violence as a form of ideologically motivated violent extremism.

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy agency will now recognize the incel movement as ideologically motivated violent extremism, which opens a new door for gender-driven violence to be treated as terrorism and a national security offence.

It’s a new approach to online forums for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), according to Amarnath Amarasingam, assistant professor at Queen’s University.

“It does mean that overall these kinds of different ideologies are something that are going to increasingly be on national security radars as opposed to just localized hate speech laws,” said Amarasingam, a terrorism researcher at the university’s school of religion.

Watch: suspect explains incel motive for Toronto van attack. Story continues below video.


Incel is short for “involuntarily celibates” — an online community the department of women and gender equality describes as a “subgroup of men who believe women owe them sex and blame women when they are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one.”

Though the incel movement was singled out as an example of gender-driven violence, the agency says it’s moving away from focusing on specific movements. 

In CSIS’s latest annual report, published Wednesday, the agency said labels such as “left-wing” and “right-wing,” which appeared in previous annual reports, will no longer be used. These terms are “subjective” and “inaccurate” shorthands in describing “the complexity of motivations” of ideologically motivated violent extremism, the report read. 

Instead, CSIS is adapting its language on violent extremism to be closer to how terrorism is interpreted in the Criminal Code, which defines it as acts motivated on political, religious, or ideological grounds.

Ideologically motivated violent extremism, according to CSIS, is separated into four categories: xenophobic, anti-authoritarian, gender-driven, and grievance-driven...

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