Montreal is a diverse and cosmopolitan city, primarily French speaking but with an exotic mix of many of the world's languages and cultures enlivening the atmosphere. There's a bit of New York here, a soupçon of Paris, the flavor of pre-Katrina New Orleans, perhaps a touch of London before it became Londonistan. A big city with a congenial small-town feel, it is a nice place to live. Or at least, it was a nice place to live until, as in many other Western cities, Islam began making its muscular presence felt—less so, clearly, than in Hamburg or Malmo or Amsterdam, but the census is not encouraging,
For Montreal—like Canada in general—has not been immune to the demographic invasion of immigrants from Muslim countries. Many of these newcomers have integrated peacefully into mainstream culture; nevertheless a significant radical presence has concentrated in the city. Journalist Fabrice de Pierrebourg's 2007 book Montréalistan profiles a veritable Who's Who of terrorist plotters who have settled here. "All the ingredients of radical Islamism are present in Montreal," he says. (One can listen to an informative French interview with the author on the Jeremaykovka blog site.)
We remember that Ahmed Ressam, who attempted to bomb LAX, was a Montrealer, as is his handler Fateh Kamel, who played a "central role in the wave of terrorist acts" in1990s France. Pierrebourg points out that Montreal as a French language city naturally attracts Francophone immigrants from North Africa, chiefly Algeria and Morocco. This influx has changed the gradients of everyday discourse, influenced the media and impacted the electoral calculations of our political Parties—such as the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois on the federal level, and the left-wing, sovereignist Parti Québécois and Québec solidaire in the provincial theater.