Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Awareness guide - glossary


Defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist acts.

Source: RCMP


The office or jurisdiction of a caliph, the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler.

Source: RCMP and Merriam-Webster


Smallest units within a guerrilla warfare or terrorist group. A cell generally consists of two or more people dedicated to a terrorist cause. The formation of cells is born of the concept that an apparent «leaderless resistance» makes it hard for counter-terrorists authorities to penetrate.

Source: RCMP

Direct Action

Activity by individuals, groups or governments to achieve political goals outside of normal social/political channels, targeting people, groups or property. Nonviolent Direct Action can include strikes, workplace occupations, sit-ins and graffiti. Violent Direct Action includes sabotage, vandalism, assault and murder. The name "Direct Action" was also used by the Squamish Five to identify themselves in communiqués.

Source: RCMP


A Palestinian political and military organization founded in 1958 by Yasser Arafat and others to bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It is the main component of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


A legal opinion or decree handed down by an Islamic religious leader.

Source: Merriam-Webster

Guerrilla warfare

Guerrilla is a spanish word for "Little War". Term invented to describe tactics Spain used to resist Napoleon, though the tactics themselves have been around much longer. Guerrilla warfare is cell-based with no front line. It is the oldest form of asymmetric warfare, based on sabotage and ambush. Its objective is to destabilize government through lengthy and low-intensity confrontation.

Source: RCMP

Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET)

Strategically based in locations across the country, these teams collect, share and analyze intelligence on investigations that concern threats to national security and criminal extremism/terrorism. Duties include intelligence and counter-terrorism in concert with the rest of the RCMP, domestic and foreign agencies, diplomatic and parliamentary communities and the public. INSETs are made up of representatives of the RCMP, federal partners and agencies such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and provincial and municipal police services.

Source: RCMP


Arabic for "Shaking Off". In 1987, following the killing of several Arabs in the Gaza Strip, the first intifada began and went on until 1993. The second intifada began in September 2000, following Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. Both intifadas began as civil disobedience by Palestinians which escalated into the use of terror.

Source: RCMP

Invisible Web

The part of the World Wide Web not accessible through conventional search engines. (Deep Web, Dark Web, Hidden Web, Dark Net, Invisible Internet).

Source: The Free Dictionnary


Arabic for "submission to the will of God". Islam is one of the three monotheistic religions, along with Judaism and Christianity, for which it claims the religious heritages. Founded in the 7th century of our era by the prophet Mohammed (Muhammad in Arabic), Islam is based on the divine revelation recorded in the Koran, the holy book of Islam. Strict monotheism is the fundamental tenet of Islam.

Islam was initiated in Arabia and spread throughout the Middle East. The influence of this religion of over one billion people has now expanded worldwide. The Muslim community split into several branches (Sunni, Shi’ia, Khariji) after the death of its Prophet. However, since its creation, Islam as a whole has upheld its way of life, moral code, culture and perceptions of the State and judicial system.

Source: Dictionnaire Larousse

Islamic state

Islamic state or Islamic government refers to a legal concept where the state (people, territory, government) has a constitution and a political regime and where Islam is the state religion. In an Islamic state, the political regime and the affairs of the state are based on the Sharia (Islamic law).

Source: RCMP


A political ideology whose key tenets include:

  • Belief that Islam is not a religion, but a holistic socio-political system;
  • Advocacy of Sharia (Islamic law) as divine state law;
  • Belief that a transnational Muslim community (the Ummah) should unite as a political bloc; and
  • Advocacy of an 'Islamic' state, or Caliphate, within which sovereignty belongs to God.

Adherents are known as Islamists. The spectrum of Islamism ranges from entry-level Islamists (e.g. the Muslim Brotherhood) and revolutionary Islamists (e.g. Hizb ut-Tahrir) to militant Islamists, or jihadists (e.g. Al-Qaeda), who are prepared to use violence to achieve their aims. While differing in methodology, all Islamists share the same core ideology.

Source: RCMP


Arabic for "Struggle." Interpretations range from a personal effort to live according to Islam to defending Islam by means of an armed struggle in the name of Allah to establish Islam.

Source: RCMP


Arabic for "Rejecter" or "Ungrateful". In the Islamic doctrinal sense, refers to a person who does not recognize God (Allah) or the prophethood of Mohammed (i.e., any non-Muslim), or hides, denies or covers the "truth".

Source: RCMP


The holy book of Islam, considered by Muslims to contain the revelations of God to Mohammed.

Source: RCMP

Listed Entity

The listing of an entity is a very public means by the Government of Canada to identify a group or individual as being associated with terrorism. An entity can be a person, group, trust, partnership or fund, or an unincorporated association or organization. Being listed is not a crime.

Source: RCMP

Lone Actor

Person who commits violent and/or non-violent acts in support of a group, movement or ideology, but does so alone, outside of a command structure. (Lone wolf)

Source: RCMP


Arabic for "Fighters". Usually refers to groups of fighters in the name of Islam. Mujahideen have been involved in conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo and throughout the Middle East.

Source: RCMP


Follower of Islam. Two primary denominations exist − Sunni and Shia − plus several minor denominations. Sunni and Shia are essentially similar in belief, but have significant theological and legal differences. Muslims can be of any ethnic origin, including Arab, African, Chinese, European, Indonesian, Asian, etc.

Source: RCMP


Deliberate action aimed at weakening an entity through subversion, obstruction disruption, or destruction.

Source: RCMP


Adherent of Salafism.

Source: Dictionnaire Larousse


Derived from the Arabic word Salaf, meaning Ancestors. Salafism is a fundamentalist current of Islam. Its followers advocate strict adherence to Sharia, or strict application of the texts of the Koran and the Sunna (the way and actions of Prophet Mohammed), and a return to the original religious practices of the companions of the Prophet.

Source: The Free Dictionnary


The central statement of faith in Islam consisting of an affirmation of the uniqueness of God and of Mohammed as God's prophet.

Source: The Free Dictionnary


Body of Islamic religious law based on the Koran.

Source: RCMP


Arabic for "Elder". Word or honorific title commonly used to designate tribal elder, lord, revered wise man or Islamic scholar.

Source: RCMP


Second-largest denomination of Islam, representing about 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. The Shia-Sunni divided following the death of the Prophet Mohammed. Shi'ites claim authority of the Prophet's descendants and that leadership should pass down only through Mohammed's descendants.

Source: RCMP


Largest denomination of Islam with about 85% of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. Unlike Shi'ites, Sunnis believe that God did not specify any particular leaders to succeed Mohammed and leadership is to be elected.

Source: RCMP


Wilaya (Arab term) is an ancient land division system referring to administrative regions or divisions. This concept exists in a number of African and Asian countries. The wali (sort of governor) is designated by the country's central authority to govern the wilaya. This concept is used by the Islamic State terrorist group to create wilayates in certain parts of the world. These wilayates swear allegiance to and depend on the caliphate. (Examples: wilaya of Khurâsân (between Afghanistan and Pakistan), wilaya of Sinâ (Egypt)).

Source: RCMP