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The Multi-Hazards Podcast

all about protecting communities . . . 

May 27, 2020

Phil Gurski

This episode focuses on religion and ideology. Often we're taught to avoid two topics: religion and politics. However, can we discuss religion and ideology, at the right time and place, with civility and respect? In this episode, terrorism specialist Phil Gurski discusses this sensitive topic of religion with tact and diplomacy. 

As Phil Gurski says, most people, religious or not, are kind and helpful. A very small percentage go down the "dark path" to inflict heavenly "wrath" on unbelievers, to the point of engaging in terrorism.

Religion often has moderates and sometimes extremists. Conservative and liberals. People who view their sacred writings metaphorically or literally. Groups and individuals who try to spread their religion as much as possible, others who don't. We live in a world of multiple religions and beliefs. Somehow, some way, we have to get along . . .

Join us at Multi-Hazards as we explore religion, how it affects society, and how we all can work together.

Also, be sure to check out the Study Guide for the program!  Click on the top left where it says "Pdf" above the date!

Phil Gurski's Bio

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). He worked as a senior strategic analyst at CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) from 2001-2015, specialising in violent Islamist-inspired homegrown terrorism and radicalisation.

From 1983 to 2001 he was employed as a senior multilingual analyst at Communications Security Establishment (CSE – Canada’s signals intelligence agency), specialising in the Middle East. He also served as senior special advisor in the National Security Directorate at Public Safety Canada from 2013, focusing on community outreach and training on radicalisation to violence, until his retirement from the civil service in May 2015, and as consultant for the Ontario Provincial Police’s Anti-Terrorism Section (PATS) from May to October 2015. He was the Director of Security and Intelligence at the SecDev Group from June 2018 to July 2019.

Mr. Gurski has presented on violent Islamist-inspired and other forms of terrorism and radicalisation across Canada and around the world. He is the author of “The Threat from Within: Recognizing Al Qaeda-inspired Radicalization and Terrorism in the West” (Rowman and Littlefield 2015) “Western Foreign Fighters: the threat to homeland and international security” (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), "The Lesser Jihads: taking the Islamist fight to the world" (Rowman and Littlefield 2017), "An End to the ‘War on Terrorism’" and When Religion Kills: how extremist justify violence through faith (Lynne Rienner 2019).

Mr. Gurski regularly blogs and podcasts on terrorism ("An Intelligent Look at Terrorism" – available on his website: and tweets on the subject at the Twitter handle @borealissaves.

He is an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in the Netherlands, a digital fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies at Concordia University, a member of the board at the National Capital Branch of the CIC (Canadian International Council) and an affiliate of the Canadian network for research on Terrorism Security and Society (TSAS). Mr. Gurski is a regular commentator on terrorism and radicalisation for a wide variety of Canadian and international media. He is fluently trilingual in English, French and Spanish.