IF you’re lucky, you’ll have got this far in life without hearing the term “incel”, which made the news this week after a terrorist in a van ploughed a into pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10. But has your son heard it? Your nephew? The boy next door who plays a lot of computer games and never makes eye contact? If they have, or if they do, there’s a danger of them being radicalised.
You might be wondering if you’ve missed some vital detail about 25-year-old suspect Alek Minassian, whom Canadian authorities have said was not associated with any known terror groups. Isn’t this a young man with learning difficulties who spent too much time online, as opposed to a terrorist? Isn’t he just a lone wolf, an isolated oddball, whose actions could neither have been predicted nor prevented?
Incel stands for “involuntary celibate” and refers to a man who would like to be having sex but isn’t.
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Published in The National on April 27 2018.