To quote the British journalist Charles Moore, former editor of the London Daily Telegraph, writing last month in the wake of the atrocities in Paris
“[It is] extraordinary … that a great many modern European leaders and policymakers still do not understand … the implacable enmity of Islamism… Essentially, Islamism is a doctrine which provides a reason to hate and kill everyone who does not subscribe to it. Start with the people in the front line of your malice – Jews, Christians in the Arab world, the professional soldiers of infidel countries. Progress to those who transgress your morality. And then end up with anyone – everyone – who does not submit to the will of Allah, as interpreted by your pop-up theologians… It would be harder to imagine a clearer foe, yet we still have difficulty making policy in the light of the threat… What brings it all home, literally, is immigration… If a million Muslims … are reaching Germany this year, and even if only one per cent of them subscribe to the doctrines of Isil, that still means 10,000 people dedicated to killing their hosts and assailing the society that accommodates them.”Half a world away from the troubles of Europe lies Australia, yet “the Lucky Country” is not impervious to the threat of Islamic terrorism: we have seen that twice so far this year. As Joshua (Josh) Frydenberg, federal Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia in the Malcolm Turnbull government, wrote on his blog (http://www.joshfrydenberg.com.au/guest/opinionDetails.aspx?id=194):
“[W]hile this barbaric attack happened in the heart of France, all Australians know but for the grace of God it could have been us. Frighteningly, hundreds of Australians are either fighting with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq or lending their support back at home. More than 40 Australians have already died in the conflict, some of whom were suicide bombers. More than 140 Australian passports have been cancelled and our security agencies have said that they have more than 400 high-priority terrorist investigations under way. The Lindt cafe siege and the shooting outside the NSW Police headquarters in Parramatta were painful reminders that Australia is not immune. Were the perpetrators of these crimes able to access even more devastating weaponry than they did, I have no doubt they would have used it. The question becomes for freedom-loving nations such as Australia and France: what do we do to prevent religious zealots from taking democracy hostage and destroying innocent lives? Australia is like France, a sport-loving, diverse society where a strong safety net exists to help those who cannot help themselves. We are not responsible for these heinous acts and we should not make excuses for those who are. Their evil barbarity now seen well inside the gate must be tackled head on with all the resources we have available. It is a battle that must be won because our way of life as we know it is being challenged. Terrorism in our cities must never be accepted as the new normal.”Journalist Paul Sheehan, in deploring the myth of “victimology” of Muslims that’s endorsed by the
federal Human Rights Commissioner, reminds us (http://www.smh.com.au/comment/paul-sheehan-the-victimology-myth-about-muslims-in-australia-sells-the-country-short-20151115-gkzdeq.html) that
“Of the 20 organisations proscribed by the federal government as terrorist organisations with links to Australia, all 20 are Islamic. The most spectacular race crimes in Australia over the past three years, involving murder, attempted murder, threats to kill and plots to kill – the highest form of racial discrimination – involved Muslims planning or carrying out attacks against non-Muslims… More Muslims are fighting for Islamic State than are enlisted in the Australian Defence Force.”Indeed, it would appear that it’s precisely that “victim” mentality which has this week prompted five campus affiliates of the Muslim Students’ Association of Victoria to indignantly refuse to participate in a governmental “Countering Violent Extremism” initiative amid claims that the initiative is “Islamophobic” and undermines “core Islamic values and ideas”.
In his response to the November atrocities in Paris, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, an Egyptian who’s been in this country for 20 years yet cannot speak the language, and who earlier this year defended the extremist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/crisis_point_mufti_attacks_abbott_whitewashes_hizb_ut_tahrir/) issued a statement which reflected that victim mentality and placed the blame for the atrocities on Western governments); it read, inter alia:
“These recent incidents highlight the fact that current strategies to deal with the threat of terrorism are not working. It is therefore imperative that all causative factors, such as racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention must be comprehensively addressed.”Among those criticising the Grand Mufti for this and a follow-up statement have been the popular conservative columnist Andew Bolt, the new Liberal MP Andrew Hastie (a former SAS commander who’s done three tours of duty in Afghanistan, and says “Modern Islam needs to cohere with the Australian way of life, our values and institutions. In so far as it doesn’t, it needs reform’’), and Josh Frydenberg, who – in contrast to Prime Minister Turnbull, on record as describing Islamic State as godless terrorists who “defame and blaspheme Islam” – has said that endemic to the current global terror threat
“is a problem with Islam. The point about Islam is that this is a minority of extremists, and you could argue it’s even a small minority of extremists, but it’s a significant minority of extremists and it does pose a challenge to our way of life in Australia. We need to acknowledge the significance of this threat, to acknowledge that religion is part of this problem, and … because this is the key point, we need to deal with it at a hard edge – with a military response – but we also need to deal with it a counter-narrative…”As columnist Miranda Devine observes (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/your-morals-as-a-muslim-dont-give-you-a-free-pass/) regarding their views on this issue, leftist ABC radio host Jon Faine (who’s Jewish himself, incidentally) dismissively noted that Frydenberg is “a Jew” and Hastie “an evangelical Christian”.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, who as Immigration Minister under Tony Abbott was crucial to the policy of “turning back the boats” (of illegal immigrants and so-called asylum seekers attempting to jump the queue of people applying for Aussie visas through lawful channels) declared (http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/scott-morrison-says-critics-of-grand-mufti-and-muslim-community-dont-get-it/) has attempted to undermine the issues raised by
Frydenberg, Hastie, and their supporters in and outside Federal parliament:
“I think all religions go through phases in this country. My own (Christianity) and many others. Over a period of time religions become more indigenised in this country. And the cultural component of our religious faiths, I think, become more indigenised. There is the pure religion side of things, the teachings and so on, and then there is how it is expressed in a particular culture. And that is true of Christianity as it is of Christianity, as it is true of the Jewish faith as it is of the Muslim faith.”What outrageous bulldust! As if either Christianity or Judaism (“The Law of the Land is the Law”) have ever been in any sense inimical to the Australian way of life and the country’s democratic values! As if either Christianity or Judaism have inspired Jihadist attacks on fellow-Australians or on non-followers of their religion overseas. As if either Christianity or Judaism have spawned individuals who consider themselves above the Australian judicial system because their religion trounces civil jurisdiction and individuals who in consequence refuse to acknowledge or accede the respect due to civil magistrates (Miranda Devine’s column has Islamic examples!).
Peter Costello – federal Treasurer under Prime Minister John Howard, who should have groomed him as his successor but failed to so, ensuring that Costello eventually left politics, a severe loss to the Liberal Party and to the nation – wrote very reasonably:
‘…. After each atrocity complacent political leaders trot out the same platitudes. They tell us: “This has nothing to do with Islam, etc.” It is wearing thin with the public. All these attacks are coming from people who subscribe to one religion …Plainly it has something to do with Islam. And the people who are doing it think it has everything to do with Islam. That is why they shout Allahu Akbar while firing their guns and detonating their explosives… Religions are not all the same. Christ never sought to establish an earthly kingdom — “My kingdom is not of this world,” he said. But Mohammed did. He led an army in the conquest of Mecca. As an earthly ruler he had quite a lot to say about how to wage war and make peace. These are the teachings radical Islamists rely on to justify their conduct. So what we need from the Islamic scholars is to tell us, and more importantly to tell would-be jihadis, why these difficult sections of the Koran and the Hadiths are not to be taken literally and not to be followed today. They should explain why “jihad”, which once did include warfare, no longer means that…’As Andrew Bolt (whose writings are a treat for newspaper readers every Monday and Thursday, and online in between) comments on the above: (http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/andrewbolt/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/costello_it_is_about_islam_which_needs_reform/):
“Fourteen years after the September 11 attacks we are still waiting for signs that senior Muslim clerics are working on this reform of Islam. If this work does not start soon, we may have to conclude that reform is not possible.”Labor shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, who’s Jewish, told Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, that he hadn’t read Peter Costello’s article, “but if he in fact said that Islam was the problem then that is a tremendously wrong-headed approach. What we have here is Islamist extremists, or to be even more precise, Salafi jihadist extremists and it’s not Islam, it’s not the religion. This is a political ideology claiming to be based on aspects of a religion but it’s very distinct from the whole religion… What I’ve heard from Muslim leaders across Australia for years now is complete condemnation of this extremist Islamist ideology… ”
To which Josh Frydenberg, on the same program, retorted (http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/2015/11/P50/):
“We’re dealing with a global terrorist threat that we face significantly here at home. [L]eaders of the Muslim community, including the Grand Mufti, did not condemn the attacks in the way that he should have and that has been a very big sore point… “As Andrew Bolt has shown in previous items of his regarding the Mufti, the latter, when visiting Hamas officials in Gaza, declared:
”I am pleased to stand on the land of jihad to learn from its sons and I have the honour to be among the people of Gaza where the weakness always becomes strength, the few becomes many and the humiliation turns into pride … We came here in order to learn from Gaza. We will make the stones, trees and people of Gaza talk in order to learn steadfastness, sacrifice, and the defence of one’s rights from them….”And by threatening the withdrawal of Muslim support for the ALP, the Mufti stymied the bid to enter federal politics of a moderate member of the ALP, the staunchly pro-Israel Paul Howes, national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union.
Meanwhile, Diaa Mohamed, founder of the new Australian Muslim Party, which is hoping to get representation in the federal Senate, has condemned Frydenberg’s views as “offensive”. Condemning them also are two ALP (Australian Labor Party) heavies who just happen to represent heavily Muslim constituencies in western Sydney. One is Tony Burke, who recently made loathsome comments against Israel (http://www.jewishnews.net.au/burke-slammed-over-settlement-comments/37593).
It seems Joshua and his ilk have a lot of fighting still to do before the walls of wilful blindness come tumbling down.
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