No New Policies on Iraq; Church Leaders Astray; Abbott Right to Draw Out Muslim Leaders; My Letter

In Northern Iraq/ Kurdistan it is reported that US air strikes have helped the Kurds recover control of part of the major dam at Mosul. But the only new indication of concern about Islamic State comes from Cameron who writes many words about the need to ‘do something’ but rules out the deployment of troops.He makes no mention of US policy but one can only assume that he would not have published the article unless views are being exchanged about possible joint US/UK additional action against IS.

Cameron has however removed some extremist material from the internet and declared that anyone in the UK caught trying to recruit fighters or waving the IS flag will be arrested. We have already experienced the public showing of IS symbols here, including on a recent SBS program. It would be minimal for Australia to copy Cameron on these actions.

Interestingly, two UK religious leaders have publicly expressed puzzlement about the UK’s policy and referred to the “difficulties” faced by the government. There have been no similar statements here as far as I am aware. Strangely, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments seem to be confined to a call for prayers for the government. I have yet to see any call from any traditional religious leaders for action to help save those Christians  left in the Middle East. Do our church leaders simply accept beheadings of Muslim apostates?

Here in Australia The Australian continues to take the lead in reporting not only on developments in Iraq but on attitudes here of Muslim leaders, a  important issue which has received very little attention in other media. While further talks with such leaders as now decided by Abbott are unlikely to produce anything new, it is desirable to subject them to public scrutiny including on whether they condemn the IS as being non-Muslim. It could also provide a basis for a public statement by Abbott on what types of advocacy are not acceptable here.

I have also had modest success in getting (part of) a letter published in the AFR. Note that a couple of points were omitted – for reasons of space or sensitivity? I completely failed with an attempt to draw attention in The Australian to the fact  that the threats made to a Muslim leader who denounced IS are not surprising given that the extremists regard them as just as bad apostates as non-Muslims. It would help if more was made of this point in any public statement by our political leaders.