The publication in today’s Australian of my letter (with others in similar vein) on interpreting the Koran coincides with the news that the Islamic State has beheaded one US journalist and threatens the same for another. Other relevant developments include:
- Prior to the beheading news Obama had again confirmed the US has a long term commitment to air strikes and indicated the need for a coherent Iraqi government -“They’ve got to get this done because the wolf’s at the door”. One report suggests that IS is involved south of Baghdad. Might the beheading produce a more aggressive US response to the wolf?;
- Iraqi Christian leaders have called for international forces to evict the Islamic State from Northern Iraq and claimed “their faith will be obliterated in communities as old as the church itself” unless that happens. I have yet to see any support for such action from Christian leaders elsewhere.
- In his talk with Muslim leaders in Melbourne (not all turned up), Abbott said “The Government intends to announce further measures in this area”. This appears to refer to possible de-radicalisation measures. One hopes that the reported offer by Victorian Multicultural and Citizenship Minister, Matthew Guy, to “mediate between the council and Abbott Government” does not imply any criticism of Abbott’s initiative here or any backtracking because of the imminent Victorian election.