It is not very often that the Herald Sun writes an in depth editorial on the values underlying Australian society. But largely in response to the Sydney siege, today’s editorial attempts this (see Standing Up for Our Values below) and draws particular attention to Islamic extremism viz
“There has been a failure by too many people to accept that Islamic extremism is a clear and present danger, in the language of intelligence agencies, and that it must be recognised as such. This also requires greater tolerance by the community in its attitude to the vast majority of Muslims, who pose no threat to anyone.”
The editorial might have gone on to refer not only to “people” who fail to see the “clear and present danger” but also to governments, both here and overseas. This article here on the situation that has developed in Germany should have already sounded a red alert here in Australia.
The article was written two years ago by a senior fellow of the Gatestone Institute in the US, whose chairman is John Bolton, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, from 2005 to 2006, and Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, from 2001 to 2005. This think tank is “dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fails to report”, with particular reference to Middle East and Muslim populations. Relevant points in the article include:
- The German Muslim population rose from 50,000 in 1980 to more than 4.5 mn;
- Germany has over 200 mosques, 2,600 prayer halls and many unofficial mosques. Since 2001 over 500 traditional religion churches have been closed;
- Islamic radicals have distributed 25 million copies of the Koran free and a parallel legal system based on sharia law exists;
- Salafist preachers regularly preach hatred against the West (Salafism = radical Islam);
- The German Intelligence Chief warned of a great risk of attacks by Islamic extremists;
- One study shows 64% of Germans believe Islam is prone to violence and only 13% associate Islam with love for neighbours. So much for the “peaceful” religion!
Australia has had warnings from our ASIO chief and the Abbott government has received bipartisan support for anti-terrorism legislation and for additions to counter-terrorism agencies. But a considerable proportion remain either ignorant of the extent of the problem or unwilling to accept the need for counter measures. For example, The Age recently quoted a Professor of Human Rights at Monash as saying “the danger of terrorism is completely inflated”. This indicates the need for the Abbott government to pick up the theme in the Herald Sun editorial, to publish a wide ranging paper on the issue illustrating the change in our value system if we allow a penetration of Islam along German lines, and to take further measures to diminish that risk.
It is not possible to spell out here what possible measures might be taken. In previous commentaries I have suggested some arising from the Sydney siege shambles. But one that escaped my attention until I completed reading the Week End Australian is the worrying situation that seems to have developed in handling applicants for migration, including those seeking to come as refugees, and for citizenship (see below How the Screen Door of Citizenship Has Been Left Open to Criminal Elements).
As the article is read through it quickly becomes clear that, even though the Administrative Appeals Tribunals have members who are apparently well educated, they have a very limited capacity to make decisions in the national interest. I could not help thinking that this establishment of an agency with powers to make decisions which over-rule those of the Minister in the government that has been elected has some parallels with the powers given to the agency making decisions on workplace relations – the misnamed Fair Work Commission. Both agencies seem to have developed their own “philosophy” on how to determine what is “fair” and neither are exposed to electoral processes.
Most of the article’s critiques of decisions relate to those who had a criminal record (which included of course the Iranian gunman). But note that the grants of citizenship (which requires applicants to be of “good character”) have surged two-thirds in the past two years to nearly 160,000 in 2013-14. Note also that many grants were made to those from countries where the Muslim religion dominates. The recommendation made in the National Security Legislation Monitor report that the Minister have the power to revoke the Australian citizenship of dual nationals seems a minimal reform of immigration policy.
PS We can be thankful that, unlike those subject to the Islamic State, we are not subject to the punishments listed in its penal code on 15 December 2014. Only 80 lashes for drinking alcohol. Death for many other “offences”. I risk here wishing all a very happy Christmas and New Year.