What has been going on after the Paris Killings? Quite a lot, it seems. But not encouraging.
First, although no details have appeared of discussions within the US Administration on the US absence (ministerial) at the rally, it was eventually decided that “something” official needed to be said publicly. Result? Nothing from Obama or a Minister but the White House spokesperson did acknowledge “It is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile” (see US Admits Error). And don’t forget the announcement also of a “Summit on Countering Violent Terrorism”. One wonders whether this announcement (made with no mention of prior international consultations) was part of the error response. One of the odd aspects of this summit announcement is the implication that non-violent forms of terrorism that will not be considered.
Second, wasn’t it welcome news that the French demonstrated their national motto of Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite by inviting Netanyahu to be one of the world leaders in the rally walk? Well, yes but it appears that Netanyahu didn’t actually receive an invite: when he heard of the rally he insisted on attending (see Some Incidents in Paris). That posed a problem for Hollande who then decided that the motto would have to apply to Abbas too because France is supporting Palestine’s attempt to be recognised as a state. Of course, Abbas then had to walk in the lead row.
Even so, Hollande did accompany Netanyahu for a service at the big synagogue in Paris. The only problem is that he didn’t stay until the end. When Netanyahu stood up to speak Hollande stood up and walked out. Perhaps this explains the recovery from his record low polling in recent months
It may also explain forecasts of an increase in the emigration of Jews to Israel – up from the all-time high of 7,000 last year to more than 10,000. Netanyahu may have encouraged that by controversially stating that “Israel is your home” …”for all French and European Jews”. And the Jews shot in the Paris killings are being buried in Jerusalem.
How about Unity? It appears that differences of opinion in the French community remain entrenched. For example, many school kids refused to observe the 60 second silence in memory of those who died (who included a Muslim policeman). Just how France can peacefully absorb its 6 million Muslims is difficult to imagine.
Third, Germany with 4 million is also facing an absorption problem and increasing protests against the high immigration rate which includes Muslims. These protests are being described in most media as “extreme right wing” and Merkel assembled a group of German Muslims to whom she told that Islam is part of Germany. It is difficult to see how the protesters can continue to be portrayed as “right wing” when they reflect serious concerns within the German community. At the very least the German government will have to act to stop violence and its advocacy. It appears that existing legislation already provides such powers but the question is whether the law can be applied in practice
Fourth, Abbott has made some comments on both the French incident and a local one. He expressed concern locally that a magistrate had released on bail a man said by police to be a terrorist sympathiser (see this Herald Sun article Bail for Terrorist). “I can understand why people are aghast … this is someone who appears to have a history of violence and a commitment to extremism and he’s made explicit threats to the police,” Mr Abbot told 3AW.“It does seem very, very questionable bit of judicial judgment, injudicious judgment in the judiciary.“I accept the separation of powers doctrine and you really want to see a bit of common sense on the bench.”
His comment highlights the need for widespread education on jihadism and the problem we face in handling Islamic extremism. But Abbott has been too cautious in reacting to the implications of the Paris Killings (see Abbott Reacts to Paris). While praising Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed, he refused to attempt another try at amending S18C unless an incident required it to be re-thought.
In sum, it is difficult at the present time to see the Paris Killings resulting in any significant change in policy in handling the Islamic problem.