Over recent days, following the jihad call by an IS spokesman last Tuesday there have been four major terrorist attacks overseas and an arrest in Darwin of a man with a “beheading hit list”. Over the same period ABC managing director Scott has been forced to acknowledge the “error” made in the Q&A TV program by allowing the appearance of an Australian with terrorist aims.
If you were the editor of the ABC and other major media organisations how would you react now to these developments? Common sense might tell you to obtain assessments as to the future outlook for such terrorist attacks and what might be done to prevent or deter them. It might also suggest that more care be taken in assessing existing government policies and statements.
In fact, this morning’s news lead items on ABC radio and The Age were a story suggesting that Calabrian Mafia “has infiltrated Australian politics”. This “year-long Fairfax Media-Four Corners investigation” reveals that a Mafia boss met former Prime Minister John Howard and other top Liberal Party figures at (shock horror) fundraising events. Other contacts with Liberal party ministers are reported, but we must wait with bated breath to learn of their involvements, if any.
Moving on to The Age’s editorial, however, we find “concern” that Abbott is running a fearmongering campaign on terrorism for possible political purposes. Of course, “the danger is real” but “our concern goes far beyond the choice of words [by Abbott] to areas of law” (see editorial below Terrorism and the dangers of fearmongering). The Age’s cartoon has Abbott kicking a football inscribed with “TERRORISM”.
By contrast, The Australian made contact with an expert on terrorism in the Australian Federal Police who advises that his view is that even “if Syria and Iraq by some miracle finished tomorrow, the impact for us will still be generational”. It also reported Abbott’s statement that “it is early days yet” for Australia’s efforts in combating Islamic extremism (see article below Terror threat ‘will outlast ISIS’, says AFP).
But the most important commentary today is made by Andrew Bolt in pointing out that the source of the terrorism problem is Islamic religion. He rightly rejects Abbott’s statement that “What’s being done by Daish (the Islamic State) has nothing to do with God, it has nothing to do with religion” (see article below Andrew Bolt: It’s time to end this lie about Islam). As with some other policies, the latest terrorist activity provides an opportunity to expose the source of the problem. Any such exposure would naturally need to recognise that the majority of Muslims do not believe in violent activity. But they must be asked to acknowledge that those who do must stop such activity or its advocacy.