Islamic Extremism – What is the Government’s Policy?

Last Friday my email distributor stopped me from sending or receiving emails because it discovered that I had arranged to transfer the responsibility to Telstra. My decision to do that reflected the sudden decision of the distributor to allow no more than a few to be recipients of my emails in one email whereas I had previously been able to include a large number as recipients of one email. The result was that a number of email recipients would have missed them and I received several inquiries about their absence. My apologies for the time taken to fix the glitch.

I resume by taking you back the publication in The Australian on Thursday 21 July of an excellent analysis by Paul Monk of the Islamic problem (Paul is an acquaintance of mine who has considerable expertise as a writer and public speaker on defence and foreign policy issues). I  sought to comment and succeeded in having the letter below published in The Australian on 22 July and  it was accompanied by 5 letters in similar vein.

Coincidentally, Prime Minister Turnbull is reported as ordering counter-terrorism agencies to develop a strategy to handle Nice-style attacks in public areas. According to a report in The Australian, the counter-terrorism co-ordinator, Greg Moriarity, is being asked to “quickly identify” lessons from Nice and how to protect open areas where large numbers congregate. Given past threats to attack crowds at the MCG, it would be surprising if that has not already been done, although the amateurish performance of NSW police in handling the Lindt café incident suggests much more may need to done.  The critical comments made by British experts to a session of the NSW coronial inquiry seem to confirm an inadequacy of understanding by NSW police of believers in Islamic extremism and subsequent critical comments by a legal expert suggest there has been woeful understanding by the police of “right” of police to shoot to kill in circumstances where the person holding hostages at bay can reasonably be judged as likely to shoot a hostage.

Also coincidental (in a sense) are:

  • The publication by Europe’s law enforcement agency (Europol) of a report that jihadist attacks across the continent have more than quadrupled in a year and a warning that the threat by IS will only get worse;
  • The report on the front page of Friday’s Australian of the aggressive and outrageously lewd views expressed online by a self-described “simple Muslim” about the advocacy by Senators Hanson and Lambi of policies to deal with radical Islam. The ABC had arranged for this chap to appear on the Q&A program with Hanson and his views were supposedly checked beforehand. Those included in that program  were Labor Senator Dastyari who told Hanson he is a Muslim but it was subsequently revealed that he claims to be an atheist. The request of the ABC for an explanation by the Minister for Communications was an inadequate response: it demanded a reaction from the Prime Minister.
  • The need for such a reaction by Turnbull was reinforced by the ABC’s earlier appalling treatment of the suggestion by  an actress, Sonia Kruger, that a ban be imposed on Muslim immigrants (see Bolt on Muslim Immigrants). While Kruger’s suggestion can be regarded as impractical, it is astonishing that the reaction included no criticism of Islamic extremists.
  • The killing on Sunday of at least 80 people in Kabul by three suicide bombers planned by ISIS.

It is important that Turnbull reaction to the Nice incident has recognised to some extent the seriousness of the Islamic threat. But he clearly needs to more clearly identify its extent and to move Australia to adopt a similar policy as the Danish government is doing. In fact, it arguably needs to extend much further than that.

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