How Australia confronts militant Islam

A nation's blunt refusal to back down to terror

Australians are sometimes accused of being direct, even blunt. But this way of going about things seems to have worked well enough when dealing with the threat of radical Islamism Down Under. Its approach is worthy of close examination — not least in Britain. And what has been accomplished so far, though controversial, has been done with a high degree of bipartisan co-operation.

Like other predominantly Anglo-Celtic nations, Australia is a tolerant and accepting society — in spite of what some members of the domestic left intelligentsia and the civil liberties lobby proclaim. While not without racial tensions, Australia has a relatively low level of ethnically motivated crime and a relatively high level of inter-marriage between the numerous ethnic groups.

Jamaah Islamiyah’s bombs, which exploded at the Bali tourist resort in Indonesia on October 12, 2002, brought civilian Australians into the front line. Some 20 Australians were murdered on 9/11. The Australian death toll at Bali was 88 — a horrendous toll for a population that is about a third that of Britain.

Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, happened to be in Washington on 9/11. Australia immediately committed special forces to the war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, which was under way when Mr Howard’s Liberal-National Party conservative coalition defeated Labor, led by Kim Beazley, at the election in November 2001. Labor supported Australia’s commitment in Afghanistan but opposed Mr Howard’s decision to commit Australia to the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq (in support of the US and Britain) in 2003.

Despite their differences on Iraq, the major parties have been more or less united on the need for a tough-minded approach to national security.

Since 9/11 — and particularly since the Bali bombing — the debate on national security in Australia has been frank. Australia is an immigrant nation and Muslims have been part of the immigrant experience for more than a century. Muslims from Afghanistan, Turkey and South-East Asia, among other places, have settled in well and made a significant contribution to Australian society. Yet, as in other Western democracies, there is a radical Islamist presence in Australia that has been growing in recent years and that owes its allegiance to Wahhabism and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The composition of the Australian Muslim population is significantly different from that of Britain. Radical Muslims — or their parents or grandparents — have come mostly from Lebanon or North Africa, with some from the sub-continent. In addition there are a few home-grown converts to the cause — the best known of whom are David Hicks, who is held at Guantanamo Bay, and Jack Thomas.

The evidence indicates that all radical Islamists in Australia were either born there or entered the country on valid visas. Asylum seekers, who arrived unlawfully, have not comprised a potential threat to national security.

Put briefly, the Australian system takes Islamist ideology seriously. It does not deal with radical Islamists. It confronts extremists’ views, rather than seeking to co-opt “pragmatic” radicals who happen not to be in favour of the use of violence in the here and now for purely tactical reasons. After the bombings of 7/7 in London, Tony Blair declared correctly that “the rules of the game had changed”. In Australia the rules changed dramatically some time earlier. A few recent examples illustrate the point.
After the shock of 7/7 Mr Howard established a Muslim Community Reference Group and said that no radicals would be invited to join. When Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali (the Mufti of Australia) ventured into Holocaust denial, Andrew Robb (the Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism) let it be known that he would not be reappointed to the group. Last February Peter Costello (Mr Howard’s deputy) publicly declared that, if the radical Muslim cleric Abdul Nasser Ben Brika really wanted to live under Sharia law, he might choose voluntary deportation to Iran. The next month the Prime Minister told Reuters TV that Australia could not ignore “that there is a small section of the Islamic population which identifies with some of the more extremist views associated with support of terrorism”.

There remains a significant terror threat in Australia — with some convictions for terrorist-related offences and a number of Muslim men in Sydney and Melbourne awaiting trial on serious charges. However, the tough line on security seems to have worked well and there have been no terrorist attacks.

The Howard Government has let it be known that radical Islamism is also a threat to the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community and reminded its leaders of their responsibilities to resolve potential problems in their own self-interest. This approach has strengthened the position of moderate Muslims.
Meanwhile, the conservatives, with the support of social democrats, have advanced the cause of citizenship tests as a means of emphasising that all who choose to live in Australia are expected to sign-on to our democratic values. Moreover, imams have been advised to preach in English. There is little backing in Australia for the extremist right-wing view that Muslim immigration should be banned. But there is bipartisan support for tackling the real threat posed by radical Islamism in a direct, even blunt, manner.

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Good drills
Course we bloody do because we bloody are. Got a problem with that? Tell it to someone who gives a four X :wink:

His stance on extremist fundamentalists, if one can ever say a politician has a bony structure internally with which to maintain that, is probably one of the few things I agree with from little johnny lickarse. Hilali, as we have seen recently (yes I know there is a thread about it on ARRSE) spouted off on Egyptian television basically about how terrible a place Australia is and how poobrained its inhabitants were - bar all the "sincere" Muslims who apparently have more right to the place than the Kooris or I do, because apparently all whites out here are convicts. Newsflash mate not all First Fleeters came over as convicts, some were free settlers and some were military and their descendants are alive and well and living out here thinking you are a yappy little dog that needs muzzling. Seeing as this "gentleman of Islamic clerical academia" continues to maintain his residency here and keeps coming back you have to wonder has anyone told him there is a word called hypocrisy in the dictionary. Perhaps his edition missed it out...

It was not a surprise to me to see the PM, the NSW Premier - who has this "gentleman of Islamic clerical academia" Hilali living in his state - and a few other politicians tell him if he does not like living in Australia with Australians he is more than welcome to remain in Egypt, or whichever country wants him. It was heartening to see the media give their "well stay there then if you don't like it here" message a great deal of airtime. I wonder if that would have occurred in the UK. It was also no surprise to see no Islamic, but several Muslim, spokespeople comment "He makes it hard for us sometimes saying things like that". I was very pleased our leaders and the majority of moderate Muslims have reacted to him and his kind in the way they have because I think out here we are trying to keep Australia as much of a haven from this kind of overt jihadist posturing as possible. We still have groups of the younger males who say "I am an Islamic Egyptian" "I am a Lebanese-Muslim" even though they were born in Australia and their parents chose to leave those countries to avoid the kind of radicalist violence their sons seem to desire. It appears to be a bigger problem in the East Coast capitals of Sydney and Melbourne but that is hardly surprising it would show up more there as most immigrants, I think last figure was 70%ish, want to live in those areas only.

Much as I would love to do a big NAAFI style rant about this "gentleman of Islamic clerical academia" there is no point as the guy is not worth wasting that much time on, that and PTP might blow a valve if I did. Hilali has said before he has no intention of being Australian, learning to speak English or of not encouraging radical jihad against the West. Far as I am concerned the guy gives everyone who follows Allah's and the prophet Mohammed's original words of peace and fellowship a bad name. Personally I would love to see the Immigration Minister revoke Hilali's residency status and refuse him entry back into the country. Might wipe the smile of the smug tool's face. I would pay quite a bit to be the one as he steps off the plane to say "Hey sport turn around you aren't wanted here so you can rack off back to Cairo."
Striking that an immigrant society should seem to have more cohesion and resiliance, at least at the highest political levels, than many historic nation states in defining and protecting its values.

Perhaps the assimilationist policies of larger-scale immigration led to a stronger awareness of the need to create shared social values and tenets than in countries, like the UK and France, where an established (and perhaps complacent) sense of identity led to the multi-culturalism not of assimilation but of what can seem increasingly like segregation in the face of smaller-scale immigration.

Good on 'em!


War Hero
Good for the Aussies.

It is a GOOD thing for the leaders of a host country to stress to any malcontents who espouse the benefits of another country or culture that if foreign culture or country is more to their liking, they should go there and be happy.

Why is it racist to say to a malcontented British muslim who wants sharia law and a muslim state "Well go to Iraq, go to Iran and enjoy their freedoms".

I bet that if most of these people who say our way of life sis sh1t actually went to live in Saudi Arabia or any other ME country, they would not be as happy OR free.

What would happen to me if I went to Saudi Arabia and said 'You've got to change your sh1t and become a christian country!'. How long would I last?

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