The self-appointed leaders of Australia’s Muslim Community have declined Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s invitation to meet and formulate a common strategy in response to yet another outrage by yet another jihadi. Their response to that invitation was to demand all sorts of guarantees and preconditions which they must have known made the meeting impossible. The arrogance of that public rejection of what the PM in his innocence must have hoped would be a productive parley is nothing less than an outrage, in effect cocking a snook at the fear and concern of a nation rightly appalled by the Islamist terror it did nothing to aggravate or incite, other than welcome the firebrands and their creed to its shores.
Why would well-educated and prominent people, leaders of their religious community no less, quite deliberately choose to infuriate the entire nation? Even if there was no intention whatsoever of cooperating, they might just as easily have gone through the motions. Would it have been so difficult to turn up, nod their heads at the sadness of the Bourke Street attack, proclaim Islam once again to be the Religion of Peace™ and then go home after the obligatory photo op?
Why wear such a defiant attitude on one’s sleeve? There would appear to be a number of possible reasons:
a) They cannot bring themselves to condemn one of Islam’s most basic tenets: the Divine authorisation to spread the Prophet’s creed and worldly sovereignty by means of violent jihad
b) They share the convictions of the jihadis to varying degrees but for tactical reasons find talking about it openly to be inexpedient;
c) They are not prepared to be regarded as traitors to the cause of Islam by their own communities (see a)
d) They are worried about their own safety (see c)
Instead, in their public utterances, the signatories who rejected the PM’s invitation went with the well-worn and ever-handy politically correct strategy of depicting themselves as innocent victims of that much-touted but very seldom seen ‘Islamophobia’. Thus did they slam shut the door on what could have been a dialogue with Australia’s leader and, via him, the nation. They would have everyone believe, especially their own flocks, that they are defenders of the Muslim community. Defenders against whom? Defenders against what? If someone has incinerated a bomb-equipped car in Lakemba and then murdered passersby we have yet to hear of the incident.
However specious and disingenuous their position, we can feel a sort of gratitude that this ‘leadership’ group has laid its cards on the table by their refusal even to feign concern and cooperation. What they have done, however, is something of a favour to non-Muslim Australians, who can now take this opportunity to respond proactively — to take off the gloves, if you will, in the fight against the tendency to violence within the Muslim community. After such an insulting and arrogant refusal, a hardening of attitudes against Islamic radicalism and the enclaves from which it springs is both morally impeccable and logically unassailable.
What has been presented is no less than an opportunity to change for the better attitudes within the Muslim community, to replace hostile or, at best, aloof indifference with eager cooperation. What will affect such a sea change is enlightened self-interest: co-operation with authorities can be made a necessity out of a simple fear of negative consequences.
But first we must see ‘Islamophobia’ consigned to the rubbish bin, where it belongs. Australia, arguably the least racist country on the planet, cannot be gulled or bullied into further silence by the invocation of this hollow curse. Let’s not mince words: there is no such thing as ‘Islamophobia’ on these shores. To the extent it exists it is only as a rhetorical device to throttle the needed discussion of reforming local Islam’s frequently demonstrated propensity to produce violent zealots and unleash them on our streets. How often have you heard after each latest attack that it was the work of a lone wolf with mental problems? Well it seems there are entire packs of lone wolves, but only one creed produces them.
While “Islamophobia” does not exist, the bollards, bag searches and security checks most certainly do; likewise the understandable reluctance of Bourke Street shoppers, Parramatta office workers and Martin Place coffee sippers to be blown up, knifed, shot, run down by a truck or tormented as hostages by a man who demands an ISIS flag. It is worth recalling that, while Man Monis strutted about the Lindt coffee shop, senior police were exchanging messages about a backlash that never happened
Once “Islamophobia” has been stripped of its ability to silence and foreclose frank talk, the next proactive step will be “shut down and deport”.
Quite a number of accused terror suspects have been associated with various Islamic Centers and mosques. Time and again we have seen violent radicalism linked with places of Islamic worship. The Bourke Street Butcher and Jake Bilardi, the Melbourne teenager who blew himself up for Allah and ISIS, both passed through the Hume Islamic Youth Centre, whose imam refused to meet Prime Minister Morrison. The gun used to assassinate Curtis Cheng in Parramatta was handed to the killer inside a nearby mosque. These documented connections between places of worship and murderous radicalism have been observed and documented often enough but no action is ever taken.
True, some hate preachers are now serving long jail sentences, but this is not enough. How wonderfully it would concentrate the minds (and sharpen the ears) of imams were legislation to demand the surrender of religious properties where terror has nestled and bred. To avoid the charge of Islamophobia it would apply to all religions. In the unlikely event that the Children of Mary start acting up, Catholic churches would be forfeit too.
What’s more, many are in receipt of taxpayer taxpayers’ money, either directly, via aid to religion-based day schools, or indirectly in the form of the social security payments. Indeed, the Hume Islamic Youth Centre has been receiving grants of up to $1500 to fund the complex’s annual Iftar dinner. Below, from the AFP’s 2015 budget, some of its grants to mosques and Islamic organisations. Who knew it was part of modern policing to fund religious nosh-ups?
The imams who run these places are, as a rule, from overseas, notably from the countries with non-democratic, xenophobic and misogynistic cultures. In some cases these imams do not acquire the English language despite living in Australia for many years. All profess total ignorance of the Islamic radicalisation processes which were going on under their very noses. Frankly, I find those Captain Renault-style protestations of shock and ignorance less than persuasive. But let’s accept the notion that these imams are deaf, blind, trusting to a fault and intellectually feeble to boot. After getting past the puzzle as to why congregations would hire Islam’s bearded answers to Helen Keller as their spiritual leaders, we can focus on ways to make them more attentive, which the prospect of seeing a mosque confiscated would surely do.
It is entirely reasonable to assume any imam confronting such a loss would would run to the authorities the moment he learns about members of his congregation become radicalised. While running, he would have to formulate a really good reason why he should not be found responsible for such a transformation. Presenting his sermons in English would be an encouraging sign of a spiritual leader genuinely keen to see his flock assimilate with the host society. He might want to keep transcripts as well, thus able to cite all those days when he warned his congregants to reject the violent parts of the Koran and act in accordance with the nice bits.
We need to make it clear that each time any congregation member perpetrates terror or is convicted of scheming to do so, whether he worship in a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or whatever, that house of God will be shuttered, seized and its preacher (and his family) deported. We need to inform the prospective imam, rabbi or priest that it is his responsibility to monitor and act upon a terror threat coming from any member of his congregation. Doctors are legally obliged to report child abuse and there have been calls of late to rupture the seal of Confession and force priests to do likewise. Why should imams (and ministers too) operate under different rules?
The same set of rules should be applied to any religion-based school. Their curricula should be open to public scrutiny and, cultural and religious beliefs notwithstanding, what is taught must be brought to Australian standards. Any evidence of hate-preaching in the classroom should be the reason for close and detailed scrutiny, with the direct implication that closure is ordained and inevitable.
Now, let’s talk about the almighty dollar. While the notion of deporting the families of terrorists does give some solace to an aggrieved soul, the legality of such deportation might present some difficulties. However, there is nothing in our laws to prohibit the financial auditing of such families. It is no secret that social security payments are much misused and thereby wasted. I understand and don’t dispute that a decent society has an obligation to help those in need. However, do we have moral obligation to sustain the families of our enemies? Should we as taxpayers be underwriting the extended families of men with multiple wives and many children? I do not advocate an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the social security payments from anyone. What I do suggest is an enforcement of existing laws and an audit of payments as an automatic measure for any member of the immediate and extended family of all who are convicted of terrorism. Should abuse be found, severe penalties would ensue.
The only reasonable exemption from such a measure would be the proactive reporting of unlawful activities to authorities.
Our politicians must heed the writing on the wall or, to be blunt, the blood in Bourke Street’s gutter. While it is our obligation to defend our society, we must never slide into the tyranny of bigotry. In this regard the rudeness and churlish refusal of invited Muslim leaders to meet Mr Morrison can become a boon to their communities. By providing stern incentives to root out terror in their congregations and social circles, Islamic communities can be brought into the Australian mainstream.
And isn’t that what the imams always tell kufar interviewers they want most of it all? Such measures will give them a chance to prove it.