June 23, 2014
WHO let these jihadists into our country? Must we run this danger, just to boast our immigration system isn’t racist?
“We will always have, a non-discriminatory immigration policy,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared three years ago.
Admirable in principle. But how wise in this Age of Terror?
Consider. More than 150 Australians, many of Lebanese descent, have joined jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria, and will pose a danger to us on their return.
One, Khaled Sharrouf, lived on a disability pension in Sydney but was last week pictured apparently in Iraq, waving the flag of the
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, whose Sunni jihadists are shooting and beheading countless unarmed Shia Iraqis.
In another Facebook photo, believed posted by fellow Australian jihadist Mohamed Elomar, Sharrouf poses with a gun next to slaughtered Iraqi civilians.
Another two Australian jihadists feature in an ISIS video calling on Muslims to join them, and dozens of Australians in Sydney and Melbourne have posted support for ISIS on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
A spokesman for Sydney’s al-Risalah Islamic centre even declared ISIS’s success inspired a “feeling of joy”. When a Perth “imam” spoke at the centre last December, the banner behind him featured the ISIS logo.
This has been the troubling truth since even before the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, hailed by our then Mufti, Taj el-Din al-Hilali, as “God’s work against oppressors”.
The numbers are now alarming. Last year ASIO said it had “investigated several hundred mostly Australia-based individuals who are advocates of a violent Islamist ideology”.
It is important to stress most Muslims are peaceful. But it is also true that Muslim immigration has exposed Australians to a level of danger — including extraordinary gun crime in Western Sydney — that immigration from India, Europe and China has not.
Fact is: culture counts. Ties of blood and faith have too often proved stronger that the loyalty multicultural Australia weakly asks, particularly in communities which haven’t done well here.
For instance, of the 21 Muslims here jailed for terrorism offences, at least 11 were born in Lebanon or to Lebanese parents, including Sharrouf and Elomar’s uncle, a ringleader of the 2005 Pendennis plot to attack Sydney targets.
We can’t rely on the conventional checks against importing such trouble. ASIO can’t screen out likely terrorists when the second generation is more radical than the immigrant parents.
Indeed, nine of our 21 jailed Muslim terrorists were born in Australia, and only four grew up overseas.
The conclusion is irresistible: the more Muslim immigrants we admit, the more terrorists we risk one day having.
That was not so 100 years ago, but mass immigration, cheap travel and the internet has changed the nature of immigration.
Some of our least assimilated migrants are so numerous that in some areas they form almost colonies.
With satellite TV beaming in programs from home, it has never been easier for newcomers to retain their culture, faith and values.
Unfortunately, Islamic culture today includes a jihadist ideology so strong that 17 of the 18 terrorist groups banned here are Islamic.
Judge Anthony Whealy, in sentencing the Pendennis plotters, described their ideology well: “Each was driven by the concept that the world was, in essence, divided between those who adhered strictly and fundamentally to a rigid concept of the Muslim faith, indeed, a medieval view of it, and to those who did not.
“Secondly, each was driven by the conviction that Islam throughout the world was under attack, particularly at the hands of the United
States and its allies. In this context, Australia was plainly included.
“Thirdly, each offender was convinced that his obligation as a devout Muslim was to come to the defence of Islam and other Muslims
“Fourthly, it was the duty of each individual offender, indeed a religious obligation, to respond to the worldwide situation by preparing for violent jihad in this country, here in Australia.”
That is like the message that ISIS today sends supporters here through computers and smart phones.
Again, most Muslims mean only peace. But the head of the NSW Counter Terrorism Squad last month criticised our Sunni leaders for doing little to stop followers joining jihadists in Syria.
The Lebanese Muslim Association’s reaction was alarmingly complacent: “We see this as being blown out of proportion because these guys are going to fight for a cause and Australia is not part of that.”
So how should Australia respond?
The Prime Minister says he’ll detain returning jihadists, but surely restricting Muslim immigration would give us fewer to monitor.
That will seem racist, but if Islamic leaders can’t stamp out jihadism we may have to defend ourselves as best we can.