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Widening Exposure of the Muslim Extremist Problem


In a recent message I drew attention to the absence of any media or political follow-up to the 7.30 report’s exposure of extremist Muslim activities in Australia, most notably in Western Sydney. Yesterday, however, we witnessed an important addition to that exposure in an important article by Greg Sheridan in the Weekend Australian.

In a wide ranging analysis Sheridan draws attention to the failure to stop the large increase in asylum seekers who have made it to Australia by boat, which he describes  as having (inter alia) “grievous security implications” and as constituting “essentially a determined Muslim immigration.” This, he argues, threatens to bring a large number of low-skilled with poor English speaking abilities and predominantly from countries that “have the most radical and extremist jihadist traditions in the world”. Moreover, although ASIO subjects all arrivals to a security check “this process has broken down and is now all but meaningless”.

This was reflected in the success of an Egyptian member of an al Qaeda group in slipping past an ASIO clerical error (which inspired a Bill Leak cartoon that features a well-armed jihadist applying at the sea shore for “low security clerical error status, please”). After apparently dismissing Opposition complaints as playing games, Prime Minister Gillard announced the incident would be the subject of an inquiry by the “independent” Inspector General of Intelligence & Security. No decision is expected before the election.

Sheridan points out that (if elected) Abbott faces an “immense” challenge in fixing the situation that has developed under the Gillard government’s faulty border and security policies.

This raises the important point that, as with several other areas requiring major changes in policy, Abbott needs a mandate to do much more than “allowed” under his existing policy (this is summarised in Sheridan’s article). Immigration policy should not only give priority to official refugees but include measures designed to minimise the risk of accepting both normal migrants and asylum seekers who may have not only been associated with terrorist activities or groups at home but who have accepted the preachers (imams) who advocated jihadism as part of their interpretation of the Koran. Such a policy should ensure strict and comprehensive checking of all seeking to migrate, with any person unable satisfactorily to be checked to be returned home or held indefinitely in detention.  The onus should be on the intending immigrant, whether seeking family reunion or not, to establish his innocent intentions. This policy should indicate that it is an important component of Australia’s defence.

The Government should also issue a wide ranging statement indicating that action will be taken to outlaw and, to the extent practicable, prevent the preaching and advocacy, whether orally or on the internet or through written publications, of jihadist activity of those Muslims already in Australia. It appears that the UK has been implementing such a policy, albeit not effectively, and the US has been tapping phone and internet messages. Doubtless some of this is already done in Australia: if so, the Government should explain it.  It should also explain that the object is to ensure Australia is a society based on Western values in which the elected government determines rules of behaviour, not imams. 

Meantime, SBS TV news of 7 June showed a meeting of the Muslim Council attended by Attorney General Dreyfus and discussing what was described as a federally funded leadership program. According to Dreyfus legal action is not the way to deal with extremists: we must establish a “culture of tolerance”.


As already indicated, the Cameron government’s response to the murder of the British soldier has been extremely worrying. In particular his statement to the House of Commons on 3 June included the absurd claim that “there is nothing in Islam that justifies acts of terror”: perhaps Cameron has never heard of jihadism. Yet he acknowledged in his statement that Britain has this year already had three major counter-terrorist trials involving guilty convictions and a total of 150 years in prison and that “much of the work of our security services has necessarily gone unreported”. 

True, he did point out that since 2011 the Home Secretary has “excluded more preachers of hate than ever before” and that 5,700 items of terrorist material have been taken down from the internet. But he failed to explain that there are many Muslims in the UK who accept jihadist activity as part of the Muslim “religion” or what his government would do about it. There is already a counter-terrorism programme under a so-called Prevent strategy which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorist-related activity (see the Executive Summary of this strategy, which makes few mentions of Muslims). But there is no program to educate the wider community about the dangers from extremist Muslims. 

A Cabinet-level task force is to examine other possible measures. 

Relevant is the fact that two days after Cameron’s statement six Muslims (young men) pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on a planned demonstration by the English Defence League in Dewsbury. The attackers had weapons which included a roadside explosive device that if set off at a demo would likely have killed a number of people. They failed not because the police stopped the attack but because the demo finished well before the plotters reached Dewsbury! They were discovered when their car was (fortunately) stopped by police on their way back to their homes.     


Perhaps the main development there is that Obama “lost the New York Times”, a long time supporter of leftist-type causes (described in the US as “liberal”). The problem for the NYT arose when The Guardian revealed that US intelligence agencies are collecting telephone records of users of the large US Verizon phone company. The NYT then published an editorial on 6 June saying that the White House has “now lost all credibility” although it later changed the editorial to “all credibility on this issue”.

When it became clear that virtually all phone records and internet messages are being tapped in some form, Obama was forced to make a press appearance and claim that “nobody is listening to your calls” and that the object is to “seek links that might identify potential leads to folks who might engage in terrorism”.  He also pointed out that such arrangements started under the Bush regime after 9/11 and he claimed to have taken appropriate action to ensure privacy protection. No formal statement appears to have been made by the Administration.

However, that may become necessary. The increased questioning of Obama’s policies (Pew Polling shows a fall in his approval rating from 53.7% to 47.8% since last December) led one commentator to wonder “how we can trust the same government that lied about Benghazi, had the IRS target conservatives and spied on working journalists not to abuse this power”. It is, of course, vital that the Administration have the power to access phone and internet messages to help detect terrorist plans. Just how to manage this without intrusions into the normal lives of citizens is a difficult issue, although a special court – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – does exist to approve procedures and where intrusion is in order.

It is ironic that the attempts by Obama and his Administration to downplay the threat of terrorism, and the attempted cover ups of Muslim involvements, has been exposed and has led to increasing expressions of concern by Republican and other critics. With Congressional inquiries continuing, Obama’s credibility may well fall further.

Indeed, a 14,000 word article just published by the Israeli-based Global Research in International Affairs Center on the US government’s outreach program may lead to further problems for Obama (Blind to Terror: The US Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on US Middle East Policy). The outreach program to Muslim groups, which was started under Bush, appears to be an attempt to use moderate Muslims to help persuade their fellows against terrorist activity and to accept the American way of life. It appears that Obama has “outreached” the program to the point where law enforcement officers are now required to remove shoes on entering a mosque: as one wit observed, this makes it difficult for the officers to catch offenders!

If this article is to be believed, the outreach program is little short of a farce that reveals a failure to understand the influence of the Koran and its many activist interpreters.  Muslim leaders who still have (or did until killed) terrorist connections have been used as educators: radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, for example, was a go-to-community partner for the US government until he was killed by a drone in Yemen.  


Much attention has been given by the media to the extensive protests in major cities. Initially the protests were said to be  environmentally driven in Istanbul but when they spread to other cities the media told us that the protesters are against the “authoritarian” rule by Erdogan, who won the last election. Increasingly, it seems that Erdogan may be trying to edge Turkey back to its old Islamic culture while, as can be seen from the TV coverage, the protesters are focussed on Western freedoms with few women wearing head covers. With a majority population at least nominally Muslim, it will be important how this works out

Des Moore
9 June 2013

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