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An article by Greg Sheridan in the Weekend Australian on the threat posed by Islamist extremists serves as a reminder of the importance of a having an adequate screening of immigrants, whether refugees or otherwise. This at a time when attempts are being made to make it easier for refugees to avoid detention and obtain entrance into the community, a policy adopted in the UK that led to their “disappearance” in the community.

It also serves as a reminder that Australia already has Islamist groups committed to extremist action and when US President Obama pointed out at the recent nuclear-security summit in Seoul to the threat that nuclear material may fall into the hands of terrorists. Obama is reported as saying “There are still too many bad actors in search of these dangerous materials [which] are still vulnerable in too many places. It would not take much – just a handful or so of the materials – to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people”.

There are extracts below of two press reports on related developments in Europe over the week-end, where the proportion of Muslims is higher than in Australia. However the danger comes from the only small proportion who are extremists. Note that those who draw attention to this danger are sometimes wrongly described as “racists” even though the Islamic extremists come from wide variety of races, including Anglo-Saxon.

Des Moore

'Leaderless jihad' should be subject to an open debate
letters published in The Australian, 2 April 2012

Greg Sheridan rightly draws attention to the worrying implications for Australia of the murders in Toulouse by an Islamic extremist (“We must avoid fatal folly that helped to create Europe’s ‘leaderless jihad’ 31/3). He indicates that, with the majority of refugees coming to Australia from countries with strong traditions of Islamic extremism, some have been charged with terrorism offences here.

This means that ASIO has failed to identify possible extremists and, as revealed in the notorious Benbrika case, Australia has groups extant which are committed to the kind of action that occurred in Toulouse. In these circumstances it would be foolhardy to adopt the recommendation of the parliamentary committee immigration inquiry that ASIO decisions on admissions of refugees be subject to appeal.

Des Moore
South Yarra Vic

IT is absurd for Mike Steketee to imply that a scientist who rejects the dangerous warming thesis does so because he is paid for advice to an organisation that also rejects that thesis.

As most scientists who are warmist believers are being paid by governments or universities, is that the reason for their continued support of a thesis in the face of mounting contrary evidence? And does Steketee also apply his logic to all the many thousands of scientists and numerous organisations that reject the thesis?

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

'80 arrested after anti-Islam protest in Denmark
Associated Press

Aarhus police separate counter-demonstrators and anti-Islamic groups Saturday March 31, 2012 in Aarhus, Denmark. Hundreds of far-right sympathizers from northern Europe demonstrated in Denmark Saturday against what they called the Islamization of Europe, as police tried to keep them apart from a larger group of counter-protesters.

AARHUS, Denmark — More than 80 people were arrested Saturday as protesters hurling rocks and bottles tried to interrupt an anti-Islamic demonstration by far-right groups from across northern Europe, Danish police said.

There were numerous brief scuffles throughout the day as police tried to separate some 2,500 counter-demonstrators from a few hundred people attending the anti-Islamic rally in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city. One police officer received minor injuries after being hit by a bottle, police spokesman Georg Husted said.

Police said about 200 to 300 people from Denmark, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Poland took part in what was billed as a "European counter-jihad meeting" to protest what they called the Islamization of Europe. They were met by a 10-times larger counter-demonstration by left-wing groups under the banner "Aarhus for Diversity."

The anti-Islamic rally started with a moment of silence for the seven people killed by an al-Qaida-inspired gunman in France.

Among the speakers was Tommy Robinson, the head of the English Defense League, a far-right group that has staged rowdy protests in Britain, and has inspired smaller offshoots in a number of European countries.

Both demonstrations were peaceful until a group of black-clad, mask-wearing youth from the counter-demonstration tried to break through police lines, but officers in riot gear held them back.

After the rally finished, protesters hurled rocks and bottles at a bus carrying the far-right sympathizers as police vans escorted it out of the city center.

The defense leagues and other counter-jihadist groups that have sprung up in Europe in recent years distance themselves from neo-Nazis and say they don't accept racism or anti-Semitism. Opponents say they are just a new manifestation of xenophobia in Europe, targeting Muslims instead of Jews.

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who confessed to slaughtering 77 people last July, cited the English Defense League and other counter-jihadist groups in the anti-Muslim manifesto he released before the killing spree. Those groups have condemned his actions and dismissed him as a lunatic.

Mari Linolkken traveled from Norway to join the counter-demonstration in Aarhus, 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of Copenhagen, saying she felt compelled to stand up against the far-right movement after what her own country had gone through with Breivik's attacks.

"The English Defense League, Danish Defense League, the Stop Islamization of Europe — we have experienced what their ideology means in practice," she said.

Louise Nordstrom reported from Stockholm.

France remands 17 suspected Islamists
1 April 2012 Source: AAP

The 17 people detained by French police in a crackdown on suspected Islamist networks have been remanded in custody for at least another 24 hours, a source close to the inquiry says.

Among those arrested is Willie Brigitte, a Muslim convert arrested in Australia and extradited to France in 2003, who was arrested north of Paris on Friday.

The arrests were made in connection with a probe into an alleged terror plot and under French anti-terror laws the suspects can be held without charge until Tuesday.

The head of France's Central Directorate for Domestic Intelligence (DCRI), Bernard Squarcini, said on Saturday that those arrested were "French nationals" involved in "collective war-like training, linked to a violent, religious indoctrination".

Some of those arrested belonged to a suspected extremist group called Forsane Alizza, he said, and had been involved in paintball gun games.

The arrests took place in several cities, including Toulouse, where extremist gunman Mohamed Merah was shot dead by police last month after a series of cold-blooded shootings that left seven dead, including three Jewish children.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said the arrests were not directly linked to the Merah case, but he has called on police to increase its surveillance of "radical Islam" in what the opposition has described as a vote-catching move less than a month ahead of a presidential election.

Socialist Michel Sapin on Sunday admitted that the arrests were "legitimate" but said that the presence of television news cameras during the roundup was not, after the footage was beamed into French homes.

"The presence of cameras at that moment to film the scene so that it can then be reproduced and comment on is not legitimate," Sapin told Radio J.

Brigitte was convicted in France in 2007 of "criminal association linked to a terrorist enterprise" and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was freed in 2009 because the time spent in pre-trial detention counted toward his prison term.

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