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My letter published below in today’s Australian highlights the increasing extent of action by extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East, including the apparent attempt to establish an(other) Islamic state that applies sharia law. It also draws attention to the growing activity of extremists in Australia.

The developments in the Middle East are occurring following the withdrawal of US (and Australian) troops from Iraq and their effective withdrawal in Afghanistan (while some troops may stay in Afghanistan, it appears their function will mainly be to train the Afghan army). The decision to withdraw has been made by Obama, who has actually claimed credit for ending the war in Iraq.

Some argue that, after a period, the locals should resume responsibility for handling internal strife and that military action by other countries cannot continue indefinitely. But what is to replace such action in circumstances where extremist Islamic views and activity continue to be widespread in the Middle East (and  in Africa)? Equally, what action should Australia take to respond to the advocacy of jihadism here? At the very least the Australian government should surely be publicly rejecting such advocacy as contrary to our beliefs and as not acceptable in a democracy.

Here also are articles from today’s press which are relevant and which arguably add to the belief that US policy in the Middle East has failed abysmally. Note also that other analyses, almost none of which have been published in Australia, suggest the failure of US policy in handling the attack on the consulate and the killing of the US ambassador and four others in Benghazi (a Congressional report on this issue is due fairly soon).

One of today’s attached articles refers to the advocacy by an extremist that Western Australia come under sharia law. If he stands for election he is unlikely to get many votes. But his advocacy might encourage jihadist activity in Australia, just as happened recently in the attempted decapitation of a British soldier in London.

Des Moore

Speak out on Jihadism
(Letter by Des Moore published in The Australian, 9 January 2014.)

You report the alarming threat that an al-Qa’ida state might be established in sections of Iraq and Syria but the rejection by the US of any return of US troops, and the Taliban might resume ruling in parts of Afghanistan. Meantime in Australia we learn, not for the first time, that Islamic centres here are hearing extremists advocate jihadism.

What is the Abbott government’s reaction to these developments? While Foreign Minister Bishop recently scolded China for introducing airspace restrictions in the East China sea, it seems far more important to make it clear that Australia is opposed to acts or threats  of jihadism wherever these may occur. The recent warning by Attorney-General Brandis that Australians involved in such activity in Syria face potentially severe penalties is pertinent. But there is an urgent need to make a wider statement against jihadism.

Des Moore
South Yarra Vic

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