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The Threat from Islamic Extremism
Can Governments Handle It?

Address to University of Third Age, Deepdene, 10 June 2010
By Des Moore

Full presentation text as downloadable PDF

It is now widely recognised that, amongst those who are Muslims, a proportion accept the Islamic religion as an ideology that should be widely spread and, if necessary, by violent means. Importantly also, as one imam has put it “A Muslim has no nationality except his beliefs”. This is most obviously reflected in the violent actions taken and threatened at an international level by those connected to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates. But it is also reflected in destructive actions and attempts by individual Islamic extremists within various countries.

The propositions I put to you today are two. First, by contrast with the history of wars between countries, the biggest problem the world now faces is a new major threat to life, perhaps even survival, from groups or individuals who have extremist beliefs. Second, political and other leaders in western countries are falling well short of the response needed at the domestic level. Arguably, the world has moved into a new environment in which sections of Islam are seeking to overthrow western dominance by means that should produce a response at both international and domestic levels that extends to cultural as well as military levels.   

Even at the domestic level, this is an enormous subject and it is possible to do no more than focus on particular aspects.  I propose to discuss domestic terrorism in Australia but, because the problem and how it might be handled is international, I will also examine developments overseas and, as it is the principal target of Islamic extremists and the most important Christian country, the United States in particular.

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