Pre-empting Extremists

The past week has been consumed with debates about national security and the horrific acts by the butchers of the Islamic State.

These are all pressing concerns with the potential to impact our way of life for a long time to come. However, the dangers in our midst are not new. They have been obvious to anyone who was paying attention without the blinkered vision of political correctness.

I have written about the risks posed by radical groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir and their followers for many years, questioning why they are banned in so many other countries but are allowed to hold their international congress in Australia.

Hizb ut-Tahrir are a group of Islamists committed to establishing a global Islamic Caliphate where everyone would be enslaved by Sharia law. It’s essentially the same mission that the barbarians in Iraq and Syria are now pursuing through violent means that has the world so worried.

If hate preachers like Hizb ut-Tahrir play any role in radicalising our own civilians, who then join jihadists in the Middle East, they have no place in Australian society.

In 2013, I questioned why the government would give an Australian visa to the British leader of this extremist group but make it so difficult for Dutch MP Geert Wilders to come to our shores to talk about his experience with the Islamist agenda.

Naturally, these concerns were swatted away by the political class and the myopic media as divisive and unnecessary.

That all seems to have changed this morning when the Prime Minister announced a change in the approach to granting visas to preachers of hate. In his words: “there’s no point importing troublemakers from overseas to stir people up.”

I couldn’t agree more and only wish such a decision had been made years ago when I first suggested it.

It is easy to understand why people become disillusioned with politics and politicians. The innate common sense of the general public sees many of them identify the real issues confronting the country well before most of our politicians even get a sense that something is wrong.

It does our citizenry no service for their elected officials to ignore the experience of other Western nations and blithely claim ‘it won’t happen here’. The time for that sort of cop-out is long gone.

The best time to stop extremists of any sort is before they can gain momentum. Unfortunately when it comes to groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, that momentum has already started to build.

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