Warnings Worth Heeding
In a world awash with information and opinion, there are some individuals and organisations that are worth listening to. Unfortunately, because of the ‘data fog’ competing for our attention, some crucial information can sometimes not receive the attention it deserves.
One such source is the Director-General of ASIO – Australia’s domestic national security organisation.
In the past 12 months, the Director-General has made at least four public statements regarding the threat (both here and abroad) to Australians from “extremist Islamic jihadist terrorism”.
In October 2010, at the opening of the Australian Counter-Terrorism Control Centre he stated that terrorists “continue to see Australia as a legitimate target for mass casualty attacks”.
There was a similar warning seven months later while commenting to a Senate committee on the matter of bin Laden’s death. While noting the symbolic importance of the event, he reminded the committee that some Australians were “seeking to travel overseas for participation in – or facilitation of – terrorism-related activities”.
A few weeks later he supported his concerns disclosing that a “number of mass casualty terrorist attacks on Australian territory have been prevented in recent years”.
In July, it was reiterated that “ASIO is continuing to conduct literally hundreds of investigations of possible terrorist intentions or activities in Australia”.
The Director-General has said: “I believe the most worrying threat comes from the home-grown, local extremist, who may either have been radicalised and trained offshore, but who returns to Australia to commit acts of violence, or who radicalises, prepares, and commits acts of violence in Australia without ever leaving our shores”.
These words of warning should alarm every clear thinking Australian. They demonstrate the very real threat of Islamic extremism that is already at work within our communities, intent on destabilising our nation and undermining our values.
Their ultimate goal is not simply to ‘punish the West’; it is to claim this nation for Islam and implement sharia (or Islamic) law.
Outside of the threat of radicalised violence, we are also wise to be concerned about the long-term price of the ‘sharia by stealth’ movement.
This is the process by which community concessions are demanded to allow the less confronting aspects of sharia or fundamentalist interpretations of Islam to operate within our neighbourhoods.
It can begin with the demands for the normalisation of anonymising garments like the niqab and burqa, insistence upon segregated swimming times in public pools or the creation of Muslim-only washrooms on university campuses.
It can also take a more confronting tone by having senior Islamic figures issue formal requests for legal plurality in family and property disputes, or a reorganisation of our current financial practices to accommodate sharia compliance.
Such demands often go unchallenged or even undiscussed for fear of suffering public character assassination by those who refuse to see the results of such a course in other Western nations.
However, there are some brave souls who warn of the perils of such an approach based on their own experience. One such person is Maryam Namazie of the UK based One Law for All.
Based on the English experience, Ms Namazie is reported as saying that any form of legal accommodation with sharia “is like trying to incorporate apartheid into a non-racist system of law – they are simply incompatible”.
For Australia to maintain its status as the best and safest nation on Earth, not only do we need to heed the warnings of the Director-General of ASIO but we should also listen to the voice of international experience.
By learning from the mistakes of other nations we can avoid repeating them for ourselves. Who knows, our future security may rely on doing just that.