After I read on Tuesday evening that ASIO Head Lewis had said there is “absolutely no evidence” to suggest a link between the refugee intake and terrorism, I decided early yesterday morning to send a letter to The Australian expressing concern about this assertion and Lewis’s other reported assertion that he doesn’t “buy the notion the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion”. That letter has been published as the lead letter in today’s Australian, together with a number of others letters in similar vein (see below)
However, after I sent the letter to The Australian early on Wednesday morning, both the heads of ASIO and Federal Police (Colvin) sought to clarify publicly what they regard as the main sources of terrorism.
- Lewis told ABC radio that the refugee program was not the source of terrorism in Australia. ‘The source is radical Sunni Islam,” he said. Asked about Man Haron Monis, who came to Australia on a business visa before successfully applying for asylum, as well as the case of Abdul Numan Haider and Farhad Jabar whose families came as refugees, Mr Lewis said: “In all of those cases they were not terrorists because they were refugees they were terrorists because of this warped violent extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam.”
- Colvin told the National Press Club that the majority of persons of interest police deal with in terror investigations are first and second generation Australians. Regarding possible links between refugees and terrorism, he said he said “I absolutely concur” with what Lewis said and we can’t draw “direct cause and effect” between migration and terrorism. “What I can tell you, the majority of person of interests that come across my officers’ desks, are first and second generation Australians. These are people who are born, educated and raised in Australia. Yes, they may be from migrant families but that’s an extremely broad brush to paint in our landscape if that’s the lens we’re looking through. I think we have to be careful to draw absolutes in this discussion.” He said the main problem was “by and large” a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam.
Despite such “clarifications”, today’s editorial in The Australian’s rightly takes Lewis and relevant Ministers to task (see comments below) Australian on Lewis and note the comment that “This represents a timidity that is hard to fathom”), as does Andrew Bolt again (see attached Bolt on Lewis). Greg Sheridan also has an excellent short piece in The Australian pointing out that the Turnbull government “seems too often incapable of managing the politics of security” (see attached Sheridan on Security Policy).
Of course, some of us also have to experience the views expressed (or not) in Fairfax Press and on the ABC & SBS. Amazingly, I cannot find any reference in The Age to the comments by Lewis/Colvin and, despite the fact that it was ABC radio which interviewed Lewis, this morning’s ABC news also “forgot” (sic) to mention either of them ( a matter of the left hand not knowing what the other left hand was doing, perhaps!). The timidity occurs despite warnings of copy cat acts similar to Manchester and continuing terrorist acts, such as the death of an Australian girl in a Bangkok bombing, the death of Christian Coptics in Egypt and the extremists in Southern Philippines.
The reality is that, while refugees are not the source of terrorism, they are a major source both here and in overseas western countries because many are Muslims. Moreover, it is not only the refugees themselves who are a possible cause for concern: it is also the children they bring with them and/or who they bear after they arrive and the changes in laws or behaviour they make or seek once here. The attached article by a Pakistani journalist living in Germany (see attached Muslim Refugees) illustrates what can happen once a country accumulates a group of Muslims. Here is an extract from his piece:
“Newcomers soon start demanding privileges. They ask for gender segregation at work and in educational institutions; they ask for faith schools (madrasas), and demand an end to any criticism of their extremist practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriages, child marriages and inciting hatred for other religions. They call any criticism "Islamophobia". They seek to establish a parallel justice system such as sharia courts. They are also unlikely, on different pretexts, to support any anti-terror or anti-extremism programs. They seem to focus only on criticizing the policies of West.
It is now the responsibility of Western governments to curb this growing turbulence of religious fundamentalism. Western governments need to require "hardline" Muslims to follow the laws of the land. Extremists need to be stopped from driving civilization to a collision course before the freedoms, for which so many have worked so hard and sacrificed so much are -- through indifference or political opportunism -- completely abolished.Terror attacks and other offshoots of Islamic extremism have created an atmosphere of mistrust between Europe's natives and thousands of those who entered European countries to seek shelter.The situation is turning the Europeans against their own governments and against those advocating help for the war-torn migrants who have been arriving. Europeans are turning hostile towards the idea of freedom and peaceful coexistence; they have apparently been seeing newcomers as seeking exceptions to the rules and culture of West. In an unprecedented shift in policy after public fury about security, the German government decided to shut down the mosque where the terrorist who rammed a truck into a shopping market in Berlin, Anis Amri, was radicalized before he committed the crime. The mosque and Islamic center at Fussilet 33 in Berlin had apparently also been radicalizing a number of other youths by convincing them to commit terror attacks in Europe and to join the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The authorities had the mosque under surveillance for a time but did not make a move before 12 innocent civilians were butchered by Amri on December 19, 2016, while leaving around 50 others injured. The police and counter terror authorities also conducted raids in 60 different German cities and searched around 190 mosques to target kingpins of another group called "The True Religion".
Note the situation got so out of hand that even the German government decided to closed down a major mosque out of the 190 which apparently exist there. It is this kind of country we could become unless our vetting of all immigrants is greatly improved and unless their children are required to attend education based on western culture.
Finally, neither Lewis nor Colvin seem to be aware of the potential terrorist threat from Shia Muslims as well as Sunnis – or at least they fail to mention it. Iran is the main source of Shias and Trump attacked the belligerency of that country when he spoke in Saudi Arabia viz “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorist, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos the region. For decades, Iran has fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror”. The Hezbollah group established by Iran now controls the south of Lebanon and has stocked the area with more than 100,000 missiles which could be used to attack Israel.
Let us hope that our two heads of security are at least aware of Iran as a source of terrorism.