Friday, 2 June 2017

Terrorism link to refugees - “absolutely no evidence”

Des Moore

Dear All
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. 



  1. LETTERS: ASIO chief condemns himself with his own words
    The Australian, 12:00AM June 1, 2017

    In defending ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis, Attorney-General George Brandis is right in saying that “that Australia’s refugee program is not the source of the terrorism problem” (“A-G weighs into ASIO terror row”, 31/5). But Lewis also made the astonishing statement: “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion.” Such an assertion by any head of ASIO demands that, in the interests of Australian security, he be replaced as soon as possible.

    Your report also indicates that Malcolm Turnbull has failed to refer to Islam as the source of the Manchester bombing and has argued that the trust of Muslims must be protected. But, while important, that trust must take second place in policies to protect the majority of Australians. It is time for the PM to [make a comprehensive statement which] acknowledge that almost all terrorist activity originates from an extremist interpretation of the Koran [and that our counter-terrorist policy will now be strengthened to take account of that].
    NOTE: Bits in square brackets deleted by Ed.
    Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

  2. Clearly, George Brandis has taken on an ostrich mentality. While he may be factually correct that only a small number of the refugees are connected to terror activities in Australia, he is sticking his head in the sand on the wider issue of second-generation children being radicalised.
    Recent experience in Manchester and the frightening revelation that there are around 23,000 radicalised Muslims in Britain suggest that he and Duncan Lewis’s abject failure to recognise the potential threat only highlights their incompetence. Both men should resign. How many more innocent people have to die before these protected politicians and public servants wake up to reality?
    Peter Whitehurst, Swan View, WA

    George Brandis has fallen into the same trap as Duncan Lewis when he refers to the radicalisation of young people. Just by calling the problem radicalisation, Brandis and Lewis demonstrate that they don’t comprehend the cause. Telling young men they have been radicalised is not dissimilar to telling a Roman Catholic that because he’s not Anglican, he is radicalised. Without convincing reasons, the accusation merely entrenches opinions.
    Actually, the young men are not radicalised. Their religious opinions are consistent with what they have been taught. Under our Constitution, the states have the power to ensure that what is taught is consistent with our democratic principles.
    If the sources of Islamic opinion are foreign imams from theocratic states, the federal government has the power to exclude them. If our universities were competent, they could train Muslim clerics with courses that include medieval philosophy among a more diverse range of Islamic scholars. Without a religious theory, it couldn’t be said that the young were radicalised — just common criminals.
    David Long, St Lucia, Qld

    Our leaders just seem unable to deal with the Islamist menace. While this threat hangs over us, our politicians dither on whether we should allow jihadis back into Australia after their terrorism in the Middle East. Sadly, the people of Australia, relatively safe though we are in terms of world infiltration by fanatics, will only respond with firmness after we suffer our own Manchester.
    As for our response when needed, I fear that the Anzac spirit is now in the past, and any future defence force will consist of snowflakes with little mettle. All you need is love, candles lit, joined hands, teddy bears, and then back home for coffee.
    James Turley, Geilston Bay, Tas

    The fear of being killed by a radicalised Muslim is real and justified. The fear governments have is that all refugee Muslims will be tarnished with the sins of the few. George Brandis and ASIO are caught with conflicting masters. What resources will we give Duncan Lewis to help him out of his dilemma? Can we live in complexity or should we shut our borders?
    Vincent Hodge, Paddington, Qld

    Voters can identify a connection between Islam and acts of terrorism. The comments from the ASIO director-general that there is no evidence to suggest such a connection is unbelievable — and frightening. Of course he is strongly supported by a leftist media cabal as well as the ABC and its presenters and commentators. The general public of Australia is being taken for a ride which the likes of Duncan Lewis and the loony left will one day have to account for.
    Peter D. Surkitt, Sandringham, Vic

  3. ASIO boss seeks refuge as he recants on terror claim

    Editorial, The Australian,12:00AM June 1, 2017

    We don’t often see the nation’s top spy turn up for a chat on morning radio, as ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis did yesterday. When Mr Lewis joined ABC’s RN Breakfast program it was a clear concession he needed to straighten out the mess created by his extraordinary and unequivocal statement to a Senate committee last week: “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism.”

    These words rankled with many because of the unambiguous fact the nation’s three most recent fatal terror attacks were perpetrated by terrorists who were in this country under our refugee program: Lindt cafe gunman Man Haron Monis arrived on a business visa from Iran and claimed asylum while here; Melbourne teenager Numan Haider came to Australia from Afghanistan with his refugee parents; and teenage Parramatta assassin Farhad Jabar arrived with his Iranian refugee parents. The ASIO chief put his political masters in a difficult position as they tried to stand by Mr Lewis, his statement and the facts; an impossible trifecta.

    So the ASIO chief spoke on national radio. “I want to put some context around that,” he said. “The refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia, we have had tens of thousands of refugees come to Australia over the last decade or so and a very few of them have become subjects of interest for ASIO and have been involved in terrorist planning, I’m not denying that — I’ve not said that there are no terrorists who have not been refugees or not been the sons and daughters of refugees born in this country, but the context is very important.” It was quite the contrast to last week’s certitude. As The Australian said yesterday, probing links between terrorism and refugees is not callous but “vital to security” as we battle the Islamist extremist scourge. The absolutist response from Mr Lewis last week was aimed at slapping down extreme positions promoted by his questioner, Pauline Hanson, but it was a mistake because it was simply untrue and therefore could only undermine public faith in security agencies.

    “The reason they are terrorists is not because they are refugees,” Mr Lewis went on yesterday, “but because of the violent extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam that they have adopted.” This, again, clarified the nature of the threat. But no one had been suggesting terrorists were violent “because” they were refugees. The public understands the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country, indeed the vast majority of refugees, abhor Islamist extremism. They don’t need officialdom to shelter them from reality. We need also to be mindful of recent experience in Europe where refugees or their children have committed terrorist atrocities. Mr Lewis and other intelligence and security leaders need to be frank with the public rather than second-guess community reactions. We expect they would be pleasantly surprised by how sensible, tolerant and perceptive the public usually proves to be.


  4. The reluctance of Mr Lewis’s political masters to correct him publicly (although his radio spot suggests conversations may have occurred behind the scenes) is also concerning. Islamic terrorism has been front of mind for Australians since at least September 2001 and it has seen our citizens killed in New York, Indonesia, the Middle East, Europe and at home. We expect to be engaged in a struggle against this threat for decades to come. Authorities, rightly, will rely on public co-operation and the public is entitled to expect, in return, frankness from those authorities and their politicians. The Prime Minister and other political leaders often prefer nondescript terms such as violent extremism rather than calling out Islamist extremism. This represents a timidity that is hard to fathom.

    We understand the reluctance to amplify the extreme policies promoted by Senator Hanson’s One Nation — such as a Muslim immigration ban and royal commission into Islam — but these should be countered by rational arguments, not by pretending the facts away. Voters seem to be demanding leadership on issues related to national values and the major parties are not providing it, which is reflected in a drift to minor parties. Malcolm Turnbull should fill this void. Mainstream voters don’t take too kindly to condescension.

  5. Andrew Bolt: Facts on terror can’t be denied
    Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, May 31, 2017 6:00pm
    Subscriber only

    ASIO boss Duncan Lewis seemed to prove yesterday the political class protects its own when he publicly made incorrect statements about Islam and refugees. Last week Lewis told a Senate committee — on oath — something obviously incorrect: “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there’s a connection between refugees and terrorism.”


    In fact, days earlier the NSW Coroner made findings on the Lindt cafe siege by an Iranian refugee and the son of Libyan refugees killed 22 people in the Manchester suicide bombing. Lewis had also overlooked other terrorism here by Muslim refugees: Farhad Jabar, Numan Haider, Muhammad Ali Baryalei and Saney Edow Aweys. And he’d missed that more than 30 people on ASIO’s terrorist watchlist tried to come here as refugees in the past 17 months.

    Muhammad Ali Baryalei, a known member of an Islamic State. Picture: ABC

    You’d think an ASIO boss saying something so incorrect about a clear danger would alarm our politicians. But no. Yesterday Attorney-General George Brandis actually defended him: “The point he made is that Australia’s refugee program is not the source of the terrorism problem.”

    Really? So where did those terrorists I listed come from? A cornflakes packet? Labor leader Bill Shorten also covered up: “Lewis … is making the point that there are criminal terrorists that don’t represent a whole population of people.” Except that’s not what Lewis said.

    Then Lewis hopped on to the safe ABC to reinvent what he actually did say. Now he conceded refugees had indeed turned to terrorism but added: “The refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia; the source is radical Sunni Islam.”

    But Lewis has still made a distinction without a difference.

    Bringing in Muslim refugees brings in more people prone to fall for that jihadist strain of Islam and put more Australians in danger. That is the fear Lewis denied last week. Still, blaming Sunni Islam is progress from two years ago, when Lewis remarkably claimed: “I don’t buy the notion the issue of Islamic ­extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion.”
    Attorney-General George Brandis has defended ASIO boss Duncan Lewis. Picture: AAP

    But I’m worried if Lewis believes there’s no Shiite terrorism threat. Lebanon’s Hezbollah is a Shiite group with a terrorist wing and has prominent supporters in Australia, including two former grand muftis.

    And Lewis still hasn’t acknowledged a plain fact: bringing in Muslim refugees does indeed expose us to more danger.

  6. You can be sure no elite member in the non-Western world, in Japan, South
    Korea, Taiwan, you name it, would trash their own citizens this way.

    This response is just more rationalization to justify an agenda: the sole issue Liberals will not compromise on is the urgent need to replace the White population of all nations with the Third World asap

    Is it really plausible that the leaders of dozens of White nations have adopted similar policies antithetical to the long-term survival of their own peoples, yet none of them knew what they are doing?

    Africa for Africans, Asia for Asians, White countries for Everyone IS White Genocide. Genocide in 30 years. NOT an agenda??

    We Were Warned: Listen and Survive!! Grace & Steel Ep. 82 - Rivers of Blood


All serious comments published after moderation.
Comments should be polite, and respect all views.
No bad language. Spam never makes it!