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Archive for July 4th, 2007

Eternal Vigilance alone will not win this war

Posted by Atilla89 on July 4, 2007

THE threat of Islamism has given a new deadly twist to the old motto “Think globally, act locally”. Islamists in Sydney and London, Glasgow and Gaza, Baghdad, Beirut and Bali are not all working together, but they are all driven by one goal — to destroy the West and impose a global Islamist government. Australia cannot afford to be complacent about the threat it faces.

Increasingly, Islamism is a threat in the West. Two attempted car bombings in central London on Friday, and a third one at Glasgow airport on Saturday, are evidence of the kind of violence that Australia could face. As British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s new security adviser and former Scotland Yard chief John Stevens warned, the bomb attacks signal a major escalation in the war being waged by Islamic militants, who are importing the tactics of Baghdad and Bali to Britain. The fact that one of the London car bombs was left outside a nightclub that was hosting a “ladies night” is testimony of the hatred of Islamists for Western women dancing, drinking and enjoying themselves. Inside the car were many nails, three large gas canisters and a large volume of petrol. The bomb was to have been detonated with a device linked to a mobile telephone. The death and injuries such a device could have caused would have been horrendous.

Our sense of relief that widespread carnage has been avoided is tempered with a sense of catastrophe delayed. These bombs were prevented only because they failed to detonate, not because the authorities were aware of the plots and intervened. Nobody can doubt that Islamists will only redouble their efforts, not be deterred.

The arrest of five Australians in Lebanon who are suspected of being involved with the al-Qa’ida-linked terrorist group Fatah al-Islam emphasises both the direct threat to Australia of terrorist activities in the Middle East and the global nature of the Islamist menace. One of those detained, taxi driver Omar Hadba, is suspected of being the leader of Fatah al-Islam, which is mounting an armed insurgency in northern Lebanon and allegedly had a cache of 500kg of weapons and explosives including assault rifles, grenades, machineguns and mines. Four of the men are disciples of radical cleric Feiz Mohamed, who counts among his students and friends Australia’s first convicted terrorist, Jack Roche; the founders of Jemaah Islamiah in Australia, Abdul Rahim Ayub and Abdul Rahman Ayub; Rahim Ayub’s former wife, Rabiyah Hutchison, whose sons were deported from Yemen; Zac Mallah, who was acquitted under Australia’s new terror laws; hardline cleric Mohammed Omran; and most of those currently facing terror charges in Sydney and Melbourne. As The Australian reports today, Mustapha Kara-Ali, a former member of the Muslim Community Reference Group, has been investigating radicalisation among young Muslim community members in Sydney. He estimates there are between 2000 and 3000 radicalised Muslims in Sydney alone and possibly double that in Australia, who are ideological sleeper cells and who could become extremists.

On Saturday, The Weekend Australian published the first of two extracts from an important new book by British author Ed Husain that offers a valuable insight into how intelligent young men born and raised in a Western country can be transformed into murderous jihadists. In The Islamist, Husain describes his journey to the brink of radical Islamism and why he renounced it. Like many others, he was radicalised almost without making a conscious decision, moving from a devout interest in traditional Islam via the Saudi fundamentalist teachings of Wahabism to an interest in the teachings of the Islamist Sayyid Qutb, a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the activities of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir. One of the most crucial distinctions Husain makes is between Islam, the religion, and Islamism, a radical utopian ideology, like Marxism-Leninism or fascism, that demands complete adherence to Islamic religious law, is deeply antagonistic to non-Muslims and the West and seeks global domination. Islamism is not a response to poverty or deprivation and appeals both to disaffected youths and middle-class university-educated people. Islamist governments already control Iran, Sudan and the Gaza Strip, and Islamist forces are a major threat in a host of other countries including Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, India and Indonesia.

As Husain clearly articulates, the war against terror is not a territorial battle. It is a battle against an anger-ridden ideology, a threat not only to Islam and Muslims but to the entire world. Good intelligence and law enforcement is our first line of defence and will limit the terrorists’ ability to kill and maim, but vigilance alone will not defeat the threat we face. Governments, Muslim leaders and the wider community each have a part to play in breaking the link between religion and extremist ideology. Radical sheiks who have hijacked a noble faith and turned it into a violent rallying cry must be silenced. There is no place for their teachings in this country. So far, Australians have been fortunate to avoid attacks on civilians in our own cities, but the threat of home-grown jihadism is real.


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