This week’s arrest of a number of men who were alleged to have been plotting terrorist attacks against an Australian military base has reminded us afresh of the need for eternal vigilance against Islamist terrorism. And it has also reminded us that political correctness and anti-anti-Islamism is also still alive and well.
During the Cold War those who warned about Marxist aggression were dismissed as panic-mongers, war supporters, and opponents to world peace. Thus there sprang up a whole movement, aided and abetted by much of the mainstream media, known as anti-anti-Communism.
Today we have a very similar situation, in which those who seek to warn against Islamist aggression and jihadist expansionism are accused of being belligerent, racist, Islamophobic, and intolerant. Thus we now have anti-anti-Islamism.
This was fully in evidence when the terrorist plot was uncovered earlier this week. It was clear who the terror suspects were, what their religious and ideological position was, and in whose name they were planning to carry out their attacks.
Yet immediately the forces of PC and anti-anti-Islamism sprung into action, assuring us that this had nothing to do with Islam, and just as there are some bad eggs in Christianity, so too there might be a few bad eggs in the Muslim world.
There is no connection, in other words, between the recent violence the West has experienced, they seek to assure us, and the religion of Islam. Never mind that the overwhelming number of terrorist attacks of the last decade has been Islamic in nature and origin. Indeed, over 10,000 such acts have occurred since the 9/11 attacks.
Three recent opinion pieces pick up on these themes, the most important of which comes from Walid Phares. Phares, who was born in Lebanon, is an expert on international terrorism, and has penned an important 2007 book, Radical Islam: Terror in Its Own Words.
He has just written a column on the Australian arrests, and his words are worth noting. Says Phares, we must be serious about the root causes of this Islamic terrorism. We must ask, and seriously answer, the question: “Why do they hate us?”
He says Western agencies have been good at monitoring the threat, but weak at understanding its nature: “With the exceptions of the first strikes of 2001 in New York, 2004 in Madrid and 2005 in London, police and security teams have been able to stop the plots before they are executed; knock on wood so far. But these law enforcement heroes are operating under the aegis of questionable government strategies, or rather non-strategies, with dramatic consequences.”
Australia, says Phares, “was lucky to have aborted the strike. But more ominous is the bigger picture. Australia, regardless of Somali and Lebanese connections in this particular operation, is on the al Qaeda international list of Kuffar (infidel) countries to be hit; and Canberra must realize that is part of the Jihadi campaign against democracies; even though its current government is dismantling the so-called ‘war on terror,’ linguistically.
“Jihadi ideology and strategies cannot be changed or affected by the wishful thinking of their victims. That is what Washington, London, and the rest of the partners in the so-called ‘overseas contingency operations’ are learning day after day from Waziristan to North Carolina. Australia’s new school of thinking on the confrontation, emulating U.S. and UK ‘new’ doctrines, argues that by not pinpointing the ideology of the threat, it will just go away, or at least it would be sidelined.”
And a major part of our own self-defeating policies is the refusal to call a spade a spade, and acknowledge who the real aggressors are. As I have discussed earlier, Australian authorities are being encouraged to not even use such terms as “Islamic terrorism”: billmuehlenberg.com/2009/07/21/how-pc-is-putting-us-all-at-risk/
Phares sees this as a recipe for disaster: “As we saw in Georgia in the U.S., and in Birmingham in the UK, a lexicon banning clear words only contributes to the defeat of democracies. For such wrong analysis is responsible for legitimizing Jihadism in the eyes of indoctrinated youth. Naturally, if Jihadism is not exposed, Jihadi ideologues and cadres can operate freely and in full legitimacy to further recruit.
“Worse, by banning the use of extremely important terms, these medieval-like lexicons terminate the ability of analysts, let alone the public, to detect the ‘threat.’ The West in general, and Australia in particular, will unfortunately continue to experience the catastrophic effects of blurring their own vision, as most seasoned experts in Jihadism believe the plots we have already uncovered are only the beginning.”
Tim Blair also notes the desire to obfuscate issues: “Just like world championship swimmers, who last month in Rome busted almost every swimming record extant – plus the record for fastest time to wreck an entire sport’s credibility – apologists for Islamic terrorism just keep getting quicker and quicker. Time was when you’d have to wait at least a few days following some Islamic terror outrage before the first opinion pieces dodging responsibility or blaming everything on the West would appear. Now they’ve got it down to less than 24 hours. Way less. This week’s police raids on suspected terror plotters in Melbourne began at 4.30am Tuesday and by just after midnight the first mainstream opinion piece offering excuses was online – at the Melbourne Age’s website, of course.
“Maybe they’re wearing swimmer-style go-faster costumes. Or maybe they’ve just gotten faster due to practice. After all, Islamic terror apologists have had a few opportunities to work on their reaction times since September 11, 2001, including the first Bali bombings in 2002 that killed 202, blasts in Morocco in 2003 that killed 41, a suicide attack on Westerners the same year in Riyadh that left 34 dead, the 2004 Madrid train explosions that murdered 191, Beslan’s child hostage outrage in which more than 300 were slaughtered in 2004, an attack on Nigerian Christians that killed 49 the same year, three bombs aimed at Indian Hindus in 2005 that killed 62, another four suicide bombs the same year that murdered 52 in London, a suicide attack on a Karachi wedding in 2006 that killed 55, the bombing of Mumbai trains later that year leaving 200 dead, another 200 killed in a Chad village in 2007, an attempted attack on Glasgow airport that same year, the slaughter of 183 in Mumbai last year….
“So, no shortage of opportunities to learn your lines then. By some counts there have been more than 10,000 incidents of extremist Islamic terrorism since 9/11. Little wonder the turnaround time for evasion publication is plummeting.”
And Andrew Bolt also weighed into this issue, examining how some are looking at the causes of this terrorism as being “not ones buried in Islamic, Lebanese or Somali culture, but in Western failures”. It’s the old blame-the-West-first syndrome.
Says Bolt: “The fact is some religious and ethnic communities are more likely than others to produce terrorists. Or put it this way: some are more receptive to ideologies of hatred and even violence. Check only the Federal Government’s list of proscribed terrorist organisations. All but one of the 17 are Islamist, and the one that isn’t – the PKK – is based in Muslim land.
“Know also this: we have more Buddhists than Muslims in Australia, 419,000 to 340,000 says the latest census. But when did we last have a Buddhist arrested for plotting terrorism? When did a Buddhist last feel obliged to write in The Age that we must fix Burma or Thailand . . . or else? And know this, too: that while there’s always more we can do to help refugees settle in, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees only last February praised us for having ‘one of the best refugee resettlement programs in the world’.
“What’s more, he added: ‘Australia has a proud history of welcoming refugees into the community.’ So if people from one community are particularly prone to reject this country, or even, in a tiny minority of cases, to take up arms against it, where should we first point the finger? At Australia? At the country that helps refugees most? At the country whose other immigrants settle in with a fraction of this strife and angst? Even Somali leaders admit their people are peculiarly susceptible to recruiters for jihad.”
He concludes, “So here’s the dilemma. We do not want to be racist. We do not want to generalise. But it’s also true that we do not want to import individuals in this country who are likely to turn into terrorists or breed them – and there is no way of predicting precisely which one will. All we know is that one faith today seems to inspire a small minority of its followers – especially those from Arab and African countries – to reject their new Western homes and even to kill. And until that burning strand of Islam gutters out, we may be safer to bring in fewer of that faith’s followers, rather than more.”
While many want to play the blame-the-West game, it is reassuring to know that some observers are more level-headed, willing to face up to reality, even if that means a few toes might have to be stepped on along the way. But that might be the price we have to pay to save a few more lives. Maybe many.