Two approaches to Islam and terror - Part One - Greg Sheridan's just returned from the UK with important insights
Today two diametrically opposed views on Islam and terror.
Here's the first of them.
Greg Sheridan has just returned from a visit to the UK where he interviewed a fascinating range of people with insights into the jihadi reality.
The Australian's run his lengthy column today and be warned it's big! To read it in full you'll need to subscribe or go to the newsagent - I'd highly recommend it.
Greg makes two important points - Islam is the core reason we have terrorism at all - and while we have Islamists amongst us we will have a cycle of terror attacks.
A crowd of mostly teenage girls, as innocent as young people can be, at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. It’s everything jihadist terrorists — from Islamic State to al-Qa’ida to the Taliban — hate most about the West, and everything that declares the innocence of youth and the pleasure of music in public spaces.
The savage attack — believed to have been carried out by a lone male suicide bomber, leaving at least 22 dead, 60 injured and more fatalities likely — demonstrates the stark realities of the terrorism war. First, the terror threat in Western societies is not diminishing. Every so often the West gets weary of the terror story, develops terrorism fatigue and wants to declare the peak of the threat has passed. This is not true.
The sources of radicalisation and paranoia, especially among a minority of young Muslim men, are as strong as ever. Radical networks and communities are replenishing themselves. Jihadis returning from the Middle East are an added source of recruits, already trained and motivated, for the terror movement.
Operationally, the choice of target is becoming more sophisticated. Two months ago a lone-wolf terrorist killed six people on Westminster Bridge and in the environs of the British Houses of Parliament, a target of huge symbolic and political significance.
The choice of Grande’s Manchester concert is psychologically even more telling. Could anything strike greater terror into a Western population than carnage among innocent teenage girls?
Greg makes a very important point about the dangers of dealing with Islamists, a point yet to be grasped by Turnbull - who's unlikely to get it at all while he maintains his Pollyanna Islam the religion of peace and love stupidity.
Greg's recounting a chat with Hannah Stuart of Policy Exchange, the leading conservative think tank in Britain:
“For a time (about a decade ago) the government just had no idea and looked for help to groups that actually had links to the Muslim Brotherhood.”
During this period, so long as the specific groups did not advocate direct terrorist violence, the British state thought that such groups, which often espoused a deeply extremist ideology that stopped one step short of advocacy of terrorism, could be part of the solution.
“For a time the authorities virtually outsourced the problem to these groups,” Stuart says.
“The default position of people who don’t know much about it is to go to soft Islamists, to the people who shout the loudest.”
That has changed, she says — and entirely for the better.
“The British government now doesn’t work with the Muslim Council, who in 2009 went to Istanbul and signed a declaration saying that if the British navy is involved in stopping weapons going to Gaza, then attacks on the British navy are justified.
“One big theme of Policy Exchange is that officials need to exercise due diligence about who they are speaking to. (Former prime minister) David Cameron’s epiphany moment came as opposition leader at the Birmingham Central Mosque, where a leader told him that the 9/11 terror attacks and the 7/7 attacks in Britain had not been carried out by Muslims but by the security services.”
From then on Cameron made it a point to attack nonviolent extremism as well as explicit support for terrorism.
Turnbull is nowhere near learning those lessons.
His kowtowing to the Islamic Council of Victoria last year was revolting,
"In the Ottoman Empire, when the successful, the really successful, artistically brilliant, brilliant in every respect in terms of medicine, in terms of literature, I'm thinking of the Abbasid Caliphate, I’m thinking of the Umayyads in Spain.
Everything you need to know about how far Turnbull has to go to connect with reality is displayed in this photo featuring his major sources of advice on Islamists and their religion of peace.
Which brings us to our next post, compare and contrast the common sense you've read here and at The Australian from Greg Sheridan with the contents of Dr Waleed Aly's PhD Thesis.