Has anything changed? Recent arrests suggest not. Islamic terrorism in Australia has not diminished and we need to be as alert as ever. Compliancy should not be part of our quiver. Regardless of how many Muslim friends any of us have (I have quite a number), they too concur there will remain a dangerous element. This is nothing new.
Moreover the Victorian Government has acknowledged the Covid 19 ethnic communities (Muslim) were front and centre. Anything I say in this column is nothing new.
Some years ago News.com splashed over its headline: Submit or Die. (Then Australian Prime Minister) Tony Abbott warns the only way to approach Islamic State threat is by fighting. Mr Abbott was speaking at a Sydney regional summit in June.
Mr Abbott said: “This is terrorism with global ambitions. You can’t negotiate with an entity like this, you can only fight it,” IS holds sway over an area as large as Italy in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, while its affiliates control parts of Libya and Nigeria.
ThinkIsrael.com published a speech Dutch politician Geert Wilders gave that year in Washington, D.C., to US Congressmen at the Conservative Opportunity Society. Wilders also spoke on Capitol Hill. Wilders leads the fourth largest political party (with the highest membership) in the Netherlands and has 24 hour protection.
Wilders: says the free Western world is under attack. He reminded his audience that on 29 April 1945, two divisions of the US Seventh Army liberated the concentration camp of Dachau, the oldest of the Nazi concentration camps. He cited an American soldier: “Since we saw this camp, we understood that we were not engaged in war against soldiers and officers, but against criminals.” Wilders stated that after the WWII our leaders of the free world vowed: Never again!
Never again will we tolerate anti-Semitism, political assassinations, mass murders, oppression, slavery. When confronted with evil, do not put your heads in the sand. The 1930's illustrated appeasement is suicide. Today he said many Western leaders are looking away and appeasing evil.
Wilders explained Islamization has been caused by immigration, combined with our failure to demand that immigrants adopt our values. A survey that year among Turkish youths in the Netherlands found that 80% “do not consider” the violence which groups such like IS use against non-believers to be wrong.
Moreover ISIS calls home grown jihadis “city wolves.” Our media prefer to speak of “lone wolves,” but they are not alone. According to the European police agency Europol, 5,000 home grown jihadis have left Europe to fight in Syria and Iraq. 4,000 city wolves are on the loose in Europe.
In my country, Wilders said, the University of Amsterdam found that 11% of the 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands is prepared to use violence for the sake of Islam. That is a staggering 100,000 people in a country of 17 million inhabitants! We have to rid ourselves of the cultural relativism.
Let them go
Wilders noted back then that the authorities in both Europe and America try to prevent Jihadis from leaving for Syria and Iraq. “Let them leave if they want to leave, but never return. Blocking the exodus is sheer stupidity.” He cited the Jihadis who last year murdered soldiers in Canada, They were people whom the authorities had previously prevented to leave for Syria and who were not arrested but allowed to go free on the street.
The year before a Jihadi from France, who had just returned from Syria, went to Belgium and murdered four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.
Wilders said “we must protect our Judeo-Christian civilization, so that our children can leave in peace and prosperity. We must defend our borders, so that our families be safe and our nation's identity preserved. We must stand with Israel and all the free nations threatened by Islam. And above all, we must be brave. As the great Ronald Reagan said: The future does not belong to the faint-hearted.”
Is there a way forward?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali in another News.com article is seeking to reform Islam. She believed that, according to Islam, the infidel should die. Since leaving Islam, in her book, Heretic, Ali argues for a complete reformation of Islam, akin to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century (hundreds of thousands of Protestants died for this freedom). Though her own education, which led her to reject Islam, she believes that for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, there must be another way.
Ali argues for five amendments to the faith. But is she and her tolerant Muslims willing to die for this freedom as in Europe's Reformation. It seems there is a limitless supply of jihad martyrs on the opposite team! The type of hard decision required is like Chad who has put a total ban on the burqa after one too many Islamic suicide bombers.
Listening to ABC Radio National on Tuesday 16 June that year I heard a group of young 16-22 year old Australian Muslims rejecting jihad yet finding a way forward in identifying a separate way within Islam was beyond them. Their quagmire was being lumped together with visible prejudice. Their frustration was overwhelming. But I got the feeling that none of them would have laid down their lives for their objectives.
Therefore the question remains - is there a way forward at all. CNN ran a panel on this question with Bridgette Gabriel articulately with a definite 'NO'. The vast majority of peaceful Muslims means nothing, totally irrelevant. I invite the reader to view this short video.
But, I also urge the reader to cast their eye over this News.com article on Avaan Jirsi Ali and her reforming zeal for Islam. My question - is this a philosophy of pie in the sky or ultimately, will we need to affirm 'Never Again' and Edmund Burke's words: “Evil prevails when good men do nothing”.
Will Europe and Australia ultimately find our political leaders too naive or plain inactive not to move early enough. Last Friday's 'city wolf' attack in France with a beheading illustrates where it's at today. Tunisia is closing 80 mosques supporting radicalism after the terrorist assault on Friday where 39 were killed. Tony Abbott Australia's Prime Minister made it plain on Saturday when he said “they're coming after us”.
The Churches are full in the Middle East ran the Christian Today headline in spite of ISIS. Is there another way? Rev Sami Dagher, president and founder of all Alliance churches in Lebanon, has churches all across the Middle East, including 22 in Syria, six in Lebanon, and three in Iraq – one each in Dahuk, Irbil, and Baghdad.
He also has two Bible schools, one in Beirut and another in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, and is just starting a church in Cairo.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to flee Iraq as Islamic State continues to tighten its grip, but still people are turning to Jesus, a church leader told Christian Today.
Rev Dagher stated: "We have about 400 people every Sunday in Baghdad, and about 30 per cent of those are from different religions." Currently, 73 people who have converted to Christianity are waiting to be baptised in the church.
Indeed as Tertullian said in the third century, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. It is so easy to write these words in the safety and comfort in Australia where there is valid biblical announcement to rise up against evil. The prayers of the nation is that we in Australia can do this politically with fairness, justice and Christian steadfastness, rather than finding ourselves on the front line.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. The above photo is the upper part from this portrait.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html