* Andrew Bolt
* From: Herald Sun
* February 26, 2010 12:00AM
WE didn't need the Rudd Government to tell us this week that, ahem, our own Muslim community is now a growing terrorist threat.
What we needed was to hear what the Government planned to do about it.
And the answers in its new White Paper on counter-terrorism?
Have your say at Andrew's blog
Virtually zilch. Not even a word on whether it would be wise to cut immigration from Muslim nations, now running at about 28,000 a year.
Nor was there anything about ending the mad multiculturalism that rewards most those who integrate least.
Rather the reverse. The Government promised more of the stuff that's clearly not doing the job - more of that "multiculturalism and respect for cultural diversity to maintain a society that is resilient to the hate-based and divisive narratives that fuel terrorism".
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Hey, guys. If multiculturalism has made us so "resilient to the hate-based and divisive narratives" of jihadism, why does your White Paper admit that "numerous terrorist attacks" have had to be "thwarted" in Australia since 2001, and that we now have 20 people jailed on terrorism charges, 38 people charged after anti-terrorism operations (presumably all, or mostly, Muslims, too) and 40 more denied passports?
That's sure a lot of strife from just 340,000 Australian Muslims, as measured by the last census.
We've actually got more Buddhists here, but when did you last hear of any plotting to blow us up?
Like I said, the threat from our own home-grown or imported jihadists was already perfectly clear.
We could figure that out just from this month's news that another five Muslims in Sydney had been jailed for plotting terrorism and gathering 12 firearms, 28,000 rounds of ammunition and four boxes of material for high explosives.
But even more of a wake-up were the comments from so many leaders of our Muslim community.
Uthman Badar, from the Australian arm of the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir, cried persecution, and claimed poor Muslims were being prosecuted merely for their ideas: "The anti-terror laws were designed to silence Muslims through fear and intimidation."
Samir Dandan, from the Lebanese Muslim Association, also fed the poor-us-against-them division, saying Muslims believed they were punished harder than the rest of us, while Keysar Trad, of them Islamic Friendship Association, blamed the "anger" of Muslims on our own alleged violence against Islamic countries.
Even more worryingly, 10 imams and 20 Muslim "community leaders" met in Lakemba, at Australia's biggest mosque, to sign a statement demanding police show them proof that the five jailed men had criminal intentions.
Never mind that the police evidence had been enough to convince an Australian jury: "Until we see the real evidence, we believe that the reason for the arrests and convictions
is that these young men expressed or hold opinions that contradict Australia's foreign policy towards majority Muslim countries."
Meanwhile, outside the mosque, The Australian reported, "a group of young men pumped their fists in the air and accused ASIO of being dogs".
This is the scenario, repeated so often over the past decade, that every Australian could see for themselves - of Muslims planning or waging jihad, only to be defended or excused by "community leaders".
And this is the reality that the Government's White Paper now concedes in the frankest language I've heard in public.
"A ... shift apparent since 2004 has been the increase in the terrorist threat from people born or raised in Australia, who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message," it warns. "A number of Australians are known to subscribe to this message, some of whom might be prepared to engage in violence. Many of these individuals were born in Australia and they come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds."
AND then this warning, so pregnant with implications: "The scale of the problem will continue to depend on factors such as the size and make-up of local Muslim populations, including their ethnic and/or migrant origins, their geographical distribution and the success or otherwise of their integration into their host society."
Let me decode that. The Government admits the size of this growing terrorism threat depends on the size of our Muslim population.
Isn't that then the debate we must have?
Yes, I know most Muslims here, my friends included, are peace-loving Australians, and I do not mean to offend them or expose them to unmerited suspicion. I also admire those Muslims I know who have stood against the extremists. But I do mean to have a frank conversation.
After all, this report also points out terrorism isn't necessarily related to poverty, and that our wanna-be terrorists are often not the Muslims we accepted as immigrants, but their born-here children. What's more, they come from a "wide range of ethnic groups".
That means we can't keep out tomorrow's terrorists just by bringing in only nice, hard-working Muslims from countries we trust. What of their later children, newly radicalised in mosques, universities or prisons?
Surely one way to minimise the danger, then, is to cut Muslim immigration, or at least freeze it until the jihadist wind blows out.
Should we really be bringing in more than 28,000 people a year from Muslim lands such as Pakistan, the Middle East, North Africa, Bangladesh, Somalia, Afghanistan and Indonesia?
But on this issue the Government says nothing. Nor will it discuss dismantling multiculturalism, which at one stage had taxpayers funding the pro-bin Laden Islamic Youth Movement of Australia.
But why is multiculturalism sacred, when even this White Paper says one "pathway to violent extremism" is through "identity politics"?
After all, multiculturalism subsidises identity politics with your money while making Australia seem too weak or even shameful to deserve the first loyalty of a confused young man.
So what did the Government, badly needing a distraction from its insulation debacle, propose instead?
Only easy, uncontroversial tinkering with controls at our borders, rather than anything to deal with the people who've got through already.
THERE will be better border checks, for instance, and our spy agencies will help try to stop the flood of boat people unleashed by the Government's rash softening of our laws.
I don't mean to single this Government out as unusually weak on the threat within. In some ways the Howard government was even worse.
Example? The White Paper warns that a "small number" of Muslims here support foreign terrorist groups that might use Australia as "a suitable or convenient location for an attack on their enemies".
It adds: "This includes groups with a long history of engaging in terrorist acts and a current capability to commit them, such as Lebanese Hizballah's External Security Organisation."
So Hezbollah (our spelling) has an active terrorist wing and could strike here? Then why did John Howard as prime minister pick for his Muslim Community Reference Group at least five Muslim leaders who defended Hezbollah, including Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilali, then the Mufti of Australia, and Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, who succeeded him?
I am not saying these men would ever support Hezbollah terrorist attacks here, but how many of their followers could be trusted to draw the line? Answer: no one knows, but our experts fear. So until we get more reassurance, we'll need more action than this paper proposes.