Melbourne, Australia: On Friday 9 November a Somali-background Muslim man, Hassan Shire Ali, went to Bourke Street in the centre of Melbourne, intent on causing carnage for the sake of Allah. Just a stone’s throw from the Victorian State parliament Ali set fire to a van filled with propane cylinders in the hope of triggering a massive explosion. When this failed to materialise he went on a stabbing spree, wounding two people and killing one. The person who died was a ‘Melbourne icon’, Sisto Malsapina, co-owner of Pellegrini’s Coffee Bar.
In terms of casualties this was a relatively ‘small’ attack (although, of course, devastating for all involved). Yet, it once again demonstrated how far we still have to go in terms of honestly acknowledging that we have a problem with Islam. In fact, the Australian establishment seems to have gone into full ‘protection mode’ in order to ensure that no uncomfortable questions were asked about the role of Islamic teaching in inspiring the attack.
The way in which this was done was so predictable that it was almost comical. A kind of paint-by-numbers response to terror that seemed to say: ‘Nothing to see here, move right along’. If it was not for the fact that the lives of people are being put at risk by this, one could almost admire everyone involved for sticking so closely to the script.
• As soon as it became clear that the attacker was a Muslim shouting ‘Allahu-Akbar’ as he did the deed a lightning-fast diagnosis of mental illness was dangled before the public, with his family stating that he is ‘delusional’. Of course, this testimony (by those with a vested interest to cover for their faith) was immediately accepted at face value by the credulous Australian media. Some of whom even called the atrocity a ‘Cry for Help’!
• Almost as quickly a statement was produced by the mosque frequented by the attacker (Hume Islamic Centre) to deny that he was ever a regular attender. This statement has since been thoroughly disproved, but was still useful in the immediate aftermath of the attack as a means of duping the public into believing that no ‘respectable’ mosque could teach anything dangerous.
• After these two stock-standard bits of obfuscation the ‘grievance machine’ sprung into action. When Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison very tentatively suggested that a bit of soul-searching might be in order for the Muslim community, a storm of wailing and hand wringing was unleashed. The ‘Grand Mufti’ of Australia and other Muslim leaders rejected with scorn any notion that they could have done anything to prevent the attack and accused the Prime Minister of bigotry and discrimination.
• This was just the opening salvo however. Australian Muslim commentators rushed to find typewriters and microphones to bellow out their indignation. Not at the loss of life, mind you. No, apparently something far more serious had to be addressed. The real victim, it turns out, was the Muslim community. One example should suffice. Columnist Randa Abdel-Fatah was given reams of space in all of Australia’s major newspapers with an article entitled ‘I Feel Nothing But Rage, Alienation and Despair’. What was the rage about? That a family and city is grieving the loss of a much loved father and patron? Think again. Apparently, it is much worse that some people so much as dared to ask questions about whether, just possibly, the Qur’an might have had something to do with all of this. I see your atrocity and raise you the victim card!
• Then there was, lastly, the ultimate fallback position: Moral Equivalence. Muslim Australian member of parliament and Counter-Terrorism Expert (I’m not making this up), Dr Anne Aly, essentially said that the attack was no-big-deal since, wait for it, domestic violence exist in Australia: “Violence perpetrated by violent jihadists, or radical islam, as the prime minister wants to put it, pales in comparison to the number of women who are being killed every week in domestic and partner violence.” There you have it. It seems we have bigger fish to fry, so Islamic terror should only come on the agenda when domestic violence is under control. This from a women whose area of academic expertise, again I kid you not, is counter-terrorism. The mind boggles!
Again, how can it be that after all we’ve seen and been through these stock-standard responses to Islamic terror are still blindly accepted by the masses? If anything, these events just confirmed that we need to redouble our efforts to get people to seriously think about the essential nature of Islam.
A good place to start in investigating the link between Islamic teaching and violence is my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’. Get your copy today.