Terror Australis again

Very unpleasant news, this: Black day for black flag after teenage terror suspect’s bloody end. This background report is interesting:

Numan Haider appears to have had links with Australian extremists through the complex and tight-knit networks that flow right through to Islamic State in the Middle East.

Haider is understood to have been associated with the al-Furqan group, headed by Harun Mehicevic, also known as Abu Talha.

Mr Mehicevic in turn has connections with Bankstown’s Al Risalah bookshop and community centre – a centre of gravity for Sydney radicals.

An image posted on Facebook last year by the influential preacher Musa Cerantonio shows Mr Mehicevic with what Mr Cerantonio called “some of the lions of Al Risalah”, including manager Wissam Haddad.

Mr Haddad is a known acquaintance of Khaled Sharrouf – who notoriously had his young son pose with a severed head for a picture in Syria – as well as other extremists.

Mr Mehicevic was a follower of hardline Melbourne cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran and mixed with Abdul Nacer Benbrika, who is serving a 15-year jail term for planning a terrorist attack in Melbourne in 2005.

Ultimately, the links appear to have led Haider to Australian followers of the Islamic State group who are fighting in the Middle East. A security source told Fairfax Media Haider had been in contact with these followers, though authorities for now believe he acted alone when he allegedly stabbed two policemen on Tuesday night.

Monash University terrorism expert Greg Barton said Australian radicals tended to have ties through personal connections and social media…

On Monday, just a day before Haider’s attack, Islamic State exhorted followers to attack Australians by any means, including the use of knives.

Nick O’Brien, a former British counterterrorism police officer now with Charles Sturt University, said extremists tended to reinforce each other’s beliefs through their connections on social media.

“Social media has made it a lot easier for people who are like-minded to connect with each other,” he said. “The concern is that … this young man thought his belief was being reinforced in a social group, and what he decided to do was become a martyr.

“The danger is that he will be seen as a martyr and others will want to copy what he has done.”…

I regard that as a quite reasonable analysis – much of which could also apply to like-minded zealots, bigots and fanatics of all stripes, by no means all of them Muslim. NOTE: 6.50 pm: This story is still very fluid and we should be careful not to draw firm conclusions from the analysis in that report. **

I had a look this morning at the site Muslim Village and found there a rather good article on what ISIS really stands for. In fact it originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald!

….Understanding the allure of that message, analysts say, is key to understanding the incredible recruiting successes of the Islamic State, which is estimated to have drawn at least 12,000 foreign fighters from 74 countries and sent nations from Britain to Tunisia scrambling to stem the flow. The movement has done so by highlighting vulnerabilities in many of its troubled recruits.

The narrative described in Dabiq casts the West as “Romans” or “crusaders,” and symbolizes them with images of, among others, President Obama and US Senator John McCain. It “employs [an] Islamic apocalyptic tradition — with the West as the modern day Romans — to mobilize followers,”  wrote Robert Danin, an expert with the Council of Foreign Relations. “Both the organisation and its new recruits understand this script, made all the more relevant and compelling by the recent debate about US airstrikes in Syria.”

The ideology starkly divides the world into two camps. There is “no third camp present: The camp of Islam and faith, and the camp of kufr (disbelief) and hypocrisy — the camp of the Muslims and the mujahideen everywhere, and the camp of the jews, the crusaders, their allies, and with them the rest of the nations and religions of kufr, all being led by America and Russia.”

The magazine derives much of its symbolism from its name, gleaned from the northern Syrian city of Dabiq. Despite the city’s small size, it is of great historic and religious importance, according to the Institute for the Study of War. It’s there that “one of the greatest“ battles between the West and the forces of Islam will occur. It will be the Armageddon….

There is an extensive comment below that article which betrays a conspiracy-addled paranoid mind of the worst kind:

…A World War has already been planned behind the backs of all people which will be forced to fight for their own Countries in their obligation as citizens. Obama is under strong pressure from the Zionist movement to have US ground troops fighting this War in place of Israel. All media and the many US politicians on payroll of Israel demand with one voice the involvement of the American ground troops against ISIS. But one should ask how was it possible for ISIS to grow so quickly, so organized and well-armed without having a State behind as sponsor. The chief of ISIS is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who spent time in a US prison before being released in 2009. It seems straight from Hollywood the new strategy of filming horrific beheading. Those tragic images broadcasted by ISIS are not less spectacular than those planes crashing on buildings about 13 years ago. A sense of spectacle far more familiar to a Jew from Hollywood than a Muslim from the deserts. In a World without coincidence, the sponsor is the same hidden hand responsible for 9/11. There is no doubt that the Zionists have all the means to enlist mercenaries of all Countries and Islamic extremists without having to show their face or their wallet. Through a strategy made of Terror and Deception, the Zionists will continue to monitor and to separate all people in hope to face many weak and divided oppositions rather than one strong and united. This next World War would want to appear like one between two blocs: US, UK and Israel at the helm of a western bloc versus Russia, China and the Arab States for a presumed eastern bloc. The Conflict instead must be redefined from the beginning and fought only pro or against Equality without distinctions for Religion, race or Country. That is the only Solution.

TEH JOOZ DUNNIT, YAGEDDIT? Yeah, right…

Last night, coincidentally, saw Episode 4 of Living with the Enemy on SBS.

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Almost half the Muslims in Australia live in south-western Sydney. The majority in just five suburbs centered on Bankstown. Ben was born and bred in Bankstown, he’s seen his world change as Arab Muslims have stamped their identity on his home suburb, and he doesn’t like what he sees. Ahmed and Lydia are a devout Muslim couple living in western Sydney. Ahmed is from Egypt, Lydia is a convert who grew up in a country pub. Lydia converted as a result of the September 11 terror attacks. She wanted to find out why they had happened, what motivated the hijackers. Instead of discovering a religion of hate and war, she says, she discovered a religion of peace and justice. Ben believes there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. Can Lydia and Ahmed convince him otherwise?

It was a curious episode in that Ben opted out on the grounds that Ahmed and Lydia were too likeable and well, normal, to represent Muslims honestly. However, he did in the end take them to Bankstown and made them contemplate that very Al Risalah bookshop and community centre mentioned in the report at the top of this post. Neither Ahmed nor Lydia had ever been there. You may read Lydia’s reflections here.

…I do not profess to speak on behalf of all Muslim women, as we are heterogeneous and are different in ethnicity, culture and political views, with a diverse range of observance to our faith.

The other day, one of my mates asked me how I was feeling. I paused for a moment and said “it feels like I’m swimming and every time I resurface, another wave hits me and I struggle to breathe”.

I have always felt accepted when I return home to Boggabilla. I have never once been criticised, intimidated or harassed for being Muslim there. My friends still make homemade Peter Pan costumes for my son and take my husband pig shooting (we have jokingly convinced my mother that it would then be halal pork, but I am thankful they have never caught any). They still bring us yellow-belly fish to eat or make a horse available for my son to pat. Right now, perhaps going “back to where I came from” isn’t such a bad idea.

Today too I found myself really annoyed by Kevin Donnelly’s nostalgic wittering, but that probably merits another post, much as I baulk at the idea of having to restate the bleeding obvious yet again!

As I mentioned the other day I am not entirely devoid of experience in these matters. Go to the sidebar on the right and find the “Islamophobia” link. And look at this 2006 post The Mine and the Islamists: cause for concern? and the 2005 occasion when we starred on The 7.30 Report.

Oh how I wish I could be confident about the judgement of the Abbott government in these matters! To a degree Jim Belshaw shares some of my concerns: If a equals b – testing the proposed Australian terrorism legislation and indeed any public policy. But full marks to sometimes hard Right Wollongong-born Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells for her remarks yesterday.

But the Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the parliamentary secretary to the minister for social services, emphasised the need to reach out to Islamic communities.

She said the overwhelming majority of Muslim Australians found “the barbarism of [Isis] absolutely and utterly abhorrent” and it would play in into the hands of terrorists “to turn on each other on the basis of religion or race”.

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Cathy Wilcox in today’s Herald/Age

BTW, I reluctantly do support the military intervention in Syria and Iraq, even if it is not the whole solution by any means. I did not support the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Again, another post or twenty would be needed to justify my view – and maybe I will and maybe I won’t. I have nothing much to say that you can’t already find in a thousand other places. But finally, a caution from Leunig – a cartoon I found on Facebook.

leunig terror alert

** Update 26 September

This is not good either:

An innocent young man wrongly identified as teenage terror suspect Abdul Numan Haider says he cannot leave his house because he fears being branded a terrorist.

Fairfax Media has apologised for mistakenly publishing a photo of Melbourne 18-year-old Abu Bakhar Alam on the front pages of The Age, the Canberra Times and the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.

The papers ran Mr Alam’s photo with headlines including “Teenage Terrorist”, “Teen Jihad” and “Teen Takes Terror to the Suburbs”, dubbing him a “schoolboy turned fanatic” who “set terror trap for police”…

Nor is this.

A Muslim community leader says parents at a Sydney Islamic school are frightened for their children’s safety after a man took a knife onto the grounds yesterday and made threats.

Police set up a crime scene at Al-Faisal College in Minto, in Sydney’s south-west, about 2:10pm (AEST)…

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