Terrorism

Have you heard the news? Abu Khaled al-Cambodi (aka Neil Prakash) is returning to Australia. Which means more dosh for commentators (except those with my kinda unpronounceable name). Time for scribes to brush off some of that minimal crappy Arabic (“Derka Derka Muhammad Jihad”), to reach for the jar of hysteria tablets or to practise your deep, serious “terrorism expert” voice.

How’s this for size. Writing in The Australian (heck, where else?), Jennifer Oriel warns that allowing people like Prakash to Australia, Western governments “are inadvertently empowering jihad”. Prakash will be “sheltered by Western laws that prevent robust interrogation”. If only we could just torture the jihad out of Prakash. What’s more, he will “enjoy legal support, housing and the freedom to spread that lethal ideology”. Yep, he sure will … in a 22-hour isolation ward at Goulburn SuperMax. And my God! He might even be given “prayer mats [and] halal food”!! Surely those pussies at Guantanamo were way too generous. Apart from the torture. Which might explain why Oriel argues Australia should hand over Prakash to the Israeli intelligence to give him a more … er … effective hiding.

Oriel wants to torture the guy rather than suck information out of him. Her approach is based on the silly idea that “free world citizens that Islamists vow to exterminate will be forced to pay” for all this excess. The fact that ISIS’ actual targets have largely been Yazidis and Kurds, Syrians and Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis and Turks, is of little consequence. Shias and Sunnis (apart from the odd Kurd) and Alawites aren’t free citizens. 

Seriously, though. Given that we are facing a threat from ISIS, we do need to understand what makes an ISIS recruiter click so that we can stop another 80 or so Aussie kids falling for the nonsense narrative of ISIS. How does a Melbourne man convert from Buddhism to Islam, and then, after a mere 16 months as a Muslim, take the radical step of heading off to a nasty and complex Middle East war zone?

Was it just extremist ideology? Prakash is no Mike Enoch, the US white supremacist seeking entry to Australia. In some senses, the two have a similar ideological bent. Enoch is a white supremacist, many of whose types believe non-whites should be pushed out or even face a white jihad. Prakash, the ISIS recruiter, is a Muslim supremacist who once fought with a group that regarded every non-Muslim (and 99% of Muslims) as kuffar (literally “those who deny or cover up the truth”). In the US, people with Enoch’s views on race have been responsible for more political violence and deaths than those who think like Prakash. Yet there are no dopey MPs allowing themselves to be interviewed by a Prakash-type organisation.

To understand what makes people like Prakash tick, we can’t go on relying to terrorism “experts” or News Corp “fake sheikhs” like Andrew Bolt’s preferred Mufti Tawhidi. We are going to have to allow former ISIS fighters and recruiters back in so that they can be subjected to the full force of the law without having their evidence tainted by torture. We need to show that our legal system does work, that our judges and juries can reach sensible decisions notwithstanding the morons baying for the blood of the accused. True, using evidence of crimes committed overseas won’t be easy. But if we claim that our justice system is superior to those of many Middle Eastern countries, it’s time we showed it by using it on our own citizens. If we can spend resources on prosecuting Nazi war criminals, surely we should spend resources on those involved in crimes against humanity, especially when witnesses are at hand.

We also need to understand exactly what ISIS got up to on the ground before the shit is bombed out of ISIS territory. We need to understand how the slave trade worked, how women were treated, how the “sharia” was implemented and how young people were convinced to blow themselves up. The full horror and attraction of it all needs to be exposed so that no one could ever be tempted to join such a movement.

You can’t get information like that from a few hundred tweets and some photos of women in burqas leaning on BMWs. You could lose that information if you relied on criminal injustice systems you would otherwise not subject your citizens to.​

Peter Fray

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