A Situation Driven by Opposite Extremes.

Alongside the US, Australia reportedly has the second largest military participation in anti-ISIS actions in Iraq and Syria.

The threat of attack here in Australia is very real.
We’ve already had the Lindt café siege in Sydney and only a few weeks ago a police employee was murdered outside a police station in Parramatta by a Moslem boy who had been armed and encouraged by extremist associates.

Also a significant and imminent attack against an Anzac Day commemoration was discovered and averted only days before it was to happen, and other planned attacks have been discovered and stopped over the past few years. Clearly nothing as significant as what happened in Paris, or what happened in London a decade ago, but it’s possibly only a matter of time.

Many young men have flown to Syria from Australia to fight with ISIS – some of them wasting their lives as suicide bombers.
Only this week an Australian Moslem woman was convicted in court of giving support to ISIS. A while ago she had been stopped at the airport, trying to leave with her kids to join her husband in Syria, taking significant money and supplies with her. Her husband was later killed in an air raid, not long after taking a second “wife” – the 13 year old daughter of another Australian terrorist.

Seeing the continual news reports of the Paris attacks made me wonder how I’d react if I found myself caught up in a similar situation.
Jeff Weddle recently said on his blog, that he personally wouldn’t kill a member of ISIS. *
Not long ago I would have agreed with him, but “right or wrong”, I think I’d be very willing to kill someone who was in the process of indiscriminately murdering others in a terrorist act, to put a stop to what they were doing. And “rightly or wrongly”, I think my conscience would remain clear afterwards.

Reading and listening to some of the media reports about the terrorist situation, it seems like the debate over the relevant issues has been hijacked by extremists of opposing opinions. Terrorists and their supporters blame others – saying they’ve been driven to their actions because of persecution, alienation, and hostile acts against Moslems carried out by western society.

But it’s not only those “extremists” that are pushing that argument, some Moslem leaders also allude to the west’s culpability, saying that terrorism is a response to racism and “Islamophobia”. Such a claim was recently made by the Grand Mufti of Australia, mixed with his expression of regret over the deaths in Paris.

I have no doubt that many Moslem families want to live their lives in peace in the west but their situation is not made easy when the words of those in religious authority are often so ambiguous.

On the other extreme, in Australia, we have both neo-fascists using violent protests to express their anti-Moslem agenda, and elements of the press also pushing extreme views likely to create the kind of alienation that militants use to excuse the actions of murderers.
Along with newspapers and TV stations giving a platform to people like Andrew Bolt, we have others regularly giving Pauline Hansen a soapbox to vent her ill-informed, extreme opinions. Apparently she was trotted out on TV to do just that immediately after the attacks in Paris.

Even beyond those examples, the media here is not very helpful in promoting a reasoned view. Across the board there has been a latching onto the possibility that one of the Paris killers had entered Europe among the flood of refugees leaving Syria. The media are questioning Australia’s planned acceptance of 12,000 Syrian refugees over the next year; ignoring the fact that all of those accepted will have to go through a strict and comprehensive vetting process, unlike those flooding across borders in Europe. Also many of those refugees will be Christians and other minority groups trying to escape persecution in their homeland.

An example of how seriously the threat of terrorism is being taken in Australia is the recent announcement that law enforcement officers are being trained shoot first and forget the questions when confronted with a likely terrorist situation. The policy until now had been one of negotiation, attempting to talk a person round – which is one reason the Lindt siege went on as long as it did. There is now recognition that reason is not a part of the mindset of those committing these acts.

Situations like that in Paris and the probability of similar attacks elsewhere, ought to make us assess our own situations and our association with the world around us. Despite events like the Paris attacks our lives are still far more peaceful and secure than the majority of the world.
In the west it is very easy to become complacent and comfortable and forget that the lifestyles available to us are far different from those possible for the majority of the world’s population. That difference will be shown by how quickly the Paris attacks become old news and are once again replaced by the exploits of the Kardashians.

Those living under ISIS oppression in Syria and Iraq don’t have the “luxury” of such distractions from horrors inflicted by murderous thugs.



4 thoughts on “A Situation Driven by Opposite Extremes.

  1. My conscience would remain clear, too. I agree with you. I do hope, though, that I would have clarity in such moments to distinguish between people who might be caught up in the situation and those who have outright evil intent. For instance, it might be that someone like the thirteen-year-old daughter is just stuck. But it’s also possible she herself could be at heart radicalized. I pray for discernment in all things.

    There was a man who was interviewed who was close by and almost a witness in France. He said he has friends who are Muslim and aren’t “like that” (like the terrorists). So, he said, he’s not going to hate. You wonder what he means, and as the conversation goes on he says the terrorists are from another planet or he doesn’t know where they’re from; they are “like cockroaches” — so you “exterminate” them.

  2. I’m not so sure there’s such a dilemma when someone is indiscriminately and un-hesitantly killing others, but yes, there would need to be discernment.

    Hopefully I would never be in such a situation anyway, and if I was it is highly unlikely that I’d have the means to end the life of a terrorist involved. I think the only option likely to be available would be self-preservation, trying to get myself and others to safety.

  3. Yes, right, to all you just said. Also, the “daughter” is most likely to be kept over in the Levant and not be in a western situation. And in “the west” random people who somehow identify with a wish for an idealized religious and harsh governance can pop up within the countries concerned.

    Something that is more likely to come up in my own experience (while still really pretty unlikely) is the sorts of situations we see in the news where police officers act like tyrants with individuals. What would I do then? If I see a shackled man trying to get into an emergency room for help and multiple officers tazing him with electrical shock guns over and over or if I see an armed officer sitting on an unarmed girl in a bikini and telling her not to call for her mother or God for help…

    …and we’ve seen worse.

    These things usually go too quickly for others to do anything about it. Or they happen with no one else around. One of the only things to do if we are around is take phone video. That’s even a risk.

  4. Follow up, likewise: if the government is carrying out the law by moving cows out of a pasture space where they don’t belong, and private “militia” extremists show up to threaten officials with snipers and other gunmen (and are cowards in another way, putting women and children in front of them), what do I do?

Comments are closed.