Response to Anne Aly

UPDATE: Dr Aly responds with an ad hominem via Twitter (try to ignore the typo):

In other words, unless you are worthy, your arguments are not worth considering. Ah, the high standard of academic debate on Islam, sigh… Sounds almost like climate change 😉

Enabler of victimisation and resentment in the Muslim community

Enabler of the culture of victimisation and resentment in the Muslim community

I forced myself to read Anne Aly’s latest attack on anti-Islamisation protesters in The Guardian for the purpose of preparing a rebuttal. Some of her claims are so egregious that they need to be exposed (not that Guardian readers will ever question their progressive bible).

So without further ado, let the fisking commence:

Reclaim Australia, which describes itself a grassroots movement, held rallies across Australia at the weekend “to stand together to stop halal tax, sharia law & islamisation [sic]”.

Why the “[sic]” except as a cheap opening shot to make RA look dumb? It’s a word, and even has a Wikipedia entry.

Fortunately, Australia does not have an incessant record of such public performances, although our past is peppered with occasional eruptions of violence from Lambing Flat (1861) to Cronulla (2005). We also do not have a familiar history of terrorism and violent extremism.

Don’t forget the Battle of Broken Hill, which killed 17, where one of the attackers left a note which read “I must kill you and give my life for my faith, Allāhu Akbar.” Awkward…

According to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD), between 2001 and 2011, Australia experienced six terrorist attacks. Of these, only one resulted in fatalities. This attack, though categorised as a terrorist incident by the GTD, occurred when an explosion on board the Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel (SIEV) 36 resulted in the death of five asylum seekers in April 2009. Of the remaining listed terrorist attacks, one was an unknown chemical agent in a letter to the United States consulate (Melbourne, 2001), one was an explosion on a private business (Broadbeach, 2006), one an armed assault on a synagogue (Sydney, 2006) and two were attacks on mosques (Perth 2010 and Brisbane 2001). The 2010 incident involved shots being fired into a mosque during prayer time by two men alleged to have links with the neo-Nazi group Combat 18.

Highly disingenuous and selective here – I would go so far as to say an outright lie. And why stop at 2011? Aly omits to mention the following events and plots, many of which were mercifully avoided thanks to the hard work of our counter-terrorist agencies (these are all from one page on Wikipedia, so not exactly hard to find). All of the following were inspired by the Islamic ideology and carried out by Muslims:

  • Faheem Khalid Lodhi is an Australian architect accused of an October 2003 plot to bomb the national electricity grid or Sydney defence sites in the cause of violent jihad (i.e. in the cause of Islam). He was convicted by a New South Wales Supreme Court jury in June 2006 on terrorism-related offences;
  • Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Mohamed Ali Elomar, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Mohammed Omar Jamal (all Muslims) were found guilty of conspiring to commit a terrorist act or acts. They were jailed on 15 February 2010 for terms ranging from 23 to 28 years.
  • On 28 August 2006, following the quashing of his terrorism convictions, Joseph T. Thomas (also dubbed “Jihad Jack– i.e. inspired by Islamic doctrine) was the first person to be issued with a control order under the Australian Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 after written consent was provided by the Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.
  • In September 2008, of an original nine defendants, five men including the Muslim cleric, Abdul Nacer Benbrika were convicted of planning a terrorist attack. During the trial, the jury heard evidence of plans to bomb the 2005 AFL Grand Final, 2006 Australian Grand Prix and the Crown Casino, as well as a plot to assassinate then Prime Minister John Howard.
  • On 4 August 2009, four men in Melbourne were charged over the Holsworthy Barracks terror plot, an alleged plan to storm the Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney with automatic weapons; and shoot army personnel or others until they were killed or captured. The men are allegedly connected with the Somali-based [Islamic] terrorist group al-Shabaab.
  • Mohammed Abderrahman aka Willie Brigitte, is a French Islamist al-Qaeda recruit who resided with Faheem Lodhi while in Australia in 2003, during which time he married a former Australian Army signaller. He was arrested by Australian immigration compliance officials in Sydney six weeks after the marriage and deported to France. His wife said before a French investigating judge that at times he had ‘bombarded’ her with questions on the subject of her military knowledge and career. [Why would that be, I wonder? Don’t jump to conclusions, you filthy Islamophobe!]
  • In the early hours of 18 September 2014, large teams of Australian Federal Police and other security agencies conducted search operations in both Sydney and Brisbane. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has alluded to an alleged plot aimed at conducting a random act of terrorism as the reason for the police action. This action is described as the largest in Australian history to date. One man arrested, Omarjan Azari, 22, from Guildford, allegedly conspired to commit a “horrifying” terrorist act with a man believed to be the most senior Australian Islamic State leader (i.e. inspired by Islam, again)
  • On 30 September 2014 there were more raids in Melbourne. The AFP executed seven search warrants in Broadmeadows, Flemington, Kealba, Meadow Heights and Seabrook. Over 100 officers from Federal and State police forces took part. A man from Seabrook will be charged with “intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organisation [Islamic State] knowing that organisation was a terrorist organisation,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.
  • On 10 February 2015 two [Muslim] men were arrested in Fairfield, New South Wales, and charged with “Acts done in preparation, for, or planning terrorists acts“. On the morning of 10 February police were informed the two were planning a terrorist attack. They were quickly placed under surveillance and tracked. When they purchased a hunting knife from a store about 3:00 pm, NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) forces decided to intervene and soon after 4:00 pm the men were arrested … They were found with a machete, a hunting knife, a homemade Islamic State flag and “a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack”, according to NSW Police Deputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations) Catherine Burn.
  • [Wikipedia still doesn’t classify this as ‘terrorism’ so the link is separate.] On 15–16 December 2014 a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, held hostage ten customers and eight employees of a Lindt chocolate café located at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia. Police treated the event as a terrorist attack at the time but Monis’ motives have subsequently been debated.

Debated only by the wilfully blind, that is, who somehow didn’t see the Islamic State flag in the window. But Aly whitewashes all of these events, and cuts off the date at 2011 intentionally to misrepresent the reality of terrorism in Australia, the majority of which has been carried out (or at least planned) by Muslims.

While we continue to wrestle with the very real threat of violent jihadist extremism perpetrated by those who identify with Daesh (Islamic State), we should also remain aware of the emergence of other forms of extremism that are equally threatening.

‘Equally threatening’ – really? We will come back to this.

Over the last decade Australia has seen a sharp increase in the emergence and visibility of far-right extremism, from pseudo political parties to organised groups to mobilising campaigns like Reclaim Australia. The ideological roots of extreme racist groups are no longer confined to men who hide behind white hoods or angry youths with shaved heads and swastika tattoos. Nor are their campaigns reserved for Africans, Jews and minority races. They now form the core system of an emerging extremist movement in Australia that targets Muslims and Islam under a thinly veiled guise of protecting Australia.

Whilst groups like RA unfortunately attract a tiny number of genuine neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists, Aly’s characterisation of the group and ‘racist’ is a typical dog whistle to Guardian readers. Anti-Islamisation groups are primarily made up of seniors, mums and dads and ordinary Aussies, many of whom have never left their homes to protest before in their lives.

Because the police always turn away from those causing trouble

Because the police always turn away from those causing trouble, right?

It was the far-Left ‘anti-fascist’ protesters who caused 99% of all the trouble at the weekend. These cowardly rent-a-mob thugs came prepared with scarves to hide their faces and milk to combat the effects of pepper spray. They had violence at the top of their agenda before they even arrived. Take a look at the picture on the right, which shows police facing away from the peaceful protests of RA, and towards the violent mob of the extreme Left.

The target of their protests is the ideology of Islam, which I, and they, believe is a genuine threat to Western democracy. Aly knows enough about Islam to realise the fundamental tenets of the ideology – the exhortations in the Qur’an to kill and be killed for Allah, the supremacy of Muslims over non-Muslims, the second-class status of women in society, the outlawing of homosexuality (and the murder of those who practise it), the duty to proselytise and convert non-Muslims, and the ultimate aim of a world governed solely by Islam and sharia law.

But Aly conveniently forgets all of these issues in order to demonise those who dare to speak out against them.

It is hard to ignore the anti-Muslim sentiment that saturates Reclaim Australia’s website and Facebook page.

It is not anti-Muslim sentiment, it is anti-Islam sentiment.

While their supporters continually claim they are not against Islam, Reclaim’s website makes several derogatory references to Islam and Muslims in Australia. Their Facebook page attracts comments such as, “When the time finally comes to eradicate this evil all the islam [sic] appeasers should go with them.”

Again, it is the ideology they oppose, not the individuals. Throw another “[sic]” in to make them look illiterate, because writing Islam with a small ‘i’ is disrespectful, I guess.

And this is where George Christensen’s attendance at the Reclaim rally and his support of the Reclaim movement is so disturbing. He claims there is nothing in Reclaim Australia’s list of principles that supports labels assigned to them such as “racists” and “bigots”. He also says he would not attend the rally if Reclaim “had been expressing values such as: we are against Islam; we want to deport Muslim people; we don’t want to allow Muslim immigration; or we don’t want mosques to be set up.”

The only point relevant here, again, is the distinction between the ideology and those who follow it. In World War II, the majority of Germans were not Nazis, but the ideology of Nazism was a significant enough threat to require it to be confronted.

In relation to mosques, there is no issue with their role as houses of worship, but if they are homes to radicalisation, where hatred of Australian and Western values are preached, then there is legitimate concern.

These claims are either a gross misunderstanding of Reclaim’s agenda or the result of a lack of research on Christensen’s behalf. His adamant stand to attend the rally – even in defiance of any (unlikely) orders from the prime minister – may be put down to his political conservatism. We could even give Christensen the benefit of the doubt and accept he is representing the majority of his constituents in Mackay. But this does not account for the fact the Reclaim Australia movement is more than the sum of its 24 principles.

Here is a link to RA’s principles (read all the text, not just the headlines) – please explain which of these is extreme, and how the sum is greater than the parts.

It is the product of a rising and disturbing wave of rightwing extremism that bears many of the same hallmarks of other extremisms, both past and present. Just like anarchism, new-left extremism, extreme anti-colonialism and violent jihadism, the narrative that underscores Reclaim comprises five main points:

  • We are engaged in a battle against an ideological enemy that seeks to destroy us

Unfortunately true – Islam, in the purest form espoused by Islamic State, and potentially by any Muslim that becomes sufficiently devout, is an existential threat comparable to Nazism or communism.

  • Protecting our way of life is the only way to ensure our survival

Not the only way, but advocating the values of Western liberal democracy over Islam is a good starting point.

  • They are dangerous, threatening and morally corrupt

Not ‘they’, but ‘it’ – the ideology not the individuals.

  • We are morally good

Well, compared to the moral depravity of Islamic State, I should certainly hope so.

  • Our future depends on defeating them

‘It’ not ‘them’, and again, unfortunately probably true, or at least encouraging a reformation of the ideology from the top.

Together these five elements do two things – first they reinforce out-group derogation by blaming those who are not “us” for a range of moral and social ills. Second, they set the boundaries about what it means to be “one of us”. When these boundaries are broad-based values such as freedom, democracy and equality, being one of us is the morally better choice.

Freedom, democracy and equality are all alien to Islam, and Aly knows this full well. Click here to see the banners at Islamic protests which read “Freedom go to hell” and “Democracy go to hell”. Again, Aly feigns ignorance of the tenets of Islam to whitewash the reality – there is no freedom or democracy in Islam, since submission to the will of Allah overrides such earth-bound concerns.

As for equality, perhaps Aly would like to justify why a woman’s testimony under the sharia is worth half as much as a man’s. Or why a Muslim woman needs to make sure there are four witnesses before she is raped. Answers in the comments, please.

The dome of silence that has descended over our political leadership and the failure of Tony Abbott to condemn the Reclaim movement speak volumes. Campaigns like Reclaim don’t get traction on their own; they emerge and grow within an enabling environment where ideas that we once would have deemed unreasonable, intolerant and against our national character become mainstream.

Sadly in Australia, our government’s politicisation of national security issues has created the very conditions that allow far-right movements to flourish. Australians deserve better. We deserve a nation that stands together, not apart, in the face of adversity. We deserve a nation that faces challenges to our security without compromising the values that extremist groups of all kinds seek to undermine.

Academics like Aly who are wilfully blind to the threat of the Islamic ideology and would rather demonise and smear those who challenge it are enabling and encouraging the victim culture and the endless shrieks of ‘Islamophobia’ – ultimately fuelling and justifying the resentment of Muslims towards their adoptive country.

And dare I say it, but where does this victimhood and resentment eventually lead?


  1. “But this does not account for the fact the Reclaim Australia movement is more than the sum of its 24 principles.”
    Of course we can say the same about Islam.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. [snip] If it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. Apologists for the horror of of Islam perpetrated by Muslims and only Muslims is what Aly fails to recognise, go to YouTube and see the Muslims slitting the throats of innocent children, see the Muslims shooting a woman in the head because she did not have her head scarfe covering her face, look at these images Aly and understand why, we as Australians want no part of this evil abomination called Islam, we want no part of the Muslim hatred for not only us as “Western Infidels” but your own kind, we do not want the horror of Islam razing our cities to the ground, [snip] Good on you R.A., I support you 100%.


  3. James Murphy says:

    Another academic who is unwilling to discuss anything they do with ‘mere mortals’…though you were told to “join the line”, so maybe you’ll get a response eventually… you know, when hell freezes over. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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