Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, October 31, 2002

The fuzz are taking seriously the likelihood that the Islamofascist conspiracy has resources in place for the first attack on Australian soil. And so they should.

Do they have evidence? Who knows.

Should they be looking for it? You bet.

And so some citizens and residents of our broad land are being examined closely. “They’re innocent!” cry Auntie and the Henny Penny Herald in unison. “It’s a stunt!” shouts the Council for Civil Liberties.

We have little to go on, and most of that comes from the people whose homes have been raided. What can we take from that shallow stream?

Mr Basri of Sydney has already been declared a good citizen by the Herald and his neighbours. He is a keen follower of Bashir the duck, attends his lectures and reproduces his thoughts in pamphlets which he hands out at several Sydney mosques. He supports Jihad “because it’s part of my religion”. The intrepid innocents working for the Herald do not enquire about his views on regime change in Australia.

Those of you who’ve read a newspaper lately will know that Bashir’s power base, Jemaa Islamiya, preaches war against all infidels and works for the creation of Greater Islamia, a south east Asian super-state, including northern Australia, run according to sharia law. Their connections with organised terrorism are now established.

In some respects Uncle would like to be a citizen of Greater Islamia. The prospect of seeing Philip the Gastropod Adams suspended by his big toes over a bonfire fuelled by Australia’s pig population would fill me with schadenfreude, were it not for my respect for pigs.

But back to the real world of Mr Basri, the innocent fanatic. Should he be scrutinised? Time may tell, or it may stay silent.

Bear this comparison in mind. Suppose the late, unlamented V I Lenin were spruiking at Australia’s doorstep, demanding the overthrow of democratic government in favour of his form of dictatorship of the saints. As, indeed, he and his successor Joe Stalin were. Suppose that there is a group of Australians exercising their democratic rights by associating freely to support the goals of Vlad and Joe. They’ve never set a bomb in their short lives. Should they be scrutinised?

We’ve been through all this before. For decades the Australian left fought to defend the rights of the communists and their Party to avoid the oversight of our security and intelligence services. Only with the publication of a little book by Des Ball were we given the evidence against them. The war-time secretary of the Party was indeed a spy for Joe Stalin, passed on sensitive information from other spies in our government to Moscow from where it was passed to Tokio. We don’t know what impact it may have had on the lives and deaths of our military personnel. Fortunately we had broken the Japanese codes.

And the communists were not into suicide bombing, just suicidal strikes.