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Terror in Sydney!

This is friendly Australia, where we say g’day mate and ignore the picture of a young boy holding a severed head

For many years, we have sat in our little corner of the world, comfortable and content. Comfortable that all the terror we read about and see on the news are from faraway places – places foreign to us, places of our sleeping nightmares, not of our waking dreams.

We saw the signs – oh yes, we did. We saw on our nightly news how some radical Muslims in our society had disappeared from this land, only to reappear in another land broadcasting videos wishing us harm and wishing us death. But that was faraway, not here…

We saw how our police conducted raids against groups in our major cities – terror raids they were called, against groups who were planning attacks against us.

We saw how marchers in our streets held signs calling on people to “Behead those who insult the prophet”. It made us uncomfortable.

And we also saw pictures of a young Australia boy, holding a severed head, along with his proud father, having made their way to Iraq for a father-son Jihad bonding of blood.  It unnerved us.

But this is Australia – the land down under. This is a place where we greet each other with warm and jovial greetings. G’day mate, we say. This is a place where people get along and don’t care what colour you are, or where you’ve from. Of course there is some racism like all countries, but by and large, we’re a tolerant bunch. This is a place where in the same neighbourhood, you can order Qabli Pulao from an Afghan restaurant, a Thai Green curry, a coffee from the Baghdad Cafe, an Italian pasta, and a moussaka dish from the local Greek restaurant.

But today, as I write this, terror is visiting our shores. Because today, a man walked into a café in the middle of Sydney and proceeded to take an unknown number of hostages. We don’t know yet about his motivations and we don’t know yet about his background. We don’t know how this will end. But we do know that he forced his hostages to hold a large banner against the front window of the café – a banner that said in Arabic, “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

The fire of hatred had been lit in the Middle East, but it is the world bodies who have fanned the flames causing it to spread well beyond its borders. They who chose to ignore the terror are now responsible for it having exploded. It is those who chose to accommodate terror rather than fight it. It is those that who think appeasement is a strategic decision, rather than a complete capitulation. It is those who choose to conduct investigations against those who defend themselves, rather than those who carry out the terrorist actions.

In Sydney, many Muslim leaders have united to condemn the actions of the person responsible for today. It is just a shame they did not show such vocal condemnation when some radical people of their faith chose to launch terror wars against Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world in September that the fight against Islamic terrorism is not solely Israel’s. “It’s not just our fight, it’s your fight,” he said. “Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow. “

Well, tomorrow has arrived.

Australia may occupy an isolated corner of the world, but today it is very much a part of it.

To quote a famous English prime minister from many years ago:

“This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end.

But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.