Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Melbourne terror plot

I'm not sure if the news was picked up overseas but we've had another foiled terrorist plot here in Melbourne. Five Muslims living in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, four from Somalia and one from Lebanon, have been arrested for planning an attack on a military base near Sydney.

The reaction within the Somali community isn't promising. There have been reports in the media of Somalis claiming that the men are innocent, that the police are terrorists, that the Australian government is corrupt, that Australian authorities are bigoted, that the raids on terror suspects were unreasonable and that Somali leaders should have been consulted by the police before the raids:

Abdurahman Osman, a leader of Melbourne's 15,000 strong Somali community, said police acted unreasonably.

"What do you call waking people up at four in the morning with guns?" he said.

"It is the police themselves that are the terrorists.

... Mr Osman's outburst came as a prominent Muslim website featured a photograph of Australian soldiers in uniform with the caption: "Real Australian terrorists."

It also features a photograph of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addressing Australian troops overseas with the caption: "Terrorist mastermind delivers sermon to impressionable followers."

"Mohammed" said on the website: "Why is it called terrorist attack when the Aussie troops have been raping, killing innocent Muslims for years?

"In this country we can't trust nobody. The Australian Government is corrupted."

... Mr Osman, until now a voice of moderation between Somalis and the wider community, said police should have consulted migrant leaders.

"The federal police could have come to us first and we could have helped them," Mr Osman said.

"We have met with them now, but we don't believe they have evidence of a terrorist plot and that is the feeling of the community."

Other Somalis accused Australian authorities of bigotry.

"As a Somali-born Australian I am outraged at these raids not only because my fellow Somalis are being targeted, but once again basic human rights are being violated," said Xamxam, a 21-year-old Sunshine woman

So there are Somalis who believe that they are the victims of a corrupt Australian society, even though it was young Somali men who were arrested for planning a violent terrorist act, and even though Somalis commit more crime here in Victoria than any other ethnic group (one in nine Victorians born in Somali committed a crime in the state last year).

The arrests have led a northern suburbs Labor Party MP, Kelvin Thomson, to call for a cut to the immigration intake to allow for a more careful vetting of immigrants who might pose a security risk. He wants a return to the immigration levels of the mid-1990s (80,000) rather than the extraordinarily high numbers of today (150,000 plus 250,000 on entry visas).


  1. I always suspected that if any parliamentarian were to demand a cut in levels of immigration to more or less sane levels, that parliamentarian would be a Labor rather than Liberal figure. Kelvin Thomson has proven me right. Not since Sir Robert Menzies' retirement in 1966 have the Liberals amounted to anything except The Carpetbaggers' Party.

  2. I always suspected that if any parliamentarian were to demand a cut in levels of immigration to more or less sane levels -- Les Crane

    If Mark will permit it, logic such as this demands a stern reprimand. There is absolutely nothing "sane" about 80,000/year. It is the very fact of immigration itself -- not its level -- that is insane. Embrace reality or dick around with party politicking, Mr. Crane, the choice is yours.

  3. Silver, that's stern alright. I agree with you that the thinking behind immigration needs to change so that it doesn't undermine existing national traditions. So it's not just a question of numbers. Even so, there are such large numbers now that there is a point in distinguishing between "sane" and "insane" levels.