DR JAMAL RIFI @ THE DAILY TELEGRAPH thanks to Halal Choices
Dr Rifi says, “Halal certification money should be invested in engaging with the frustrated youth and in deradicalization programs. After all, this is Muslim community money.”
It certainly is a better idea than the ‘deradicalization’ programs being funded by tax-payer money. However I can’t see the extremely wealthy and profitable halal certifiers parting with such large amounts of money. I also think we need to address and discuss the fundamental issues of what the Qu’ran teaches and the example of the prophet if we are serious about integration and peace.
And as he says, halal profits are “Muslim community money.” That is the issue many of us are frustrated with. Why do all consumers, the majority of which are non-Muslim, have to contribute so much profit to “Muslim community money”?
Halal certification needs to be either government run and everyone benefits from the profits, or user pays and only Muslims fund the industry. I hope Dr Rifi makes his own submission to the government inquiry.
New legislation to strip citizenship from terrorists with dual citizenship is a two-edged sword. When the terrorist is already overseas, I have no issues with it.
However, while punishing locally convicted terrorists is a must, stripping them of citizenship is punishing their innocent family.
We Australian Muslims have made a choice to participate in this country’s democratic institutions. Achieving security and maintaining liberties should not be a seesaw equation or a zero-sum game. Having a secure nation should not be at the expense of losing our liberties or rights. For example, stripping citizenship from terrorists convicted in Australia will mean deportation after serving their sentences regardless of whether they have been rehabilitated or not — in which case, what is the difference between us and Indonesia?
Likewise, on deportation, their family members — likely to be already victims of extremism — will keep suffering if forced out of the country by the perpetrator or the law.
If we want to combat terrorism, the most important thing is to deconstruct so-called Islamic State ideology and discredit its narrative and propaganda. And no one is better placed to blow apart the IS myth than those who have been there, become disillusioned and want to return.
This does not mean automatically allowing any Australian who has joined IS to return. Each would-be jihadi must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and, of course, they cannot have blood on their hands.
This would be a complex, exhaustive process. Deradicalisation must begin when they are still overseas and be constantly assessed and reassessed. Only once they have been deemed fully safe should they be allowed to return to Australia, where they must continue to be enrolled in a deradicalisation program.
Of course there are still risks, but consider also the rewards. We can gain first-hand knowledge of the techniques IS uses to radicalise and recruit young Australians, the trigger-factors, thought patterns and backgrounds of those who turn to extremism, and the mechanisms by which IS makes contact and communicates with their prey and physically transports them to Syria.
We may even be able to gather intelligence on the activities of IS in Iraq and Syria, including the role of senior Australian IS figures. The reported case of the family of Khaled Sharrouf is just one example of how difficult this issue has become. Whatever the horrors of his actions or the delusions of his wife in taking their children to Syria, are we to punish the children for their parents’ actions? If anything, they are already victims. Yet if they do come back, how are we to care for them and undo the unthinkable damage done by their upbringing to date?
To this end I propose that halal certification organisations provide financial assistance not just to the grandchildren of Karen and Peter Nettleton but to deradicalisation schemes for disaffected Muslim youth. We stopped all these young people from travelling and confiscated their passports and so now we have we ended up with still-frustrated and volatile youths, but without any programs in place to engage with them.
Halal certification money should be invested in engaging with the frustrated youth and in deradicalisation programs. After all, this is Muslim community money.
It is also important to stress that the vast majority of Australian Muslims are not in any way interested in IS ideology, which is more accurately a recruitment tactic that preys on aggressive, disaffected and/or vulnerable youths regardless of background.
It is worth noting that one-third of worldwide terror attacks are committed by recent converts to Islam.
Nor is there such a thing as “one” Muslim community — there is a plethora of communities as diverse as any other. Sadly, it is usually the most vulnerable families and communities that are most heavily targeted by hard line extremists.
Therefore to tackle this problem we need a whole-of-society response, not just a Muslim community response. But that does not mean the Muslim community, such as it is, can afford to shirk responsibility for the dangerous elements within it. Nor should we be defensive or complacent when it comes to reaching out to non-Muslims to prove that we are overwhelmingly a people of peace. Trust is hard to win and easy to lose and we Australian Muslims need to earn the trust of society so as to improve our standing.
Dr Jamal Rifi is a Belmore GP and prominent Muslim figure.