Apparently the Turnbull Government’s new “collaborative” approach means pretending things are other than what they are. Religiously motivate violence is called “politically motivated”. Aggressive extremists are “disempowered”. Weak Muslim leadership is “strong”. And when the Grand Mufti of Australia refuses to call a jihadist attack “terrorism”, well, that’s just a “collaborative approach”.
AUSTRALIA’S Grand Mufti refused to label Friday’s fatal shooting at police headquarters a terrorist attack and blamed social media for teaching young Muslims extremist views.
Speaking through an interpreter one week after teenager Farhad Jabar opened fire on police headquarters in Parramatta, killing accountant Curtis Cheng, Dr Mohammad would not acknowledge the brutal murder as a terror attack, despite Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Premier Mike Baird calling it a terror incident.
“We are not an investigation agency, we cannot redefine or readapt what happened,” he said.
“We are not the agency that investigates and achieves what really happened. There’s not enough information so far about that. Without enough information, and given that we are not an investigating body, I cannot comment on that.”
Liberal MP Fiona Scott, asked on Sky News today about the Mufti’s refusal call terrorism “terrorism”:
I think that was welcome. It demonstrates the collaborate approach.
“Collaboration” apparently means we all agree not to mention the war.
Noticed how Turnbull has helped to turn the national conversation so that the real victims are Muslims and the real oppressors are nasty Australian rednecks?
New co-ordinated strategies to prevent teenagers from falling under the spell of Islamic State will be a major focus of an urgent meeting convened by Malcolm Turnbull next week, as the Prime Minister steps up his response to the terror shooting of police worker Curtis Cheng.
Officials from federal and state police forces, intelligence services and other government agencies will meet in Canberra on Thursday to develop ways to better co-ordinate their approaches to countering violent extremism…
Journalists are trying to cover for Malcolm Turnbull’s astonishing failure of leadership over Islamist terrorism. On Sky News, for instance, one presenter claimed Turnbull’s message yesterday was both “strong” and “nuanced” – terms that rarely co-exist.
Malcolm Turnbull has an irrepressible lawyer style, an instinctive sympathy for human rights arguments and a deliberate political strategy to be different from Tony Abbott.
All three traits have served him well in taking over office because he could appeal to those opposed to the former prime minister’s direct, abrasive style.
But now he is Prime Minister and has to deal with some tough topics, Turnbull will have to curb these tendencies and find a balance between caring compassion and tough-minded declarations.
Following the terror murder of police worker Curtis Cheng and the Coalition’s examination of programs for deradicalisation and countering violent terrorism, Turnbull had difficulty finding the balance between reassuring the general public and deterring an anti-Islamic backlash… Apart from turning a point about mutual respect being the Australian way and necessary to help fight Islamist radicalisation into a speech, Turnbull appeared uncertain and over-qualified his remarks.At one stage, as he edged towards telling people who didn’t like Australia to leave, he pulled back as he realised he was going where not even Abbott had gone. Turnbull needs to start saying less and keeping what he does say more direct.
What I found notable about Turnbull’s presser yesterday was that so much of his message was a lecture to non-Muslim Australians that seemed to assume many were irrational anti-Islamic bigots. He also repeated the falsehood that jihadism was ”politically motivated” rather than religiously motivated, although he did elsewhere in the press conference at least concede the attack was “motivated we believe by extremists’ political and religious views”. And I was also struck by how often Turnbull had to refer to notes to give his message without stumbling, although the following excerpt is not the worst example of it:
Turnbull is right to be worried that tough talking about Islam might alarm the Muslim “leaders” he needs to help fight Islamist violence. But he should also worry that soft talking about Islam might alarm the non-Muslim Australians he needs to help fight any backlash.
And how much hope is there that there will be this cooperation from Muslim leaders? We’ve been looking for, pleading for, that cooperation for at least 14 years now, since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Related. The Guardian’s Frankie Boyle on the leadership style of Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour’s new leader:
Corbyn took to the stage with his head like a haunted tennis ball, and the general air of a pigeon that had inherited a suit. His speech lasted 59 minutes, one minute for every Labour MP who would like to see him fed into a sausage machine. The new Labour leader insisted, “Leadership is about listening.” If leadership is about listening, the great political speeches would have been a little different. Churchill saying, “Can you tell me what you’d like to do on the beaches?” Or Martin Luther King, surrounded by civil right activists at the Lincoln Memorial: “Did everyone hear that? He said a dog came into his bedroom but it had the head of his dead mother … it sang the Camptown Races and then all his teeth fell out. That’s a great one. OK, hands up who’s got another dream?”
One problem with Turnbull’s plan to talk this terrorism thing into the ground is the Grand Mufti. Eighteen years after arriving here from Egypt and four years after he promised to master English in four years the Mufti still needs an interpreter. Something symbolic in that.