It is a disgrace that the Canberra Times, an extremely leftish Moonbat rag, gives Islamo-tosspot Yusuf Irfan a soapbox, from where he can excrete nonsense like this.
Another segment in out long running series of
Yusuf rubs it
What exactly is terrorism? What makes a person a terrorist? Is it sufficient that the perpetrator be a Muslim or non-white? Should an Anglo-Australian who stockpiles weapons in his house for a far-right organisation be treated as a terrorist? What about a white American who attacks black churches and massacres their congregants?
Or does the existence of terrorism depend on the victims’ identities? In an editorial last month, The Australian newspaper made this extraordinary claim: “Apart from innocent civilians and police slain in attacks such as that in London, most victims of Islamist extremism’s war on modernity are the Yazidi, Christian and other minorities who’ve endured harrowing persecution by Islamic State on the frontlines in the Middle East.” What is it about these minorities? Is it just their religion – Yazidi or Christian?
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So what do we make of the hundreds of thousands of Kurdish victims, most of whom are Muslim? What about Shi’ite, Sunni and Alawi Muslims in Syria? What about the Sunni and Shi’ite victims of Islamic State in Iraq? Moving away from the Middle East, what was the background of the 70-plus devotees killed during an IS strike against the shrine of Qalandar Lal Shahbaz in southern Pakistan? Is it only terror when the victims are “our” people?
In mainstream media and political discourse, terrorism is increasingly a phenomenon in which the perpetrator is Muslim and the victim isn’t. The reality is less simple. In the not too distant past, Nelson Mandela was classed as a terrorist in the United States. He remained on the US terrorism watch list until 2008. The life of late Northern Irish polit-cian Martin McGuiness was celebrated at his funeral last week. During his years in the IRA, he wasn’t exactly averse to using violence to achieve republican goals.
Many punters aren’t aware of the fact that there is no internationally accepted definition of “terrorism”. For this reason, the relevant legislation of common-law nations like Britain, Canada and Australia does not define “terrorism”. Instead, it speaks of a “terrorist act”. Our law doesn’t follow South African legislation, which exempts acts “waged by peoples … in furtherance of their legitimate right to national liberation”. Our definition instead follows English legislation, which effectively creates a religion-based causal link. If a religious motive is found, an act can fall within the boundaries of counter-terrorism legislation when, in the absence of such a motive, it might not.
University of NSW legal scholar Keiran Hardy argues that the nexus between religion in general (and Islam in particular) and terrorist acts is likely to remain. This will be the case not because of any necessary link between Islamic traditions and terrorism but because many terrorist groups find it convenient to invoke the language of Islam. Given that terrorist groups make up a tiny population of the world’s Muslim population, it means terrorist motives are most commonly pinned on the violent act of someone of Muslim heritage or background. It also gives rise to claims that Muslim theology and culture is necessarily the source of all terrorist violence.
The best evidence for the existence of the relevant motive naturally comes from the perpetrator. Again, this is more easily said than done, especially if the perpetrator was killed before he could be interrogated.
What if the perpetrator was, like the killer who terrified Westminster in London last week, someone with a long criminal history who had a Christian background for most of his life? We know him as Khalid Masood but he grew up as Adrian Elms, and then Adrian Ajao, the son of a white mother and an Afro-Caribbean father.
When he was Masood, he dealt in drugs and slashed a man across the face and even stabbed a man in the nose. As one Christian blogger noted: “Adrian Elms was a violent Christian before he became Muslim terrorist Khalid Masood … Islam didn’t make him an evil bastard; he was already a nasty piece of work.”
But was Elms/Masood an actual terrorist? Place yourself in the shoes of the judicial officer carrying out an inquest addressing this and other questions. Dead men cannot be put on trial. Apart from a statement from Islamic State, which is known to take responsibility for just about anything and everything, what do you have? Unlike with the July 7 bombers, there is no video showing a jihadist motive.
Could Masood’s criminal record of drug-related and violent offences be a predictor of ideologically or politically or religiously inspired violence? What about his violence towards his estranged Muslim wife? We know his former employer saw no hint of extremism in Masood other than a strong reaction to a white supremacist group establishing itself in the local area.
Perhaps as a judicial officer, you might study the inquest into the Martin Place siege, carried out by Man Monis, who was also shot during a police raid. The inquest called on a number of terrorism experts, local and from the US. None could reach consensus on whether Monis’s actions could be described as constituting terrorism.
Nelson Mandela was classed as a terrorist in the United States and remained on the US terrorism watch list until 2008.
Perhaps the real reason there is no consensus on what precisely constitutes “terrorism”, “terrorist” or even “terrorist act” is because, ultimately, terrorism is a political phenomenon. How often do we hear the sentence “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”? The vague nature of terrorism hasn’t stopped the Commonwealth from introducing more than 65 separate pieces of counter-terror legislation. Effectively, what we now have is a parallel criminal legal system that criminalises not only terrorist acts but a host of innocuous activities and alliances, which, in our conventional criminal law, would likely not be deemed offences at all.
So what is terrorism? Something that causes people to feel terrorised? Thankfully, most of us won’t need to conduct an inquest on the issue.
Irfan Yusuf is a PhD candidate at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. firstname.lastname@example.org