Yesterday I highlighted the dastardly nature of the Islamists who do all they can to destroy our western societies. Today are the obvious responses.
This is the affront, that makes free democratic societies so vulnerable to the radical agenda. It highlights the challenges for all free societies, not just in the West but for those that are trying to develop more equitable systems (such as the brave Afghan and Iraqi police and security personnel who avert the worst of the recent attacks.)
Paul Sheehan at that time, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald also tackles this issue on the basis that those wanting to infiltrate secular, free Governments (whether in Kabul or Iran; America or London) and replace them with Islamic laws, also want to destroy the Western ideologies.
There seems to be several ways forward in my view. They all need to be implemented as appropriate, and all need to work together.
The first reaction of individuals is awareness. People are learning to look for 'suspicious' behaviour. Without this becoming a paranoid 'dob in your neighbour' activity, it can have ongoing benefits.
On 9/11, there was another plane that apparently was destined for the White House. On that plane, passengers received mobile phone calls about planes flying into the Twin Towers, and those passengers overcame the terrorists and bravely and selflessly stopped this plane flying into a building (although, as we know, it inevitably crashed).
Since then, there have been many anecdotes of passengers overcoming people who behave suspiciously on planes. Never again will potential hostages sit quietly and acquiesce to the demands of terrorists.
Another approach is a political reprise. France has taken legislative steps that equates Muslim head wear to stating a political agenda (as Turkey's Attaturk did in the 1920's banning the Hijab in any public place including schools, universities and parliament). The Swiss have spoken in a referendum to ban Islamic worship centre Minarets. In Australia a Judge has taken the extraordinary step of describing a Muslim spokesperson with words that would in the public sphere be libellous.
A social concern
Another possible solution is a social one - to work with Muslim populations groups which, in western societies, have developed social welfare and worship agendas. Muslim moderate communities have it within their own hands to 'ensure a separation' of religious and political agendas when living in western democracies, and to live by the rules of the free societies in which they live.
As an example, so much of Australia's legal system carries with it vestiges from the Bible. For example, 1 Samuel 30 verse 24, David establishes that those who stay behind with "the stuff" get an equal portion of the booty to those who were at the front.
This kind of scenario is likewise seen in our divorce laws that the spouse who kept the home fires going and raised the children gets an equal portion. This is important in Islamic communities.
A more global and long-lasting solution is to ensure that our economy and intellectualism are strong, and that all in our society are able to take advantage of the jobs market and education and that no-one is marginalised to the extent that they can hold a grudge.
All comers, including Muslim people and their families can therefore likewise enjoy these privileges that are common to western liberalism and be part of ongoing intellectual pursuits that allows free thought and expression without fear of threat to their person, families or their lives.
Nonetheless history also reveals as in Vienna in the C19th, then President Jefferson confronting the Islamic pirates off the African coast, as in WW1, there may come a time when this other avenue might be explored. Wasn’t it Edward Barton who said evil prevails when good men do nothing.
Awareness is a theme we must never put aside.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html