Many people think that Muslim terrorism in the West is a recent phenomenon. Certainly the modern kind of terrorism where Muslims pack up as many guns as they can and begin massacring non-Muslim civilians in a Western country. It’s not.
I don’t know if the Battle of Broken Hill counts as the first, of what would become many similar acts of Muslim terror, but it certainly was one of the first warnings of what Muslim immigration would bring with it.
On January 1, 1915 two Broken Hill men, both former camel drivers, armed themselves with rifles, an homemade flag bearing Islamic insignia and a large supply of ammunition and launched a surprise attack on the Picnic Train about 3 kilometres outside Broken Hill. The train carried about 1200 Broken Hill residents to Silverton where a picnic to celebrate the new year was to take place.
The two men were Badsha Mohammed Gool and Mullah Abdullah, an Imam and Halal butcher. Mullah Abdullah was angry about being fined his unsanitary practices and Mohammed Gool was a pot smoker and Islam plus marijuana turned out not to be a good combination. But then Islam plus anything else is usually a bad combination.
Mohammed left behind a letter reading, “I must kill you and give my life for my faith, Allah Akbar.”
The same message has since been repeated in countless massacre in the West committed by Muslim migrants and immigrants in atrocities highly similar to what Abdullah and Mohammed carried out in Australia in 1915.
More than 1,200 men, women and children clambered aboard the makeshift train that would take them a few miles up the line to Silverton for the annual town picnic. The townspeople saw the men as their train pulled slowly up the hill; some even waved, thinking that the two Muslims touting rifles must be going rabbiting on their day off. But as the distance between the ice cream cart and the excursioners closed to only 30 yards, the Afghans crouched, took aim—and opened fire.
Bullets peppered the side of the train, which consisted of nothing more than flat wagons crudely converted for passenger use with temporary benches. The wagons’ low sides left the picnickers’ upper bodies and heads completely exposed, and at such short range they offered a target too big to miss. Ten passengers were hit before the train driver realized what was happening and pulled out of range; three of those were killed and seven wounded, three of whom were women. The dead were two men, William Shaw and Alf Millard, and a 17-year-old girl named Elma Cowie, who had joined the excursion with her boyfriend on a date.
Australia of 1915, especially in those parts, was not the Australia of 2012.
After the initial attack, it took the best part of an hour for the authorities in Broken Hill to respond. The police were mustered and armed, and a small force from a nearby army base was summoned. The locals, inflamed by the attack and greatly angered by the Afghans’ firing on women and children, seized whatever weapons they could find in the local rifle club.
“There was,” the Barrier Miner wrote, “a desperate determination to leave no work for the hangman, or to run the risk of the murderers of peaceful citizens being allowed to escape.”
The Battle of Broken Hill, as it is known, opened at 10:10 a.m. with the attack on the picnic train, and only ended shortly after 1 p.m.
The next day the mines of Broken Hill fired all employees deemed ‘enemy aliens’ under the 1914 Commonwealth War Precautions Act. Six Austrians, four Germans and one Turk were ordered out of town by the public. Shortly after all ‘enemy aliens’ in Australia were interned for the duration of the war.
As George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”