(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/12/EPA_man_haron_monis_jtm_141215_16x9_992.jpg)The hostage saga in Sydney ended in dramatic fashion yesterday as Australian police and SWAT teams stormed a downtown café after a 16-hour standoff with armed hostage taker, Man Haron Monis. Monis, identified as a Muslim cleric with a criminal record that included sexual assault and accessory to murder, was killed during the operation as were two hostages, identified as a male and female in their 30s.
Monis, an Iranian national, requested refugee status and asylum in Australia in 1996 and sought to repay Australia’s benevolence by engaging in a vituperative letter-writing campaign directed at the families of fallen Australian soldiers who served in Afghanistan. The letters, in which Monis expresses opposition to the war in Afghanistan, refers to the fallen soldiers as “pigs” and compares them to Hitler. Australian authorities charged him with “using a postal or similar service to menace, harass or cause offense [sic]” for which he received a relatively mild sentence of 300 hours of community service.
Australian police ought to be commended for their efficiency and professionalism in quickly subduing the terrorist and preventing more bloodshed, yet the incident raises more questions than it answers. How was a man with such a shady past, with no viable means of supporting himself, who was charged with such serious crimes, allowed to walk on bail and why was his refugee status not revoked? These are questions that the Australian justice system and immigration authorities will have to grapple with in the coming days.
More problematic is how the Australian government will seek to label this incident. Monis’s former lawyer sought to distance his ex-client from any connection to Islamic terrorism, noting that Monis’s actions reflected those of a “random individual” and were not reflective of a “concerted terrorism event or act.” His lawyer’s comments will surely be echoed by Australia’s Muslim community as well as its multiculturalist amen corner.
But the facts of this case dictate other, more malevolent conclusions that point toward radical Islam. Monis was a radical Islamist who espoused the ideologies of the Islamic State. During the hostage standoff, he issued demands that demonstrated unyielding devotion to Islam. He insisted that authorities provide him with an ISIS flag and that the government officially label the incident an ISIS attack. Monis also forced his terrified victims to display an Islamic shahada flag in both the window of the café and in the numerous videos released of hostages relaying messages.
Australia has not been immune from the scourge of radical Islam currently sweeping across multicultural Europe. It is a liberal democracy that unwittingly plays host to radical Islamists who have taken advantage of Australia’s liberal democratic character to advance their pernicious schemes.
On September 18, Australian security forces thwarted a plan by Australian Muslims to kidnap and behead Australian citizens in public and drape their bodies in an Islamic State flag. And on December 15, Australian authorities charged two Muslim terrorists with providing funding for Australian Muslims seeking to fight with ISIS.
Monis was not a lone wolf as some would have us believe. There comes a point when collectively, so-called lone wolf attacks must be viewed as coordinated strikes, actively encouraged by fundamentalist ideologies. Those who claim otherwise, who refuse to acknowledge the obvious and absurdly label these attacks as acts of “work place violence” or “random acts of violence,” are being disingenuous and placing politics above the needs of national security.
Whether it is a shooting spree at Fort Hood, a beheading in Woolwich, a bloodbath at a Jerusalem synagogue or, as in this case, a hostage standoff and murder, these incidents and countless others too numerous to mention, represent nothing short of an attack on Western civilization. The attackers may not have known each other but were nevertheless inspired and guided by the same radical Islamist ideology, an ideology that seeks to dominate, subjugate and restore Islam to the same standing it experienced some 1,000 years ago.
This radical ideology easily spreads like a virus through 21st century mediums like Facebook and Twitter but also finds home in the mosques and madrassas of the Middle East and the West where Muslim clerics routinely call for the murder of Jews and annihilation of Western civilization. Unfortunately, many in the West, in the name of multiculturalism and tolerance, have preferred to ignore this malevolence and have allowed it to metastasize like a malignant cancer.
So long as Western governments continue to bury their collective heads in the sand, fail to draw the necessary conclusions and take decisive action, we can unfortunately expect more future tragedies like that which just occurred in Sydney.
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