PM: Rad­i­cal Is­lam is great­est threat to our so­ci­ety

Sunday Mail - - NEWS -

Mr Mor­ri­son has called on lo­cal Is­lamic lead­ers to weed out the “evil thieves” who “prey on their com­mu­nity, on their vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, on their chil­dren”.

“There is a spe­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity on re­li­gious lead­ers to pro­tect their re­li­gious com­mu­ni­ties and en­sure dan­ger­ous teach­ings and ide­olo­gies do not take root here,” he said.

“They must be proac­tive. They must be alert and they must call this out in their com­mu­ni­ties and more broadly for what it is.”

Mr Mor­ri­son was speak­ing as a grow­ing num­ber of Gov­ern­ment MPs de­manded that ter­ror sus­pects liv­ing in Aus­tralia on visas be de­ported to their home coun­tries.

Lib­eral MP Ja­son Wood said: “Any­one who goes on a watch­list should be booted out. We cur­rently do it un­der the char­ac­ter test for the bikies; we just need to change the leg­is­la­tion to in­clude ex­trem­ist ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Ex­perts said Mr Mor­ri­son’s mes­sage was the strong­est of any mod­ern Aus­tralian leader.

“It’s hard to think of a more hard-line re­sponse in call­ing out Is­lamist ex­trem­ism than this,” said Aus­tralian Na­tional Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor of In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence stud­ies John Blax­land.

The de­bate was sparked by the Bourke St at­tack, in which So­mali-born Shire Ali stabbed three peo­ple, killing one, af­ter blow­ing up his ute.

It emerged Shire Ali was one of 400 peo­ple on a na­tional ASIO watch­list and that au­thor­i­ties can­celled his pass­port be­cause of con­cerns he was plan­ning to fight over­seas.

Lowy In­sti­tute re­search fel­low Rodger Shana­han said re­li­gion and ter­ror­ism was a sen­si­tive is­sue to ad­dress but some­thing that must be ac­knowl­edged.

“I think he has de­cided to call it as it is,” the for­mer army of­fi­cer said. “The dif­fi­culty is af­ter some­one has done that is how do you con­trol the de­bate from the me­dia or any­body else once you use the re­li­gion word?”

Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­icy In­sti­tute’s Jac­inta Car­roll said the speech also con­tained pos­i­tive mes­sages about the role of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity in a n ad­dress that ap­peared to com­ple­ment what Vic­to­ria and Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice were say­ing.

Vic­to­rian Pre­mier Daniel An­drews said that his state “will not be de­fined by this act of evil,” while Op­po­si­tion Leader Matthew Guy said there should be no “mo­ral squeamish­ness” when it came to deal­ing with ex­trem­ism.

Pic­ture: ALEX COP­PEL

TRIB­UTES: Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten lays flow­ers at Pellegrini’s yes­ter­day.

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