Aus­tralians warned of long war against ji­had

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY DAN GOLD­BERG

AUS­TRALIA FACES a bru­tal, cen­tu­ry­long war against rad­i­cal Is­lamists that will be fought at home and over­seas, a for­mer army chief warned this week.

Just days af­ter Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Peter Leahy, who was chief of the Aus­tralian Army from 2002-2008, is­sued this grim warn­ing, a photo was re­leased on Twit­ter show­ing a young Syd­ney­born boy pos­ing with the sev­ered head of an ex­e­cuted sol­dier in Syria.

It shocked the na­tion and sparked in­ter­na­tional head­lines, trig­ger­ing a chorus of con­dem­na­tion against the boy and his fa­ther, be­lieved to be con­victed ter­ror­ist Khaled Shar­rouf.

Mr Leahy, who is now direc­tor of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity In­sti­tute at the Univer­sity of Can­berra, said the grue­some image vin­di­cated his warn­ing.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims would be com­pletely hor­ri­fied by this,” Mr Leahy was quoted as say­ing in the Aus­tralian news­pa­per. “The only so­lu­tion has to come from within Is­lam… Their lead­ers must speak up and pub­licly con­demn this be­hav­iour.”

Mus­lim lead­ers have con­demned the photo of Mr Shar­rouf and his son, who slipped out the coun­try last De­cem­ber. NSW Is­lamic Coun­cil head Khaled Sukkarieh said the image was out­ra­geous. “To see pho­tos of a seven-yearold be­ing sub­jected to this kind of rub­bish; we con­demn it all in the name of Is­lam,” he said.

But most Mus­lim lead­ers de­clined to com­ment on Is­lamic State, the ji­hadist group oth­er­wise known as Isis that pro­motes a Mus­lim caliphate across swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The back­lash against the photo came days af­ter a gang of drunken youths boarded a bus full of young Jewish stu- dents in Sydney, al­legedly threat­en­ing to slit their throats. Po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mi­nors.

Mr Leahy warned that Aus­tralia was not prop­erly pre­pared for a long war against rad­i­cal Is­lam.

“Aus­tralia is in­volved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the cen­tury,” he was quoted as say­ing. The threat of rad­i­cal Is­lamism will re­quire “the ex­pen­di­ture of blood and treasure”, he added.

“It will, of ne­ces­sity, re­strict our rights and lib­er­ties.”

His warn­ing came days af­ter the govern­ment pro­posed new data laws man­dat­ing phone and in­ter­net com­pa­nies to re­tain records for two years in a bid to help in­tel­li­gence agen­cies pre­vent do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

Last Fri­day, David Irvine, the head of Aus­tralia’s spy agency, de­scribed the threat level as “medium”, mean­ing a ter­ror­ism “event” in Aus­tralia was likely.

The na­tion’s top spy chief last month ex­pressed con­cern about “tens” of for­mer Aus­tralian ji­hadists who have re­turned from the Mid­dle East.

“We’ve even had bomb plots here in Aus­tralia and thanks to po­lice and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, have been able to stop those threats,” Mr Leahy said. “But ter­ror­ists only have to be lucky once.”

Ac­tor Robin Wil­liams (above, in a kip­pah on the set of The Crazy Ones), who com­mit­ted sui­cide on Mon­day, de­scribed him­self as an “honorary Jew”. Among the char­ac­ters he por­trayed were an elderly Jewish lady and a rabbi

PHOTO: TWIT­TER

Sydney boy holds up a sev­ered head

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