Thursday, June 01, 2017

Australia, refugees, and terrorism

Australia justifies its racist anti-refugee policies under the guise of "fighting terrorism". But there's a problem: ASIO, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, thinks there's no connection:

The head of Australia’s spy agency, Duncan Lewis, says people become terrorists because they adhere to a violent interpretation of Sunni Islam, not because they are refugees.


“We have had tens of thousands of refugees come to Australia over the last decade or so and a very few of them have become subjects of interest for Asio and have been involved in terrorist planning,” he said.

“I’m not denying that. I’ve not said that there are no terrorists who have not been refugees or who have not been the sons and daughters of refugees born in this country.

“But the context is very important. The reason they are terrorists is not because they are refugees but because of the violent, extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam that they have adopted.”

Lewis said sons and daughters of refugees were “in the group that have resorted to radicalisation but I think it is very wrong to say that it is because of their refugee status”.

“They are radicalised for different reasons,” he said.

(From this side of the Tasman, it appears that one of those reasons is Australia's religious intolerance and targeting of Muslims. When you can't get on peacefully with your life because the government considers all members of your religion to be suspected terrorists, it encourages extremist views and violent reactions. By creating and feeding an atmosphere of oppression the Australian government has effectively created its own domestic terrorism problem. The worry is that SIS will adopt the same intrusive methods in New Zealand, with the same outcome...)

This is not what the Australian right wants to hear, and so we have former PM Tony Abbott telling ASIO to "think again". Because clearly intelligence agencies are there not to tell the politicians about reality, but to confirm their prejudices...