Culture

A Potential Terrorist Attack On Australia Was Just Met With A Collective “Meh” Because The Guy Behind It Isn’t Muslim

Spot the difference between a terror attack and a "bomb plot".

It appears Australia recently came extremely close to suffering its own September 11. About a month ago, media across the country reported that Queensland police discovered fifty kilograms of explosive materials in a Brisbane property – including DMDT, which was used in the 2005 London bombings – along with maps hinting that these explosives were to be used to blow up areas of central Sydney and Newcastle.

The fears of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian government — that the Islamic terrorist threat had crept from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria to our very doorstep — seemed to have come true.

Well, no. It was shocking – given the rants of talkback radio shock jocks, some newspaper columnists and our very own Prime Minister – to learn this planned attack wasn’t actually that of an Australian-Islamic extremist. Behind this plot was a Newcastle local Daniel Fing, a well-known criminal who was jailed in 2006 for four years for firebombing a rival’s car in Belmont, New South Wales.

Australian media curiously referred to the discovery as a “bomb plot” and not a “terrorist plot”; a headline in The Daily Telegraph read: “Sydney bomb plot suspect’s angry history”, while another in the Sydney Morning Herald read: “Police believe maps clue to a Sydney bomb plot”. Indeed, one of the few mentions of terrorism was from Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Speaking to 612 ABC Radio, he said: “There are all sorts of people who do all sorts of weird and, at times, pretty dangerous things. But I haven’t been advised of any potential terrorist threat in respect of this particular issue”.

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Clear enough, then: this wasn’t a terrorist plot. But let’s pose a hypothetical – say the man behind the bomb plot was a Muslim named Muhammed Hosseini. Mr Hosseini’s motives weren’t yet known and the only facts of the case were that fifty kilograms of explosive material were discovered in his Lakemba home. The explosives were discovered by the real estate agent carrying out a routine inspection at a time Mr Hosseini was in custody for a completely unrelated driving offence.

Little imagination is needed to know how the Australian media would report this. Possible headlines: ‘SYDNEY TARGETED IN ISLAMIC TERRORIST PLOT’ or ‘ISLAMIC TERRORIST TARGETS SYDNEY,’ in bold capitals. Tony Abbott would be fronting the media detailing how this is evidence of the growing terror threat from Australian Muslims who had become radicalised in Iraq and Syria. Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Andrew Bolt and Paul Sheehan would be filling their talkback shows and newspaper columns with calls to increase police and security measures to combat the innately violent religion of Islam.

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But instead, the case at hand involving Mr Fing is just a bomb plot, worthy only of a third of page six of the Sydney Morning Herald and only a passing comment by our Prime Minister. This is bizarre, especially given the federal government’s recent preoccupation with popularising its new counter-terrorism measures worth $630 million. Wouldn’t a case like this be the trump card to win the debate over why the new measures are needed?

It seems not, which raises the question – why isn’t it? The answer many will give is that because Mr Fing’s motives aren’t known, it can’t be determined whether the plot fits the criteria in Section 100.1 of the Australian Criminal Code which defines a terrorist act. Therefore, for the moment, the plot is more ‘criminal’ than it is ‘terrorist’. Indeed, that is a true and valid point, and it would be wrong to label Mr Fing a terrorist with the details currently available.

But it’s as true and valid as the hypothetical of Mr Hosseini. If it were Mr Hosseini’s house which was now being raided by the Australian Federal Police, the case would be being used as that very trump card. Instead, it’s passed off as a person doing a weird and dangerous thing; we seem all too eager to wrongly label a Muslim as a terrorist but reluctant to do the same to a bomb-plotting Caucasian, middle-aged man.

Such double standards hint at a deeper possibility, which is that entrenched into the Australian psyche – as well the psyche of the Western world – is that terrorism is, and only is, a trait of Islam. The response to Mr Fing’s plot is clear evidence of this. It needn’t be stated here where this perception arises from – many terrorist acts, including the most infamous in history, are committed by those claiming to be “true” Muslims.

However, the response to the case of Mr Fing raises a reason for the persistence of this stereotype. It’s easier for us, the majority, to point the finger at one group and convince ourselves that it’s only members of that group who pose a threat. The chance of containing the threat is then heightened – at least in our paranoid psyches – as the potential terrorists are easily identified and limited in number. We needn’t then worry that anyone may in fact plant a bomb beneath our city tomorrow.

But just because it’s easy doesn’t make it right. This stereotype of “not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims” is not only blatantly wrong — just think of Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski aka the ‘Unabomber’, or the right-wing Hindu extremist, Swami Aseemanand — but is damaging to the majority of peaceful, highly-respectable and law-abiding Muslims, as well as Australia’s democracy, decency and social cohesion.

Are we as a country really serious about combating terrorism? Or are we more concerned with vilifying one religious group for our own interests?

Drew Rooke is a freelance writer from Sydney, Australia, with an interest in national affairs and contemporary culture.

Feature image via Bidgee/Wikipedia.

Comments

Comments

  1. Ken says:

    Hi Drew, I think you are saying two things about this bomb attempt:

    i) that statistically, there is no more likelihood that a bomb will be set by an Islamic terrorists as opposed to any other terrorist; therefore any extra reporting is exaggerating a threat or somehow prejudiced (i.e. a bit ‘phobic towards Islam); and

    ii) we almost had our first 9/11 in Australia.

    Both of these points by you are false:

    i) the threat is not exaggerated. Since 9/11 there have been over 24000 Islamic attacks around the world. There are the well known ones such as 9/11 itself (over 3000 deaths), two Bali attacks, London, Madrid. There are the confusing ones for the apologists – Sudan, Kenya, how about Argentina in 1992 (that was well before Iraq! how does that fit?). There are the ones that have been almost forgotten e.g. 400 killed including 186 children at the Belsen primary school in Russia. Remember that one? 10 years ago now. 186 children who had never heard of Islam. Murdered as hostages i.e. not even a bomb – face to face. What else is a pattern? How about, there are currently over 40 Islamic groups fighting for a caliphate in 28 different countries. Another pattern: more people are killed by Islamic terrorists every day than by the KKK in the last 50 years. In short, the number of people killed by Islamic terrorism dwarfs any other form of terrorism (that’s why no one is worried about Hindus. My favourite religion is Jainists by the way – they are Indian and won’t even kill a fly. Literally). Did you also know there have been at least 5 attempts in Australia to commit acts of terror in the name of Islam since 9/11. Which brings me to point ii)

    ii) there have already been many attempts to kill on Australian soil i.e. Australia’s 9/11. You have forgotten Faheem Khalid who tried to blow up an electricity grid, what about the Sydney Five or the Benbrika Group who conspired to set off a bomb at the 2005 AFL Grand Final? The grand final. All in the name of Islam. Of course there have been attempted bombings and actual bombings which have nothing to do with Islam e.g. the Sydney Hilton bomb and the Family Court Judge murders (theory is a disgruntled father). Or the Turkish Consulate in the 1980s (hard to say who did that). This new bomb attempt by a loner is sort of not news, because it’s not really news.

    I could go for hours and hours about the reason the media talk of a pattern of Islamic terrorism. But it all comes down to this: because there is a pattern of Islamic terrorism.

  2. Drew says:

    Ken,

    As-salamu alaykum (or, ‘Peace Be Upon You’).

    The examples you cite are all true. Let’s be clear that I’m not at all claiming that violence has been committed around the world in the name of Islam.

    But let’s make something else even clearer: you are cherry-picking these examples – and ignoring a whole host of others – to support your argument. And if this cherry-picking game is going to be played, then (and as much as I despise participating in it), I will use it as well.

    Let me expand one example I cited briefly in the piece. Terrorism committed in the name of Hinduism. You said “…no one is worried about Hindus.” I’m not sure how true that is for Muslims living in India who have had to face the RSS. Let me list a few of their actions: 2002 Gujarat Riots, 2008 bomb blast in Malegaon, bombing of the Samjhauta Express in 2007, bombing of a mosque in Hyderabad in 2007. This is an EXTREMELY limited list (pardon me for space constraints). Do these represent mainstream Hindu views? No. Are they evidence there is a pattern of Hindu terrorism? No. They are merely the actions of a few crazed clowns, just as the terrorism committed in the name of Islam are the actions of a few crazed clowns.

    I could have used as an example the IRA in Ireland. Or the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda. Or the hundreds of arson attacks on abortion clinics in the United States by fanatical Christians. Or the Buddhist terror being raged in Burma as I write this against Rohingya Muslims. Or – and this is your own example – the KKK.

    My point is that cherry-picking examples of terrorism from any religion is fallacious and is as strong a basis of an argument as a piece of cardboard is for building a table. Yes, I’ve cherry picked examples of Hindu terrorism because that is the game you started playing – not to claim that Hinduism is a religion of terror, but to counter your argument that there is a supposed ‘pattern’ of Islamic terrorism. Terrorism is, has been, and always will be committed by a whole array of people from all different countries, religions and ethnicities, for a whole host of reasons. In fact, to cite one piece of evidence, Robert Pape from The University of Chicago Project on Security and terrorism and the New America released in 2010 a report detailing the main motive behind modern terror attacks: foreign occupations of land seen by terrorists to be their homeland (http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2010/10/04/how-end-suicide-bombings-new-book-argues-problem-not-islam-lengthy-military-occup).

    You write that, “This new bomb attempt by a loner is sort of not news, because it’s not really news.” And you preface it by listing examples of other plots to kill on Australian soil. And, indeed, plots that received extensive media coverage. How are those plots any different from this plot? And, if we’re talking news values – prominence, proximity, impact, conflict, human interest, the bizarre – then any bomb plot, no matter who is behind it (whether it “a loner” or not), seems to me to tick every one of those boxes.

  3. Ken says:

    Dear Ken

    Thanks for taking time to reply I appreciate it and your warm hello is lovely but used for effect. In reply let me pick a quote from the Koran: ‘Allah is an enemy to unbelievers’. – Sura 2:98

    The thrust of your argument is that I have cherry picked and ignored other forms of terrorism. I thought I had made it clear that statistically Islamic terrorism is by far the highest form of terrorism we are facing in the world today. If i didn’t – I apologise and will re-state. Of all the forms of terrorism at the moment, and there are many, Islam is by far the greatest threat. I said 26000 since 9/11. This is not a ‘few crazed clowns’. This is a well oiled machine. Why would you say that?

    I then used examples – to try to show that it’s spread all over the world – as there are just too many to list, just as you did in your original article when you listed (you say cherry picked):

    “just think of Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski aka the ‘Unabomber’, or the right-wing Hindu extremist, Swami Aseemanand”

    As to Hindu attacks. Absolutely. I agree there is Hindu violence. I meant ‘no one in Australia is scared’ but I should not have been so flippant. Do they represent mainstream Hindu views? I can’t say. But if there were 26,000 attacks around the world and Hindus wanted to establish their equivalent of a caliphate, I would definitely look into it and would not be surprised if people used headlines that said ‘Hindu attack’. I also agree there have been and is Christian violence, but you quoted the KKK back to me despite it being proof of how, in comparison, relatively rare that violence is. I don’t understand why actual numbers are not important? As to Burmese violence, I see that example used a lot. Give me twenty more and it still wouldn’t come close to 26,000. Even 1000 more – not even close.

    On this point – you mention the IRA. Remember how terrifying that was for the British? Do you know how many were killed? 3000+ or so. In all 36 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland 3000+ were killed. About the same number killed in two hours by Islamic terrorism on Sept 11.

    The other point about this bomber you feel should have got more attention, is, I read about it. I knew about it. From the media. What more do you want the media to do? How about this great article the other day on the unsolved Family Court bombings?

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/road-to-revenge-20140825-3e8yo.html
    Should it have got more attention? Maybe. It’s an amazing story. But if there were 26000 attacks by parents at Family Courts around the world I think we could conclude there is a pattern without being accused of being biased?

  4. Jason Alexander says:

    Don’t blame the media. Blame the fact that there are so many Islamic extremists.

    How many islamic bombings have been non-ideological in nature in the west? None?

    Yet ANOTHER example of leftists more upset over ‘racism’ than the crimes committed by the ‘victims’ of the racism.

  5. Nafiz says:

    There is about 1 billion Muslims around the world and you claim 24000 terrorist attacked since 11/9 although you I am not sure in 92 Argentina attack is part of your 24000. I would say thats 0.000024% of Muslims population thats a complete looney. Australia enjoys 260 homicides each year on average over the past 13 years 3380 people on average was Murdered in Australia with Population base of 25 mil There are 0.0001352% loonies per capita. 56% more loonies per capita, deduct the negligible 2% of the of the 0.0001352% that are muslims in Australia. I would say Most Muslims should fear walking down the street at least 50% more then what Australian should worry of Muslims. Obviously without the mass hysteria generated by media and government most Muslims get about their day cautiously wiry of burly men heavily tatted and captain Australia (Australia flag wearing caped crusaders ever ready to drink on the blood of some Muslims Cronulla Style) .

    and yes God may have said in the Qur’an: ‘Allah is an enemy to unbelievers’. – Sura 2:98 last time I checked Muslims are not God. a more compelling argument would be if you could find somewhere God asked Muslims to defend his honours to which you would probably not find one.

    Suggestion: be afraid and let the fear eat you alive, you deserve it you racist Australian (yes I want it to become a thing why should ‘Red Neck’ cop all the stereotype).

  6. zhash says:

    Hey all!
    How easy it must be blame one whole nation that makes quarter of the humanity with all the problems that we are facing globally!
    Have we already forgotten the colonial era when we so called ‘devided and ruled’ any antion that was not under the banner of Christianity. Have we already forgotten the disasterous anti-semitism that wiped out 6 million people of one nation and which stemmed from non other than Christian values held by the west. We can certainly not forget the proxies created by Cold war which resulted in thousands dead and heavily arming one group which we deemed as Heroes (remember the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan), which then turned its back on us to become our enemies (not all but some of the NA established the Taliban). Why dont we accept the fact that the problem is in us!?!. We are the ones that invade their lands and exploit their resources; we are the ones that, in order to further our neoliberal agenda, wage war using an ideology accepted by majority that in the case of Middle East is Islam.
    Your arguments are nothing but cherry-picked and out of context accusations not against one or two people, but against 1.5 billion people around the world.
    By painting he whole nation with the same brush, you are contributing to the ‘drumrolls of another war’ that is, not too far ahead.

  7. Tim says:

    How about Sura 9:29 “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”

    It’s disingenuous to suggest that there aren’t Quranic justifications that the fundamentalists use just because you yourself aren’t violent. It’s much the same as fundamentalist Christians picking the bits they want to be angry and violent about.

  8. Abz says:

    Something worth reading after a long time.
    Not just what you mentioned in your article Drew but crap shows like today tonight and a current affair. I was watching their “Special Coverage” of terrorism raids yesterday and indirectly they were trying to provoke people with the kind of words they were using in the news piece.

    If we consider any arab or muslim a terrorist then why its wrong for any Iraqi or Afghan to see westerners same. They have seen their family members getting killed by US and allied forces killing innocent people in all these invasions.

    Who the hell is US to invade a country in the name of war against terrorism. Are they care taker for the whole world.

    All this is not that difficult to understand if you open your eyes.

    Awesome work Drew.

  9. Joe says:

    An Islamic Terrorist Threat to me, implies that there is a terrorist movement with lots of members and followers; with the movement being just as dangerous as the bomb itself. If these cultures continue to thrive in our society then it would be near impossible to intercept every bombing attempt.
    Some crazed bombing fanatic with no organisational links, who has been arrested really doesn’t pose any threat to me; and all I can say when I read about this is, “Whoa, lucky that guy isn’t around any more”.
    When I hear about members of MY community involved in terrorist organisations and schemes, and literally parading the streets with terrorist propaganda; that’s when I start getting worried

  10. DaMike says:

    would just like to point out that 9/11 was not the first terrorist attack ever and it is just a date to reference that one point in time that had a organised attack from a terrorist group hitting more than one place…. its not an actual name for a terrorist attack. saying we almost had our first 9/11 is stupid, its a date and we have had attempts failed before this one too…. it shouldn’t matter what fucking religion or fanatic group they are with if they want to kill innocent people in one big event or scare people into doing what they want they should be labeled what they are mass murderers, terrorist, fucked in the head. so sick of people just shouting out about problems and then giving out the shitest explanatioins why making your point unclear and less informing than my morning shits .

  11. Lyn Gain says:

    Well done Drew.

  12. John Gros says:

    We have not forgotten christian atrocities and that’s why we fear Muslim atrocities.
    Some have quoted a tiny percentage of muslims actively performing acts of terrorism but forget to mention the much higher number of muslims donating money and supporting those zealous enough to be prepared to die.
    Not every US citizen is involved in the wars in the mid east. Not every US soldier is a combat soldier, some are cooks and truck drivers. The percentage of “violent” americans is way smaller than muslim apologists pretend.
    And conversely the percentage of muslim combatants is so small but still has a large base of logistic support including a propaganda machine. “Religion of peace”, “islamophobia” etc etc plus a sea of apologists whining about jews and americans to justify killing random people.
    So many civilians targeted, not collateral damage but the actual targets.
    islam is actually at war with the world its just not open about it.

  13. Jason Alexander says:

    if muslims dont like it they can fuck off.

  14. adam says:

    All religious doctrines have excuses for acting in what the reader perceives to be the ‘interest of God’. What’s wrong about what you are getting at is that it is just Islam that is making people act out. I think the article is more pointing out the way that media coverage focuses on the “Threat Posed by ISIL” rather than what’s really happened:

    “The Fallout of Wage Slavery: The United States Foreign Policy Review”

  15. pitman says:

    Nice hypothetical re: the religious background (or not) of the perp, but that wasn’t the case. The case was that this was non-terrorist-related. Terrorism, by its nature, instills fear because the victims are randoms. It is news (as it was) when someone wants to blow up criminal rivals, but it certainly doesn’t deserve the attention that a terrorist plot deserves. The “what if” is simply that, and in your head.

  16. Jason Van Der Velden says:

    Its a terrorist attack regardless of who does it

  17. Charmaine James says:

    THAT GREETING WAS PROVOCATIVE

  18. Faten Dabs says:

    If I were in front of my computer screen I would give you multiple examples of God’s threats in the old testament.

  19. Wise Hok Wai Lum says:

    giving a number without comparison has got to be one of the biggest confirmation bias cases out there, and you ken is doing exactly that…

  20. Jason says:

    NSW police ruled out links to terrorism.

    ‘‘I strongly reassure everyone that there are absolutely no links to terrorism. We have no information that anyone or any structure or place is in danger,’’ Detective Superintendent Ken Finch said.

    Can you even call yourself a journalist?! It took me two minutes to find that. Are you proud of putting out false information and race baiting for clicks?!

  21. Jason says:

    Christians follow the new testament that says turn the other cheek and love all equally. Muslims follow the Koran which says lie to, convert or destroy all nonbelievers.

    There’s a huge difference and you can see that in the actions of the two in the 21st century

  22. Jason says:

    ‘Hey there was a Christian middle ages, why not allow for a Muslim middle age’

    Comparisons to the past ignores the fact that here we are in the 21st century and have progressed beyond our ancestors dreams and we live amongst a culture that believes women should be second rate citizens and that their way of life needs to be the dominant one.

  23. Jason says:

    ISIS, al qaeda, Hamas, mujahideen.not to mention Saudis Arabia and other nations that arm and cash up terrorist networks.

    Speaking about our community, there are people who support these regimes who want to emulate these groups and have plotted to do so. There also people funding them financially.

    Do we actually have to have some innocent Australian killed before we accept that Islam is a net negative to our country??

  24. Ken says:

    Your comment doesn’t make any sense sorry.

  25. Ken says:

    Hi Nafiz

    I quoted the number of attacks in the name of Islam. They weren’t carried out by lone wolves so your calculations don’t make any sense. Even if they did make sense, the number of attacks is of itself the most important point. I didn’t mention other reasons for death eg car crashes or smoking which are, at the moment, a lot higher than terrorist attacks. This argument is simply about – is Islam unfairly picked upon as opposed to other terrorist organisations. My argument is simple, no it’s not. The numbers speak for themselves. The number of Islamic terrorist organisations in the number of countries, speaks for itself. In case it’s not speaking loud enough for you – here is a list of places attacks have been recorded since 2001:

    India and the Sudan and Algeria and New York and Pakistan and Israel and Russia and Chechnya and the Philippines and Indonesia and Nigeria and England and Thailand and Spain and Egypt and Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia and Turkey and Morocco and Yemen and Arkansas and France and Uzbekistan and Gaza and Tunisia and Kosovo and Bosnia and Mauritania and Kenya and Eritrea and Syria and Somalia and California and Kuwait and Virginia and Ethiopia and Georgia and Jordan and United Arab Emirates and Louisiana and Texas and Tanzania and Illinois and Pennsylvania and Belgium and Denmark and East Timor and Qatar and Maryland and Tajikistan and New Jersey and the Netherlands and Afghanistan and Chad and Canada and Washington State and China and Nepal and the Maldives and Argentina and Mali and Angola and the Ukraine and Uganda and North Carolina and Germany and Arizona and Lebanon and Iran and Kazakhstan and Sweden and Azerbaijan and Iraq and Scotland and Macedonia and Bulgaria and Cameroon and Massachusetts and Djibouti and…

    And it is not racist to criticise a religion. A relgion is not a race – it is an idea. You can choose to be a Muslim or you can choose to be atheist or choose to be another religion. (One can not choose race). You will not silence critics by calling them racist.

    And funnily enough, you are the only one in this whole section that has brought in race – your comment above about ‘Australians’ is very telling.

  26. Ken says:

    That is not true that all religions are the same. Jainism (an Indian religion) is so peaceful its followers sweep bugs out the way so they are not killed.

    On the other hand, read the Koran. The reason its fundamentalists are so violent is because the fundamentals are violent.

  27. Ken says:

    I agree the Koran is incredibly provocative.

  28. Wise Hok Wai Lum says:

    ok ken, my heart beats 38869120+ times a year

    ^ that by itself means nothing, because there’s nothing to comparing it, if i said my heart beats 38869120+ times a year, in comparison the average person’s heart beats 37869120 times a year, 1 million times less, then i would have something of importance, like you said, there’s 24000 terror attacks by muslim extremists, which you state is more than other groups of terrorists (remembering that you are grouping ALL islamic terrorist groups into one) but when you state that, you give absolutely no evidence of how much more, and numbers to back up your statement, which in effect makes your statement redundant

  29. Faten Dabs says:

    2.2% of australian population is muslim, ummmm hmmmm lets see two have been tried and convicted of terror related offenses, 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, 1.6 billion are not running out the suburbs bombing and killing people. i’m i massive threat to you, a massive threat to your pathetic intellect.

  30. Faten Dabs says:

    your not racist, your a bigot, small minded tosser.

  31. Ken says:

    It’s ‘you’re’ not your by the way. It is short for you are.

    No, I am an atheist who opposes religion. Why do you defend it? If we are going to look at bigotry and small mindedness, the Quaran contains 109 verses that call for my death. Why do you defend that?

  32. Ken says:

    Oh fair enough. You are asking what is the background rate of terror? The question sort of makes sense. It assumes that there is terror happening at a constant predictable rate (like a heartbeat) as in 3 people are killed each day by [insert group here] and Islam is just 1 extra or a 1000 extra. I will look into it.

    I think while I do, you are after comparisons of Islamic terror versus your well known other forms of terror. Here are a few:

    * More people are killed by Islamists each year than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined.

    * Islamic terrorists murder more people every day than the Ku Klux Klan has in the last 50 years.

    * More civilians were killed by Muslim extremists in two hours on September 11th than in the 36 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

  33. adam says:

    It can be interpreted as racist if the majority of constituents are within it. Your arguments against Islam are about the entire thing – I don’t think it is right to criticize an entire religion for a specific area of belief.

    If seems to be hypocritical that you say you are an ‘atheist’ yet arguing for one set of beliefs over another. Jainism very clearly has a facet of it’s ethics that implores the person to see things from every person’s point of view. I would implore you to do the same when delivering statements designed to play into people’s fear of each other.

    I don’t think this article shows the entire conflict in the right light. In recent history your statistics may be a reflection of the truth (but definitely not accurate). But I think that you’re arguing from a point of view that’s been imbued by fear of other human beings. I agree that religions are dangerous, as often they are interpreted by individuals as able to pass responsibility over to a third person (generally God) for their actions & are used to justify asocial behavior.

    But where are the statistics for deaths by secular means? Wars over ideology, poverty, how about cultural extinction/genocides in the formation of states? To suggest that religion is the only thing making bad things happen in the world (lets say specifically “terrorism”) is impossible to measure in data. It might tell you how many bodies are on the floor, but the factors leading up to that, unfortunately, are only presumable. And in your presumption (that the Qu’ran necessitates reaction), completely wrong.

  34. Wise Hok Wai Lum says:

    see now you’re worth listening to ken, i don’t have the time right now to scour through the database but i wonder if they count conflicts and wars between terrorist groups and countries such as the LRA in Uganda, Central African Republic, Congo, or the Taliban in Afghanistan?

  35. Ken says:

    Hi Adam – I will try to answer you points one by one.

    * Sorry, I”m not sure what this means: ‘It can be interpreted as racist if the majority of constituents are within it.’

    * Atheism is not a belief. It is the absence of belief. I do not believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, Zeus, Allah or God nor any of the thousands of gods that have been claimed by humans because there is no evidence for any of them. They are clearly made up. Fiction. The onus is on the person making the claim to prove it. It is not on me, who makes no claim for any God, to disprove.

    * I used Jainism simply as an example of a religion that is definitely peaceful as people often say ‘all religions are the same’. They are not. One needs only to read what they believe to see that there is a huge difference.

    * With respect – I did not once say terrorism was the highest cause of death nor did I say that religion is the only thing causing bad things. In fact I made it clear that I was not talking about that eg I said heart attacks, smoking, car crashes all trump it. The original article was about whether the threat of Islam is exaggerated and therefore the media is biased against it. I am simply trying to use facts and evidence to say it is not – most terrorism today (not 30 years ago, not 100 years ago, but today) is in the name of Islam.

  36. Ken says:

    Good to hear. Yes, it counts all terrorism from anywhere in the world. Obviously it can not be a perfect system as some murders would leave no one alive to report them. So there would be, one assumes, more murders than are reported.

  37. Jet says:

    Have you heard of a place called Palestine?
    This place was a safe haven for jews, in which Muslims opened up their homes and their hearts to save the jews from utter slaughter only less than 60years ago..

    Now how do they repay the Muslims..? America, England and an ultimate Australian backing have been causing the demise of men, women and children consistently for the past 50 to 60 years..

    If you disagree with this, you are clearly a one sided, one minded hypocrite.

    Watch what is happening in the new state of israel.. where did England find the right to give away an Arab descendent land to foreign Jews..?

    Do some reading, do some proper research and realise what the word terrorist actually means.

    How can you call the slaughter of over 1 Million Iraqis by American “soldiers” collateral damage and not terrorism..

    Such brainwashing is just baffling..

    This post I’m writing to you is completely pointless, because its western loving, Godless people like you that fail to see the truth and hide behind what the richest pay the less rich to MAKE you believe.

    May God help you.

  38. Ken says:

    HI Jet

    I think what has happened to Palestine is a disgrace. I have never once mentioned collateral damage in Iraq – which was a disgrace. I opposed the Iraq war like most Australians – another disgrace. I have not once mentioned Palestinians nor Palestine.

  39. Komal Khalid says:

    Surah 29:28 “Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.”

    Don’t partially quote. There are smarter ways to make your argument.

  40. Ken says:

    If you think that gets Islam off the hook, then you are sadly mistaken. If I don’t believe in Allah nor his angels nor his messengers – as I do not – then I become an enemy of Allah. It is a circular argument which atheists can not escape. By definition I become an enemy.

    And if you think you have got me, then explain these two. You might see a theme, an obsession even. More context?:

    “O Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites. Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.” – 9:73

    “O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people.” – 5:54