Dutton, Morrison and Prakash: The politicising of Muslim extremism

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Minister Dutton's revoking of Islamic State fighter Neil Prakash's Australian citizenship has been rendered unlawful, following confirmation that Prakash is not a Fiji national (Screenshot via YouTube)

The recent Prakash case in Turkey and the removal of his Australian citizenship by Dutton, has once again focused attention on extremism in the Muslim community.

Choosing a target so universally hated that it almost makes this acceptable, does not alter the fact that such loss of citizenship 'denies a person potential administrative remedies'.

According to Law Council of Australia president, Morry Bailes

'That's a serious matter in a democracy such as ours and has the potential to undermine the rule of law.'

Aside from the obvious human rights issues of stripping people of their nationality, today's confirmation from Fiji that Prakash is not a Fijian national, also makes Dutton's revocation of Prakash's Australian citizenship unlawful.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:

'Under counter-terrorism laws passed by the Coalition in 2015, Australian terrorists can lose their citizenship, but only if they have a second nationality and therefore will not be rendered stateless.'

Last November, following the Bourke Street murder and the stabbing of two people (one of whom was a Muslim) by a drug-addicted Somali, the whole community was lectured upon its responsibility for Muslims who commit terrorist crimes. This was done by both the recently appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

At about the same time, we also witnessed in Melbourne the sentencing of a terror plot "ringleader", Ibrahim Abbas, associated with the trial of several other terror suspects.

Indeed, it is a terrible fact that people who claim allegiance to Islam are involved in such atrocious activities.

As the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) stated in its press release relating to the Bourke Street murder and stabbings:

'This incident is a national tragedy impacting all Australians of all faiths and belief systems. These are the times where all Australians should be standing side by side in solidarity, countering all forms of extremism and violence.'

Islam is clear, but so, unfortunately, is the attitude of our political leaders.

The ANIC press release also expressed its disappointment in the PM's comments:

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) and the Muslim community are also outraged by the recent comments by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison connecting Islam to a “radical and dangerous ideology”.


It is extremely disappointing in such difficult times and during a national tragedy, when all Australians of all faiths and backgrounds should be called upon to unite and stand together against any form of extremism and violence, to see our nation’s leader politicising this incident and using it for political gain.

The self-righteous indignation of the Liberal Party leadership on the issue of extremism and terrorism is mildly amusing to those of us who have followed their history over the years.

In recent weeks, we have watched the slithering around by the National Party – Coalition partner of the Liberals – over the exposure of their neo-Nazi recruits by the ABC's Background Briefing program.

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce quickly backtracked on his original cynicism about the claims.

It was as recently as 2014 that prominent Liberal Member for Hughes Craig Kelly, representing then PM Tony Abbott, attended a celebration of the Ustasha victory in Croatia of April 10, 1941. This event ushered in the genocide of all Croatian Jews and the massacre or forced conversion of some 800,000 Yugoslavian subjects.

In April 2007, former Prime Minister John Howard’s then Communications Minister, Helen Coonan,  Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and NSW State Liberal MP David Clark also attended a commemoration of April 10

For many years, the Liberal Party offered a safe haven for Nazis and Nazi collaborators. One of the most shocking examples was the NSW Liberal Party Migrant Advisory Committee.

Its leadership included Constanin Untaru, the treasurer in the Nazi Iron Guard's Romanian National Government, Fabijan Lokokovic of the Croatian Ustasha and Mikhas Zuy, a senior official in the Belarusian quisling regime.

It also included Dr Lazlo Megay, former Mayor of Ungvar in Nazi-occupied Hungary, responsible for organising the Jews in that ghetto for deportation to Auschwitz.

This organisation was very active in promoting “Captive Nations” as respectable organisations.

As author Mark Aarons pointed out:

The phalanx of “Captive Nations” organisations, which arose in the early 1950swere largely under the captive leadership of former Nazis who owed their “respectability” to the silence of ASIO and “understanding” anti-Communist politicians and senior public servants.

Fascist organisations even went so far as to carry out military training

The extent of such complicity, even duplicity, can be gauged by the open military training undertaken by the Croatian fascist front, the Ustashi near Wodonga in 1963. Not only did the Ustashi members have the use of Citizens Military Forces armoured cars but also sported Army issue Owen sub-machine guns. Their political leaders, Srecko Rover and Ljenko Urbancic, found support at the highest levels of government to carry out such training displays. 

Those interested in the history of our friendly attitude to Nazis and their minions should refer to Traitors, by Frank Walker, and Mark Aaron's, Sanctuary: Nazi Fugitives in Australia.

Thus, the claims of Morrison, Dutton and Abbott to be advocates and protectors of “Western Civilisation” and “Australian values” ring hollow with many Australians.

Bilal Cleland is a retired secondary teacher and was Secretary of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Chairman of the Muslim Welfare Board Victoria and Secretary of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

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