Bourke Street terror attack: Australian PM Scott Morrison demands Muslim leaders “call this out for what it is”


My colleagues and I have “calling this out for what it is” since 9/11 attacks. I hope he’s wearing a flak jacket. He is going to get reamed.

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Australia: Bourke Street terror attack: Australian PM Scott Morrison demands Muslim leaders ‘call this out for what it is

By Ben Wroe, SMH, November 10, 2018:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on Muslim leaders to take “special responsibility” for stamping out radicalism in their communities, saying they must be proactive and “call this out for what it is”.

Speaking on Saturday in the wake of Melbourne’s Bourke Street attack, Mr Morrison pointedly said that Islamist extremism, rather than a corruption of any other religion, presented the most dangerous form of radicalism in Australia.

PM calls out religious extremism

Following the Bourke Street attack, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the greatest threat of religious extremism in Australia is the “dangerous ideology” of extremist Islam.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten meanwhile said Australia needed to be “ruthless” against people who carried out violence in the name of a “twisted, perverse” version of religion but cautioned against generalising about Muslims.

The question of how political leaders discuss Islamist extremism has been a controversial one in recent years. Tony Abbott as prime minister angered many Muslim community leaders by once questioning their dedication to curbing extremism, while his successor Malcolm Turnbull deliberately toned down his rhetoric, arguing that Muslim communities were key allies in the fight against radicalisation.

Mr Morrison appeared to aim for a middle ground on Saturday, though he deliberately flagged his remarks as a moment of political bluntness, saying he had to “address the real issue here”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“I am the first to protect religious freedom in this country, but it also means I must be the first to call out religious extremism,” he said.

“Religious extremism takes many forms around the world, and no religion is immune from it … But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism … is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.”

Mr Morrison praised Muslim Australians who were trying to protect their children and communities from radicalisation and commended “these Australians for the leadership and courage … often at great risk to themselves and their families”.

But he went on: “There is a special responsibility on religious leaders to protect their religious communities and to ensure that these dangerous teachings and ideologies do not take root here.

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

He said the government, religious leaders and the community would all have to work together, adding that he would meet with and speak with Muslim leaders.

Mr Shorten said violent Islamist extremism was a “real threat” and that Australia needed “to be ruthless and relentless against people who are going to commit this sort of violence and whatever twisted, perverse, definition of religion or ideology makes them do this”.

But he stressed that commentators and leaders should not “lump everyone of the faith into that basket”.

“This is a small, radicalised proportion of that general group and our best weapon to help keep us safe is working with the rest of the community to make sure that these extremist elements are identified, apprehended and dealt with.”

He also revealed he had spoken just last Monday to Sisto Malaspina, the 74-year-old co-owner of the famous Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, who was killed in the attack.

“I was talking to Sisto as recently as last Monday … He was always good for a chat about politics and Melbourne … He’s a Melbourne icon,” Mr Shorten said.

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