It would indeed seem fundamental especially 18 years after 9/11 and countless lives lost, but this is a first, most especially from someone in a position of influence and respect. No one would dare say such a thing because of the violence in the Quran and fear of retribution. There is an urgent need to teach young Muslims why the violence inherent in Islam is wrong and must be rejected. And while Muslims will condemn the generic terrorism in the wake of jihad slaughter, where are they teaching against the ideology and Islamic texts that gave command it?
Right now, nothing is being done to stop jihad recruiting in mosques. If the moderates really reject extremism, let them show it by instituting genuine programs to teach against this view of Islam.
Of course, Muslim leaders reacted predictably to the Judge’s sage and brave call for reformation. Same old, same old nonsense of “cherrypicking” and “religion of peace.” But Justice Desmond Fagan said the lethal messages derived from “hostile passages” of the Koran were not effectively countered by suggestions from “various quarters” that the verses had been “cherry picked” or that Islam was an “interpretive religion.”
Judge calls on Muslims to publicly disavow violence in Koran
By Angus Thompson & Margaret Scheikowski, SMH, 31 January 2019:
A NSW Supreme Court judge has called on Muslims to publicly disavow violent verses of the Koran that he says have been used by Islamic extremists to support terrorism in Australia.
It’s time to speak out: Justice Desmond Fagan.
Justice Desmond Fagan said the lethal messages derived from “hostile passages” of the Koran were not effectively countered by suggestions from “various quarters” that the verses had been “cherry picked” or that Islam was an “interpretive religion”.
“The incitements to violence which terrorists quote from the Koran cannot just be ignored by the many believers who desire harmonious coexistence. Those verses are not ignored by terrorists,” Justice Fagan said.
He said there were sometimes assurances offered to Western communities that “Islam is a religion of peace”.
“But in the absence of express public disavowal of verses which convey Allah’s command for violence, as quoted in the jihadist literature tendered in this case, such assurances are apparently contradicted,” he said.
“Certainly that is how the matter is seen by jihadi propagandists and those who have followed them.”
Justice Fagan made the remarks on Thursday during his sentencing of Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, a young couple, both 21, found guilty in October last year of conspiring to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act between December 8, 2015 and January 25, 2016.
Justice Fagan, who has presided over many terrorism-related cases, said the Islamic religion’s broad acceptance of the Koran without denouncing verses supporting “intolerance, violence and domination” would “embolden terrorists to think they are in common cause with all believers and indeed that they are the spearhead of the religion.”
“We continue to be extremely vocal in countering that. As much as we can find an opportunity to put the correct context to these situations, we do,” Mr Trad said. “The underlying premise of Islam is peace and peaceful encouragement for people to do what is right.”
Justice Fagan said terrorists’ perceived scriptural support for their actions couldn’t be effectively rebutted by police or the courts.
“If the verses upon which the terrorists rely are not binding commands of Allah, it is Muslims who would have to say so,” he said.
“If Australian followers of the religion, including those who profess deep knowledge, were to make a clear public disavowal of these verses, as not authoritative instructions from Allah, then the terrorists’ moral conviction might be weakened.”
The phones of the convicted couple contained a vast amount of extremist material, including graphic images and videos of beheadings and soldiers carrying Islamic flags.
In one text message Namoa said she wanted to perform a jihadist attack with Bayda, or support him in such an attack, likening the pair to an “Islamic Bonnie and Clyde”.
Mr Trad said he would be “very surprised” if the people the judge was talking about had read the Koran in its entirety.
“I’d be very surprised if they read any more than snippets. The concern is when they act on snippets without knowing the context,” he said. “Unfortunately what we have in Australia from time to time, we get people who are ignorant of the religion, they hear a word here or there and want justification for their own behaviour.
“It’s not an indictment on that religion, its an indictment on that person.”
Sydney Islamic community leader Dr Jamal Rifi said what the judgment conveyed was already what most Australian Muslims believed, and that Bayda and Namoa had been taught by “Sheikh Google”.
“We are grateful to the judge for his interpretation because that’s what the majority of Australian Muslims interpret and practice,” Dr Rifi said.
Justice Fagan jailed Bayda for four years, with a non-parole period of three years, which expired on January 25.
Namoa was jailed for three years and nine months, with a non-parole period of two years and 10 months, which expired on January 22. Both are now eligible to apply for parole.
The Crown alleged the couple’s plan was for a New Year’s Eve attack carried out by Bayda.
The judge accepted Bayda’s evidence that he was inspired by jihadist propaganda to commit a violent street robbery, with two friends, of two non-Muslims walking down the street that night, but he backed out of the plan.
“It follows that I also accept Bayda did not intend to carry out on New Year’s Eve an attack of a kind likely to lead to his death. I find it plausible in all the circumstances that he exaggerated to Namoa the nature of what he was planning,” Justice Fagan said.
He said that though the pair were 18 at the time of the offending, “it should have been apparent to both of them that citing verses of the Koran and recounting deeds of the prophet from 1400 years ago” couldn’t reconcile violence with legitimate religion.
“In the belief of the propagandists, shared by Bayda and Namoa at the time of their offence, violence toward non-Muslims is not merely an incidental tactic for attracting attention to the faith or to issues which concern its followers,” Justice Fagan said.
“Relying upon the parts of the Koran which they cite and upon the example set by the prophet, the ideology espoused in the online jihadi literature embraces never-ending war against non-believers as an inherent and central element of belief.”
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