French Prime Minister Manuel Valls pointed out “Unbalanced Individuals can act. They can be receptive to or influenced by propaganda messages and powerful messages.”
These comments followed the two acts of murder in France in the last few days. French authorities go on to point out that even though the words ‘Allah-u-akbar’ (‘God is great’ in Arabic) were cried out, that it seems some of the attackers may not even be Islamic.
French prosecutors have found that at least one of the murderers who ploughed his car into pedestrians had a sudden ‘outburst of empathy’ for a cause that he had little evidence of previously supporting.
It seems the Dijon attacker had been to hospital for mental related issues on 157 occasions. He was crazy, not a Muslim and had just responded to publicity in a crazy, murderous way by saying ‘me too’ in the worst possible way.
This is exactly the type of thing the Islamic State (ISIS) was hoping for when it called for lone wolf attacks. It hoped for radical extremists, the crazy, the mad, the insane to go on attacking people inspired by pro and anti Islamic propaganda in order to gain attention and notoriety in the media spin.
In many ways it is similar to the motivations of school shooters in the US. ‘I hate my life, I want to die, and I will kill others in a way to get attention’.
In this war the strategic weapon of ISIS is the media, the propaganda and all the people on social media that repeat the claims that this is an asymmetric ‘war’ rather than a whole bunch of nutters.
ISIS want people to repeat the anti Islamic rhetoric as it will inspire more attacks. ISIS don’t care who does the attacks so long as the media and social media continue to feed the pro or anti Islamic cause. They understand in this context that for ISIS, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Claims by some including one of my Facebook ‘friends’, Peter, that the NSW Labor leader John Robertson seeking a supervised child visitation order on behalf of a constituent was, “clandestine support to Jihadists”, makes me wonder if in fact John Robertson may indeed be the Islamic State’s first political scalp in Australia?
In the normal course of events a local MP would write many hundreds of support letters for constituents. A support letter for a supervised child visitation as part of an ongoing family dispute in front of the courts would be within the realm of normal constituent work.
It is hardly clandestine support to terrorism. But in our over panicked world all sorts of things can be spun out of control.
But imagine now how ISIS would think if they see this? They would claim John Roberston as their first political victim in Australia.
Many months ago Robertson wrote this normal constituent letter without knowing this nutcase Monis would go and murder people in Sydney. But now we have Roberston labeled as a ‘clandestine supporter of Jihadists’.
But think about this: who really is supporting the ISIS cause in this mess?
ISIS seeks to inspire attacks by the use of propaganda and that propaganda includes people spitting out either pro or anti Islamic rhetoric in order to escalate the perception of an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ culture conflict between all Muslims and all Christians, atheists, agnostics and Jews.
So if a person were to do exactly that – add to the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ perception – then wouldn’t that person be a clandestine supporter of terrorism? Wouldn’t their actions be a tactical step that contributes to the overall strategic goal of ISIS?
Worse still, if a person were to mount their arguments in full knowledge that it contributes to the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality that ISIS seeks to inspire, then wouldn’t that person not just be a ‘clandestine’ supporter of terrorism, but in fact an open and active supporter of terrorism while claiming to be the opposite?
Monis’s actions in Sydney showed he was not Muslim. No part of real Islam allows for the murder of innocents. Moderate Islam has more in common with moderate Christianity than it does with radical Islam. Both religions follow the same God.
“Allah” is not a different God. ‘Allah’ is merely the Arabic translation for ‘God’. The Qu’oran and the teachings of the profit Mohammad clearly state that ‘their’ God is the God of Abraham – ie the same God ad Christians and Jews.
The teachings of Moses, the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus (who the Muslims venerate as the second most important prophet in Islam behind only Mohammed) and the Gospels, are all religious texts and teachings respected by Islam.
Rather than playing into ISIS hands by falling into the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ trap, shouldn’t we partner with moderate Islam to fight the radical scourge?
Shouldn’t the NSW state branch of the Labor Party just say they didn’t want John Robertson, rather than cynically latch onto the anti-Islamic rhetoric and draw a tenuous link between radical Islam, Monis, and a rather normal and innocuous constituent letter in a child custody case?
In choosing not to, has the Labor Party in NSW, in acting as a defacto tool of ISIS, just made John Robertson the first political casualty of ISIS in Australia?
Melbourne based Andrew MacLeod is a former high level official at the United Nations and non resident Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the globe’s leading think tank on international affairs in Washington DC (see http://csis.org/event/life-half-lived-surviving-worlds-emergency-zones ). He is Managing Director of Good Super in Australia.
Follow him on twitter @AndrewMMacleod