This article was originally published in The New Daily on July 20 here.
Sonia Kruger’s call to ban Islamic migrants replicates calls by Donald Trump, Andrew Bolt and others. Clearly there is a need to feel ‘safe’ from the threat posed by terrorism.
Predictably some in the left have jumped to label her ‘racist’. Sonia Kruger is not racist. She is just naively playing into the hands of IS by exaggerating the threat to Australians and giving sick, murdering, loners too much status. In doing so she may inadvertently encourage other murderers to follow, increasing the very threat she fears.
Kruger says that terrorism makes her scared. Given many terrorists are Muslim, she therefore wants protection from Muslims. The Orlando killings, the siege in Sydney and the recent mass murders in Nice were all undertaken by men who had Islam in common. So maybe she has a point.
Yet none of these murdering men had a history of deep religious following. All three rarely attended mosques, often drank and did not respect Ramadan. None could be said to be, from objective analysis, a ‘devout Muslim’.
What is more, in no case has a formal link with an Islamic terrorist group been found. There were no pre-attack suicide videos, no suicide notes. The Sydney siege murderer didn’t even have an IS flag!
So what did the butchers have in common?
The mass killings were all undertaken by men. What is more, all three men had broken relationships with their wives and partners. They were all estranged loners who didn’t ‘belong’. They all had a history of family violence. In the case of the Orlando murderer, he had a long history of steroid use, which increases aggression.
In the 1990’s in the US we saw the rise of ‘Suicide by cop’, where the sad, disillusioned loners put themselves in the position to be killed by a policeman and make a statement in death. Clearly the Sydney, Orlando and Nice murderers intended to not only die, but have someone else kill them – in a way similar to suicide by cop.
In death were these sick loners looking for a sense of belonging post mortem, absent while living? Were then given hope by past proclamations or butchers’ membership of a group without formal links? Did they murder because they were Muslim, or because they wanted to be on the front page?
It says a lot that in each of the cases the West’s media and political leaders claimed these people to be ‘terrorists’ before Islamic State did. Are we in fact encouraging others to follow by giving these people status, even before IS does?
If we incorrectly blame Islam, is our response also wrong?
Australians are far more likely to die at the hands of a partner or parent than a terrorist. Men of all religions are far more likely than women to engage in violent crime, drink drive and engage in fights. Most terrorists are men.
If Kruger is scared of violence, why isn’t Kruger calling for a ban on all male migration? Not just Muslim men. All men. That way you cover terrorists (who are mainly men) and the greater causes of violence in Australia, domestic abuse, violent crime, drink driving and the coward punch deaths – all predominantly male and all of which kill far more Australians than terrorism.
Calling for a ban on all male migration has the same credibility and logic to it as banning all Muslims. Of course, banning all men is a ridiculous assertion. Is banning all Muslims any different?
Nevertheless, let’s ask what would happen if we followed Kruger’s call. What would banning Muslims do?
Islamic State has said that it wants to create an ‘Us v Them’ conflict between Islam and the West. Kruger’s call fits this narrative. I am not saying that she is deliberately supporting IS’s call, but the results are certainly in alignment.
Undeniably Islam played a role in the recent murders, if not in organisation at least in post mortem proclamation. Other terrorists are undeniably motivated by a false hope of virgins in Paradise. Islam does have a problem.
More Muslims die at the hands of terrorists than westerners. Most Muslims seeking to come here not only fear the radicals, they hate the radicals with passion. I have often called for the ‘Us v Them’ to be ‘all moderates of what ever religion, against all radicals of what ever religion’. Real Muslims are assets in the war against radicals. Why does Kruger want us to discard these vital assets?
We need a strong security apparatus to respond to the genuine threat of radical terrorism. But we should not inadvertently encourage more followers to the cause by holding out a carrot of status to the lonely and mentally sick. It is why I do not name the murderers nor do I give them a status.
I have chosen to keep the murderers nameless in this article. By leaving them unknown I remove the incentive for others to follow and hope to reduce attacks. In contrast, as well intentioned but naïve as Kruger is, is she not making the problem worse?
Andrew MacLeod is a visiting Professor at Kings College London and a former UN and Red Cross official who served in countries like Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others. He has negotiated with warlords and terrorists.