Where are we going? Australia in a post-IS Iraq & Syria

You can be excused for forgetting that Australia is waging war in Syria and Iraq, with national security and foreign affairs so far off the political radar this election. Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to properly discuss our current and future military commitment in the Middle East is nonetheless inexcusable. The Islamic State is on the back foot, as the attacks on Fallujah, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria demonstrate. While their demise as a semi-conventional army and the loss of territorial control may still be many months away, the fact remains that mopping up IS was always going to be the easiest task.

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About Face: Who Speaks on Behalf of Australia’s Muslims?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosted an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Thursday 16 June 2016. Guests included broadcaster Waleed Aly and his wife Susan Carland. Picture: Andrew Meares / Fairfax Media

The inclusion of prominent Australian Muslim clerics with reprehensible views in Malcolm Turnbull’s recent end of fasting celebration (Iftar) during Ramadan has the potential to precipitate a long-overdue conversation: what do mainstream Muslims in Australia really think?

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Fighting ISIS, Grappling With Islam

ramadi

Whether or not violent Islamists represent the ‘true’ Islam is beside the point: they kill and die believing that they do. Logic decrees that the key weapons will never be cruise missiles and drones. Rather, the most potent strategy hangs on a keen and clear-minded willingness to understand what motivates such actions and goals.

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The Conversation that Isn’t

gagged speech

Islam-is-violence or Islam-is-peace? Take your pick because there is no third option available to those who would like to see debate and policy based on a rational, informed and unbiased approach to Islam’s history and interpretations

As attacks inspired by Islamist ideology continue to erupt around the globe — Paris, San Bernardino, Africa, stick a pin the map and stayed tuned– the tourniquet on the Islam-and-terrorism conversation is tight and getting tighter. The popularity of #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, in response to the London Underground stabbings, bolstered by President Obama’s latest glib insistence that ‘ISIL does not speak for Islam’, highlight just how, since 9/11 and earlier, the West has imposed tacit and active restrictions on what can and cannot be said about Islam and its multiple interpretations.
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Please, Waleed, Clichés Won’t Suffice

love-hate

ISIS says Islam is one thing and Waleed Aly insists it is nothing of the kind. Unless he is prepared to address and explain the if-and-why of Koranic literalism,  I’ll remain confused. Absent that, Aly’s latest sermon is an empty polemic, clarifying nothing.