This may be my most controversial post to date.
Within this article I will challenge a number of peoples preconceived beliefs and question the current state of society and our complacency when it comes to terrorism.
If you can promise me one thing I would like it to be that you read this post, the whole way through, twice if you need. I only request that you read with an open mind, listen and consider the points presented and then message me privately if you disagree.
As always I am more than happy to debate my views with people willing to listen.
Now, to the article.
Let's talk extremism.
An Extremist is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as "A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action." It does not discriminate based on race, gender, sex or religion, it is simply a person who holds an extreme position on a topic.
The key word is 'extreme'. It comes in two flavours, extreme over-reaction and extreme under-reaction and it is more than evident in the political sphere over the past few weeks.
In the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack we have responded as a nation, primarily, in solidarity to the Muslim community for the lives lost in such a terrible incident. But underneath that solidarity there is a tension causing a strain within the community and bubbling out through our politicians.
The perpetrator, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, claimed in his manifesto that he was acting in response to the rise in the number of terror attacks around the world claimed by Islamic State. The perpetrator believed himself to be a hero, a brave vigilante who was going to step-up and defend 'white' people from the growing threat of Islam.
He is an extremist. He recognised that there is a problem within Islam and so his solution was to destroy it. He believed his best start was with a group of worshippers who had done nothing wrong, who incited no terror attacks in their community or had any direct ties to ISIS. His concern for the rise in ISIS claimed terror attacks drove him to extremism and to his unjustified and horrific act.
His fear, however, is not without reason. In the past five years there have been over 206 terror attacks led and enacted by Islamic State and its supporters. At least 5,000 people were killed in those attacks. Compare that to the 32 or so terror attacks enacted by Islamic state between 2009 and 2014 and the data is obviously displaying a significant rise in number.
This rise is argued by politicians over breakfast, its become so commonplace to hear 'terror' and associate it with Islam that it's given way for two political extremist stances on the issue. This has become even more blatantly obvious since the Christchurch shooting.
On one side there is the extremist views held by senators such as Fraser Anning, Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter. Their belief is that the cause of modern terrorism is deeply intertwined with Islam and their solution is to disallow it to exist within Australian borders.
On the other side there is the extremist views held by journalist such as Waleed Aly, Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. It is their belief that modern terrorism has no connection to Islam at all, that standing together holding hands and saying: 'we won't condone terrorism' and 'Islam is a religion of peace' is going to make any sort of real difference.
Neither of these beliefs is useful, neither supports change, neither even remotely provides a sustainable solution to terrorism at home or abroad.
We're going round in circles. Our political leaders are pointing fingers at each other and trying to pin the problem on the donkey that is society. It's plastered across the media, a different narrative day by day: 'Islamophobia causes terrorism' 'Extremist Muslims cause terrorism'... on and on as more attacks occur, more lives are lost and nothing is done to prevent it.
Where is the conversation? Where is the open-ended discussion between politicians about the driving cause of terrorism? At what point did we become so scared of offending people by bringing out non-disputable data?
There is a problem and we don't have a viable solution because we have no middle ground between political extremist views.
The longer this goes on the worse our situation will get. The more time that passes while our politicians sit in denial and refusal to start discussion the more people will move to support politicians such as Pauline Hanson. The more time we waste blasting Pauline on live TV for her stance or making useless polls to unsuccessfully boot senator's out of parliament the more the silent majority steps closer to right-wing extremism.
It's people like Mohammad Tawhidi, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan and Ben Shapiro (fundamentally) that are standing up for this need to speak. They all have their own individual political beliefs but they all advocate for the right to have a discussion, to speak freely, express an opinion, open talks and give each side an opportunity to be heard.
Sadly, they're often mislabelled, categorised unfairly and attempted to be silenced. All the while we have journalists such as Channel 7's David Koch believing he is a hero because he yelled at Pauline, spoke over the top of her and then claimed it was all because he wanted to tell her how she was 'leading us all astray'.
Terrorism is driven by fear. Fear is manifested into hate.
It's going to take a lot of people, work and changing of attitudes for discussion around terrorism to truly get started in mainstream media, but it is so important that it does.
We need to talk about this or we will destroy ourselves and our society from the inside.