What drives young Australian Muslims to join IS

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156 Hungarian Uprising Resistance FightersEffective policies are based on respect, which in turn implies a feel for how human beings work. That is the starting point from which we should look at the Government’s developing response to the threat of terrorism in Australia.

I should begin with a small confession.  In my last school years as the Soviet troops were invading Hungary to put down the brief revolution there, I wondered uneasily whether it was not perhaps my duty to go to Hungary to fight for freedom there.

For an idealistic young man whose Catholicism was tightly intertwined with anti-communism, the thought was natural. To my relief, the possibility disappeared long before I even contemplated the practicalities of getting to Hungary and of finding a resistance group to join, let alone one with some ethical code. And before I needed to speak about the idea with people whom I trusted, who of course would have dissuaded me.

Still, the memory gives me some empathy with, and much dread for, young Muslims who might similarly be enticed by desire or duty to give themselves to overseas causes.  I sometimes wonder how I, and people more spirited than I, might have acted if the struggle for Hungary had have continued and resistance forces had sought overseas support. I try to imagine how we may have responded if a suitably Left wing Government had set out to stop people from joining the Hungarian resistance by threatening to deprive us of citizenship when we returned to Australia, calling into question the loyalty of Catholics in Australia, blaming people’s criminal behaviour on their Catholicism, raiding Catholic houses, mocking those who showed any empathy with them, banning some of the more passionately Anti-Communist priests, and trying to deport the most notorious Catholic of the time, Mr Santamaria. 

My guess now is that such measures would have inflamed the residual sense of exclusion and discrimination felt by many of us Catholics at the time, exacerbated tensions between Anglophile Catholics and those who identified with the wrongs of Ireland, and have left the Catholic community resentful and afraid.  It would have encouraged young people like myself to listen to the strident call of those we saw as martyrs for their faith, and to dismiss those we saw as more cautious. We certainly would have sought the advice of like minded contemporaries rather than of our elders who seemed to compromise their faith. And the Catholic community would have remained divided, afraid and alienated as accounts of police raiding Catholic homes spread in a climate of media mockery of Catholicism. 

In this atmosphere young unemployed and angry Catholics may well have found in the European expeditionary force a cause that gave meaning to their lives and directed their angers and resentments.  I am sure that I would have been fixed in my ideology, unable to detach over time my identification of Christianity with Anti-Communism, rather than with human freedom.  I suspect, too, that Australia would have long remained bitterly divided on sectarian lines.  All a heavy cost to pay for a disrespectful policy.

My point in labouring this imagined scene is not to compare the rights and wrongs of the freedom of Hungary and of the cause of IS, nor to compare the potential danger posed to Australia by fighters returning from Syria and those returning from my imagined Hungarian resistance. There is no comparison on these points.  The point is to imagine the likely effect on the human beings on whose good will, cooperation and wise counsel we depend for the effectiveness of our policies, and so on Australian society. 

From this perspective, the insistence in policy on firm policing and appropriate surveillance is important, as it is in any threat to public order. There are real, finite risks that can be minimised but not totally eradicated.  To address them, though, we need above all to understand what might attract young people to join a cause and how they might be drawn to a better mind. To do this governments need to strengthen the links with the communities from which they are drawn, show a deep respect for their faith, encourage and consult community religious leaders, use the bully pulpit to discountenance public abuse and scorn  directed at these communities, and express trust and solidarity with the communities and their representatives.  

In the current climate, to treat this as an issue of border security and to militarise our dealings with it invite Australians to think of our Muslims fellow citizens as honorary asylum seekers – as people unlike us who threaten national security and who at any time can arbitrarily be deprived of the protection of law. 

That may have political advantages but, as I imagine my younger self, I fear for those Muslim young people who will so unnecessarily be driven into the arms of ideological extremists. Sow the wind and we will reap the tornado. 


Andrew HamiltonAndrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street

 

 

Topic tags: Andrew Hamilton, Islam, IS, Islamic State, Hungarian Revolution, idealism


 

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Our current Prime Minister's stance on this subject is to spout rhetoric eerily similar to the nonsense the then President Bush spouted before he and his allies, including our then PM Howard, launched the "War on Terror", which was based on defective intelligence and which the Muslim world dubbed "The War on Islam". The Australian Muslim community was at one with the general populace after the Lindt Cafe Siege. That would've been patently clear to Blind Freddie. Seemingly not to Tony Abbott. The sort of nonsense he's going on with is the sort of thing which could well give rise to a state of affairs akin the Protestant/Catholic split we had in this country till at least the 1960s. That was appalling. There are indeed problems that the rise of Isis/Daish has brought in its wake. These are serious enough and need to be dealt with sensibly and with the necessary caution so as not to demonise and alienate the Muslim citizenry of this country, who are not the problem but a vital part of the solution.
Edward Fido | 25 February 2015


I am surprised you would have considered joining the Hungarian resistance, Andy, as Hungarian is a notoriously difficult language to learn. On a more serious note, the Muslim community, especially including young Muslims, need to be shown how very important they are to the fabric of our society. This can be achieved by not regarding them as "other" but as "us". Respectful dialogue, instead of inflammatory speeches, would also help.
Pam | 25 February 2015


Political expediency as a weapon further hollows out our value system of supporting the weak. Shame on those who publicly endorse the government attack on Prof. Jillian Triggs.
mary mooney | 25 February 2015


In his article “What ISIS Really Wants”, Graeme Woods warned about the underrating of religious ideology. He concluded that its supporters, many of whom he interviewed, were not just a group of psychopaths, but a serious religious group with carefully considered beliefs which included a coming apocalypse. Interestingly, his article was read by many ISIS supporters who were delighted that here was someone who understood and took them seriously. One supporter spoke of how ISIS was operating from a script written 1400 years ago and that one might therefore assume their enemies would note this and prepare adequately. Not so he boasted. They “prefer to keep their heads in the sand…we know that those in charge will ignore it and screw things up anyway.” And the usual suspects typically give credence to this ISIS boasting. The Greens have opposed every counter-terrorism law; the Left-wing commentariat regard Abbott’s latest endeavours at counter-terrorism are simply dog-whistles; and Andrew seems to think that if it gets worse (it will) then it will be all our fault anyway. Having destroyed or emasculated its Christian roots the postmodern West has no narrative and it cannot comprehend the attractiveness of an ideology which does.
Ross Howard | 25 February 2015


We seem to assume that everyone who joins IS and returns will be come back more radicalised and murderous. This wasn't the case with the Spanish Civil War; do we have any useful guidance on what percentage of such people will become more dangerous because of their experiences?
Jim Jones | 26 February 2015


Old traditions never die; they simply fade away. Or rather, it is not so much the traditions that fade away as the people who identify with them. During the Vietnam war many young men saw themselves as Crusaders dutifully fighting against a threating Godless ideology. Times inevitably change, but we (people) tend to cling to what they bonded to when young. Aggiornamento has a long hard struggle to find the social cohesion we all need.
Robert Liddy | 26 February 2015


Back in 1956 my Hungarian born husband and friends (who had escaped the attention of Russian communism) were all distraught at what we could all see through TV what was so cruelly happening in Hungary and the suffering of their families and friends who were being killed and arrested without much interest or help by the West. Perhaps the lack of money to travel and the pressing need to get a job and accommodation here in Australia, became the deterrent to "go and help". I guess there is never an easy answer to the futility of fighting the inevitable. Mary Maraz .
Mary Maraz | 26 February 2015


At last someone is looking at the problem in a positive way. Let us examine the cause for the behaviour of these folk to want to join ISIS rather than simply threatening punishment.
Alan Stuart | 26 February 2015


Thankyou Andrew. In a much more tolerant Australia (despite the prevailing bitter sectarianism) of the early 20th century, Archbishop Mannix was never deported. This was despite him being an outspoken opponent of conscription and the British government utilising two of its navy vessels to remove him, at sea, from the ship in which he was travelling in order to preclude him landing in Ireland.
Paul Crittenden | 26 February 2015


Thanks Andy, respect is essential to understanding which is essential to the kind of engagement that might make a positive difference. AND then there are all those who went to fight in the Spanish Civil war.
Gary Bouma | 26 February 2015


Motives can be mixed. I have nothing but admiration and respect for Andrew Hamilton's thoughtful and impressive piece. But I wonder whether it perhaps it leaves out parts of a more complicated picture. Many of the young women who join ISIS may be attracted by the prospect of a "marriage" which their parents back home would certainly not countenance. And perhaps some of the hot-blooded young men who join are primarily tempted by the opportunity to rape and kill with impunity. They may, of course, hide these motives not only from others but even from themselves. We are told we should not underrate religious ideology. True, but we should not overrate it either.
Thomas Mautner | 26 February 2015


I never cease to be amazed at the refusal of many in the West to accept that a sizeable minority of Muslims outright reject the Western way of life. In Europe there are large enclaves of Muslims that want nothing to do with Western society. They openly state their desire to overturn the principles of Western democracies and supplant them with Sharia Law. As Ross Howard noted, this is rooted in their interpretation of a 1400 year old creed contained in the Koran and the hadiths. If you are a devout Muslim, who takes the Koran seriously, 9.29 tells you to subdue and humiliate Christians as you extort money from them. 66.9 tells you to be stern against the disbelievers who will all end up in hell. A simple search on google will bring up many more such passages. Until Muslims face these problematic passages and refute them, the raping, kidnapping and killing will go on. And it won't matter how sincerely we reach out to them with understanding and good will.
JB | 26 February 2015


Thanks Andrew for starting to gently expose one of many underlying layers of why our youth are going in the wrong direction. I encourage more robust articles to bring light over the darkness of these known and deceitful systems for the majority of non whites living in Australia. When your education dont count, your skills, intelligence and awards don't count, when your Australian citizenship is not equivalent to a white Australian citizenship, and your non white family's survival means nothing to government, Church authorities and white society, when Australian industries and government across the broad do not incorporate non white nations and do not recognise and confirm Australia's true identity, what hope is there? As minorities, we have no protection and no recourse in the current Australian law. No white wants to bring home rights for non white people in Australia? What humanity is there in this pitiless desert? We cannot get assistance from white people, the very people that put us in this position are the very people from which we must seek assistance, only to be told to accept the suffering and not become bitter. No white Australian will receive that treatment. What choices and alternatives are there besides the forced untenable life of handouts, suicide etc?
Jackie | 26 February 2015


Answer - Poor education and brainwashing from hate-filled fundamentalists. Perhaps, Andrew, your description, "our Muslim fellow citizens", while Christian in intent is a tad naive. "Fellow citizens" is hardly the correct description of people accepted here who pledge death to the rest of the infidels like we Christians, man, woman and child.
john frawley | 26 February 2015


In. 1966 my Dutch/Australian/Jewish mates teacher suddenly left to fight for Israel because of the 6 day war. A generation earlier young idealists went to Spain to fight Franco. The young have ideals, but not necessarily judgement. That's why potential jihadists should not be demonized, but given a place for considered discussion of their concerns and ways to resolve them. Rants by the Prime Minister only exacerbate the situation.
Joanna Mendelssohn | 26 February 2015


Thank you.
Diana Hayes | 26 February 2015


There are Christian fundamentalists as well as Islamic fundamentalists. Here I define fundamentalism as the belief that the Gospels or Qaran speak the truth. That the words written down so many years ago must be followed because they represent the words of God or Allah. Both Christian and Islam fundamentalists pose a threat. It was George W. Bush who led the Western alliance to invade Iraq. Many thousands of civilians were killed or maimed. It is probable that this sowed the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism by destabilising the regime as well as destroying thousands of lives. How can people be brought to understand that the ancient messages, parables, and so on, are meant to be interpreted within the context of our contemporary society?
Anna | 26 February 2015


A.H.: 'we need above all to understand what might attract young people to join a cause and how they might be drawn to a better mind.'...More like us?? Everyone agrees on the need for a level playing field if there is to be peace and harmony. But especially with religions, there is entrenched beliefs that 'we', -(whoever we happen to be), have the Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, and that others are either misguided or perverse. We all need to realise that there are many paths up the Mountain leading to God, and that we have bonded to one particular one because of our culture and circumstances. Our bonding can become bondage, leaving us unwilling or even incapable of seeing the merits of others, and living in harmony with them. We all have a lot to learn about God's Call.
Robert Liddy | 26 February 2015


As a boy my grandfather would tell me about his brother who went off to someone else's war, he too thought it would be Turkey and ended up in the killing machine of the Somme on the Western Front. My grandfather was going to and missed out because the war ended in the day he was due to report for service. I was mesmerised by stories of Irish rebels and family that had hidden priests. I reflect on the my childhood library, filled with stories of saints and martyrs and how as a youth I imagined being a martyr that would take me from my ordinariness to exalted status forever saved in eternity. And now the only line from all those books on can remember are two words 'we lepers' spoken by Father Damien on Molokai as he in his work became a leper as well. Andy I hear old men talk in slogans and fear was and we forget what it was to be a youth and a young adult trying to find our place in the world. In a different time filled with idealism and youthful understanding I too could easily have ended up doing terrible things that now I could not even begin to imagine doing. Somehow we need to find a way to be with that journey and find ways to include not exclude because in the excluding we will create the very things we most fear.
john | 26 February 2015


Alienated and disturbed young people, separated from the mainstream Muslim community, appear to be most influenced by the criminal terrorist ideology. They might think that Daesh/ISIS is Islamic but its failure to adhere to basic Islamic teaching suggests something else. Permission to fight in islam is narrow: To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged and truly Allah is Most powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right (for no cause) except that they say "Our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled down monasteries churches synagogues and mosques in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for truly Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might (Able to enforce His Will). Surah 22 Hajj Ayat 39-40 Baath Party generals are apparently the backbone of Daesh. Abbott's attempt to further marginalize the community does not help .
Bilal | 26 February 2015


In response to John Frawley "Answer - Poor education and brainwashing from hate-filled fundamentalists..." John, I have seen your responses over the years and I invite you to use your intelligence in the cause of good and righteousness. Maybe sharing, yes, sharing your skills with others less fortunate may give you a different perspective to Christianity from the one you currently have. I know I have learnt alot from dealing with other nations and I am sure if the circumstances I mentioned in my response came close to home, it would generate a far elevated and different response from all concerned.
Jackie | 26 February 2015


Yes, an experience of a controlling ideology at home can generate a desire to sympathise with a cause abroad that presents itself as a liberating resistance to another's controlling ideology. It becomes so convoluted and confused. So back to taws and the hermeneutic of suspicion .Whoever we are and wherever we are, we may be complicit in an ideology of control. Whether we be true blue Australian (Christian) or adventuring Jihadist (Australian), the suspicion that we all have to face constantly is that we may have wandered from what it means to be human together, in the world, before one Creator.
Noel McMaster | 26 February 2015


Good afternoon Jackie, My perspective on Christianity in the context of radical Islamic jihad is based on the Vatican II document on ecumenism. In that document, the Catholic Church recognises the goodness in Islam in its monotheism and its practices of charity and fasting. None of these, however, are features of murderous Islamic fundamentalism which I am sure is outside the aspirations of most Muslims particularly those living in the West. Vat II, however, in Gaudium et Spes, its prescription for this new millennium, condemns all destruction of human life and abuse of God's greatest creation, humankind, the modus operandi of the radical Islamists. The offer of the Christian olive branch to other religious adherences by Vatican II is perhaps the greatest achievement of that Council and the olive branch has been taken by Judaism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism and moderate Islam. You are correct, however, in noting that I can't find it within my brand of Christianity to offer Christianity up to slaughter by the radical Islamists. I reckon the sooner they are sorted out the better for everyone including Islam itself.
john frawley | 26 February 2015


Great comments, Ross Howard. The Graeme Wood article (available online) should be must reading as a corrective to the liberal spin that ISIS, etc are somehow a bunch of "nutjobs" falsely passing themselves off as Islamic. As for having a "deep respect" for Islam, as Fr H recommends ... without more, it's a high-sounding but empty formula, to be filled according to one's point of view. For a Christian, "deep respect" might mean identifying acknowledging the truths in another religion or world view which resonate positively with Christianity and the natural law, while honestly and candidly challenging those beliefs and practices which contradict Christian and natural law principles and in particular those which threaten massive injustices to our fellow human beings - eg, stoning adulterers, hanging homosexuals or dropping them to their death from high towers, beheading apostates, polygamy, treating women as second class citizens, chopping the hands off thieves, and so on. But for those leaning towards ISIS, "deep respect" for Islam entails nothing short of conversion to Islam and, more than that: conversion to the particular brand of Islam they espouse. (They even treat many other Islamic sects as heretics and apostates, deserving death.) Obviously, for a Christian, that would cease to be authentic "deep respect", both for their faith and for ours.
HH | 26 February 2015


Perhaps HH and Ross Howard, and all those who want to typecast whole groups of people according to the actions of a few should read about some of the so-called Christian fanatics whose behaviour is little different from Muslim fanatics but who are not used to typecast Christianity. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yasmin-mogahed/are-all-christians-militi_b_519968.html
Ginger Meggs | 26 February 2015


Consoling words: SMH December 17, 2014. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made an impassioned plea for Australians not to be "corrupted by hatred" following the Lindt cafe siege. An emotional Mr Turnbull was speaking after a memorial service held at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral on Tuesday afternoon to pay tribute to the siege victims. Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson died after being held hostage for most of Monday in the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place. The gunman, Man Haron Monis, also died. "I was on a train this morning, and you could feel the numbness in the carriage," Mr Turnbull said. "Everyone was thinking the same thoughts: shock, horror, imagining how those people suffered during that terrible night. "Thinking about the courage of the two young people that were killed. "And yet I feel that everyone was also filled with love. There were something of determination on that train; a determined love; a recognition that it's love for each other, it's love for our country which binds us together and makes us the most successful, harmonious society in the world. "I felt that there was, as the train rattled across the Harbour Bridge, I felt that there was a quiet determination that we weren't going to be intimidated by such hatred." Tuesday's memorial service was led by the new Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, and attended by NSW Premier Mike Baird and Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. "I thought today's service was so beautiful," Mr Turnbull continued. "Because it was all about love. It was about that love, that love of God ... the loving example of Jesus that should inspire us all not to be corrupted by hatred and violence, and to remain united as Australians, now and forever."
AO | 26 February 2015


The woolly-minded apologists here who think the battles raging in Syria and Iraq today can be compared with other conflicts such as the Hungarian uprising of '56 or the Spanish Civil War are seriously deluded. ISIS is far, far worse than communism or the fascism of Franco. The only 'ideology' I can think of that could be compared to that of ISIS, in terms of its cruelty, barbarity and sheer stupidity, is Nazism. So if you must make comparisons, how about comparing a young man who goes to Iraq to fight for ISIS with a young man who left Australia in the '40s to join Hitler's SS.
Monty | 26 February 2015


This article defines accurately the idealism of the young - 'martyrdom's palm' was the (imaginary) goal of many teenage Catholics in the fifties/sixties. Doubtless many young Muslims are experiencing the same feelings. Sadly, the ravages of the Santamaria-inspired cleavage in the Australian Church are still with us.
Joan Thomas | 26 February 2015


Without mentioning any names,4 contributors obviously know the Moslem religion and the teaching of the Koran. Sadly more Australians should investigate what Islam stands for. Mohamed was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He spread Islam in Mecca, then in Medina and then the entire tribes and cities were converted under threat or by conquest, then he spread Islam in the whole of Middle East, North Africa, part of Europe and Asia. By the 16th or 17th century Europe became dominant of the whole world. Under European rules, Moslems behaved themselves. After the devastating world war two in Europe, and with the end of the colonial system after the war, now, Moslems are trying to fulfil Mohamed's dream for the whole world to be Moslem. Australians, please be ready to defend Australia.
Ron Cini | 26 February 2015


Thanks John. Pope Francis has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Islam in order to work for peace and protect Christians in the Middle East. He added that ending poverty was crucial, partly because it gave rise to ‘the recruitment of terrorists’. Pope Francis has in the past said that, while it is lawful for the international community to use force to stop an ‘unjust aggressor’, lasting solutions must be found that tackle the root causes of violence. I am also reminded of Fr Christian De Cherge, leader of the French Trappist Monk community, who established themselves in the Muslim village of Tibhirine in the Atlas Mountains. Increasing unrest involving terrorists and military put their lives at risk but they stayed. He wrote a testament during 1993 which was opened on Pentecost Sunday 1996, shortly after most of the community were abducted and murdered. His testament "If the day comes, and it could be today, that I am a victim of terrorism that seems to be engulfing foreigners in Algeria, I would like my community, my Church, and my family to remember that I have dedicated my life to God and Algeria. That they accept that the Lord of all life was not a stranger to this savage kind of departure; that they may pray for me, wondering how I found myself worthy of such a sacrifice; that they link in their memory this death of mine with all other deaths equally violent but forgotten in their anonymity. My life is not worth more than any other - not less, not more. Nor am I an innocent child. I have lived long enough to know that I, too, am accomplice of the evil that seems to prevail in the world around, even that which might lash out blindly at me. If the moment comes, I would hope to have the presence of mind, and the time, to ask for God's pardon and for that of my fellowmen, and at the same time, to pardon in all sincerity him who would attack me. I would not welcome such a death. It is important for me to say this. I do not see how I could rejoice when this people whom I love will be accused, indiscriminately, of my death...I know the contempt that some people have for Algerians as a whole. It is too easy for such people to dismiss, in good conscience, this religion as something hateful by associating it with violent extremists. For me, Algeria and Islam are quite different from the commonly held opinion. They are body and soul. I have said enough, I believe, about all the good things i have received here, finding so often the meaning of the Gospels running like some gold thread through my life, and which began first at my mother knee, my very first church, here in Algeria, where I learned respect for the Muslims. Obviously, my death will justify the opinion of all those who dismissed me as naive or idealistic: 'Let him tell us what he thinks now.' But such people should know my death will satisfy my most burning curiosity. At last, I will be able - if God pleases - to see the children of Islam as he sees them, illuminated in the glory of Christ, sharing in the gift of God's Passion and of the Spirit, whose secret joy will always be to bring forth our common humanity amidst our differences. I give thanks to God for this life, completely mine yet completely theirs, too, to God, who wanted it for joy against, and in spite of, all odds. And to you, too, my friend of the last moment, who will not know what you are doing. Yes, for you, too, I wish to thank you, this 'A-dieu', whose image is in you also, that we may meet in heaven, like happy thieves, if it pleases God, our common Father. Amen. Insha Allah!"
Jackie | 27 February 2015


Ron, if you think that Christianity has no blood on its hands, then I suggest that you read a bit of history looking at it, if you can, from the other side, the side of the indigenous peoples of central and south America during the era of Spanish conquest, of the indigenous people of the 'Holy Land' during the Crusades, the indigenous people of the Congo during the period of Belgian rule, the Moorish and Jewish people in Spain after the resurgence of Christianity, the Christian 'heretics' in Europe during the religious wars, the Afro-Americans in the southern states of the US during and after the period of 'reconstruction', the 'others' in Ulster during the 'troubles'.
Ginger Meggs | 27 February 2015


Good morning Jackie. Thank you for availing us of the Christ-like response of Fr De Cherge with whom I am not familiar. He was the sort of human being who is saintly and, it seems from your Quote, genuinely associates his responses and actions with Christ's sacrifice. I have always thought of Christ's sacrifice as being predestined and the fulfilment of his mission on Earth - something beyond the common or garden man or woman. I am not capable of that sort of sacrifice and would be more likely to line up with those Jesuits who took up arms against the murderous Portuguese and Spanish invaders of South America and who did become saints for their stance, canonised by Pope John Paul II a few years ago.
john frawley | 27 February 2015


In October 1956, as I swotted for the Primary Finals, my idealism was fired by the courage of Hungarian youth facing down Soviet tanks, As I matured years later from idealism to realism I noted polish TV panning on communistPolish President JWojciech Witold Jaruzelski's shaking knees as he met Saint John Paul beginning his victory over the Soviet Empire[attested to by said communist president, and later by Gorbachev in 1999 interview with La Stampa.]
# And now aged 70 re ISIS, i suggest the Rosary as ISIS antidote[though Muslim tea lady just brought morning tea in nursing home!]
The Holy League in 1571 credited the victory of Lepanto [against 'ISIS' type Ottomans] to the Virgin Mary, whose intercession with God they had implored for victory through the use of the Rosary. Pope Pius V instituted a new Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the battle, which is now celebrated by the Catholic Church as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Father John George | 01 March 2015


"woolly-minded apologists" and "liberal" viewpoints on ISIS? Why not just ask Muslim people what they think of ISIS. They say it's got nothing to do with Islam - so equating it historically with the Ottomans or Islamic military or even Nazis is just inaccurate pondering from the comfort of Australian armchairs.
AURELIUS | 03 March 2015


And I'm sure conservative Muslims ponder how the Western allies once inspired by the notion of Chistendom could justify the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent drone strikes all over the Middle East that kill innocent civilians. Just War theory? Just for whom?
AURELIUS | 03 March 2015


In accord with de facto Just War principles, The UN Security Council both Muslim and non Muslim members unanimously passed numerous resolutions to avoid Irag war but to no avail.
#[Despite best UN intentions, a sanatised non civilian attrition,while scrupulously avoided was unavoidable! [Welcome to planet earth Aurelius]
#United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 WAS a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council on 8 November 2002, offering Iraq under Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions (Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 678, Resolution 686, Resolution 687, Resolution 688, Resolution 707, Resolution 715, Resolution 986, and Resolution 1284).
Father John George | 04 March 2015


To clarify-the UNO did all posible to avoid civilian suffering. There had been enough massacres under bellicose tyrant Saddam Hussein Iraq's era under President Saddam Hussein was notorious for its severe violations of human rights. Secret police, torture, mass murder, rape, deportations, forced disappearances, assassinations, chemical warfare,
Father John George | 04 March 2015


‘‘The shadow,’’ wrote Jung (1963), is ‘‘that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious’’ (cited in Diamond, p. 96). The shadow is a primordial part of our human inheritance, which, try as we might, can never be eluded. The pervasive Freudian defense mechanism known as projection is how most people deny their shadow, unconsciously casting it onto others so as to avoid confronting it in oneself. Such projection of the shadow is engaged in not only by individuals but groups, cults, religions, and entire countries, and commonly occurs during wars and other contentious conflicts in which the outsider, enemy or adversary is made a scapegoat, dehumanized, and demonized. Two World Wars testify to the terrible truth of this collective phenomenon. Since the turn of the twenty-first century we are witnessing a menacing resurgence of epidemic demonization or collective psychosis in the seemingly inevitable violent global collision between radical Islam and Judeo-Christian or secular western culture, each side projecting its collective shadow and perceiving the other as evil incarnate. ‘‘Bringing the shadow to consciousness,’’ writes another of Jung’s followers, Liliane Frey-Rohn (1967), ‘‘is a psychological problem of the highest moral significance. It demands that the individual hold himself accountable not only for what happens to him, but also for what he projects. . . Without the conscious inclusion of the shadow in daily life there cannot be a positive relationship to other people, or to the creative sources in the soul; there cannot be an individual relationship to the Divine’’ (cited in Diamond, p. 109).
AO | 04 March 2015


The Light: In John 8:12 Jesus applies the title to Himself while debating with the Jews and states: "I Am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life''.
AO | 04 March 2015


Father John George, you seem to have forgotten to cite the resolutions that actually authorised the invasion of Iraq or the continuing drone strikes mentioned by Aurelius. Is it perchance because there aren't any? And why is it that Iraq was told to disarm, but not Saudi Arabia or Israel? Methinks the issue is much more nuanced than you will allow, sir.
Ginger Meggs | 04 March 2015


Obviously, the Iraq threat was seen by UNO as a more menacing threat than other Middle East hot spots, thus the decades long litany of UNO resolutions and 'ín situ' Investigations re Iraq.[Remember the UNO is not a Christian entity, but is composed of countries with other than Christian Just war theories. Muslims know the UNO is not a Vatican extraterritorial enclave. Indeed, Muslim nations are members of UNO and on the UN security body with voting rights-do avoid simplistic reductionisms sir re Middle East-a minefield of complexities within complexities. To identify strict RC Just War doctrine with 'ecumenical' UNO is extremely naive-no Muslim, unless paranoid, would see UNO as 10th crusade in-the making.
#Frankly, though, re original issue I offer rosaries against Ottoman type ISIS
The United Nations has held ISIS responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and Amnesty International has reported ethnic cleansing by the group on a "historic scale". The group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, ETC.[AND MUSLIM COUNTRIES AS WELL]
Father John George | 05 March 2015


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  • Zac Alstin
  • 17 February 2015

The ancient Chinese text the Zhuangzi tells of a kingdom where the people rose up and killed their ruler three times in succession. Australia has seen two of its rulers 'killed' in succession since 2010, with a third now perilously close to extinction. Are we approaching a point where the highest expression of political wisdom would be not to run for leadership at all?

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Chris Kenny's Don Quixote moment

  • Andrew Hamilton
  • 19 February 2015

Columnist for The Australian Chris Kenny's insistance 'that Tony Abbott has provided the best 16 months of government Australia has seen in more than seven years' evoked the image of a captain on the bridge, proclaiming the sea-worthiness of his ship, and saluting as the sea rises to meet his nose while the lesser mortals below die into silence. Such magnificent gestures of defiance are not to be despised.

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