We are encouraged to talk about the murderous scourge of domestic violence. Whether or not it has touched our lives, we need to be aware of signs and causes, vigilant for victims and culprits.
With the deadly threat of Islamist extremism, we are expected to do the opposite. Politicians and commentators urge us not even to utter its name lest somehow the very word Islamist suggests all Muslims are to blame.
Far from fearing we tar all men with the brush of domestic violence, we spend millions urging all men to recognise risks in the behaviour of themselves and others. Television commercials focus on the language we accept from children lest it manifest itself in verbal or physical abuse of women.
On Islamist extremism, officialdom encourages ignorance. No meaningful public information is spread and most do not dare discuss the religious motivation of terrorists or the need for Muslim communities to be alive to signs of radicalisation in their midst. The only “causes” of terrorism acceptable in public debate are those grievances used by terrorist propaganda to blame us — Western foreign policy, Islamophobia, social dislocation and the like. In rooting out domestic violence, we know awareness and vigilance are crucial. This could inform our efforts to destroy the very different threat of Islamist extremism.
On SkyNews Australia yesterday, Sage International chief executive John Bruni urged us to focus on mental health rather than Islamist motivations. The denial was made no less extraordinary by its predictability. Over on ABC News24, we saw Clarke Jones of Australian National University. “Aggression against aggression only leads to more aggression,” Dr Jones said, “so we’ve got to be very careful — it doesn’t mean going soft on terrorism by no means — but we’ve really got to get down to the crux of the social issues that’s driving this problem.”
Here we go again; it’s our fault.
No it’s not.
hat-tip Stephen Neil