TONY Abbott has refused to link Sydney hostage taker Man Haron Monis with Islam, pointing out: â€œWe donâ€™t blame the pope for the IRA and we donâ€™t blame the Catholics living next door for the folly and madness of some people who may claim Christian motivations.â€
The prime minister was repeatedly asked by the ABC AM presenter Chris Uhlmann whether it was necessary to have a more â€œhonestâ€ discussion with Islamic community leaders about the â€œsignificant minorityâ€ in their community attracted to extremism.
But Abbott replied he had not â€œheard anyone talking about the Sydney attack as some kind of justifiable response to something Australia might have done â€¦ and frankly anyone who does even think that is dead wrongâ€.
He said Monis was â€œa deeply unstable person with a long history of violence and mental illness â€¦ someone who was way beyond any mainstream â€¦ and who has been rightly repudiated by all the mainstream of Australiaâ€.
â€œWhat I hope to see is a spirit of pluralism, a spirit of diversity â€¦ right around the Middle East people are coming to understand this Isil death cult has declared war on everyone, it is not picking sides, it is attacking everyone,â€ he said.
â€œI guess one of the encouraging things is there are less and less of people trying to explain and justify terrorism in the name of religion â€¦ whether it be in this country, whether it be in the Middle East whether it is on the subcontinent â€¦ Fewer and fewer people today are trying to justify, rationalise or explain terrorism … because it is simply evil, it is simply wrong.
â€œThey claim to be acting in the name of God â€¦ but there is no serious religious leader who is defending this â€¦ and if you take the Isil death cult in the Middle East it has been roundly condemned by leading Sunni scholars â€¦ there has been fatwa after fatwa pronounced against it.â€
Abbott said the government would investigate why Monis was not on a security watchlist, because he had been of interest to security agencies and NSW police, had been found guilty of many serious crimes and was clearly a â€œvery, very unsavoury individualâ€.
â€œThe system did not adequately deal with this individual, there is no doubt about that,â€ he said, promising the answers would be contained in a â€œreport that will be out there for all to seeâ€.
Echoing many conservative commentators, Uhlmann asked the prime minister: â€œDonâ€™t Islamic leaders in the west have to have an honest conversation about what it means to their community that significant minorities within them support and sympathise with violent jihadism?â€
But Abbott replied â€œI think [the conversation] is being had all the time in these communities â€¦ all people are diminished when something like this takes place. Every Australian is obliged to adhere to the law â€¦ this mutual respect is at the heart of our society.â€
Uhlmann went on, saying it was â€œnot Islamophobic to notice that this is a religion that is resistant to criticism and scrutiny, that is utterly incapable of laughing at itself and when it is criticised the reaction often tends to be violent.â€
Abbott replied: â€œWell that is certainly a point of view, Chris, and I think that if you look at the history of Islam it has certainly been different from the history of Christianity but things are changing all the time and what I hope to see right around the world is a spirit of pluralism, a spirit of engagement, a sense that diversity â€¦ is a good thing and â€¦ right around the Middle East people are coming to understand this Isil death cult has declared war on everyone … it is not picking sides, it is attacking everyone.â€
Uhlmann continued with another observation that â€œin a truly tolerant western society we would hope for a day when Islam is so integrated that it could be criticised in a way Catholicism is criticisedâ€. Abbott replied: â€œWell certainly Christianity and Catholicism have been criticised uphill and down dale, and you and I are both very conscious of that â€¦ but we donâ€™t blame the pope for the IRA and we donâ€™t blame the Catholics living next door for the folly and madness of some people who may claim Christian motivations, we need to be similarly carefully and cautious in these other areas.â€ The Guardian