The threat of Islamic terrorism leaves no country untouched, as Australians were reminded this weekend. Four men were arrested by Australian Federal Police, reportedly having had their “Islamic-inspired” plot to bomb an airplane foiled by the authorities. Security was stepped up at the major Aussie airports, causing minor travel delays on Sunday as law enforcement authorities cautioned travelers to expect more of the same throughout the week.
“In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist act using an improvised device,” said AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin. “We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully. At this time we don’t have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time. However, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target.”
While this latest foiled plot is a sharp reminder to Australia that the war against Islamic extremism must remain a top priority, this is far from the first time the country has had to look this specific form of religious evil in the eye.
Australia, a close ally of the United States, has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters, since 2014.
Authorities say they have thwarted a number of potential attacks since then but there have been several “lone wolf” assaults, including a cafe siege in Sydney that left two hostages and the gunman dead.
About 100 people have left Australia for Syria to fight alongside organizations such as Islamic State, Australia’s immigration minister said last month.
In addition to calls for ramping up security, news of the planned attack will undoubtedly renew criticism of the current Australian government, which has been accused of doing too little to combat Islamism at home. Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was time for Australia to convene special terror courts to deal with those who had flown to fight for ISIS in the Middle East.
“There’s a chronic tendency to make excuses for bad behavior by the ‘brothers’ or to deny that it’s even happened,” he said. “Instead of demanding that Muslims in our country conform to our rules, we try to create ‘safe spaces’ for everyone even though that sometimes means creating very unsafe spaces for us. So the Centrelink rules are unofficially adjusted to tolerate multiple wives; schools allow Muslim boys to refuse to shake female teachers’ hands; and municipal pools are segregated to appease medieval attitudes to gender.
“In other words,” he concluded, “we tolerate from hard-line Muslims what we would not tolerate for a second if it emanated from any other source.”
It is a liberal curse that has spread throughout the West in the exact same way, weakening our collective resolve to properly fight this existential threat. Instead, we welcome and allow it to seed itself, grow, and thrive in our very communities, too paralyzed by political correctness to nip it in the bud. Then we depend on our law enforcement bodies to stop attacks like these just before they unfold.
This time, Australia got lucky.
But what about the next time?