Those ‘engaging’ with the government on the ‘anti-terror’ proposals seem to do so on the assumption that the government is sincere in wanting to listen to Muslim concerns and take them on board in its ‘war on terror’. Some of our most basic creedal fundamentals tell us otherwise.

The leaders of kufr take and treat Muslims as enemies. They will never be pleased with you until you leave your deen, a matter they ardently desire. They are ‘awliya of one another – they enjoin evil and forbid the good and they spend their wealth to divert people from the path of Allah.

But even apart from this, the reality of what we have witnessed points to the same conclusion.

Just considering the way in which western states have carried themselves in the ‘war on terror’ clearly reveals their insincerity – which here means that their intent is not to limit or end unjust violence against innocent people or ‘radicalisation’ or ‘terrorism’ but to control the reaction to their aggressive policies and thereby maintain and further their economic and political interests.

The clearest indication of this insincerity is the absolute and complete ignoring of the primary root cause of ‘terrorism’: western aggression on the Muslim world, more euphemistically known as ‘foreign policy’. From 2001 till now, this factor has not even been acknowledged as a cause let alone treated as one. It is not even on the table of discussion. In fact, those who raise it consistently are labelled ‘extremists’ and apologists of terrorism.

Is this point alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be, for sincerity dictates dealing with root causes.

But for those for whom it is not sufficient, we can go further…

Look at the way the ‘war on terror’ has been waged: from military invasions based on complete lies to legislative changes that significantly alter legal norms and undercut people’s rights rammed through parliament (as Howard did in 2005, with the rubber stamp of ‘Muslim leaders’ ‘engaging’ him at the time).

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be, for anyone who is willing to lie to the world to proceed and lay to waste an entire country cannot be sincere.

But for those for whom it is not, we can go further…

Consider the fact that for the last decade in which the government has been claiming to ‘engage’ the Muslim community the people they sent to ‘engage’ us were the police (AFP) and bureaucrats (CRC), indicating i) that we were been treated as a question of national security and ii) that the policies were not up for negotiation, for had they been policymakers would come to engage, instead of sending those whose role is but to implement policy (and control dissent/police response). The policymakers only came with there was a PR need to show community engagement and support.

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be. But for those for whom it is not, we can go further…

Consider the current ‘anti-terror’ proposals and how the government went about them.

The process in which the ‘anti-terror’ laws were reviewed, debated, discussed and recommendations tabled, within government and parliamentary processes, took about two years, starting May 2012 with then (Labor) Attorney-General Nicola Rixon asking the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to review the National Security Legislation. The committee’s report was tabled a year later in June 2013. Once the new measures were all but determined over this two year period, the government went public in mid-July (Attorney-General press release) and then again more formally in early August (Prime Minister press conference). Throughout this public selling of the policy, the government used divisive and insulting rhetoric basically just lecturing the community to step in line.

Two weeks after this – a full month after going public! – Tony Abbott decides to ‘consult’ Muslim leaders.

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be, for sincere consultation of stakeholders comes in the planning stage not in marketing phase!

But for those for whom it is not, we can go further…

Consider how the PM went about ‘consulting’ the community.

He invited hand-picked individuals to a one-hour meeting that had no agenda, without giving them any details about the proposed measures. Those who attended expressed their concerns and then issued a statement re-iterating these concerns. So what does the PM do? He fully ignored these concerns, continued with the same rhetoric, and, most importantly, lied about the meeting in trying to milk it by claiming community support for the laws.

A meeting in which concerns were raised became symbolised by one imam allegedly groveling to the PM about being on Team Australia with him as captain! George Brandis and David Irvine did the same thing.

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be. But for those for whom it is not, we can go further…

Consider how the government trivalised the community’s sincere expression of its opinion on these proposed measures. Moves likes the ICV boycotting a meeting with the PM and more than 90 community imams, organisations and activists coming out with a firm stance to denounce the proposed measures was roundly dismissed by the government and characteristed with terms such as “petty”, “foolish” and “noise”.

Yet apparently, they are interested in listening to us and hearing what we have to say!

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

It should be. But for those for whom it is not, we can go further…

Consider the latest meeting which the AG called. Again, hand-picked invitees called for ‘consultation’. They asked for the draft legislation and for sufficient time to review. Refused. AG gives them 30 mins to review the legislation, turns up one-hour late, tells them the proposals are not up for negotiation, and gives them 30 minutes for “feedback”!

Naturally, those who attended take him up on this, they again express the concerns, sternly in cases, voices are raised. On the whole the attendees are “disappointed”. So what the AG’s spokesperson say? “It was a friendly and constructive meeting”!

More spin to again milk the meeting, which the AG did himself even before it happened in claiming that Muslim leaders are on-board and “collaborating” with the government.

Is this alone not enough to show that the government is not sincere?

Indeed, any one of the above should be sufficient on its own. What can we say, then, about all of them together?

No sane person can reach any other conclusion than that the government is not sincere about this ‘war on terror’, let alone about its ‘engagement’ with the community. It’s time we acted on this reality, as a community.

Continued ‘engagement’ only benefits the government and its targeting of Islam and Muslims.

Uthman Badar

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