AUSTRALIA faces a "London-type bombing" if relations between Muslims and the intelligence and police authorities do not improve, an influential Islamic youth leader has warned.
Fadi Rahman, who runs one of Sydney's biggest youth centres at Lidcombe in the city's west, said overseas Islamic elements were attempting to radicalise Muslim youth with their hardline ideologies.
But in a warning that will resonate with Australian authorities, Mr Rahman said Muslims did not trust ASIO or the Australian Federal Police and that the bungled terror case against Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef had worsened the situation. "The biggest problem ASIO and the federal police have is that no one in the Islamic community trusts them enough to give them a heads-up about anything," Mr Rahman told The Australian. Look at the Haneef thing - why would we trust these guys when all you see is one fumble after another? People are afraid."
Dr Haneef, an Indian national, was detained in July on suspicion of having played a role in the foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow, but the case fell apart after a series of prosecution mistakes.
He said the typical recruiter was in their 40s or 50s, "from overseas, well-educated and tapping into young people's frustrations and anger. I think we are very similar to London," he said. "There are these individuals from overseas who are basically in their mid-life who have these ideologies and because of the animosity they have experienced in their own countries have deep hatred of the Western world. It's very easy to tap into the mind of someone who has a low education level, unemployment and who has basically given up on life. (The perpetrators of the Glasgow Airport attempt, including Dr Haneef’s family were qualified doctors, the London bombers included a classroom assistant and the son of a businessman – no low educational level there) The right ingredients are there. We need to do something or what happened in London, a London-type bombing, will happen here."
The "something" includes programs to give opportunities to Muslim youth and a "less hostile" attitude by the federal Government. Mr Rahman said the Government was spending too much on campaigns directed at people who did not know what was going on - such as the Be Alert, Not Alarmed campaign - but not enough in communities such as southwestern Sydney, where about 250,000 Muslims live. "It's not like it will be John Smith on the north shore of Sydney who will have information, it will be Mohammed or Ahmed out here," he says.
Mr Rahman brokered a deal with IBM last week under which the computer company will mentor 10 youths from the centre and offer three traineeships. Gimmee, gimmee.
Mr Rahman said this sort of support gave the young people and their families and friends hope. In the aftermath of the Cronulla race riots in Sydney in 2005 there was progress between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, but since then "things have taken a nasty turn".
"The blame game" of all Muslims being blamed for terrorism "will only put people offside", he said. "When the shit hits the fan we will all be covered with it. It's just a matter of time before someone says I've had enough. Unless something is done and attitudes change something will happen. We haven't learnt our lesson post-September 11, the Bali bombings, the Cronulla riots and the London bombings. There's deep-seated hatred on both sides. When young Muslims go into other areas they go in with force”.
I am never sure whether these sorts of “warnings” are a promise or a threat. I do know that were someone to say “Londoners are angry, many have left London because it is not a comfortable place for them. Give us better facilities, transport, health care and respect or there will be violence” we wouldn’t be given the facilities. We would be charged with blackmail and threats to kill.