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Only the non-radicalised can work to bring the radicalised back

By mrconnorobrien 17 November 2015 31

It's time to talk

One of the most frustrating things about social media is the sense that we’re trapped inside echo chambers of our own making. It’s true, but one of the reasons we keep repeating what we believe is not because we like hearing our own opinions repeated back to us, but because we hope that by repeating the same thing over and over, we’ll eventually begin to change the opinions of those who disagree with us.

What’s difficult, though, is that because we believe so firmly that we are right, and because we feel it is so important for us not to waver in our message, we end up establishing an impenetrable wall between us and those whose minds we desperately need to change. We don’t think enough about why those who hold views we believe are reprehensible might hold those views. We too rarely stop to think that very bad opinions might be rooted in the fears and insecurities of those who hold them, or that people might hold on to bad opinions for too long because publicly admitting that you might be wrong is still viewed as a cause for embarrassment.

We desperately, desperately need to establish frameworks for better dialogues between the majority who understand that refugees and Muslim Australians are not a threat, and those who are beginning to be driven toward more extreme forms of xenophobia.

The process of IS radicalisation is beginning to be much better understood, and there are intelligent people working within our public service who are establishing smart policies to engage those who are susceptible to being radicalised and make them feel welcome within our culture. What is much less understood is the process of radicalisation that is drawing some Australians in the other direction – toward a distrust of refugees and Muslim Australians. This, too, is a form of radicalisation.

As these people – those we loosely characterise as ‘bigots’ – are drawn further away from the mainstream, they lose touch with the nuanced conversation we are having about the complex relationship between identity, religion, and extremism. At a certain point, they begin to narrow the opinions they engage with, until almost all media becomes suspect. At that point, it becomes nearly impossible to reach them, as they end up constructing their own barrier to filter out anything they don’t already agree with.

Most of us agree that bigots aren’t worth listening to, in the same way that it’s not worth taking seriously the opinions of those who have already been radicalised by IS. But we can’t just treat the growing number of xenophobic Australians as nothing more than a loony fringe, as these are the people that are, in subtle and sometimes less-than-subtle ways, drawing the vulnerable on the other side to IS and other groups that promise to protect and empower them. These two forms of radicalisation inflame one another, and every person we lose to radicalisation, on either side, acts as an enzyme in a process in which more and more of us end up slipping into extremism.

We are not doing this properly. We need to assume that all of the people that slip into radicalism are intelligent human beings, but are being caught in a loop in which extremely bad opinions are being sold to them as solutions for underlying feelings of disempowerment. We need to stop characterising anybody as a lost cause or innately prejudiced, and figure out how to begin drawing these people back.

How do we engage with those who see refugees or Muslim Australians as a threat? Ridiculing them or repeating the same facts and opinions appears to be failing very badly – it is leading some of those on the fence to see the non-xenophobic mainstream as coercive or patronising, which only draws them further away. When xenophobic opinion columnists use terms like ‘inner-city latte-sipping lefties’, the opinions of the mainstream are presented as those of a closed-off coterie, which instills in uncertain readers a sense that the non-racist mainstream does not welcome them. When the mainstream begins to label those on the verge of xenophobic radicalisation as ‘bigots’, it provides them with a sense of proof that they are unwelcome, and drives them to begin engaging seriously with the bad opinions they had begun to tentatively explore.

Once these people radicalise, we lose any of the common ground necessary for dialogue to occur. The columnists the already-radicalised read and the public figures they listen to provide them with rebuttals for any argument the non-racist mainstream can provide them to encourage them to de-radicalise. Until now, this process of xenophobic radicalisation has not resulted in the development of a well-organised framework to cause harm to others, but I can’t see how, once a critical mass of xenophobic extremists begin to gather, more sophisticated strategies won’t begin to emerge. Reclaim Australia and its offshoots are truly terrifying.

I’d like to end with an answer, but it’s so tough for me to figure this out. All I’ve realised is that the onus is on us, because only the non-radicalised can work to bring the radicalised back – it appears almost impossible for the radicalised to pull themselves back to centre. We need to engage in outreach in all directions, making sure the vulnerable and easily-manipulated can express their issues clearly, so that they can’t be convinced to reframe their frustrations by seeing another group as a scapegoat. We need to avoid treating anybody as a lost cause, especially those whose xenophobia might appear benign or just ridiculous. We all know people who could be pulled into extremism, or could already be half-way there. We need to do better at not writing them off, and making sure that we can engage with them on a level that lets them recognise that nobody is the enemy.

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
Only the non-radicalised can work to bring the radicalised back
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dungfungus 4:42 pm 25 Nov 15

Acton said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

That’s not where I get my information.
For a lefty who always bags Murdoch’s media you seem to follow it more that the traditional left- leaning media.

It’s a perpetual mystery where you get your “information” from, but we all know it is somewhere reeeel good!

The purpose of setting up a caliphate would be to impose Sharia/Koranic laws. There are groups who wish to introduce aspects of sharia law in Australia:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-05-17/muslim-group-wants-sharia-law-in-australia/2717096
AFIC is a ‘moderate’ organisation, the peak Islamic representative body and regularly involved in consultations with Government, but it is naive to the point of wilfull ignorance to deny the existance and rantings of extremists with an agenda to impose a caliphate with a version of sharia that would send us all back to the dark ages. None are so blind as those that will not see…

What is the version of sharia law that you believe acceptable then?
I thought there was only one sharia.
The fact that AFIC ( a self-styled “moderate” faction) denies the existence of the extremists’s views can only mean there is one sharia and no moderates.

rubaiyat 4:29 pm 25 Nov 15

Acton said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

That’s not where I get my information.
For a lefty who always bags Murdoch’s media you seem to follow it more that the traditional left- leaning media.

It’s a perpetual mystery where you get your “information” from, but we all know it is somewhere reeeel good!

The purpose of setting up a caliphate would be to impose Sharia/Koranic laws. There are groups who wish to introduce aspects of sharia law in Australia:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-05-17/muslim-group-wants-sharia-law-in-australia/2717096
AFIC is a ‘moderate’ organisation, the peak Islamic representative body and regularly involved in consultations with Government, but it is naive to the point of wilfull ignorance to deny the existance and rantings of extremists with an agenda to impose a caliphate with a version of sharia that would send us all back to the dark ages. None are so blind as those that will not see…

I think I know one heck of a lot more on the subject than the little bit of casual reading some have done. Mostly from a few tabloids or listening to the shock jocks and click baiters.

That some may want something and what they’ll get are two different things. This applies to everyone, including the same persistent racists who invite themselves into the debate on the latest set of migrants to justify their xenophobia.

We’ve had muslim migrants for almost all our history and even had problems with them going back to the early 1900’s. You need to distinguish between the diverse groups and faiths, the vast majority do not sympathise at all with the Wahhabi extremists, and it is better to have them on our side, than pushing them into a corner with the extremists.

The thing with people of extreme prejudice of any kind, including the Islamic extremists and our own brand of racists, is that they don’t discriminate in their discrimination. They have the same shotgun approach to “Them and Us”.

Acton 12:09 pm 25 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

That’s not where I get my information.
For a lefty who always bags Murdoch’s media you seem to follow it more that the traditional left- leaning media.

It’s a perpetual mystery where you get your “information” from, but we all know it is somewhere reeeel good!

The purpose of setting up a caliphate would be to impose Sharia/Koranic laws. There are groups who wish to introduce aspects of sharia law in Australia:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-05-17/muslim-group-wants-sharia-law-in-australia/2717096
AFIC is a ‘moderate’ organisation, the peak Islamic representative body and regularly involved in consultations with Government, but it is naive to the point of wilfull ignorance to deny the existance and rantings of extremists with an agenda to impose a caliphate with a version of sharia that would send us all back to the dark ages. None are so blind as those that will not see…

rubaiyat 9:52 pm 24 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

rosscoact said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

That’s not where I get my information.
For a lefty who always bags Murdoch’s media you seem to follow it more that the traditional left- leaning media.

It’s a perpetual mystery where you get your “information” from, but we all know it is somewhere reeeel good!

dungfungus 6:19 pm 24 Nov 15

rosscoact said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

That’s not where I get my information.
For a lefty who always bags Murdoch’s media you seem to follow it more that the traditional left- leaning media.

dungfungus 6:16 pm 24 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Did I say “no go zone”?

rubaiyat 5:51 pm 24 Nov 15

HenryBG said :

rommeldog56 said :

This sort of left leaning, self reflective victim “its all our fault” commentary is exactly what the radicals are hoping will happen. .

But..don’t you see? The Holocaust would never had happened, if only we had given the Nazis a bit more love…

watto23 said :

The right wing extremists in our country are not dissimilar to the terrorists. Happy to use violence when it suits them to get their way also.

Astounding. I must have missed the bit where Reclaim Australia advocates throwing homosexuals from buildings, burning people alive in cages, or occupying a town, exterminating all the men, and selling all the women and girls into slavery.

Let’s face it: what you just wrote was meaningless hyperbole. Our extremists might happily have a homo-erotic scuffle with feral marxists, but they aren’t even within a country mile of the league the Islamists are in.

rubaiyat said :

The whole Middle Eastern Mess was created by the Right,

Really?
So where was this “Right” when the plague started to spread through the middle-east in the 7th Century?
Where was the Right when the rich, vibrant, christian, Hellenic cultures in the Eastern Med were snuffed out and replaced by what we see today in Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Egypt?

rubaiyat said :

We’re still asking why all the Saudi Royal Family were flown out of the USA, when nothing else was allowed to fly, immediately after 9/11.

b
Check Snopes: what you have chosen to believe is a myth:
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/flights.asp

History does not seem to be your strong suit.

Herr Hitler was appeased by the CONSERVATIVES and the Right, many who admired him and supported him. Yet somehow you blame the Left, who fought the Fascists wherever they could!

The turning back of the Jewish refugees by those same people is oh so familiar. Australia even interned the Jews who actually succeeded in making it to Britain.

The angry homophobic right in this country commonly beat up and killed many gay men with impunity until recently. Many of those cases still remain unsolved.

http://www.vice.com/read/gay-panic-is-still-a-murder-defence-in-some-states-of-australia

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/up-to-80-men-murdered-30-cases-unsolved-20130721-2qda7.html

The Right in Europe, the robber barons and kings, were busy fighting each other, kidnapping and stealing whatever they could, which is what made the opening for the Muslim conquests as far as Poitier and Vienna.

Constantinople the eastern Christian capital was first sacked and fatally wounded by their fellow Christians, the Crusaders.

When the Ottoman Turks reached the peak of their conquests in Europe, outside the walls of Vienna before being crushed and sent into flight by the Polish-Lithuanian knights, the reconquest of the christian Balkans was halted when the Austrians were attacked in the rear by the French. The Turks then slaughtered the people who rose up thinking they were being liberated. When my ancestors settled the area along the Danube in the 1700s it was still largely devoid of people.

The same French handed over the Port of Marseilles to Barbarossa and the Barbary pirates that plagued Spain and Italy for centuries.

There may be some doubt on the 9/11 events but I would not be looking into the whitewash that was the 9/11 Commission for resolution, particularly when you read the details and it really came down to the FBI excusing their own (in)actions.

The Neo Cons lied through their teeth and dragged us into a war on Iraq, our best Middle Eastern trade partner, even getting us to pay handsomely for the privilege. To what result?

Why did Cheney call off the dogs on Al Qaeda in the Tora Bora mountains, letting them off the hook and to escape into Pakistan? So a very profitable and politically useful war would not be cut short, and would go on to trash the US (and World) economy and leading to the GFC. More opportunities to make money by the Right who did not send their sons to fight, just the patriotic poor!

Yeah, it’s all “The Greenie Left’s” fault!

No_Nose 5:21 pm 24 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.

I certainly don’t think that you imagined this. I really do think you actually believe it to be true probably because you read it somewhere and it fitting in well with your existing beliefs.

But its not true.

Like I said, I don’t think you are being mischievous or false when you state this. You do honestly believe its true.

But its not.

rosscoact 3:26 pm 24 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I didn’t say there is an existing caliphate in Europe but it is ISIS’s intention to create one.
Already there are areas in Paris and Brussels that have Sharia law which is condoned by the Eurocrats. They are not my “imaginings”.
Perhaps you could tell all of us what you believe the “real threats to civilisation” are.
We could do with some more comic relief.

You are not strong on references:

Would it be this?:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/01/paris-mayor-to-sue-fox-over-no-go-zone-comments/384656/

…There’s no fool like…

Ha, it looks like Dungers fell into that classic trap for young players. Believing that just because Fox News and/or the Telegraph newspaper has News in the title that everything/anything they say is actually news, or the truth, or for that matter plausible.

HenryBG 3:16 pm 24 Nov 15

rommeldog56 said :

This sort of left leaning, self reflective victim “its all our fault” commentary is exactly what the radicals are hoping will happen. .

But..don’t you see? The Holocaust would never had happened, if only we had given the Nazis a bit more love…

watto23 said :

The right wing extremists in our country are not dissimilar to the terrorists. Happy to use violence when it suits them to get their way also.

Astounding. I must have missed the bit where Reclaim Australia advocates throwing homosexuals from buildings, burning people alive in cages, or occupying a town, exterminating all the men, and selling all the women and girls into slavery.

Let’s face it: what you just wrote was meaningless hyperbole. Our extremists might happily have a homo-erotic scuffle with feral marxists, but they aren’t even within a country mile of the league the Islamists are in.

rubaiyat said :

The whole Middle Eastern Mess was created by the Right,

Really?
So where was this “Right” when the plague started to spread through the middle-east in the 7th Century?
Where was the Right when the rich, vibrant, christian, Hellenic cultures in the Eastern Med were snuffed out and replaced by what we see today in Turkey, Syria, Palestine and Egypt?

rubaiyat said :

We’re still asking why all the Saudi Royal Family were flown out of the USA, when nothing else was allowed to fly, immediately after 9/11.

b
Check Snopes: what you have chosen to believe is a myth:
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/flights.asp

Southmouth 2:09 pm 24 Nov 15

justin heywood said :

It is either a remarkable coincidence or a triumph of motivated reasoning that The West is to blame for almost all the trouble in the world, at least according to the Green Left.

Apparently, without the nefarious intervention of the US and its vassals, these oil-rich regions would today be picturesque places, the sands only disturbed by the occasional poor yet peaceful Bedouin caravan.

In the case of the Middle East, this argument only works if you ignore the involvement of, say, Russia, and the fact that the various nation/states/tribes/sects of the Middle East have been killing each other for some considerable time.

I would argue that there have been groups of disaffected, radicalised fanatics throughout history. But our technology and ‘civilisation’ has now reached a point where a few men with box-cutters can travel half way round the world and kill thousands of their ‘enemies’ in spectacular fashion.

I don’t have the answer. But given that some people, somewhere are always going to be unhappy, I’m not sure that simply blaming it all on ‘The West’ is either accurate or helpful.

I agree with Rubaiyat about the oil. A religion with a conquest mindset is one thing, but if you irritate them by jumping all over their land to ensure your oil supply and then you pay them $Billions for that oil, suddenly those bedouin are fanatical, angry and armed.

For 20 years I have listened to humanitarian workers returning from central Africa with tales of limitless oil money for the Islamisation of that area, and they were probably saying it for many years before I noticed. The irritating thing is that Australia doesn’t even need their oil.

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