Almost exactly a year to the day after the Lindt Café terrorist attack, ASIO boss Duncan Lewis said this:
“I don’t buy the notion that the issue of Islamic extremism is in some way fostered or sponsored or supported by the Muslim religion. I don’t buy that at all. I think it’s blasphemous to the extent that I can comment on someone else’s religion.’’
Shortly thereafter, I called for Duncan Lewis to be sacked.
Obviously, nothing happened (except for numerous terrorist attacks and plots that were fostered, sponsored and supported by the Muslim religion).
However, in recent days others are now questioning whether this man is fit to run the organisation charged with the responsibility of protecting Australians from internal threats.
Andrew Bolt wrote this earlier today:
“ASIO boss Duncan Lewis should tell us the truth about refugees and terrorism, or shut up. The danger is too great for our top spy to pretend there’s no link.”
And Miranda Devine wrote this yesterday:
“What is the ASIO boss smoking?”
Indeed. Just what the ASIO Head Honcho smoking?
Today, it’s time to look a little closer at Duncan Lewis’ other statements to parliament, particularly this one:
“But I’ve got to stress, senator – this is very important – ASIO does not make its inquiries or its assessments on the basis of somebody’s religion.
“We are only interested in people who are exhibiting or offering violence, and to the extent that there is violent extremism – which is very frequently inspired by a warped version of Sunni Islam – that’s when our interests are invoked.”
According to Duncan Lewis, ASIO does not make assessments on the basis of religion.
And, according to Duncan Lewis, ASIO has also made two assessments on the basis of religion:
- Islamic extremism has nothing to do with Islam, and
- terrorism is a warped view of Islam.
On top of all of this, Duncan Lewis believes that questioning Islam is blasphemous.
This is all very convoluted. Let me do my best to explain.
ASIO does not investigate religions, especially Islam, because to do so would be blasphemous. But AIO does investigate warped views of Sunni Islam, which is not blasphemous because it has nothing to do with Islam even though the ASIO Director General describes it with the adjective ‘Islamic’. And that is not blasphemous either.
As ASIO does not assess religion, especially Islam, because to do so would be blasphemous, ASIO has no idea what Islam is. But it does know that Islam is not a warped view of Sunni extremism, which it has simultaneously decided to be a warped view of Islam (a religion that it has not assessed) which means it does have everything to do with Islam even though it has nothing to with Islam at all.
Finally, as the ASIO Director General believes that it is blasphemy to comment on someone else’s religion but has commented on the religious beliefs of Islamic State terrorists, the only logical conclusion is that the ASIO Director General and Islamic State terrorists follow the same religious beliefs.
Or Duncan Lewis is making it all up as he goes along.
Either way, he should still be sacked.
I’m glad I cleared all of that up for you.
Quite seriously, how can anyone possibly believe that the man responsible for running ASIO is doing his job if he won’t make any assessments of Islam but will make entirely unfounded assessments that extremism has nothing to do with Islam?
On what basis can he possibly determine that this extremism is a ‘warping’ of Islam if he thinks it is blasphemous to assess Islamic ideology?
The answer is that he can’t.
Yet he continues to cover for Islam. And on this point, he should be sacked again.
The ASIO Act makes it very clear that the ASIO Director General has responsibilities to protect all Australians and not simply certain sections of the community. This is section 20 of that law:
Special responsibility of Director-General in relation to functions of Organisation
The Director-General shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that:
(b) the Organisation is kept free from any influences or considerations not relevant to its functions and nothing is done that might lend colour to any suggestion that it is concerned to further or protect the interests of any particular section of the community, or with any matters other than the discharge of its functions.
On any reasonable assessment, Duncan Lewis is allowing ASIO to be subject to the perception that it is furthering or protecting the interests of the Islamic community.
This is precisely because Duncan Lewis is furthering and protecting the interests of the Islamic community by refusing to conduct any assessments about the nature of Islamic ideology or the threat this community poses Australia.
So, once again, Duncan Lewis should be sacked
(Thanks to reader Helen for the tip about ASIO’s laws).