The latest terrorist outrage in Manchester is a reminder that the war against the west is ongoing and deadly. No group, not even innocent young people attending a concert, is beyond the target of this evil assault on our culture and values. The fact that terrorism in the west is often perpetrated by young, radicalised second generation migrants is worrying. Programs of de-radicalisation are insufficient to address this threat.
We are often told that the real cause of terrorism is poverty, despair or disenfranchisement. But many of the terrorists have been educated young people from relatively well-off families who otherwise were making the most of their new home.
The terrorists, and those who recruit and radicalise them, committed the atrocities in Manchester, London, Paris, Berlin, New York and elsewhere because they believe they work. Whether it be for publicity, recruitment, or to win concessions from western nations, they believe their war against the west will be rewarded.
Let us not forget that Australian authorities have thwarted 12 imminent terrorist attacks on our soil. Over 200 residents of this country are under surveillance and investigation.
Unless we acknowledge that the enemy has a fanatical opposition to the values of the west, we will never defeat it. What is at stake is the heart and soul of our civilisation that upholds the individual – with obligations and responsibilities to others, but ultimately judged on his or her own conscience and actions – as the possessor of an inherent human dignity and inalienable rights.
The assailants in our civilisation share one characteristic: the individual is subjugated to the group, defined in terms of race, religion or some other identity. This is at the core of the fundamentalist Islamist ideology. It must be exposed and defeated.
Finally, I would like to express my condolences and offer my thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the tragic events in Manchester this week. As a parent, I can only imagine the heartache and grief those involved are experiencing.