“Disaffected youth” and radicalism

A committee set up to advise New Zealand’s security services – the Strategic Risk and Resilience Panel – says that “disaffected youth” in New Zealand are at risk of being radicalised and should be a key focus in combating terrorism.

Disaffected youth tend to be prominent in poor crime, mental health and suicide statistics too – which have much bigger impacts on our society than terrorism, which is mostly a threat and a fear rather than being real here.

NZH: Homegrown terrorism threat is angry young people adrift from society

New Zealand’s security risk remains at “low” after being heightened in 2014 with an assessment a domestic terrorism event is possible but not expected.

But intelligence sources have told the Weekend Herald that the possibility of an attack is constant and it is a matter of “when” and not “if” terrorism will appear in New Zealand.

Details of meetings of the panel, released through the Official Information Act, show the panel’s focus was developing a “risk register” which posed specific security threats to New Zealand.

It showed key issues included “the importance of continuing to focus on the threat of radicalisation of disaffected youth”.

Deliberate targeted radicilisation of disaffected youth is a problem overseas.

It also stated that there was a need for “a more forward looking approach in particular focused on community cohesion” and “more focus needed on the drivers of domestic extremism”.

Examples given to the panel were “those radicalised due to strong positions on ecological and technological issues” but the security services have previously expressed concerned over online targeting by Islamic extremists.

Massey University’s Terry Johanson – a lecturer at the Centre for Defence and Security Studies – said disenfranchisement was a significant factor in radicalisation and recruiting.

“It needs to be because they feel disenfranchised from their own society. That tends to be because these people don’t have the community framework around them.”

Johanson said closer communities were an element in fighting that dangerous disaffection because people didn’t tend to attack groups of which they were part.

But they do attack similar kinds of groups (gangs).

The key issue identified in the summary of the minutes was the need to create an overarching “risk register” for New Zealand which forecast dangers to our country and ways to meet the threats.

The development of a register would meet a gap in our security system identified by Johanson in the recently released New Zealand National Security book, which drew articles from a range of experts in the field.

The panel minutes show it would allow a specific risk to be assigned to public agencies which would be held accountable for dealing with it.

Examples of risk areas developed for the panel to consider included terrorism, corruption, large-scale people smuggling, biodiversity loss and price shocks which impact across the community.

Young people have always had greater tendencies towards radical behaviour, rebelling against the system. Some of this is just growing up.

Extreme and violent radicalism needs to be the biggest focus of concern.

We need to be wary of the possibility of terrorism, but most problems involving radicalised youth are more mundane and more pervasive – and far more damaging to young people and to society.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, back in Manchester

Telegraph live blog on the concert: Ariana Grande One Love Manchester concert live: Pharrell and Miley Cyrus team up for surprise duet on Happy

I’d never heard of Ariana Grande, and she really doesn’t look like my cup of tea musically or stylistically, I haven’t heard of Pharrell, and I’ve never been a fan of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, but good on them for putting on this concert in support of Manchester and in defiance of terrorism.

The concert is playing live on TV1. Ariana is on right now, not my sort of thing but the crowd is loving it.

Terrorism versus climate change

For some reason Fox has tweeted this dated survey on what the US public sees as priorities.

They have highlighted:

  • Terrorism 76%
  • Climate Change 38%

I presume they are trying to make some sort of a point.

These priorities may or may not have changed much since January, but I think it is likely that the results would be similar. However it is a bit of a pointless comparison.

There are frequent reports of terrorism and threats of terrorism, whether it be in the US or abroad. In the past couple of weeks there has been news of a possible terrorist attack in the Philippines, terrorist bombs in Afghanistan (two incidents), the Manchester concert attack and on Friday the evacuation down of a rock concert in Nürburg, Germany due to a terror alert.

While apparently not terrorism there was a disturbing incident on a flight out of Melbourne recently too.

These incidents only directly affect a very small minority of people but we can all relate to them and be worried about them.

We are reminded of terrorism often in news (and in social media), and also every time we travel when we have to queue to go through security checks.

Terrorism is real, it is often immediate and easily identifiable and attributable. And it is always negative, terrible, horrific. It can seem incomprehensible that anyone would deliberately murder innocent people.

Climate change is far more vague and usually distant, especially time-wise.

It is real, and it’s obvious that we humans effect our environment adversely in some ways.

But we are all very familiar with weather changes, they are one of the most talked about and normal occurrences on earth.

It is impossible to know whether individual adverse weather events are partially related to human affected climate change or not – and because of this it is very easy to dismiss any connection.

Changing weather patterns can be as easily positive and beneficial as they can be negative and destructive. I don’t mind less frosts in Dunedin’s winters. The kids don’t mind a reasonable snow fall a bit more often – like once or twice a year rather than once or twice every two or three years.

We are all responsible for climate change, albeit in minute ways as individuals.

Climate change doesn’t have someone to easily blame. We don’t like to blame ourselves.

If ISIS or the Taliban or extremist Muslims or whoever the bogeyman of the time is could be blamed it would be different.

With climate change it is very easy to say yeah, nah, not by problem, nothing we can do about it, sometime in the future, maybe, why care about it?

We get far more concerned about a (relatively) few humans being killed by a bomb than a species becoming extinct. Bombings have been happening for quite a long time in history but extinctions have been happening for a lot longer, and we can’t blame ourselves for the demise of the dinosaurs.

However here is a very real possibility that in time far more people in the world will be adversely affected, possibly badly effected or killed, due to climate change.

Climate change has the potential to cause far more problems to the world and the people of the world than terrorism. Unless a terrorist manages to use a nuclear weapon.

But it’s much easier to fear the bomb, and just endure the weather bombs as same old.

Trump challenges Arab leaders on Muslim terrorism

On his visit to the Middle East Donald Trump has called for Arab leaders – he was speaking to the leaders of 55 Muslim majority countries in his visit to Saudi Arabia –  to deal with their “Islamist extremism” terrorism problem.

But Saudi (Sunni) King Salman introduced Trump’s speech by condemning Shi’ite Iran.

Reuters: Trump tells Middle East to ‘drive out’ Islamist extremists

U.S. President Donald Trump called on Arab leaders to do their fair share to “drive out” terrorism from their countries on Sunday in a speech that put the burden on the region to combat militant groups.

“America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them”.

“The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children.”

“It’s a choice between two futures and its a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

“Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth”.

“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land”.

Trump should get a lot of support in the Western world, and deserves praise for openly confronting extremist terrorism. But he may have dismayed some of the more radical anti-Muslim activists who campaign against the whole Islamic religion and all it’s followers.

Trump’s signature phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was not included in the speech, according to excerpts released in advance by the White House.

Instead, he used the term “Islamist extremism”, which refers to Islamism as political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that he had frequently criticized the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama for making.

Trump was speaking to a very different audience to when he was campaigning in the United States. Whether his Muslim audience takes on board and accepts his change of rhetoric is yet to be seen.

Introducing Trump, Saudi King Salman described their mutual foe Iran as the source of terrorism they must confront together.

“Our responsibility before God and our people and the whole world is to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism wherever they are … The Iranian regime represents the tip of the spear of global terrorism.”

Iran is a Shi’ite Muslim country. The groups that the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York are mostly Sunni Muslims, and enemies of Iran.

That may not be such a good sign. Iran is not the only source or supporter or financier of terrorism. It’s highly ironic that the 911 terrorists were mostly from Saudi Arabia.

In general terms I think Trump has spoken some good words, but in the context of promoting peace and anti-extremism and anti-terrorism in Saudi Arabia associated with an attack on Iran and Shi’ite Muslims may divide and ignite rather than draw Muslim leaders together in a push for peace.


Gezza: “Donald Trump’s 30 minute speech to the Sunni Muslim World at the Gulf Cooperation Council. Imo, he has actually pulled off his first big act as a statesman.”
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-9DgFRuiFuI

Perhaps, but “to the Sunni Muslim World” may point to a potential problem.

Swedish PM on terrorism and immigration

Following the truck attack in Sweden on Friday Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has spoken on terrorism and immigration, covered separately in contrasting reports.

Rakhmat Akilov, a failed asylum seeker from Uzbekistan, is currently in custody on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

UK Express: ‘Terrorism will NEVER defeat Sweden’ PM Stefan Löfven vows after Stockholm lorry attack

Speaking to SVT on Sunday evening, the Swedish PM said terrorism will never defeat the Nordic country and it will remain united in the face of such atrocities.

The declaration came after Mr Löfven was asked: “The Swedish people have shown solidarity and conciliation after this attack but the terrorists want to increase fear, to create division in society. How do you view this risk?”

To which he responded: “I believe today’s [gathering] was a clear message from Stockholm and Sweden that we intend to keep our open, warm and inclusive society.

“That was the message. Terrorism will never defeat Sweden.”

Speaking at a Social Democrat party conference this weekend, a visibly moved Mr Löfven also expressed his pride in Sweden for its response to the attack.

He said: “I am proud to have you as fellow countrymen. You can take this pride [in your actions] with you for the rest of your lives.

“Friends, this is our fundamental challenge, as social democrats and as Swedes, during this conference and this decade. We are here to respond to this uncertainty.”

The Swedish PM added the work to combat terrorism must continue across party lines: “We will now invite the other parties that passed the national strategy against terrorism so that this work can be continued.

“We must prevent, obstruct and defend against terrorism with all the resources at our disposal. We will chase these killers with all the strength of our democracy.”

But Fox News focuses more on the immigration angle in Stockholm terror: Sweden will ‘never go back’ to mass immigration, PM reacts

Sweden will “never go back to the days of mass immigration” after it emerged the Stockholm attacker was a failed asylum seeker, the Swedish prime minister has said.

Stefan Löfven spoke out against the recent mass influx of immigrants coming in to Sweden during the 2015 migrant crisis.

The Swedish Prime Minister said: “Sweden will never go back to the [mass migration] we had in autumn 2015, never. Everyone who has been denied a permit should return home.

“This makes me feel enormously frustrated. If you have been denied a visa you are supposed to leave the country.”

He added: “Terrorists want us to be afraid, want us to change our behaviour, want us to not live our lives normally, but that is what we’re going to do. Terrorists can never defeat Sweden, never.”

But terrorists can have a significant impact. Like cause a change of approach to immigration.

Sweden, a country of 10 million people, took in 244,000 asylum seekers in 2014 and 2015 – the highest per capita number in Europe.

There are more than 3,000 migrants reportedly living unlawfully in Stockholm alone and an estimated 12,000 migrants awaiting deportation from the country.

That’s a lot of asylum seekers and deportations to try to handle – the majority of whom don’t resort to terrorism. It can be difficult identifying and dealing with the risks.

Child abuse a far worse problem than terrorism

If people and Governments put as much effort into reducing the risks of child abuse as they do terrorism perhaps we would make some real progress in dealing with one of New Zealand’s biggest actual problems.

It’s a lot more difficult screening parents in their homes than it is screening passengers before boarding an aircraft.

Jarrod Gilbert: We really must stop this cycle of child abuse

James Whakaruru’s misery ended when he was killed in 1999. He had endured four years of life and that was all he could take. He was hit with a small hammer, a jug cord and a vacuum cleaner hose. During one beating his mind was so confused he stared blankly ahead. His tormentor responded by poking him in the eyes. It was a stomping that eventually switched out his little light. It was a case that even the Mongrel Mob condemned, calling the cruelty “amongst the lowest of any act”.

An inquiry by the Commissioner for Children found a number of failings by state agencies, which were all too aware of the boy’s troubled existence. The Commissioner said James became a hero because changes made to Government agencies would save lives in the future. Yet such horrors have continued.

My colleague Greg Newbold has found that on average nine children (under 15) have been killed as a result of maltreatment since 1992 and the rate has not abated in recent years. In 2015, there were 14 such deaths, one of which was three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri, or baby Moko as we knew him when he gained posthumous celebrity.

For every child killed there are dozens who live wretched existences and from this cohort of unfortunates will come the next generation of abusers. Solving the problems of today, then, is not just a moral imperative but is also about producing a positive ripple effect.

We have heard of a number of horrifying abuses of children, but they are just the worst. Most of the children being scarred for life suffer in private.

This cycle of abuse is well known, yet state spending on the problem is poorly aligned to it, and our targeting of the problem is reactionary and punitive rather than proactive and preventative.

Of the $1.4 billion we spend on family and sexual violence annually, less than 10 per cent is spent on interventions, of which just 1.5 per cent is spent on primary prevention. The morality of that is questionable, the economics even more so.

The Government say they are investigating ways of using money more effectively to reduce social and criminal problems.

Not only must things be approached differently but there needs to be greater urgency in our thinking. It’s perhaps trite to say, but if nine New Zealanders were killed every year in acts of terrorism politicians would never stop talking about it and it would be priority number one.

In an election year, that’s exactly where this issue should be.

Violence, especially violence against children, is one of the most serious problems we have in New Zealand. It has widespread immediate and long term effects and is very costly to the state – on top of costing many people a decent quality of life.

Why isn’t it a top election issue? Why aren’t parties making it a bottom line when they posture over coalition deals?

Why don’t ‘the people’ demand more from our Government and our politicians?

It’s something we must do more about, but we seem more concerned about things beyond our control, like Trump and Brexit and Islam that are low risk to us.

There are children in our communities at high risk now. Shouldn’t we me more outraged and more demanding of action?

 

What to do about terrorism?

Terrorist attacks like yesterday’s vehicle and knife attack in London (in countries we have an affinity with, as opposed to the terrorist attacks in Nigeria) provoke understandable reactions around the world – fear, anger, sometimes hate. This is a primary aim of the attacks.

This is despite the relatively infinitesimal risk to any of us individually. We are at much greater risk of death by murder (about one a week in New Zealand), by vehicle (about one a day in New Zealand), by suicide (more than one a day). In an unknown number of cases vehicle deaths are suicides and sometimes suicide attacks.

One person’s terrorist can be another person’s ‘freedom fighter’ or allied military force. More innocent people are killed by drone attack than by the vehicle attacks that have occurred in Europe. This is a scattered asymmetric warfare.

It makes a difference if we have been where the attack has occurred. I haven’t been to London but I have been to a city in Germany that had an attack last year.

In most publicised terrorist attacks in the Western world the perpetrators turn out to be associated with Islam, and currently usually associated with ISIS.

The aim of ISIS and their followers is to spread fear as widely as possible, to create division and build hate between the Islam world and the Western world.

So far (fortunately) in New Zealand most of us have been only by perceptions, how we react feel about distant atrocities. We may fear being a victim, and we may fear what ISIS and others are trying to do in the world.

Some in New Zealand have more to contend with – they can become collateral victims.

Muslims in New Zealand must dread ISIS attacks, because it is common for people to blame not only the terrorists but also to blame all Muslims throughout the world, including New Zealand.

So New Zealand Muslims sometimes become the targets of abuse (which is contemptible), and must feel stares of unease in the streets and especially in buses and planes. This is unfortunate but it is a natural human instinct, no matter how unfounded the actual risk. And female Muslims in particular stand out by the way they dress (at least the ones that stand out do).

Not that long ago the UK had a reign of terror inflicted by close neighbours, the Irish. While they looked much the same as many others an Irish accent could cause unease.

Communists have been victimised not for being terrorists but for having a different political ideology – and perhaps for stirring up union unrest.

People of German and Japanese were ostracised and incarcerated during the Second World War.

Muslims (a very small minority of them) just happen to be the current perpetrators of terrorism.

We have to somehow deal with our feelings about terror attacks and our unease about risks to us here.

Blaming many for the actions of a few is common but doesn’t help. Driving division between all Muslims, stirring up hate and fear, this is what the terrorists are trying to achieve. They know it victimises many innocent people, that is part of their method.

We can and should condemn the sum who carry out and encourage terrorist acts.

But we have to understand smearing many innocent people is a reactive boost to what terrorists want – and it’s not fair on the targets of unfounded criticism.

If a black car crosses a white line and kills innocent travellers we don’t condemn all drivers of black cars, not all passengers in black vehicles.

If a P addict murders someone we don’t blame all pot smokers.

It makes no sense blaming a Muslim from Fiji for the actions of an Islamic terrorist from Pakistan or from Birmingham.

Terrorists aim to make many victims out of a single attack. We should resist adding to this by accusing innocent Muslims for something they have nothing to do with.

We have to hope our security and policing is vigilant and will prevent most if not all potential terrorists from attacking in New Zealand. We are lucky that the risks are relatively very small here.

We need to exercise tolerance and understanding as much as we can. We should avoid ostracising innocent people to avoid the risk of provoking one into a violent attack in reaction.

As in London we have to go about our lives as normally as possible – and allow all New Zealanders to do the same.

We have to be better than terrorists, much better, and avoid being drawn into playing their game for them. That’s our best way of winning against them.

Doubting climate change science

It’s not just mainstream science that suggests that climate change is a problem of major importance, mainstream media tends to agree.

The Press has an editorial on Doubting climate change science is no joke

There are times when the Donald Trump presidency seems comical or even fun, an absurdist exercise in postmodern political theatre.

But in other ways the Trump administration is too potentially dangerous to joke about. Its approach to climate change is one of them.

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s appointee as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has broken with global scientific consensus and argued that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming. He told that a US news programme that “measuring with precision human activity on the climate is … very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact”.

Doubting science by claiming that a theory is just a theory without broad consensus behind it is a favoured technique of tobacco industry lobbyists and others who try to confuse or dissemble. They pretend disagreement exists where it does not or they attempt to turn very small differences into polar oppositions.

It’s not just a big business tactic, it is also a religious tactic, like on evolution.

Does this sound familiar? Discovery Institute (which also opposes climate change science)  – Ranks of Scientists Doubting Darwin’s Theory on the Rise – “Another 100 scientists have joined the ranks of scientists from around the world publicly stating their doubts about the adequacy of Darwin’s theory of evolution.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US have all been clear that rising temperatures have been “driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere,” as a report from the latter two bodies put it in January.

As noted in US media reports, Pruitt’s statement even contradicted the position held by the EPA itself and conflicts with the laws and regulations the EPA is expected to enforce. The EPA’s own website says that “carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change”.

Most observers of US politics expected that Trump would follow through on the anti-environmental rhetoric of his campaign. They expected a retreat from positions taken by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama. As a Trump insider explained last week, his campaign commitment was to undo Obama’s “entire climate edifice”.

Pruitt was known to be an advocate for the energy industry before his appointment by Trump. The New York Times reports that “in his previous job as the attorney general of Oklahoma, he sought to use legal tools to fight environmental regulations on the oil and gas companies that are a major part of the state’s economy”. He drafted letters to send to the EPA and other bodies pleading economic hardship if environmental rules were not relaxed and reportedly sued the EPA 14 times.

Pruitt is now expected to preside over funding cuts and a review of his agency’s role in monitoring emissions and protecting waterways. The implications of a wholesale attack on an environmental agency are enormous, and not just for the United States. There is nothing remotely funny about any of it.

Climate science is complex and evolving as more is found out about it. Claims should certainly be challenged claims are scientifically questionable, but cannot just be dismissed, just as tobacco harm could not just be dismissed because companies might lose some money and just as evolution cannot just be dismissed because some religious groups might lose some faith.

It is quite possible that the effects of climate change are a much bigger threat to the world, and to many more people in the world, than extreme Muslims and Islamic terrorism.

Many more New Zealanders are likely to be affected by increasingly severe weather events than they are by terrorism.

Doubting some climate science is healthy, if based on science.

Doubting the possible severity of climate change is understandable – but this doubt works both ways, it may turn out to be not as bad as generally predicted, but it could just as easily turn out to be worse than predicted.

Those who doubt the accuracy of current climate change science can’t have it that it is just inaccurate in a way that suits their ideology.

There is far less climate science that suggests we won’t have any problems with climate change than otherwise.

Doubting all climate science is not based on science, it is based on denial.

There must be some degree of climate change, there always has been. Science will help us learn more about it, it will help us limit our effects on it, and it will help us deal with whatever changes end up happening.

We should aim for better climate science, and not just dismiss it with claims of doubts.

 

 

When should NZ speak out against terrorism?

Yesterday SB posted at Whale Oil: We need to talk about our government’s attitude towards terrorism

The Bill English led National government I am very sad to say, does not speak out against terrorism if it is terrorism against Jews.

SB refers to a single attack that occurred when most of the Government was on holiday at it’s quietest time of year.

She quotes a blog post from Shalom Kiwi – New Zealand has an issue with terrorism

When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Nice last July, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke out against the terror attack. When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Berlin last December, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English spoke out against the terror attack. An Islamist has just driven a truck into a crowd in Jerusalem and the New Zealand government is silent.

While Kiwi politicians are yet to make comment on the terror attack, there was condemnation from around the rest of the Western world following the tragedy that claimed 4 young lives and injured 16 others.

Has the New Zealand government been deliberately selective in which terrorist attacks they condemn, and in particular do they not denounce terrorism if it’s against Jews?

Perhaps it’s a matter of scale – the Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 434, the Berlin attack killed 12 people and injured 56.

But it’s not just the one terrorist attack in Jerusalem that the Government has not denounced.

Terrorist attacks so far this year that have resulted in multiple deaths:

  • Shooting in Istanbul, Turkey – 39 dead, 70 injured
  • Bombing in Najaf, Iraq – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 56 dead, 122 injured
  • Car bombing in Magadishu, Somalia – 7 dead, 17 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Samarra, Iraq – 7 dead
  • Shooting in Abyan, Yemen – 3 dead, 10 injured
  • Shooting in Badhakshan, Afghanistan – 4 dead
  • Shooting in Bria, Central African Republic – 2 dead (UN peacekeepers), 2 injured
  • Shooting in Quetta, Pakistan – 2 dead
  • Shooting in Kunduz, Afghanistan – 2 dead (US service members)
  • Car bombings in Baghdad, Iraq – 28 dead, 57 injured
  • Car bombing in Jableh, Syria – 16+ dead, 30 injured
  • Car bombing in Izmir, Turkey – 2 dead, 10 injured
  • Car bombing in Ad-Dawr, Iraq – 4 dead, 12 injured
  • Shooting in Tala wa Barfak, Afghanistan – 9+ dead, 3 injured
  • Suicide bombing in Abyan, Yemen – 6 dead (British soldiers), 20 injured
  • Car bombing in Azaz, Syria – 60+ dead, 50 injured
  • Attack in Yobe State, Nigeria – 5 dead
  • Car bombing in Baghdad, Iraq – 20 dead, 50+ injured
  • Vehicular attack in Jerusalem – 4 dead, 17 injured
  • Shooting in Jourian, India – 3 dead
  • Car bombing in Arish, Egypt – 8 dead, 15 injured
  • Car bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan – 38 dead, 70+ injured
  • Bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan – 11 dead, dozens injured

There were also 18 terrorist attacks with 1 or 0 deaths.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_January_2017

I understand that Shalom Kiwi would have a focus on Israel, but why is SB and Whale Oil, which sometimes promotes itself as much better media, ignoring all these other terrorist attacks?  They could pad out a lot of posts with various terrorist attacks if they wanted to be balanced.

What should our Government’s attitude be to terrorism? Denouncing every terrorist attack is obviously impractical.

Should terrorism denouncements be based on the number of attacks? If so what would be a practical and reasonable threshold be?

Should we only care about terrorism in certain countries, or regions of the world? There’s obviously a lot of terrorism in the Middle East – but if we ruled out there that would also rule out Israel.

I’m fairly sure our Government would denounce all terrorism generally. In fact our Foreign Minister Murray McCully says that UN resolution 2334, voted on just before Christmas, does just that:

Resolution 2334 condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two state solution: incitement and acts of violence and terror against civilians of all sides, and the ongoing settlements programme which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

It would be impractical to denounce every terrorist act.

From New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade:  Counter terrorism


New Zealand is committed to regional and international counter-terrorism cooperation.

Ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) have changed the international security landscape, where terrorism is now a significant threat. While the risk of a terror attack here is thought to be low, we need to be vigilant, and play a part in countering terrorism abroad.

MFAT’s role

We build networks with other countries and international organisations so we can keep informed of terrorist threats, share information, and improve our capacity to respond.MFAT represents New Zealand at international forums that deal with terrorism.

What we’re doing globally

New Zealand works with several international partners to improve global counter-terrorism capability. We do this through policy, legislation and practical initiatives that help prevent terrorist financing, violent extremism, radicalisation and recruitment.

We support the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy (external link). We’ve co-sponsored a number of terrorist designations and follow a national process to make sure New Zealand complies with the UN Security Council’s terrorist sanctions against these entities.

Read more about our list of designated terrorist entities and our UN obligations (external link) (which includes the military wing of Hamas)

More on UN Security Council sanctions

Groups and initiatives New Zealand works with include:

  • UN al Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committees – UN committees that impose measures to limit the capabilities of these specific terrorist groups. This committee also deals with ISIL and its affiliates.
  • International Coalition to Counter ISIL – New Zealand has deployed a military training mission to Iraq as part of our overall contribution to the international coalition against ISIL. This is a non-combat mission, aimed at building the capability and capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to counter ISIL and promote peace and security.
  • UN Alliance of Civilisations – works to address the root causes of extremism through improving cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among countries, peoples and communities.
  • Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) – a group of around 30 countries that work together to find ways to prevent, combat and prosecute terrorist acts, and to promote the UN’s Counter Terrorism Strategy.
  • Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) – an initiative of the GCTF that supports local efforts to prevent violent extremism.
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – helps countries put in place laws and regulations that prevent the financing of terrorist organisations.

Threat of extreme Islam

Nicolas Pirsoul, a doctoral candidate in politics and international relations at the University of Auckland, writes in the Herald about Salafism, an extreme and intolerant strain of Islam that inspires terrorists organisations like Isis, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

He warns of this risks this poses to New Zealand, and why extremism thrives on division, so “New Zealand should remain an inclusive and tolerant nation by embracing its diverse Muslim community”.

I wouldn’t use the term ’embrace’, I have no intention of embracing Islam or Catholicism or Brianism or and other religion.

But tolerance of religious practices,and encouragement of the peaceful practicing of religion here, are important things that New Zealand should stand for.

Nicolas Pirsoul: Warning for NZ in rise of extreme form of Islam

Salafism is an extremist, literalist, and intolerant form of Sunni Islam. Its origins are hard to trace, but it is commonly argued that 13/14th century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah strongly influenced the development of modern Salafi thought nearly five hundred years later.

Salafism obtained the important political power it continues to hold today when Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab formed an alliance with the al-Saud family during the 18th century to give birth to the Saudi version of Salafism, Wahhabism, the state religion of the current kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As Saudi Arabia developed as a major political force, due in large part to its oil production and its status as one of the West’s principal allies in the Middle East, Salafism further expanded its political and geographical influence. Saudi Arabia has continued to use its wealth to propagate Wahhabi ideas thorough the Islamic world and Muslim communities in the West.

New Zealand needs to be wary of the threats of extreme Islam.

It is important to recognise the existence of a problem and not to underestimate it. The recent hate speech controversy, involving a cleric from the at-Taqwa mosque in Manukau, is only the tip of the iceberg and follows a well-established pattern of other events involving Salafi clerics preaching in New Zealand, such as Egyptian cleric Sheikh Abu Abdullah a couple of years ago. It would be naïve to think that our nation’s Sunni oriented mosques are immune to Salafi ideology and its intolerant and sometimes violent interpretation of Islam.

It would equally be naïve to believe that New Zealand is free from economic ties with the Saudi Kingdom, as the controversial Saudi farm deal recently underlined. The extent to which these economic ties influence the ideological makeup of Islam in New Zealand is uncertain.

It is important that New Zealand does not imitate the leniency of other Western nations towards these issues.

We don’t have the same problems that European countries have. We have a fairly thorough immigrant checking system, and we distance, and we have a very large natural moat.

Second, it is important to understand and adopt the right attitude towards the problem of Islamic extremism. Extremism thrives on division. Mainstream stereotyping and discrimination against Muslims has helped Salafism, and its Manichean worldview, to grow in Europe. It is therefore critical that New Zealand should remain an inclusive and tolerant nation by embracing its diverse Muslim community.

The majority of Muslims, conservatives or not, reject violence and intolerance. They are allies in the fight against terrorism.

By creating a New Zealand model of multicultural citizenship, where Kiwis of all ethnic groups and faiths live with and are supportive of each other, we can become a role model for the world and avoid replicating other nations’ mistakes.

We need to avoid division and driving Muslims in New Zealand towards extremism.

Extremists and terrorists want to provoke extreme reactions. We need to understand this and avoid being used by them to increase hatred and fear.

We need to promote positives like peace and tolerance as Kiwi ideals to be aspired to, and this will reduce the chances of negative and violent reactions to ostracism.

Most people want to live in peace and harmony. If we advocate strongly for this we are more likely to achieve it.