COVER STORY: by Gabrielle WalshNews Weekly
Foreign Minister launches Paul Gray's new book on Islam
, August 14, 2004
Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, launched Paul Gray's new title, The Nightmare of the Prophet (Freedom Publishing), at a gathering of 100 guests at the Thomas More Centre in Melbourne on July 28.
The book argues that militant Islamism threatens to become the communism of the 21st century, and that international terrorism is not simply a protest movement directed at "punishing" the West, but an attempt to seize control of nation-states, as Lenin did in Russia in 1917, so that their power can be used to incite a global revolution.
Mr Downer, who has been an outspoken critic of governments which have accommodated terrorists, congratulated Paul Gray on writing an insightful book on the issue of global terrorism and the ideologies that drive that agenda.
Mr Downer echoed comments by Paul Gray, pointing out the vast difference between Islamic extremist groups and moderate Muslims.
He pointed out that Paul Gray has drawn a correct analogy with the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism and Leninism, as both are willing to kill in the name of their revolution.
Mr Downer pointed out that terrorism in the world today is not about the corrupt West, or the fact that the capitalist world has dominated the global markets, or that the Western world is deserving of great punishment.
Rather, he argued, the agenda of the terrorist groups is to foment a revolution - the domination of fundamentalist Islamic thought.
Many commentators in the West have made an incorrect analysis of Islamic terrorism, by arguing that the misdeeds and mistakes of the Western, capitalist world are the key to the phenomenon. Rather, he said, the phenomenon is ideological and follows the single focus of the extremist groups.
Mr Downer recommended the work of historian and author Philip Bobbitt who outlines the historical continuity through the fall of communism, the struggles of totalitarianism and the development of liberal democracy. (Philip Bobbitt, a former White House adviser on intelligence and foreign policy, now lectures at the University of Texas.)
Today's world, Bobbitt argues, is characterised by the two phenomena of globalisation and the move from the once easily recognised nation state to what is now identified as the market state, based on different organising principles.
The Taliban and other fundamentalist Islamic groups aim to destroy the market state and they use the principles of globalisation to assist them. They operate beyond the nation state and work instead on the principle of a transglobal state. Even if all the policies and objectives of the West were changed, the agenda of al Qaeda, the Taliban, Jemaah Islamiah and other such groups would not alter.
Mr Downer pointed out that before the Iraq war began, Paul Gray disagreed with the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power by invasion of Iraq. However, in a post-war period, both the Government and Paul Gray support the view that Iraq and the Iraqi people deserve a responsible and considerate conclusion to the mission in Iraq - both disagree with the cut-and-run approach adopted by governments such as Spain and the Philippines.
Paul Gray responded by saying that, three years after September 11, the broader public has still not grasped the full significance of what it was all about.
"What is holding us back is the mistaken view that the problem of terrorism is caused by Islam. Many Australians are satisfied to perceive terrorism as an attack by the Islamic world against us.
"This is an ignorant, indeed bigoted, error. The primary aim of today's terrorists is not to destroy the West - yet. It is first and foremost to take over the Islamic world," he said.
Paul Gray thanked the Foreign Minister for his comments, thanked Anthony Cappello for publishing his book, and noted the valuable contribution to the book by Professor Bauer, the holocaust historian, who wrote the foreword to The Nightmare of the Prophet