7th August 2014
Dear Hon. Julie Bishop, Foreign Affairs Minister;
It was with great concern to read the recently published article by Rachel Olding in The Sydney Morning Herald, titled ‘AFP issues warrants for Australian ISIL fighters Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar’ dated 29 July 2014. The article provides a dark picture of the involvement of Australian terrorists in destabilising Middle Eastern countries, namely Iraq, Syria and now Lebanon. The recently posted images of Sharrouf and Elomar with the severed heads of executed Syrian Army Soldiers, holding guns and standing over bloodied bodies should be a concern to all Australians.
The United Australian Lebanese Movement (UALM) is deeply concerned about the involvement of Australian terrorists fighting in the Middle East and has been working to highlight this issue to the Australian Public and Government for the past several years. Terrorists have been flocking to Syria and more recently Iraq in there tens of thousands over the past three years. Jihadists have worked to terrorise civilian populations of Syria and Iraq, destabilise their Governments and attack their pluralist societies.
Today, numerous radical Islamic groups are indirectly receiving support from Australia’s allies and direct support such as weapons from Arab friends such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. It is unfortunate, but true that Australia’s Allies have provided logistical and financial support to various so called ‘moderate’ groups, who have turned out to be nothing more than another Al-Qaeda outfit.
The battle field experience that Australian terrorists are receiving in Syria and Iraq should be concerning to all Australians. These Australian terrorists, with the blood of Syrians and Iraqis on their hands, will train other pro-jihadist Australians and Westerners in other countries. A glaring example is prominent Australian Islamic covert, Musa Cerantonio, who before his capture and release into the Australian community, urged Westerners, in particular Australians from his hide out in the Philippines. We know from published comments issued by alleged Australian terrorists Sharrouf and Elomar that they have every intention to terrorise Australians and support a Caliphate Emirate in our region.
We call on the Australian Government to do more to stop Australian terrorists from fighting overseas and from undertaking terrorist activities on Australian soil.
With deep concern for the people of the Middle East and the security of Australia, we call on the Australian Government to consider the following actions:
- To work with the Syrian, Iraqi and Lebanese governments to combat terrorists groups in their countries, namely al-Qaeda, ISIS and Jubhat al-Nasra.
- Pressure our Allies and Arab friends, which are directly arming terrorists, to change their foreign policies.
- Capture and detain Australian terrorists before they depart Australia to fight in other countries.
These three actions would significantly help end the constant string of terror, violence and chaos which has been suffocating the Middle East in recent years and reduce the potential for a terror attack at home.
I also ask that you take this opportunity to publicly support the Lebanese government and its heroic armed forces in eradicating these jihadists. At the moment, the Lebanese Army is on the offensive in the Syrian-Lebanese border town of Arsal. The offensive has the support of all Lebanese citizens including Australian-Lebanese. The silence from the Australian government and her allies on this matter, can only signify one thing and that is the tacit support of Saudi, Qatari and Turkish backed terrorists.
Mr Edward Haikal
The United Australian Lebanese Movement