Sunday 4th October 2015 - 1:13 pm

Parramatta:some preliminary reflections

by Alan Thornhill

It is easy – and tempting – to blame Muslims for the fatal shooting outside the Parramatta police station last Friday.

What – after all – are they teaching their children – that a 15 year old boy should be doing something like this?


Well I’m no expert, but as an old reporter I do know the value of checking original sources.


And I do know that Mahomet once said that “The religion most like ours is Christianity.”


And it was Christ who said:“Judge not, lest ye also be judged.”


None of that excuses what was the apparently cold-blooded killing of a police accountant.


But that ugly event, which has still to be examined by Australian courts, does suggest that terrorism has arrived in this country.


So, even at this stage, two things are in order.


Firstly, a close look at the facts, as they are known so far.


Secondly, a preliminary assessment of our advantages and disadvantages, as far as we know them, at this point.


That has already started with reports in the Fairfax press and other media.


One notes that the boy charged attended high school just 300 metres from where the attack took place.


It also reports that he visited the nearby Parramatta mosque, just hours before the attack took place.

The report also says:“Police executed a search warrant at Paramatta Mosque on Saturday night as part of their investigations…”

It also quotes the chairman of the Parramatta Mosque, Neil El-Kadomi, saying they walked away empty-handed half an hour later.


“I don’t see him in the mosque very often,” he added.

Friday’s tragedy had nothing to do with the mosque, Mr El-Kadomi said.


“He died and his secret died with him.


“I don’t know if it’s terrorism.


“What the boy’s motive is we don’t know,” he said.


Mr El-Kadomi’s words, though, do reflect sorrow, restraint, and perhaps a desire to know more.


Here is a man who, apparently at least, is reflective about this terrible event.


Could this – Muslim – man be a good example to us all, in this respect?


Have you spoken to a Muslim about it?


Could they be Australia’s biggest asset, in the battle against home-grown terrorism?


That question seems reasonable, as reflection suggests that Muslims Australians have more than most to lose, by allowing terrorist sympathies to take hold.


Other questions also spring quickly to mind.


We might wonder, for example, where the boy got his gun?


After all, as his former flack, David Gazard, reminded us on Facebook this weekend, his long-time boss, John Howard, tried hard to tighten Australia’s gun control laws.

Mr Gazard said this was the thought that brought him most pride, as he reflected on his time in public life.


Then there’s Nauru, Christmas Island, and Australia’s refugee policies.


All have deep black marks.


Nothing that would come close to justifying what happened outside the Parramatta police station last Friday, of course.


But worth some thought, nevertheless.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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