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Questionable "evidence" for bushfire Jihad

Reader comment on item: Bushfire Jihad

Submitted by JC (Australia), Mar 31, 2009 at 02:24

The statements presented in this article from Australian public servants and al-Qaeda spokespeople are alike in that they provide little, if any, proof that the Victoria fires of 2009 were deliberately lit by jihadist operatives.

While Daryl Williams may have considered that al-Qaeda may use arson as a terrorist weapon is Australia, there is no link between this statement and the fires of 2009. The defence apparatus of all countries considers a plethora of potential threats when putting together contingency plans for a variety of national disasters, both natural and man-made; the fact that they have been considered as potential threats does not automatically transform them into reality.

Fire is a perennial fear in a drought-prone country like Australia, and while it is true that the majority of Australia's most devastating, and lethal, bushfires have historically been the result of arson, you still have presented no proof whatsoever that these fires were explicitly caused by al-Qaeda or any other group. Moreover, the rationale behind "forest jihad" cited in the Melbourne Age was based on claiming responsibility for the crimes as a way to terrorise the larger population. No such thing has happened.

Because of the tenuous links drawn by you and journalists such as Bendle, should we automatically blame future bushfires on Muslim terrorists by the mere fact that they occurred? Are we to backdate your theory, and believe that the 1982 Ash Wednesday first were also the result of Islamofascism having its way in the Outback? While al-Qaeda rejoiced in the deaths caused by the fires, celebration at the death of an enemy is very easy and moreover is not the same as proving culpability; while I am personally sickened that anyone would derive joy from the scenes in Victoria, by the same token I am appalled that anyone would exploit this event as a vehicle for their own political purposes.

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Clearly, not all arson results from jihad; but clearly too, some does. For the police to dismiss this possibility before an investigation and for the media to avoid the topic amounts to a dereliction of duty on both their parts.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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