For the large amounts of national security spending and ‘expert advice’ available to our governments, they are still struggling with the problem of radical Islamic terrorism.
Their approach is driven by what I call the ‘Be Nice Brigade’ – that if everyone is nice to Muslim communities they are more likely to cooperate with the authorities in dobbing in troublemakers. I think it’s more important to be realistic. That’s always a vital first step in solving any problem.
Realistically, Australia’s political system has lost the plot in dealing with Islam. While state and federal ministers repeatedly promise new ‘de-radicalisation programs’, in the suburbs of Western Sydney the opposite is occurring.
Under the guise of ‘cultural expression’, hate speech is being funded by government bodies.
Recently I was sent a video of a ‘poetry reading’ at the Bankstown Poetry Slam.
It was titled ‘F-ck Pauline Hanson’ – not exactly a Shakespearean sonnet, so I made further enquiries.
The Bankstown Poetry Slam (BPS) runs mentoring programs in Sydney high schools, plus a monthly poetry competition at the Bankstown Arts Centre.
It receives public funding from at least five sources, including Western Sydney University, Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Australia Council for the Arts, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue and Commonwealth Government community grants.
Despite my requests, BPS has not been able to provide this column with financial statements of any kind.
But in talking to its donors, it appears to have a publicly-funded budget of over $100,000 per annum.
How is this used?
In the case of a young man called Mohammad, on the first video I watched, it was to get stuck into Hanson.
He started his ‘poem’ by reciting: ‘F-ck Pauline Hanson. Let me reiterate, F-ck Pauline Hanson, F-ck Pauline Hanson. Let me clarify, I don’t want to F-ck Pauline Hanson … ‘
And on it went, to audience hollering and encouragement.
His main theme was to condemn the way in which Hanson responds to terrorist attacks.
‘I’m not apologising for a second’, Mohammad said, ‘The shit you see on TV is not in any way a representation of what my religion has to say about peace, harmony and acceptance. But I swear this discrimination nation is testing my patience and the hate is so great, I’ve got to make this one last statement… F-ck Pauline Hanson.’
Initially I thought this must have been an aberration. A one-off hate session on an Australian senator, but then I watched scores of other BPS videos.
They each had a common theme: denigrating Australia and our major public institutions.
The ‘poets’ were mainly Islamic and, in hours of YouTube viewing, I couldn’t find any positive statements about our country.
In fact, it wasn’t poetry. It was left-wing political ranting dressed up as verse – a crude, sustained, hateful attack on our values. The more savagely Australia was condemned the more the crowds cheered.
A recital called ‘People We Hate’ captured the BPS method: ‘I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hate, you have to hate for the right reason, like you being a c-nt.’
The police were constantly targeted.In an April 2017 reading entitled ‘F-ck Tha Silence’, Australian police officers were labeled as racist and corrupt thugs.
This was an echo of the American Black Lives Matters movement, with our justice system derided as ‘white people showing supremacy’.
The BPS hate-fest has drawn on other international themes. In September 2016, for instance, a diatribe called ‘Mr War Palestine’ attacked so-called Israeli ‘apartheid’ and urged people to ‘f-ck this occupation’. The angry young ranter declared ‘a curse on the corrupters of Zion’, insisting, ‘In the last days, it shall be (Prime Minister) Netanyahu who cries’.
Female Islamists were just as hostile to Western ways, denouncing ‘capitalism’ while ‘yearning for revolution’.Speaker after speaker vented their anger at our civilisation. It was the equivalent of crowd motivation at an Antifa convention.
In April 2015, a male ‘poet’ complained of how, ‘Asio is hounding me, trying to get me shot up on the boundary.’ Maybe they needed to, given his declaration that, ‘I’m the best you never heard of yet, screaming death to the Murdoch press.’
In this world of Islamic grievance and spite, Australian soldiers were said to have ‘fought for a nation that divided up races and preached segregation, a place where it was cool to beat your wife’. The audience roared with approval when the speaker mocked the laying of ‘another wreath for the Anzacs’.
‘I’m channeling anger’, he said, complaining of how ‘we obsess over Isis’. More than ever, in listening to these tirades, I worry about Islamic terrorism. And whether the Bankstown ‘poetry’ nights are a haven for would-be radicalisation? For hours on end, in a large Muslim community, young people are being bombarded with messages of hate and division.
And as taxpayers, we’re funding it – five times over.
Remarkably, senior politicians have given these people community service awards.
In March 2016, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull handed out a ‘Western Sydney Leadership Prize’ to the BPS’s founders.
This is the ultimate sign of a political system gone crazy. Islamic ranting is not an expression of Western Sydney leadership. It’s a dangerous betrayal of our region’s values and unity that needs to be defunded by all levels of government.
Endnote: After I asked questions about them, Poetry Slam has now deleted all of its YouTube content, including hundreds of videos. Some can still be seen at https://www.facebook.com/MarkLathamsOutsiders/