Parton / Now’s not the time to worry

“If members of Canberra’s Islamic community sensed even a minuscule hint of extremist sentiment here they would move swiftly to disarm it at its source.

THE terrorists are doing their best to create fear and, after Paris, you’d have to say they’re succeeding.

Mark Parton.

Mark Parton.

Should we be worried in Canberra? That’s up to you, but I’m not in the least bit concerned.

When you’re assessing the terror-attack risk for your city without  access to the ASIO intelligence, you’re forced to make a commonsense, gut-feel judgement. I made a mental list of the pros and cons for potential terror attack in our town.

On the downside is the fact that we are the national capital, but we should rejoice that most people on the planet are convinced Sydney is the capital!

There are many reasons that any terror attack wouldn’t be here: a. We’re not a densely or highly populated city; b. there are no genuine ghettos in Canberra; c. yes, it can be a tough place to live if you’re not earning a good quid, but our city doesn’t have large geographic areas of disadvantage; d. firearms are hard to come by; and e. we don’t have many extremists here and my experience suggests they’re virtually non-existent in Canberra.

Some of my listeners challenged me on the final point. They seem to believe that Canberra is a hotbed for extremism and they’re wrong.

I went to the “mosque” in Monash last month looking for extremists and found none. Set up as the National Islamic Library, it’s not actually a mosque, but it does serve the purpose of a place of worship.

When Luisa and I were there for its open day, we found a whole bunch of families, just like ours, who happened to believe some things that we don’t.

We were welcomed with smiles, wonderful food and an openness that I wasn’t expecting.

I genuinely believe that if members of Canberra’s Islamic community sensed even a minuscule hint of extremist sentiment here they would move swiftly to disarm it at its source.

There’s going to be more drama before this is all over, but I don’t think it’s going to happen here.

 

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