Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are hiding in plain sight among the Syrian asylum seekers now invading Europe and tough border controls are needed to seal porous frontiers against people who regard western civilisation as ‘Satanic’.
That is the grim warning of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in the aftermath of Friday night’s horrific attacks in Paris that killed 127 people.
Mr. Abbott, who was deposed in a party coup last September, told the Sydney Telegraph newspaper there was a genuine risk terrorists were hiding among the flood of migrants fleeing ISIS in Europe and taking advantage of Europe’s open borders.
“This is right. I don’t think we can leap to the conclusion that the people responsible for this in Paris are recent refugee arrivals,’’ Mr. Abbott said.
“I think it would be quite wrong to the conclude that. But it is absolutely crystal clear that whether they are recent arrivals, whether they are second generation Parisians, the problem of Islamist extremism is severe.
“And it’s not going away anytime soon, particularly with this Caliphate remaining in place in Syria and Iraq which is encouraging its sympathisers right around the world to carry out attacks including on Australia.
“The problem is this Islamist extremism regard western civilisation as Satanic and it is determined to do whatever it can to damage us.
“That’s why it is absolutely vital that all Western governments take the firmest possible measures both at home and abroad.”
Mr. Abbott’s warning came as a Reuters report confirmed a Syrian passport was found on the body of one of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France in Paris after Friday’ night’s massacre.
In a speech in London last month, Mr Abbott warned expanded action, including ground troops as well as much more intensive bombing from the air may be required to defeat Islamic terrorism.
He lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.
Mr. Abbott also warned then that “misguided altruism’’ was stopping nations from denying entry at the border to people with “no right to come” and continued that theme in his latest interview.
“What happened in France is an absolutely unspeakable atrocity. The sad truth is in the midst of peaceful and tolerant countries such as France indeed such as Australia there are people who are hell bent on doing us harm,’’ he said yesterday.
“But the atrocities in France are yet another sign of the challenges that countries such as ours face. I fear that the struggle against Islamist extremism is going to be the great challenge of our generation and the great challenge of our time.”
Mr Abbott’s tenure as prime minister saw irregular arrivals of Middle East asylum seekers in Australia drop to zero when he instituted the toughest border controls in the world. His moves included transporting arrivals back to their country of origin and using the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to repel boatloads of so-called migrants trying to cross from Indonesian ports.
Last September Australia recorded 12 months without a single migrant boat arrival. Under Mr. Abbott’s border control reforms of December 2013 – Operation Sovereign Borders – Australia has turned back 20 boats, preventing at least 633 people from arriving in the country.
Under Operation Sovereign borders, the RAN use naval gunfire to sink migrant boats after their passengers had been retrieved at sea and placed in government-supplied lifeboats for the trip back to Indonesia.
Mr. Abbott also introduced mandatory deportations for foreign nationals convicted of crimes in Australia with no exceptions for those who claimed existing residency rights or family reunion.
Under Australia’s tightened immigration laws, any intending migrants must sit strict tests that award points for suitability of entry. Those who fail the points system are denied entry.