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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Transnational Terrorism: The Threat to Australia

Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2004

ISBN 1 920959 04 1

Information Sheet 1: The new terrorist threat to Australia

  • Australia's security environment has changed and we are now directly threatened by a new kind of terrorism. It is transnational in nature and is more dangerous than previous examples of terrorism.
  • The perpetrators of this new threat are Muslim extremists but those who carry out these acts of terrorism are only a radical minority. Their behaviour is inconsistent with the core tenets of Islam and they do not represent the broader Muslim community.
  • The core driver of this terrorism is an extreme ideology which is deeply critical of the state of affairs in most Muslim nations, and resentful of the West's influence.
  • While the terrorists act in the name of the religion, their ultimate goal is political. They want to establish a caliphate or Islamic super-state that unites all Muslims and is free of Western presence and influence. They oppose governments in Muslim countries that do not agree with their extremist views and accuse them of being 'un-Islamic' and illegitimate.
  • The new terrorist threat is characterised globally by Al Qaida and by Jemaah Islamiyah in our region. Its methods are uncompromising and include large- scale, mass casualty attacks, like the September 11 attacks in the United States and the bombings in Bali and Madrid.
  • The nature of this terrorism makes it difficult to defeat. It works through loose networks and across borders. It is independent and does not rely on one country or a group of countries for support and survival. It is constantly evolving, regenerating and adapting to any threats or successes against it. And it is not open to compromise or negotiation.
  • The terrorists threaten Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Anybody who does not believe in their cause is considered to be a legitimate target. Many terrorist attacks have taken place in Muslim countries such as Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Morocco, and have included large numbers of Muslim victims.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade