Last year, after more than 13,000 Australians signed a petition launched by this webpage, the Defence imam resigned.
Sheikh Mohammadu Nawas Saleem had called for Sharia law and publicly backed the radical Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir.
Now the Australian Defence Force has confirmed via Senate Estimates that Saleem passed a ‘baseline security check’. As a result, he was cleared to access classified information up to ‘Protected’ ratings.
Defence has also refused to detail whether Saleem had access to any Defence bases but has informed Senate Estimates that one purpose of security clearances is to ensure that measures are taken to ‘mitigate the threat of malicious trusted insiders’.
One can only wonder how Defence actually plans to mitigate against the threat of insider attacks when a known public supporter of an organisation that has called for an army to impose Sharia law in Australia can be granted a security clearance.
The wonder can only grow when it is clear that Defence’s use of the English language tends to indicate that it has the exact opposite understanding of what words actually mean.
Here’s just one example: Defence was also asked by Senator Fraser Anning whether there were any special recruitment processes underway to increase Islamic recruitment.
The answer was no.
However, the very next question asked Defence whether it was true that the Navy recruitment website promoted a ‘devout Muslim’.
The answer was yes, with a protestation that advertising a ‘devout Muslim’ was not a specific program to recruit Muslims but an initiative to ‘encourage a diverse range of candidates to consider applying to join the Navy’.
Defence also droned on that this showed it ‘embraces religious and cultural diversity, and has an equal opportunity policy for all’.
Please. Give me a break.
And for the record, I cannot find Defence advertising devout adherents of any belief system other than Islam.
Despite its claim that there are no special programs to recruit Muslims, Defence has also told Senate Estimates that there are now 93 full-time personnel and another 62 reservists who are Islamic.
When Stuart Robert announced the appointment of the Defence imam in 2015 there were only 96 Muslims in the entire Defence Force.
So that’s an increase of 161%, which seems a rather extraordinary coincidence. This denial is even more ludicrous given the statement made by then Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, linking the appointment of the Defence imam with recruitment:
Capability through Diversity is all about enhancing the combat power of the ADF by widening the national recruitment pool and tapping into the tremendous latent resources that a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce brings to Defence.
Meanwhile, Defence has also informed Senate Estimates that it is looking for a new imam to replace Saleem. I’ll keep you informed as this madness unfolds…