THE 15-year-old male of Middle Eastern background who dropped into Parramatta Mosque on Friday, before descending on NSW Police HQ brandishing a loaded gun, was wearing a long black cloak, and calling out “Allah Akbar”, before he put a bullet in the head of Curtis Cheng.
Even before official confirmation, it didn’t take a genius to work out that the cold blooded execution of Cheng, 58, a police accountant and father of two, was a terrorist attack perpetrated by a radical Muslim, no matter what his age.
We’ve known since September 11, 2001, exactly what Islamist terrorism is, and who are its targets. With the rise of Islamic State we have seen lone wolf and tag team terrorist attacks occur around the Western world with sickening regularity.
They began in earnest after an IS edict was issued last September calling on followers around the world to “kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever …
‘If you are not able to find a [bomb] or a bullet … Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”
In the ensuing 13 months we have had three terrorist attacks on home soil — two in Sydney and one in Melbourne — as well as numerous foiled attacks.
One day after the IS call to arms, we had the savage stabbing attack on two police officers in Melbourne by 18-year-old Afghan migrant Numan Haider, who was shot dead.
Three months later came the Lindt Café siege at Martin Place which resulted in the death of hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, as well as gunman Man Monis, another IS sympathiser.
And then on Friday came 15-year-old Farhad Mohammad’s attack on Parramatta police HQ, home of the counter-terrorism squad.
In addition there have been numerous foiled alleged terror plots.
They include an alleged suicide attack planned on this year’s Anzac Day parade in Melbourne in which police claim an officer was to be run over and beheaded before his gun was taken on a shooting rampage; two Melbourne 18-year-olds were arrested in April over the case, along with a 14-year-old in the UK, who has just been jailed.
In May, a 17-year-old boy was arrested in Melbourne over an alleged Mother’s Day terror plot to bomb a public event.
Yes, Australians are familiar with the threat of Islamist terrorism.
And yet our leaders continue to insult our intelligence by pretending that this latest terrorist attack was something other than what it was.
For too many hours, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Premier Mike Baird and even Commissioner Andrew Scipione pussyfooted around the truth, using carefully scripted euphemisms such as “politically motivated”, while mystifyingly exhorting the public to “come together”.
Is it any wonder the ABC on Friday afternoon declared the attack “not terror-related”?
Less than 24 hours later the PM held a press conference in which, incredibly, his main message was not to reassure all Australians that we were safe, but to quell incipient imaginary Islamophobia.
“We must not vilify or blame the entire Muslim community with the actions of what is in truth a very small percentage of violent extremist individuals.”
But who was vilifying or blaming the entire Muslim community? The silence was deafening.
There was no rioting in the streets, no civil unrest. The Australian public was stoically getting on with life, feeling sorrow for the Cheng family, but trusting our police forces to continue doing their best to protect us.
Then Bill Shorten jumped the shark: “Our thoughts are with the family of a 15-year-old alleged perpetrator,” he said.
We deserve better than this patronising insult from our leaders. The first step to combatting homegrown Islamist terrorism is to be honest about defining it.
In any case, all this appeasement does no good. It makes the vast bulk of moderate Muslims wonder, since our leaders are so concerned, what sort of secret atrocities are being conducted against their community by unnamed bigoted Australians.
Meanwhile, radical fringe Islamists are further emboldened.
After Friday’s attack, a tribute page was set up on Facebook for Cheng’s killer, hailing him a “hero” and “martyr ... all he is guilty of was being Muslim.”
In December it will be the ten years since the Cronulla riot.
That was a culture clash prompted by genuine concerns over the harassment of girls and bashing of lifeguards at Cronulla Beach by young Lebanese-Australian Muslim men who travelled to the beach by train.
A Sunday protest turned nasty when drunken thugs started physically to attack random Lebanese-Australians.
This led to proper arrests of those few offenders. But the paroxysm of self-criticism has not ceased.
Less well-publicized was the organized violent criminal retaliation in which carloads of Middle Eastern gangsters descended on the Cronulla area on subsequent nights, smashing up cars, breaking windows and using iron bars to assault innocent residents, all under the noses of a politically correct police force.
Cronulla became synonymous with Islamophobia. If ever there was a case of victim blaming this was a classic.
From then on, all non-Muslim Australians were deemed to be closet bigots, unless they publicly proclaimed #Illridewithyou solidarity at every opportunity.
It seems we have learned nothing in the past ten years.