Terrorists want to instill and spread a culture of violence, fear and despair through their narratives and actions. To defy this, Hodan Nalayeh showcased Somali achievements and the beauty of Somali culture. CNN has said that Hodan uncovered “a positive side of Somalia rarely seen in the media coverage.” In this way, the journalist succeeded in undoing terrorists’ everyday messages.
This post explains how this situation came about, and discusses some practical and moral problems with the government's current approach. I argue that more efforts should be made to repatriate these individuals, to help protect the children and where possible prosecute the adults. However, the post also points out some risks posed by my own preferred approach, as this is an inherently difficult situation.
No one, least of all in Australia’s Muslim communities, is surprised that an event like this has finally occurred, because all the signs that it was coming were there: measurable rises in Islamophobia and religion-based hate crimes, increasingly reckless political dog-whistling aimed at Muslims and at Islam and aired through both conventional and social media, and the increased mobilisation and mainstreaming of far-right commentary and protest that only a decade ago could barely be heard rustling in the bushes on the nation’s backblocks.