By now the world already knows what happened in Sydney, Australia. Man Haron Monis, a political asylum grantee from Iran, took numerous customers and employees hostage at the Lindt cafe. When the police raided the cafe to end the siege, two hostages were killed along with Monis.
The attack shocked Australia and the world as the “Land Down Under” has suffered from few major gun incidents since the country cracked down on gun ownership following the 1996 Port Arthur gun attacks. Yet a quick examination of Monis’s life shows that all of the warning signs were there.
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The sad fact is that a review of Mr. Monis’s life suggests that the attacks should have never been attacked. Mr. Monis had a long history of criminal activity and given his actions he should have been deported to his home country in Iran. At the very least, he should have been in jail as he was charged as an accessory to murder, but was instead released on bail despite a long history of mental instabiltiy.
Sydney Siege: Monis Had A Long History Of Violence
Monis entered Australia in 1996 as a political asylum seeker, after having spent time in Malaysia. The Iranian government claims that Mr. Monis was a criminal and had committed numerous crimes in the country, including fraud and violent crimes. The Iranian government apparently wanted to charge Mr. Monis on these charges, but he claimed that his persecution was politically and religiously motivated.
After being granted asylum Monis was unable to integrate into society. After the start of the Afghanistan war and Australia’s involvement in it, Mr. Monis sent hate mail to the families of fallen soldiers. In 2013 he was convicted of crimes related to the matter but received only minor punishments.
Were this the only red flag one could almost sympathize with the Australian government‘s lack of action against Monis. Australia supports free speech as much of the West does, so Mr. Monis’s crimes might seem minor. Monis, however, has been involved in more serious and violent crimes.
In 2011 he was charged with intimidating his ex-wife. In 2013 this same ex-wife was found murdered, having been stabbed 17 times and set afire. Mr. Monis was charged as an accessory in this murder, and his current wife was charged with murder. Despite Mr. Monis’s history of unstable behavior and hateful rhetoric, however, he was released on bail.
When the Australian government released Monis on bail they knowingly and willfully released a man with a clear and violent criminal history. This was a grave mistake and a mistake that cost two innocent people their lives.
Sydney Siege: Monis Should Have Been Deported
Immigration can be (and usually is) a great thing. Many of the most innovative and prosperous countries in the world, such as the United States, Canada, and Singapore, have (or had) relatively open immigration policies that helped them build up competitive and creative populations that can draw on a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
Still, a line in the sand needs to be drawn between people who will contribute and people who will be a detriment to society. Mr. Monis was clearly a threat to Australia, having already been accused in a murder case and having sent harassing letters to families of deceased soldiers. Citizenship for recent immigrants should be seen as a privilege, not a right, and if individuals pose a threat to society, they should be deported.
This issue goes beyond just Australia. The United States, E.U. members, and other countries still have relatively lax immigration policies. While policies are certainly no longer open door, it is still relatively easy to immigrate to many countries. Unfortunately, however, some people who immigrate decide that they don’t want to integrate into society, and in some cases even perpetuate violence against their new home.
Once a recent immigrant posses a threat to society, or else is convicted of a violent or serious crime, he or she should have her citizenship revoked. In this case Mr. Monis should have been sent back to Iran, and while that might have resulted in his punishment at the hand of Iranian authorities, it would have saved the lives of at least two innocent Australians.
Mind you, people shouldn’t be deported for minor violation, but only when they present a clear and undeniable threat to society. This opinion might be unpopular among some, but countries should have a right to reserve citizenship for foreign citizens and asylum seekers who contribute positively to society.