THE recent warnings by the U.S. government of possible terror attacks by Islamic militants on Americans in South Africa should not be taken lightly by the South African security and intelligence agencies.
The relevant anti-terrorism authorities should immediately obtain the evidence and information in order to put measures in place to prevent such attacks. Very often, governments issue warnings regarding a potential terrorist attack without giving the public any credible information, which leaves people without any knowledge of what to expect or do.
Certainly, every effort should be made to subvert and prevent terrorist activities but this must be done responsibly. These questionable threats actually hurt us in many ways. Not only do they increase panic and fear, but they also waste valuable resources that could be used in fighting real crime and protecting citizens.
Moreover, such allegations can prove to be destructive, particularly in the minds of ordinary South Africans who have little or no knowledge about terrorism.
Although we should be vigilant about terrorist activities, we should refuse to be terrorised by fear mongers and mischief makers.
Think critically, rationally and be careful of groups or politicians trying to use terrorism to advance a political aim or mission.
The hyperbole about “Islamic terrorism” post- September 11 is a metaphor, and the more readily we accept it, the more readily we compromise the principles of liberty, human dignity, democracy and the rule of law.