Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Muslim Australians must rethink "Democracy"

The wash-up ... "the violent protest provides yet more evidence that multiculturalism
- after a promising start - has failed." 
Photo: James Brickwood

Gerard Henderson

Executive director, The Sydney Institute

Some Muslim leaders in Australia have condemned Saturday's violent demonstration in which several members of the NSW Police were injured. Others have not. Whatever the response of Muslims, the incident provides yet more evidence that multiculturalism - after a promising start - has failed. If some Australian Muslims do not understand how democracy works, it's time for a rethink.
Some contributors to the debate ran the familiar left-liberal line that, when a small minority get violent, it is not entirely their own fault. Yesterday the Monash University academic Waleed Aly criticised the demonstrators but then went on to refer to the plight of a ''humiliated people'' who are angry about ''the West's disrespect for Islam''.
Last year, Aly made a similar point about al-Qaeda's attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. Writing in The Sun-Herald on the 10th anniversary, Aly commented that ''it is worth considering how we got sucked into contributing to the process''.
Get it?
Somehow or other, the West contributed to al-Qaeda's attacks on the US in which Christians, Jews, Hindus and Muslims died. Even though this occurred before the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Interviewed about Saturday's demonstration on ABC Radio 702 yesterday, Aly criticised only one person by name: (Federal opposition leader in parliament) Tony Abbott. No surprise there - since Aly is on record as claiming the Opposition Leader ''embraces a reactionary form of monoculturalism''. If Aly were just another leftist academic, this would not matter much. It's just that he presents the influential ABC RN Drive program.
Paolo Totaro, the foundation chairman of the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission, weighed in with a not dissimilar rationalisation. According to Totaro, ''if we have children in the streets calling for beheadings, the fault is not of multiculturalism, but of those - all of us - who have not taught, in enough depth, the democratic values of multiculturalism''. In other words, don't blame the advocates of arbitrary beheadings. Blame us all, instead.
Mohammed El-leissy, the Melbourne-based Muslim community worker, had a somewhat different take. He told the ABC Breakfast program yesterday: ''When I looked at the footage coming out of Sydney, I didn't really see young Muslims. I saw a lot of angry men from Lakemba (a Sydney Muslim enclave) … I don't believe in the argument that multiculturalism has failed; I certainly believe that Lakemba has failed''. He called for more services.
Most Muslims have settled well in Australia. The notable exception involves some of the Muslim Lebanese who were given special privileges by Malcolm Fraser to settle in Australia around 1976 under what was called the ''Lebanon Concession'', and their descendants. Much of this group is based in Lakemba . As El-leissy has pointed out, ''quite a lot of them have very low employment and a huge lack of education''. Some other Muslims identify with this group's alienation.
Where El-leissy's analysis falls down is his solutions. All Muslims in Australia came here voluntarily and/or were born here. All have experienced the generous education, health and welfare benefits available to Australians. The rest of the country are not responsible for any alienation that they feel. Such anger will not be dissipated by the provision of more taxpayer-funded services.
It doesn't matter if the disaffected in a democracy are Catholic-born members of the Irish Republican Army or Muslim-born supporters of bin Laden. If a radicalised group in a Western society does not accept democracy and engages in terrorism or violence, there is only one response. It's over to the police to enforce the law with the assistance, where necessary, of the intelligence services. Then it's up to the judicial system.
Australia is a viable democracy in which virtually all groups have prospered, including the vast majority of Muslims. If last Saturday's demonstrators don't appreciate this, tough. It is not our fault.

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Tiggeriffic said...

What is happening in this world is really awful~! I don't like our President but the people voted for him I didn't.. Someone asked me the other day if I was worried that a Mormon could be in the White House.. I said I would rather have a Mormon than a Moron...I just pray that things will calm down and we have peace instead of violence..
Have a great day~!

joeh said...

I completey understand how Muslims are upset about their prophit being insulted...I kinda feel the same way about a religion that allows and even calls for people's heads to be cut off.

Hmmm...15 minutes of an insulting movie that no one saw
Cutting off heads of live people..I guess its a wash.

Ignorant backward goat stickers.

JohnD said...

None of it really makes much sense, does it?

Faked movies - imaginary friends with impotent super-natural powers - world-wide riots with people being killed, maimed and injured ...... almost like some form of mass hysteria.

All the while, the flowers bloom, the fields are awash in joyous colours and life is there for the living!

Cro Magnon said...

And I thought your government had a very strict 'triage' system for immigration. I have two children who live in Oz, and they both had to go through very exhaustive tests.

Looks like quite a few slipped through the net!

JohnD said...

Cro, they do have strict quotas which include refugees and displaced persons - very modest totals - see for yourself at

Gill - That British Woman said...

sad thing is it's happening all over the world.....


JohnD said...

Yes! There is an article in today's Sydney Morning Herald by an Arab academic who says that Arab youth cannot relate to any particular country and that they see themselves more as "International victims" - a lost race - and that is what they are really protesting about.