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#################### Geoff Seidner
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
EDITORIAL Oct 3...Resetting relations with Australia’s Muslims
It’s not surprising that with a change of leadership comes an attempt to recast relations with Australia’s Muslim community. As with Malcolm Turnbull’s other political resets, it will take time to see what a shift in tone or a new approach actually amounts to. There is no talk of any weakening in the government’s anti-terror resolve; quite the contrary, better anti-terror co-operation is a key rationale for seeking to build more trust between Australian Muslims and authorities. Sydney GP and Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi — our 2015 Australian of the Year — has welcomed Mr Turnbull’s change of approach, saying: “We are hopeful and determined to change the status quo and roll up our sleeves to work with the present government to help protect Australia.”
As we reported on Friday, the government will seek to engage the Islamic community in a new, more inclusive way, avoiding what was said to be Tony Abbott’s blunt, divisive language. His preferred term for Islamic State — “the death cult” — jarred with many, although its rationale was precisely to put distance between terror and the word Islamic. It’s also said that the former prime minister put off his Muslim audience when in February he said he wished more Muslim leaders would describe Islam as a religion of peace and mean it; this implied that Mr Abbott knew which leaders were insincere. It’s true that Mr Abbott’s language on Islamist terror was less careful than that used by John Howard after the 2002 Bali bombing.
But the ultimate test of a shift in tone or approach is whether it makes Australia not only more cohesive as a multicultural society but safer from terror attacks. The threat level remains high and our agencies must remain ever ready to prevent or respond to deadly attacks. The case of a British teen now before the courts illustrates the protean nature of the threat. The 14-year-old from Lancashire was in contact with an Australian Islamic State recruiter — Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, or Neil Prakash — about an Anzac Day terror plot in Melbourne, an English court heard this week.
Cases such as this show the potential for rapid, global radicalisation of far-flung individuals who are harder to detect than traditionally organised networks of terrorists. In these circumstances, it’s vitally important for authorities to be able to rely on the eyes and ears of Muslim communities. Yet, as we reported on Friday, security agencies had told the government in the final months of Mr Abbott’s leadership that relations with the Islamic community were at their lowest ebb, making it harder for authorities to gain the trust and co-operation needed to prevent and detect terror threats. Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who has been consulting 160 Muslim groups across the country on national security policy, said these communities felt marginalised (flashpoints of bigotry such as the anti-mosque mob in Bendigo do not help) and there was “a growing distrust” of government. She said: “Basically what has happened is they have clamped up, they are not really engaging, and therefore relationships have dried up … Of course, good intelligence is based on good relationships.”
The senator also said that Australia had wrongly dealt with violent extremism and the radicalisation of disenfranchised youth as a national security issue when in truth it was “a social issue with a national security angle”. This may be a question of emphasis. It is one thing to say that youth alienation is sometimes the background to Islamic extremism and quite another to try to explain away the Islamist character of extremism that cuts across society and culture.
Nor is it true to say that anti-terror laws target Australia’s Muslims; they target murderous acts of a kind witnessed all around the world — with the victims often being Muslim. In May, when we launched a series of articles on Muslim Australia, we said: “When a community is under siege, there are two possible responses. One is to turn away from the problem and cry bigotry or racism. The other is to face the problem squarely. Often it’s misguided outsiders (the jihadi denialists of Fairfax Media, for example, being unable to discern terrorism in the Lindt cafe siege) who refuse to confront problems pointed out by brave insiders such as Dr Rifi. It’s not about attacking Islam, it’s about rallying to the cause of good Muslims who are struggling for the soul of Islam.” This remains true. Of course politicians should avoid language that recklessly confronts and divides, but the language they use must also come to grips with the often anguished realities of our times — and it should not gloss over the robust anti-terror measures that our agencies are called on to take. Only time will tell whether the Turnbull government gets the balance right.
Why does our Government need to 're-set' its relations with the Muslim community? The very fact that we commonly refer to the "Muslim community" ought to define the true nature of the problem.
They have chosen not to try to assimilate; many of them continue to dress strangely, and send their children to Muslim-only schools to be indoctrinated with a religious ideology which is antithetical to the Australian way of life; they claim victim status with every incident which involves anti-social or violent behaviour by Muslims; and they demand money from the taxpayer to fix a problem which they have no intention of fixing.
High time the Muslim community re-set its relations with mainstream Australia, and made a concerted effort to become integrated into our society by embracing its norms. And it won't take taxpayer funds to do so.
Struggling for the soul of Islam? Seriously?! Islam is a religion in desperate need of reform. Even if we could wave a magic wand and rid Australia of extremism, we would still be left with a religion that fundamentally rejects the rights of women, homosexuals, secularists and people practising other faiths.
Muslims often cite Australia's involvement with bombing campaigns in the Middle East as justification for the terrorist attacks at home. Perhaps they are correct? It may not be wise from a security perspective to allow immigrants who sympathise with those countries we are at war with.
Tony Abbott was not divisive in his language - he was straight.
Straight-talking in Australia is now called bigotry, racism, sexism and a million other types of -ism. Are we safer or more kind to each other or more trusting of one another because we can no longer talk straight without being monstered to death by teachy-preachy types?
Immigration policy and multiculturalism are two topics we must not publicly discuss in this country for fear of ridicule and censure; even as those policies are failing us. Time to call it like it is, multiculturalism has been used by many of those running our country as a tool to socially reengineer our society; but, now we are seeing the down sides we are unable to discuss them openly for fear of offending those politicians and their supporters that caused the problem.
There should not be a call for funds from the Muslim community. If they were as outraged as many of us are they should be able to use workshops not to spread more violence but to do the exact opposite. Yet there is another workshop this weekend in Melbourne who is being used to spread more hatred. Nobody stops them. It costs nothing to teach young people at home either that they live in a peaceful country now which supports them every step they make. Why on earth come here if they hate us so much unless they have an agenda.
@Karin There have been calls to fund de-radicalisation programs involving so-called "former radicals".
My question would be: if they could preach hate without government funding, why do they now need to be paid by the government to do the opposite? It starts to look less like de-radicalisation than it is extortion - hand over the money or bad things will happen.
When we need to bribe a very small part of our community to behave themselves as citizens we have a very bad problem.
Islamic groups are not being persecuted - rather their whinge is that they are being treated equally with all others when what they want is preferential treatment. Appeasing them will never work.
Tony Abbott appeased the Islamic lobby (among others) and bowed to demands not to reform 18C of the RDC by removing the words 'offend' and 'insult'. I think this was a very serious mistake by Abbott, and I think Turnbull is redoubling that mistake, and making matter even worse.
While soever any minority religious or cultural group in Australia gains traction and attention when they say they "feel marginalized", then we know for sure that apologizing to them for their feelings will never work. It only encourages them to think they are winning the preferential attention they seek.
Rather Australians want a leader who proudly proclaims and promotes the secular values in our Constitution and our principles of liberal democracy. I cannot see Turnbull doing this, and even Abbott was a bit wimpish. Australia needs strong leadership where all religions and cultures plus the irreligious are all absolutely unequivocally and exactly equal under our Constitution and government.
Post-war migration worked in the 1950s because the national leaders were strongly committed to what was best for Australia and did not put up with nonsense.
Also, there was no divisive multiculturalism or its associated mega-gravy train funded by the billions, manipulating migrants against the mainstream for its own power bloc. There is only so much hindrance to good government that a country can take.
There could not be a more stupid way to run, and ruin, a country.
Turnbull is a closet socialist that will sell us all down the drain to get his ideals across. Unfortunately we have no conservatives in government anymore. The facts are that Australians are losing our country, and are being forcefully made to accept a socially engineered mess of religious bigotry and a medieval cult that is as far from compatible with our way of life that you can get, this has changed our home land forever. I believe we are stepping closer to major social disorder and civil unrest never seen in this country - all because these idiots we call politicians pander and bow to these minority's, along with their sycophantic colleagues. Maybe this country needs a dose of reality to realize what is worth fighting for and why we do. Because the apathy and ignorance displayed in Australia surely deserves to be paid in spades for allowing the present circumstances to get where they are today. Im ashamed of our weak leadership and the spiteful con that these bastards have led us to.
@Ian If you want your your economic utopia, youd be better prepared to make your country strong and socially cohesive - two things that are anathema to islam and those inveigled by it. But on the other hand people like you who purport to be "for" your country would allow "anything goes" to make a bent penny or two. And BTW Cameron is a closet socialist who pandered to an insignificant minority and also appeased the socialist elite to respond to a fake religion called climate change. Ordinary people see through this crap, and with the advent of a clown like Turnbull coming to power we even more so are becoming more angry.
Malcolm, dont use the same reset button Hillary used with Russia a few years ago. It was obviously faulty. Actually the reset button you now want to use will suffer the same fate as it originates from the same flawed philosophical factory..
I have an open mind - I would be perfectly prepared to read an explanation from a Muslim spokesperson in an article in The Australian, of just why radicalisation of Muslim youths is such a problem in their community. Go for it.
I think we should ask our Muslim community to publically express one of our key Australian values, "Equal Rights for Women".
This one move alone, would change the debate away from terrorism and religions of peace. Most migrant Muslims came here partly, to get equal rights for their wives and daughters and we undoubtedly deliver that for them.
We need a conversation about what being an Australian Muslim really means, and how that alone differs them from the overseas Muslim jihadists.
@Kevin Agree wholeheartedly - with one minor exception. We need Muslims to have a conversation about what being an Australian really means - which is that one's religion is a private matter which plays no part in the formation or implemetation of our laws. .
It seems the Parramatta shooter was a 15 year old boy of middle eastern appearance yelling religious slogans. On the very day the government announces a reset of relations with the Islamic community, this happens.
Yeh, the kid did not get the memo. Or if he did he did not read it or tore it up. Good luck to us on the softly, softly approach. But here's the thing. Religious nutters, sourced from disaffected youth or educated adults are and remain religious nutters. They do not have a reset button. Expect more of the same.
Why do we pander to this section of society, we never have to listen to Buddhists telling us how to live or moaning how hard done by they are, same with Jews. They want to live here, we all do, so live in peace or leave, simples.
Yes indeed why is it that we do not pander to the demands of the Buddhists, Jews, Chinese or ANY other group in this country.... ?
Becasue they don't make any demands.
Except for Muslims, all other migrant geoups who have come to is country have been happy to fit in with THIS country's cultures, religions and laws and NOT expect this country to fit in with their theirs.
While the migrants who. Ame beforw the Muslims wanted to integrate with mainstream Australia, the Muslims have wanted to stand outside the mainstream and whinge and complain about how badly done by they are.
What we see is that this country has provided more to this group of migrants than all the other groups combined.
Over 160 Islamic Councils, over 350 Mosques, hundreds of Islamic schools and "education" centres as well as fast tracking students into Universities and jobs as well as the fact they they are the largest welfare recipients and accepting thousands refugees into resettlement programs while 50,000 still remain in thr Community who are mostly economic migrants.
Despite all tht tbis cou try has done, the word back from Muslims is that we have not done enough and they feel isolated and threatened. Why have NONE of the other migrant groups behaved this way?
They are also trying to stop and muzzle our RIGHTS to protest things that we do NOT want to go ahead as is OUR right.
For example, the 2000 person Super mosque in Bendigo. There are puportedly 300 Muslims in Bendigo who want a 2000 person mosque to be built there, WHY? And why have the residents of Bendigo been pushed into accepting it?
When Tony Abbot called for a " team Australia" he meant EVERYONE. He did NOT say " Team Australia except Muslims".
It was the Muslims ( aided by the ABC) who CHOSE to make and take that as an attack on them.
That is because Muslims want to remain outside of mainstream Australia and under the Policy of Multiculturalism they are legally able to remain on the outside without ever having to integrate.
This will never stop under the current Policy of Multiculturalism and even this article is pandering to their false victimhood status.
Muslims in this country must start integrating as ALL other immigrants have done, but then they won't be able to keep playing their poor "us" and nasty " them" game if they do that.
This is what no government or Media editor or PM have understood about why so many people are angry about this group of people.
As well as their religion which has the opposite message of Christianity, ie " turn the other cheek", "love thy neighbour", forgive those who tresspass against us" etc it is their continuous never ending DEMANDS and accusations that we are not doing enough for them.
When will enough be enough and when will they stop playing the " victim" game to get more and more of waht they want?