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The Forum > Article Comments > Accept it - Australia is secular, liberal, democratic > Comments

Accept it - Australia is secular, liberal, democratic : Comments

By Irfan Yusuf, published 8/12/2005

Irfan Yusuf argues Australia is a secular, liberal and democratic nation where anti-Muslim bashing should not occur.

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Possibly, Alby Schultz didn't have the guts to say "Muslims" should be kept out, so he carefully veiled his meaning with weasel words.

Australia is a Christian country nominally, not in fact. Religion, in no practical sense, has any bearing on our society and no special place in it. It never really has, even when most of us were "Christian".

Schultz should have referred to who he really meant: Muslims. Athiests and adherents of non-Christians religions don't carry the problems with them that Muslims do everywhere they go. Muslims "overdo" their religion, and they stick out like sore thumbs. It will never work in Australia, where religion is a private thing without influence on a secular, democratic society
Posted by Leigh, Thursday, 8 December 2005 10:32:02 AM
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The power allegedly held by Opus Dei in the NSW Right of the liberal party, or the fact of Bob Santamaria's long contribution to political life, the action of the groupers, the evolution/demise of the DLP, the work of the Salvation Army in the anti-drug lobby, the rise of the Family First Party, the socio-political work of the Brotherhood of St Lawrence,the influence religion has on the actions of Kevin Andrews, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott and Senator Boswell, the constant "interference" by most of the Australian Bishops into policy debates (so stridently complained about by the more conservatives at the moment) - suggests religion is far from a private thing, far from being without influence within our secular society and remains a vibrant part of our democracy.

Leighs assertion that Schultz didnt have the guts to tag the Muslims is probably right. - it would be courageous though - it would be dumb - having said that some politicians could get mileage out of muslim bashing; it is afterall a popular sport in these pages.

Leigh is also right to say we are nominally religious at best - notwithstanding the influence exerted by those cloaked in religious garb listed above.

But if we tolerate Muslim bashing in principle it is only a small step to accept any other form of intolerance and hostiltiy towards the next group who happen to offend our sensibilities - there is already a barely supressed envy towards the Asian community, succesfull in business and whose children are excelling at school - whats the tipping point for some who see more and more of the top places in Universities to non white Australians?. Seethe away.

We are fast approaching the Fiji syndrome - while we are harder to define as a distinct race there are those among us who think they know who belongs here and who doesnt - you can read them every day here; some have even listed inclusion criteria and as a fifty year old born here White guy I fail most of them - gladly
Posted by sneekeepete, Thursday, 8 December 2005 1:00:55 PM
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Well said Sneek... always like your reasoning...
Posted by Reason, Thursday, 8 December 2005 2:53:49 PM
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I'm totally against Muslim bashing too. The scenes of Muslims bashing, first in Victora outside the courts where reporters copped it, and now in Cronulla in NSW where both reporters and life savers were on the end of it, should not to be tolerated in our country. Any Muslims who feel that bashing is an acceptable means of dealing with their frustrations should nick off to a country where that animalistic behaviour is the norm. Their home ones should normally suffice.
Posted by HarryC, Thursday, 8 December 2005 3:04:37 PM
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Here we go again,

Very clever article to lure us in so we will appear to be the racists. You can fool some of the people... but we now know your schemes.

I don't know about anyone else but the real problem is not so much muslims imposing themselves on our society but it's our "secular democratic" system that they so cleverly learned to use and abuse.

Wake up Oz.

This is still the lucky country ďfor someĒ.
Posted by coach, Thursday, 8 December 2005 3:42:23 PM
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Indeed Irfan Muslims in Australia do face difficult situations and choices.

I accept only a minority in the Australian Muslim community follow radical clerics. However I understand the wider community concern at the apparent unity of the Muslim community. Iíll not excuse such concerns but merely point out such attitudes existed and applied towards every group of migrants that has ever come to this country. That includes the Irish Catholics, the Italian Catholics, the Greek Orthdox, the European Jews, the Indian Sikhs, Hindus and Buddahists, Chinese Falon Gong, Buddahists and Confusians, the faithless New Zealanders and many other groups with mixed religious belief. My point being twofold, firstly all groups are characterised as having some religious or no belief and secondly all groups were and felt victimised by and isolated from the broader community.
That said all of those groups within two or three generations had substantially integrated with the wider community. Many have kept their traditional beliefs and customs. The New Zealanders even still barrack for the damnable All Blacks. Now I am not going to go over the old, worn and generalised arguments about the likely adaptabity of the Muslim community or itís intergration. I think most of them bigoted. I will however ask you a few very specific questions that are probably the basis for much of the non-Muslim Australian concerns.

Firstly the issue of Muslim Solidarity. Just how relevant and important is that tenet of Islam to both the radical and the wider Muslim community and how does each reconcile that teaching with loyalty to Australia and non-Muslim Australians?

Secondly the very difficult topic of Innovations. Just how much relevance and influence do the various teachings associated with that tenet hold within both the radical community and the wider Muslim community?

There are other issues but I think these reflect what most people are concerned about. I donít just think it is Liberal Members of Parliament raising such concerns. I also think if the issues are out in the open and discussed reasonably then there is less likelihood the bigots, racists and extremists viewís will prevail.
Posted by keith, Thursday, 8 December 2005 3:48:03 PM
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