Why We Do, In Fact, Need To Talk About Islam

IN THE wake of TV identity Sonia Kruger being all but crucified for suggesting Muslim immigration be halted — and after the ABC’s latest, awful #QandA show, which quickly descended into a pack attack on Pauline Hanson — Australia, whatever the Left thinks, must openly grasp and deal with the issue of Islamic arrivals. Failure to do so will, now or in future, rip the country apart: as it will Western society generally if the challenge is not resolved.

If Australia, like the rest of the Western world, has a growing problem with Muslim immigration and the rise of radical Islamic terrorism — and I believe that it does — then it has several inter-related other problems, too, almost all of which are entirely of its own making.

That is not to say the scourge of Islamic terrorism is the fault of liberal democracy, or even the product of “invading their countries” (it isn’t), but just as there is a problem — and it is potentially an existential one, where the future of Western society is concerned — it isn’t good enough for the aggrieved to point the finger at “towel heads” from “stone age lands” following a “religion of slaughter” and some of the even less savoury insults that are being bandied around these days, nor to slap such idiot-simple and incendiary provocations down with the insistence that Islam is a subject only discussed by bigots.

Even so, the vast majority of Muslim people are decent people who don’t actually harbour any wish to visit death and terror on Western society; I believe that to be a factually correct statement, and it has been borne out from time to time in my dealings with some of these people as they have crossed my path: people who simply want to get on with their own lives, some of whom most people would not even recognise as Muslims — they’re not all called Mohammed, or wear the niqab — and who to all appearances are no different to anyone else.

On the other hand, it is also a factually correct statement that those countries which have experienced the highest levels of Muslim immigration in recent decades — Belgium, the Netherlands and, of course, France — also have the biggest problem with Islamic terrorism and religiously motivated violence against majority populations, and no amount of finger shaking or character destruction crusades by the Left can change that fact.

But the default position of major political parties these days is to play down any suggestion that a problem exists with this newest source of mass additions to the Australian population, with rhetoric about social cohesion and tolerance and acceptance being spouted in the absence of anything more substantial (or even pertinent); the default position of the media — to its shame — is, and especially where the mouthpieces of the Left are concerned, not to report on the religious affiliation of the perpetrators of terrorist attacks, lest this shatter the integrity of carefully constructed diatribes around inclusion, humanity and social justice; and the default position of the Muslim community itself (or more particularly, those charged with acting as its mouthpieces) appears to be to refuse to add its own voice of outrage to wider condemnations whenever any of its own are involved in committing unspeakable atrocity, followed by lengthy justifications that their own “condemnation” should be withheld on the basis it’s merely a trophy sought by bigots wishing to drive them out of their adopted country.

These realities are more or less uniform throughout the Western world, and whilst our discussion today is focused on Australia it could as easily relate to Britain, or France, or Belgium, or the USA.

But Australia has witnessed in recent times the rise, on its far Right, of political candidates and parties which seek to foment public unrest over the presence of an expanding Muslim community and/or advocate some pretty heavy duty measures with which to “deal” with it (such as the compulsory deportation of every Muslim in Australia) and this is no solution to what is, as I said at the outset, a problem, and one that isn’t going to be resolved in any constructive way by the series of default positions it attracts depending on where the response comes from.

Serial troublemaker Pauline Hanson — well versed in whipping up hysteria over “problems,” but never with the hint of a meaningful solution in sight — isn’t looking at leading a Senate team of perhaps three Senators merely through a protest vote against Malcolm Turnbull by so-called “Del-Cons:” she has been elected by those who, for whatever reason, are deeply concerned by an issue they know is not going to be addressed by either of the major parties: the ALP because it harvests the overwhelming majority of Muslim votes; the Coalition because it doesn’t want to rock the boat.

The Australian Liberty Alliance, which is perhaps even uglier in its approach to social issues than Hanson could ever dream of, performed an electoral belly flop, scoring less than 1% of the national vote.

But if you look at the Senate, and factor parties and candidates that might be characterised as “far Right,” almost 10% of voters cast a primary vote for these entities: the support base might be fractured, and spread across a competing and disparate number of recipients, but a far Right vote nearing 10% is a phenomenon it would be dangerously unwise to dismiss as a protest.

The end destination of such a movement is likely to be arrived at in France next year, when leader of the far Right Front National, Marine Le Pen, is expected to get as far as the runoff round in France’s presidential elections; this wouldn’t be the first time such a divisive contest had been joined, of course, for Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie made it to the final round against Jacques Chirac in 2002. The elder Le Pen was trounced by Chirac on that occasion. But Frances’s problems with its Muslim community have arguably grown far worse in the years since.

So let’s be clear: the capacity for some kind of popular uprising, should people take matters into their own hands if they feel the establishment parties will not, cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Whilst France’s problems stem largely from its botched management of settling immigrants from its former African colonies, the problem in Australia is almost the reverse: too much “tolerance” and “generosity,” but the wrong kind of each — the kind that is legislated by governments, and funded by a tax paying public that is prevented by law from having an opinion and/or roundly abused by Left wing champions of “diversity” and “understanding” whose ideas about free speech boil down to people being free to say whatever they like, so long as it’s the message that has been predetermined and approved for them by people who know “better.”

Whether you like it or not, Australia is a Christian country founded on the same Judeo-Christian and liberal capitalist principles that underpin almost all of the societies of the Western world.

It is true that Australia is a nation of immigrants, and indeed everyone that lives here (including, at least partially by blood, a goodly number of those identifying as “Aboriginal”) possesses at least some cultural heritage than can be traced to other parts of the world; readers know I identify as Scottish as much as Australian, and I’m proud of both traditions. Millions of our fellow Australians have their own unique stories in this regard.

But the very nature of immigration, and certainly since 1945, means that those coming to this country are joining it; the onus is not — irrespective of what any Left-wing imbecile likes to proclaim — on the rest of Australia to be modified and to adapt itself to fit the specific requirements of one particular group of newcomers.

The key to making immigration work (and the reason Australia has historically been so successful at it) is to get the new arrival communities fully involved in mainstream society; if you live in Melbourne (as I do) half the people you meet are from a Greek or Italian background; go to Sydney, there are Vietnamese people everywhere you look; in Brisbane, I see a greater Chinese presence these days, along with the residual (much smaller) Greek and Italian communities that were there when I was growing up. People from Eastern Europe have joined us over the past 20 years or so in great numbers, and Melbourne is of course the largest Jewish community outside Israel and excluding New York. These are general examples only, and they are intended to be, but the point is very simple: having these people with us works, and it works very well indeed.

Some of these nationalities have brought great cultural enrichment: think food, think music, think the arts. Apart from absolute rednecks, does anyone seriously think we’d be better off without them? Even the Asians Pauline Hanson so famously launched her political career claiming would swamp Australia seem to get along with everyone else just fine. Yes, there are concerns about the sale of Australian infrastructure to China, but not through any racism; rather, it’s because most of the buyers are state-controlled companies with links directly to a Communist regime. But are their people welcome here? I think they are, absolutely, although others may disagree.

Every time there seems to be a national intake of breath over one migrant community or another — think the Japanese, with their investments on the Gold Coast and in Cairns in the 1980s — it has always worked itself out.

But just as I’ve taken a rather circumlocutory route to come back to the issue of Muslim immigration, people from all of these countries of origin have, by and large, come here and made a go of it in their new country. The fish and chip shops once run by the Greeks (and famously, by Hanson) are now run by the Vietnamese. Indians and others of South Asian origins increasingly form the backbone of the local IT industry.

We could give other examples. But by and large, for the first time, we are confronted by something very different indeed.

If you go to your local supermarket now, you are as likely as not to buy “Halal compliant” goods. Go to the butcher, and there’s a good chance the meat you purchase will be Halal as well. It is no longer acceptable to celebrate Christmas in some schools, or to wish people a Merry Christmas: “Happy Holidays,” grotesquely, is now the approved nicety. Human rights bodies exist to uphold the rights of minorities — and let’s not kid ourselves, an awful lot of this nowadays means Muslim minorities — and anti-discrimination bodies and legislation exist to stop anyone making a serious attempt to lawfully outline legitimate grievances with these communities or groups. Many Muslims live in relatively closed communities, and most of their leaders don’t even speak English. People are unsettled by the sight of those walking around wearing the niqab. Mosques are closed shops for Islamic preachers to communicate to Muslim audiences. Community “leaders” gently sell the “compatibility” of Sharia law with Western law. There are gender-segregated sporting facilities in some parts of Sydney, and it’s well known that bacon is not sold in fast food outlets in areas with high (but not majority) levels of Muslim residents.

Now, of course, Australia has witnessed three recent examples of Muslim terror on its own soil — the slaying of two Police officers in Endeavour Hills in Melbourne, the murder of NSW Police civilian worker Curtis Cheng, and most insidiously, the Lindt siege in Sydney perpetrated by an individual who ought to have been thrown out of the country 20 years ago.

Part of the problem, of course, is that the do-gooder lunacy of the Left that infests every issue it concerns itself with has also infected the judicial system; jail is a last resort, they say; mitigating factors (such as marginalisation, oppression, blah blah blah) warrant leniency for doing the wrong thing, they say; and penalties and sentences seem to grow more divorced from community expectations with every year that passes.

But just as white, Anglo-Saxon Australians — and others — get away too often in the court of public opinion with a slap on the wrist for criminal misconduct, Muslim miscreants benefit to the same degree; there are those who use this point to suggest that White Australians don’t get deported for committing crimes, and that therefore neither should Muslims. But this country already has a bad enough (and worsening) problem with crime, committed by people who are Australian citizens by birth, without merely adding to its scope on the specious pretext of “compassion.”

There are those who suggest that Islamic terrorism is the West’s fault. “We invaded their countries,” they screech. But we hadn’t when New York was attacked by radical Islamists flying hijacked aeroplanes on 11 September 2001, and such a simplistic justification for future acts of terror by radical jihadis ignores the fact that just as they increasingly seem to want to inflict carnage upon Western society, they have been doing the same thing to each other for decades — if not for centuries.

The Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, for instance, was a conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims; in many respects, the current quagmire that is Islamic State — whilst aspiring to a global Islamic caliphate — also involves a similar conflagration between disparate Muslim factions as a precursor to establishing internal supremacy.

The point is that the radical elements of Islam (as opposed to the moderate ones who really don’t want to go down this track at all) have been fighters by nature long before they came to our shores; of course, the scourge of radicalisation — fuelled by regimes such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, or Al Qaeda and its various proxies as galvanised by Osama bin Laden — has given such endeavours an “anti-infidel” flavour directed malignantly at the “decadence” of Christian Western society, and I contend (although it’s an argument for another time) that the “clash of civilisations” bin Laden sought to ignite would have found a spark irrespective of whether George Bush and Tony Blair led a Coalition of the Willing into Iraq in 2003 or not.

Now, we agonise over what to do with “radicalised” Muslim youth who want to go to the Middle East to fight for or against Islamic State; I actually think the best thing to do in this particular instance is to let them go, but make damn sure they never come back: fighting a civil war is not an Australian way of life, and those who wish to do so probably shouldn’t be here anyway.

But in terms of a broader discussion of Muslim immigration, the Muslim community and the way it is treated and conducts itself, these are fraught issues that are as good as forbidden to speak of in this country.

I’m no apologist for Pauline Hanson (quite the contrary, as past articles in this column will show) but the approach of the “social justice” Left was belligerently illustrated on the ABC’s ghastly #QandA programme on Monday night: Hanson was outnumbered and cornered, 5-1, by a stacked panel and a hostile audience that for three-quarters of the show focused solely on the issue of Islam with a lynch mob mentality and the determination to skewer Hanson in a wild pack attack. It was as unedifying as it was disgraceful.

Earlier that day, Nine network identity Sonia Kruger opined on national television that she thought Muslim immigration should be stopped altogether: there wasn’t to my mind a great deal of cogency in the remarks, which were slapped down the following day by Muslim TV personality (and host of Network 10’s The Project) Waleed Aly on the grounds Kruger was “scared.” I almost thought, for once, that I would agree with the insidious Aly, over whom my objection has nothing to do with the fact he’s Muslim but everything to do with the fact he’s a socialist gnome with a very big soapbox to spruik from. But even then, he lost me: Aly’s column twisted the issue to allow himself to talk about how “scared” he was — of his, and his (Muslim) friends,’ treatment by the majority community.

Part of the problem is that the Muslim community’s leaders seem to think they are presiding over some kind of closed shop; if members of their flock do wrong, unequivocal denunciations are rarely heard.

What the majority community does hear, though, is lunatic pronouncements that Western women are like “plates of uncovered meat” in explanation of sexual assaults they suffer — and similarly offensive rhetoric — that might hold sway in some of the places they come from, but which has no place in Australian society.

It looks at the UK, where British Labour now routinely gender segregates attendees at major televised election functions, or at France, where random acts of mass slaughter committed by Islamic terrorists are on the rise, and then it looks closer to home where so-called “lone wolf” attacks are dismissed as not examples of Islamic terrorism at all, but of dislocation resulting from the refusal of the majority population to accept Muslims into its midst.

And it hears the e’er gentle suggestions from the Islamic community that Islam is a “religion of peace,” often made in tandem with helpful ideas about how Sharia law can “co-exist” with Western common law: people see the thin edge of the wedge, and they don’t like it.

Having a proper, open, candid discussion about the place of the Muslim community in Australia is, ironically, potentially as much to the benefit of the Muslim community itself as to anyone else living here.

But through a labyrinth of politicians, social commentators, the finger-shaking Chardonnay drunks of the Left and a wall of legislative and regulatory prohibitions on daring to raise the matter at all, it’s only a matter of time before the current approach of stifling debate completely (and attempting to destroy those who attempt to start one) leads directly to vigilantes and other undesirables taking matters into their own hands — which, to be clear, is every bit as unacceptable as the grievances, legitimate or imagined, they purport to hold.

This is the wake-up call Hanson, and others like her, represent: they may not advocate lawless behaviour and vigilante conduct themselves, but the very fact of their growing support means that the core issue can no longer be ignored, wished away or countered by legislated silence and personalised malice.

As I said at the outset, I think most Muslims don’t want to hurt anyone; like every barrel, there’s a bit of shit in the bottom of that particular one where the couple of rotten apples have liquefied into a lubricious scum: and in this sense, the same is true of any mass grouping of people, be they Islamic, Christian or otherwise.

I think the real solution here is enhanced screening — of candidates for settlement in Australia — backed by an improved regime for weeding out undesirables before they arrive, and getting rid of those who quickly show they simply don’t belong here, which means most would get to stay, but some would never set foot here in the first place.

But a growing number of Australians, as inelegantly expressed by Kruger this week and as explosively needled by Hanson for years, are finding an awful lot to be apprehensive about where the presence of Muslim immigrants in this country are concerned, and looking at the countries of Western Europe — where the problem has been percolating for some years longer than it has been here — they see precedents they do not wish to see repeated in Australia under any circumstances.

Stop the abuse, stop the name-calling, make sure everyone is involved and grasp this issue in a proper national debate, for even if the Muslim community doesn’t destroy our society and way of life under its own steam, the reaction to it — if left unchecked, or not conducted on more reasonable grounds designed to find a solution — will almost certainly do so.

Wishing this out of existence and ignoring it just aren’t options. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to fix.