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June 14th 2017 print

Rod McGarvie

Islam in Australia, the Path not Taken

It will take a good deal of courage, but Islamic leaders can get into the fight against extremism in very practical and proactive ways. Inaction can only make life more difficult for moderate Muslims who have embraced Australian values and just want to get on with their lives

oz burqa 2Finally, the two major political parties have been dragged kicking and screaming into the reality of the Islamic terrorism debate. They have spent several years cowering like abused dogs in an animal shelter, unwilling to either stand up or bark with confidence or conviction.

The slowness to act on the Islamic threat by Western democracies, including our own, has come at a great cost. It has undermined public confidence in key government agencies, our political processes, and eroded our sense of personal security and wellbeing. We have had the chief of ASIO misinforming parliament in an apparent strategy to not offend Muslims for fear they will stop acting as responsible Australians and intelligence information will dry up. The primary duty of government is to protect its citizens from those who would do it harm. Cultivating informers is a secondary goal.

Yet while more of Australia becomes aware of the existential threat that radical Islam presents to our way of life, influential Muslim leaders in the Islamic community still appear to be largely in denial. They need to get some skin in the game and do so quickly. The tolerance of long suffering Australians is wearing very thin.

Increasingly, Australians could be forgiven for thinking that many Muslims living here either condone or are sympathetic to the goals of various Islamic terror groups – though they might object to their brutal methods. It can appear that some within the Muslim community are acting as fifth columnists, building a beachhead in which to influence the future direction of Australian politics, our cultural values, and our legal system. The Islamic Council of Victoria has just withdrawn its support for Corrections Victoria’s de-radicalisation program, instead wanting public money to set up safe spaces for angry young Muslims to vent their rage.  There appears to be a determined blindness to the Muslim-terror link by Islamic leaders, even to the extent of tacitly acknowledging that young Muslims really do have bona fide reasons for that rage.

Like an alcoholic gaining freedom from that debilitating addiction, the first step is having the courage to admit to the problem then owning it. Blaming other groups in society, blaming foreign policy, or local circumstances for the current situation just doesn’t cut it. The proponents of Islam need to wake up to the fact that they have a serious and deadly sickness at the heart of their religion. They need to stop listening to their well-meaning, but misguided friends in the mainstream media. No more nodding in agreement that terrorism is no worse than “an irritation”, no more allowing to pass without comment the sophist assertions that domestic appliances, cars, bees and food poisoning kill more people than jihadi outrages.

Rod McGarvie worked in east Africa for 12 years where he led a cultural research and language development NGO

Islamic leaders need to own the problem and stop behaving like victims. Then they will be in a position to plan an appropriate way forward.

Parroting that Islam is the religion of peace is as oxymoronic and the evidence makes it so. There have been over 30,986 separate terror attacks inspired by the Islamic faith since the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Incredibly, that is an average of 164 separate attacks every month for close to 16 years – a Jihadist attack every four and a half hours.

It will take a good deal of individual courage, but Islamic leaders can get into the fight against extremism in a very practical way. This will go a long way to help build public confidence and credibility, to show that Muslims genuinely want to be contributors to help strengthen Australian society, and uphold our way of life.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) as the peak body for Sunni Muslims in Australia could undertake the following practical measures;

  • Publicly acknowledge that Islam internally has a major extremism problem. People want honesty, stop with the denials and the spin.
  • Publicly condemn each terror attack in Australia, and acts impacting Australians. The last press release from the AFIC was back in March 2016 – and it claimed only that ISIS is anti-Muslim.
  • Formally request that the federal government block Muslim fighters from re-entering Australia.
  • Formally request the federal government close the borders to all Muslim immigration until there are sufficient measures in place to prevent those prone to extremism entering the country.
  • Formally request the federal government develop a process where radicalised Muslims living in Australia are put on a guided pathway to emigrate back to their ancestral homelands.
  • Offer total and unconditional support to our Defence Force personnel who are operating in dangerous conflict zones ridding the world of ISIS and other extremists
  • Dedicate the income from Halal certification to financially compensate Australian families impacted by acts of Islamic inspired terrorism

The leaders of the Muslim community need to be proactive in addressing the perceptions and stereotypes of Islam held by many Australians. Very deliberate action is required to demonstrate unequivocal support for a decisive response to radical Islam. If they fail to act, the perceptions and stereotypes that have taken root will grow and harden in place like concrete.

Inaction will no doubt make life more difficult for moderate Muslims who have embraced Australian values and just want to get on with life. Silence, as they say, gives consent — and the time for silence, if there ever was such a time — has long past.

Rod McGarvie worked in east Africa for 12 years where he led a cultural research and language development NGO.

Comments [10]

  1. Biggles says:

    Dear Mr. McGarvie, The error in your argument appears in the very first line;’but Islamic leaders can get into the fight against extremism in very practical and proactive ways’.this is pure pie-in-the sky!No part of Islam is the slightest bit interested in doing this.Total submission of the Kaffir to Islam is their universal aim.

  2. Peter says:

    Sorry Rod, but in missing the point entirely you fall into the trap of all apologists. Islam is the problem not some figment called radical Islam. A moderate Muslim is a contradiction in terms. A moderate person who happens by dint of birth to be categorised as a Muslim, OK. But moderate Muslim, have you read the scripture, give us all a break.

    • LBLoveday says:

      In order to get a job or a drivers licence, send children to school, buy a house or an airline ticket, viz to be a functional member of society, Indonesians must have an ID card (KTP), and that KTP must list one of 6 religions (atheist, agnostic, Jew, none …. not allowed).
      The term “Islam KTP” is often used by, or for, people who would otherwise list themselves as “none” – after all it makes sense to go with the majority and no sense to list a small-minority religion, and, for the vast majority, it is impractical to go without a KTP on principal.
      So, there we have the “moderate Muslims” the apologists point to in Indonesia – non-practising, or at least nominally-practising only; like so many Australian “Christians”.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    The comments by Biggles and Peter are absolutely spot on. Did anybody, anywhere ever hear a moderate Muslim denounce the Koran, even parts of it, or the murderous Muhammad’s dastardly deeds? The stupidest statements by western leaders are when they say that Islamic terrorists follow a perverted version of Islam. Which is the unperverted version then, pray tell us?

    • Doc S says:

      Actually Bill there is one here in Australia who has denounced Islamic scriptures including parts of the Koranic Sunna and the Hadith in its entirety – Imam Tawhidi. A genuine Shia imam (graduate of Shia’s leading religious seminary in Qoms) he has been outspoken in saying holy texts such as Bukhari and Muslim’s Hadith and the Sira (Sunni biography of Mohammad) should be done away with, which is why so many Sunnis here have expressed the desire to do away with Tawhidi! That notwithstanding, Tawhidi does appear to a voice in the wilderness as so-called ‘moderates’ (read apologists) such as Waleed Aly have studiously ignored him. He’s even had the singular honour of being totally denigrated by Glen Barry on Media Watch – even his (genuine) religious credentials as a real imam questioned by the smug ABC Barry. Stupid statements by Turnbull and lately by Duncan Lewis in this regard are more related to the stupid advice they receive from ‘experts’ demonstrating that deadly (for everybody else) combination of ignorance and wilful naiveté.

  4. Keith Kennelly says:

    ‘Australians could be forgiven for thinking that many Muslims living here either condone or are sympathetic to the goals of various Islamic terror groups – though they might object to their brutal methods.’

    Rod

    That’s the point you are in denial about.

    All Muslims, all Muslims share the same goal. Domination by Islam. One God Allah one law Sharia law. Their book tells them and us that.

    The only difference between extremists and moderates is the means used to achieve that.
    Logic says moderates don’t have to use violence, others do that for them,

  5. Keith Kennelly says:

    Sorry Rod

    Got cut off.

    Studies, experience and the Saudis now tell us radicals cannot be deradicalised.
    So logic tells us any Muslim can be radicalised.

    That makes Islam a bomb with 1.6 billion potential fuses.

    That’s what we are going to fight.

  6. Jody says:

    Do as my son suggested and tell potential suicide bombers their remains will all be gathered up and buried with pigs. That’s sure to threaten their entry into heaven where the 72 virgins await. Appealing to medieval superstition is the only way to go with this. As they are not civilized it’s fruitless treating them as if they were civilized. And all the apologists for second and subsequent generations being the terrorists…well, if you have dogs living in your house their next generation of dogs are going to behave exactly the same as the one before!!

  7. Warty says:

    I suspect Rod McGarvie is being circumspect with his use of language, ‘It can appear that some within the Muslim community are acting as fifth columnists’, because he has one eye on the intrusiveness of the ABC, half anticipating the sort of outcry that followed Roger Franklin’s brilliant conclusion, envisaging the hypothetical blowing up of their Ultimo studios.
    For a start, we don’t need to be forgiven for anything we might think of Al Grasby’s ventures into multiculturalism: it was Marxist lunacy to begin with and it is Marxist in its implementation. Nor have we anything to be forgiven for in the dark, brooding thoughts we have about Muslims, moderate or otherwise, quite simply because they have a text compiled from series of scribblings collected from ravings written on bits of camel hide, on bits of bone, on the dehydrated hides of female slaves, stoned to death for looking at the wrong captors in the wrong way (ok, the last bit’s a tad obscure).
    Scibblings were collated a hundred or so after the death of a well-known pedophile, and deemed to be the unalterable word of a phantom called Allah. It became a number one best seller quite simply because it articulated a system for keeping troublesome women in their proper place, a ‘place’ to be further elaborated upon by three principal collections of hadith.
    I do like Jody’s suggestion Muslim body parts ought to be wrapped up in pig skin shrouds, preferably with their heads as head-stones.
    I must apologise for my extended ‘hate’ speech. The PC merchants can’t even get their grammar sorted out: ‘hate’ is a noun or a verb, not an adjective.

  8. padraic says:

    Rod McGarvie makes the following interesting suggestion – “Dedicate the income from Halal certification to financially compensate Australian families impacted by acts of Islamic inspired terrorism.”. This is a sound recommendation, but I would go further. Supermarkets should allocate spaces designated for “Halal” labelled products for those who have a religious need for such items. The same products with normal labelling would then be available on regular shelving for non-Muslims. The companies would still be able to retain their alleged enormous overseas markets for Halal-labelled products (their rationale for the need for such labelling in Australia) whilst they would retain the large Australian market servicing non-Muslim customers. In addition, there should be a national data base of ALL charities (including the Halal one), available to public scrutiny and which requires charities to submit an annual report along the lines of that of a registered company. This report would show who donated and how the money was spent. Most people don’t mind donating to a charity but to have no choice in the matter is wrong. There is another line of grocery products whose owner claims that all profits go to charity (unspecified). This virtue signalling by corporate entities is a threat to our democracy and freedom of choice.