Thursday, 14 July 2016

Australian Story: the Bendigo Mosque kerfuffle

Australia TV produces a rather sweet show called "Australian Story". Stuff like the Vietnamese refugee boat-child who became a cop, loves her job and loves Australia. That sort of thing. (That one was rather moving: a multi-tissue episode).
Here in Hong Kong they just replayed the 25 November 2015 episode, called "A Force of Nature".
It's a story set in Bendigo which, like the show, is also rather sweet. Though there's been a tinge of sour in the sweet, it seems. The "small Muslim community" there wants to build a mosque and the residents are revolting.
Residents are worried about sharia making inroads into their small Aussie town.
If we believe the ABC, the opponents are all tattooed skinheads, spittle-flecked racists. At least they're the only sort you see in the show.
Then there's the kind Spalding lady who stands up to this "bigotry and intolerance".
This is her story. It is she who is the Force of Nature.
Now that's all fine. The classic story of good v bad.
Except that this well-intentioned "force of nature" may well end up doing bad by Bendigo. Unintended consequence, of course.
The anti-mosque crowd are presented at slathering bigots. But there is a serious concern about immigrants who are also votaries of Islam. Not of other religions and certainly not of a race. But concern about the ideology of Islam. This supremacist, sectarian, homophobic, misogynist, ideology.
It's a concern that non-skinheads, non-bigoted, non-intolerant people can share. Such concerned citizens see the challenge to Australia of the pressure for implementation of sharia law.
In Muslim countries the support for sharia is up to 98% and never lower than 51%.
Amongst Muslims in the west a plurality and often a majority favour the introduction of sharia, often a majority favoring sharia for we infidels as well as Muslims.
I'm sorry, but I don't want the slightest chance that I might have to live under the horrid statutes of sharia. And neither do many fine, non-tattooed folk of Bendigo. No matter how much the Force of Nature might try to shame them from her virtuous eyrie.
See pew polls
So there really is a cause for concern about the Muslim community in Bendigo and its mosques. They may be "very small" now, but that will change and by all experience half or more of them will push for sharia law in Australia.
They've already done so elsewhere in Australia. So they have form. And for all those that shout "Islamophobia" I suggest that they way to overcome that is for Muslims to commit to live and let live. To publicly commit to abiding by Australian secular law.
That would go a long way to allay fears.
So far they're doing the opposite.