Friday, 15 April 2011

"Essays on Muslims and Multiculturalism". Raimond Gaita, Ed.

"Muslim girls training to be lifesavers on Sydney's Cronulla
beach", Photo courtesy The Australian, 9-10 Apr 11
Peter Kirkwood reviews the above book here.  Says the opening para:
THIS is a timely book. Its no-nonsense title, bringing together Muslims and multiculturalism, puts it at the sharp end of the debate over refugees, immigration and the place of migrants in this country.

Going only on the review for now, as I've not read the book, but what the heck, it's a sympathetic review, so I'll assume it's painted it in the best light.
The contributors seem to make two common errors:
  • One: they assume that the fear we have is of terrorism. 
  • Two: they assume that the discrimination -- maybe I ought say "challenges" -- Muslim immigrants are facing are the same as those faced by earlier waves of immigrants, the Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Chinese.
Both of these assumptions-- whether recognised as such, or not -- are beguiling.
After all, on assumption One, isn't it the threat of being blown up that we're afraid of?  And if that's the case, then it's undeniably true that those willing to strap on a bomb and murder their fellow citizens are just a "tiny minority of extremists".  Their extremism should not redound on the "vast majority of peaceful/moderate Muslims", any more than the antics of the IRA should have reflected on all Catholics.

But the problem with this is twofold.  First, while those willing to blow themselves up may well be a small minority, but those who sympathise with the aims of suicide bombers is very large indeed, anywhere from a sizable minority to a majority.  I have collected the figures here.  Second, it's not really terrorism that worries we in the west concerned about Islam -- we "Jihad-watchers".  What concerns us is what's become known as the "stealth jihad".  That is, the steady pressure to bring Sharia laws to bear in the west.  There's plenty of evidence of this happening and there's plenty of evidence that it's a mainstream aim of Orthodox Muslims.

This would not be a real concern in itself if Sharia had anything positive to add to western liberal law-based democracies.  But it doesn't.  It's mysoginist, homophobic, supremacist, anti-semitic; it's against the freedom of speech and of conscience.  Goodness me, as I simply list these out it just makes me shudder and should make all freedom-lovers shudder. It's a downright awful religious legal system, that ought to have not one iota of influence on our societies, but which does.  And that's the real cause for concern about the Muslim immigration in western countries -- the ideology of Islam, which has as strong and profound influence on the mentality of its adherents.

Assumption Two is that Muslims are just facing what the "wogs" of the sixties faced, but then overcame and became part and parcel of Oz.  As Waleed Aly argues "Muslims and Islam are the latest folk devils".   "This too shall pass" is the message here.  Just give it time, and Muslims will contribute to Oz society just as Australian Italians, Greek, Vietnamese and Chinese now do.  Uh-uh.  Not true.  For the reasons mentioned in One above, the Muslim community is different to those that came before.  They adhere to a supremacist ideology, in a much stronger way than Italians did to Catholicism or Vietnamese to communism.  Islam is the only religion -- mark this, the only one -- that mandates war against the unbelievers.  And if you quote the Bible to me here, I would just say -- go read the Bible.  And note that it's only in the OT that there are any violence, but that it's time-and-place specific and in any case it's the NT that the vast majority of Christians follow now.

Even the tolerance of the dominant Australian culture -- and take note folks that it is a wonderfully open and tolerant culture -- is turned against Australia. Walleed Aly:
"In any essentialised criticism of a social out-group," he [Aly] writes, "there is another unstated message being communicated: that those criticisms do not apply to us. To berate Muslims for intolerance, militancy or misogyny is to celebrate the majority's tolerance, peacefulness and gender equity."
To which my response would be "duh"!  I mean, there is indeed "intolerance, militancy or misogyny" in Islam, while the majority Australian culture has indeed worked hard s to develop "tolerance, peacefulness and gender equity".  Why does Aly contrast these in a negative way?   What precisely is wrong with the "message being communicated", which Aly clearly abhors?  The contrast between the ideology of Islam and the majority Aussie culture ought be instructive, not pejorative as Aly makes in.  Aly here shows his true colours, as the supporter of the said intolerant, militant and misogynist ideology.

The future: can't be good, folks, even by the evidence of this clearly biased collection.  Note Ghassan Hage:
Among many interesting observations, he [Hage] points out that usually it is not newly arrived migrants who are problematic but their children: "The second generation is likely to experience not only a different but also a more intense sense of injury from racism than the first generation."
This is a trend noted in Caldwell's "Reflection on the Revolution in Europe".  It is one which is the opposite of the experience of all previous immigrant waves, giving lie yet again to assumption Two above.  Yet this is not noted in the essay or the review.  I would say it's something that should give us great pause.  But it doesn't.   For Kirkwood, it's business as usual.  Aly again: "Australia is a highly successful multicultural nation"

Yes, but for how long.  There's a clear correlation between the percentage of Muslims in any country in the world and the civil/political rights enjoyed by that country.  I pointed that out here.  Above 6% there's no country in the world that has the freedoms that Australia enjoys.  Are we going to try to prove over 50 countries wrong?  If so, what guarantee do we have that we will? And what's the downside risk?  Huge in my view and thus the conclusion should not be as sanguine as that of Kirkwood and Aly.

One final point as kind of postscript: the essays seem to have another characteristic of writings such as these.  Muslim victimhood.  All the fault is with the host society, none with the new immigrants.  This is so common it's reeeealy dreary to see it again and again.  Problem with it is, that it's so much the accepted "wisdom", that it's like part of the background radiation, not even noticed. After all they're the minority, they must be the victims, right?  Wrong, of course, and they ought to be called on it, rather that having the majority culture again excoriated for alleged "racism" and "discrimination".  Enough.