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The Muslim debate
I have avoided any debate that brings with it division in the community, or belittles a person based on their race, the colour of their skin, or the religion they chose to follow, because I am not racist and my heart felt ideals regarding religious tolerance have always been fair and equitable.
The problem is every time I post an article that opens the door to such debate, even though I have posted a certain question, the debate ends up heading in a different direction.
In or about 2007, as leader of a political party at the time, I was asked to write a senate submission on Multiculturalism, while studying to write the submission, I read articles from all over the world, and even went as far as reading the Koran, in an attempt to ensure my article was an educated one.
The one thing I noticed when studying the facts and figures, particularly from countries like the UK, France, was that where multiculturalism had been a previous success, it was starting to fail, and in each case, that failure was being blamed on those practicing the Muslim religion.
Multiculturalism in today’s world is only a success with it is based on integration, where a person immigrates to a new country and embraces the values and benefits of that move, where they bring with them their culture and social values and work with the host nation to become a part of the social change that grows from within.
It fails when a person immigrates to a new country, yet does not wish to embrace that nation’s national identity, expecting the host nation to change its ways to suit their agenda.
Common-sense would dictate a person best not attempt to immigrate to a nation that has values or laws that go against their own beliefs, when this fact is ignored, problems arise, yet the problem is not the result of the actions of those immigrating, it is the actions of lack of, by the host nations decision makers.
Multiculturalism fails, when the host nation does not maintain a strong national identity, more so when they do not ensure that new arrivals to their shores understand that their nation’s laws, values and freedoms are not negotiable, other than the usual change through a secure, free and informed democratic process.
So here is my position, not as a politician, but as an Australian who by my actions have proven my love for my country and the long term future of its people.
I will say from the onset that I am well-travelled, I have a diverse groups of friends and followers from a large variety of back grounds, I have friends from all over the world that have shaped who I am, the one issue that rarely arises is each individuals religious beliefs, when relaxing with friends, issues of the heart or the bedroom are rarely the topic of discussion, even those I know call themselves Muslim, or those that adopt same sex partners for instance.
Today’s Australia was built on Christian values, our law, our system of democratic process, our education system, starting from the writing of our constitution onwards, and as much as I do not devote myself to the same Christian background, I do respect each individual’s personal choice, and I have enjoyed those idealisms that have grown from our foundations.
As Australia has grown, we have embraced multiculturalism, and we are a richer nation as a result, where those lines have been blurred in recent times, is when those that emigrate here, refuse to show tolerance for our ways, yet expect us to continue to show tolerance for theirs.
I back the idea that our laws, our legislative progression, are guided by social change, what I cannot support is when our laws, our values and our national identity are being undermined in favour of a minority, or when we are expected to change our ways overnight to appease new arrivals on our shores.
One major example of this is our animal welfare laws, which have changed with the ideals and needs of society as a whole. We as a nation tried to adapt to entertain the religious ideals of the Muslim religion, by debating their position and integrating their ideals into our animal welfare standards. Yet now we see exemptions from those rules, exemptions that undermine the standards expected by our community in general, exemptions that allow non-stunned slaughter for instance, which also goes to undermine our democratic process.
Democracy is another, our nation is built on the premise that the people rule, (Demos-cratos) and we are free to elect our representatives, our system is far from perfect, but for any person wishing to migrate to our country, one would expect that they support the current system, and as with every law of the land, embrace them all, as one of the reasons we are the nation they have chosen to move their family’s to.
I for one would not chose to immigrate to a country that’s laws and social values were not in-line with my own, I certainly would not expect any nation to allow me entry, then to change to suit my ideals or to ignore the wishes of the majority.
The Muslim population of Australia is only a small minority, around 2%, even so. they do have every right to be involved in the social change and the future direction of our nation. The problem is that some of the stronger voices in the Muslim community expect more than their fair share of the input.
Their opposition to our Christian heritage is out of harmony with a fair go and any idea of equity, with pressure applied to retail stores and our education system that undermine existing Australians rights to celebrate their own religious beliefs.
If the position was reversed and we visited their country of origin, and demanded they stop celebrating their religious beliefs, there would be uproar, so one must wonder why we should be expected to change our ways, or be denied our religions freedoms in the very nation that was built around us.
Our nation has laws regarding animal welfare, we have laws that relate to equality, we have electoral laws, we have certain freedoms and liberties, that took years to shape, not one of these ought to be cast aside to suit a minority ever, yet here we are allowing these values to be undermined, so as to not offend a minority, and that is neither equitable or could be considered as a fair go for anyone involved.
Australia has a very strong national identity, so best our representatives remember that, we have rules, laws, certain freedoms, equality and certain holidays and celebrations, these are not negotiable as they stand, other than by way of democratic review, so if any person decides to join us as a nation, best they understand this fact before they are allowed to stay.
The Muslim issue, if there really is one, is not the fault of those who immigrate here, it is the fault of our government, because in a democracy the majority rule, we are a democratic nation and we are a tolerant nation, and always have been. I have no problem what so ever with people immigrating here, regardless of their religious beliefs, what I do have a problem with is our government hearing the voice of the minority over the roar of the majority.
We all scream out for what we want in life, we try so hard to get our supposed representatives to listen to what we want, and the Muslims are no different, the problem is they are being heard over the majority, they are better funded through the income they receive from Halal certification, which is also a huge job creator for their own people and like most lobbyists they use everything at their disposal, including the race card.
The fact is, this perceived problem, like every problem this nation has, is the result of the slow erosion of our system of democracy, our representatives no longer hear nor fear we the people, they now only bow to the well-funded lobby groups and the corporations that fund them.
The only issue we have in this nation, is the fact our leaders and our representatives have lost their way, they are so far removed from those they ought to represent, they no longer have the ability to genuinely represent, because if they did, those immigrating here, would not expect more rights than those enjoyed by the majority.
Until we can restore our democratic system to a stage where the genuine free and informed will of the people reigns supreme, we will continue to lose the once fine label of “The Lucky country”
While our political parties have control of both electoral law, most of the media, and so much of the electoral process, change is not on the horizon, so it is here at the corner stone of society that change is most needed, when the people get their heads around this, and start voting in a more informed manner, only then will we again take a step in the right direction.