In yet another example of why paying attention to political commentary can be a nausea inducing activity, some senior federal Liberal MPs are yet again engaging in blatant, deliberate and extreme hate-mongering towards Muslim Australians.
Former frontbencher and serial Muslim-basher Cory Bernardi equated Islam and the practice of halal meat as “an ideology that is mired in sixth century brutality.” I haven’t noticed Senator Bernardi campaigning on animal welfare standards in recent times – if he genuinely believed this he’d be in the front line campaigning against live sheep exports from Australia.
I can only assume he is speaking from a position of deliberate or uncaring ignorance, but his drawn out, confused torrent of abuse against Muslims and multiculturalism has been happily republished on extremist, racist websites.
Mr Kevin Andrews, who rather horrifyingly used to have responsibility for overseeing our immigration laws, has trotted out the old trope about ‘ethnic enclaves’ occurring in Australia and trying to link that to ‘extreme Islam’. No wonder poor Dr Mohamad Haneef got wrongly charged and imprisoned, and had his visa unlawfully cancelled by Mr Andrews – the ‘crime’ of being Muslim is obviously all the ‘evidence’ Mr Andrews needed to decide someone is of poor character.
Amazingly, at the same time another Liberal, Mitch Fifield, has the gall to say Australia needs to guard against ethnic hatred!
Mr Andrews repeats the strange assertion that “we can’t have a discussion about (extreme Islam).” He must be failing to see the regular commentary and debate about this issue, most recently from a number of Muslim leaders in Australia. I think it is very important for us to talk about and examine what ways will maximise the integration and engagement of Muslim Australians – and those from other religions who a relatively small minority – with the wider community.
Working with the majority mainstream Muslim communities and their leaders is the obvious way to do this, which means listening and understanding, not abusing or reinforcing ignorance.
Of course, the most obvious way to create the sort of division, separation and isolation which facilitates extremism is blatant, pig-ignorant hate-mongering from political ‘leaders’. However, some people clearly think chasing (and trying to expand) the bigot vote is more important than maximising community cohesion and the benefits to be gained from diversity.
The only so-called ‘cultural divide’ which is problematic in Australia is not between Muslims and others, it is between those who promote bigotry, ignorance, fear & hate versus those who promote Australian values of pluralism, democracy, cooperation and respect.