There’s no doubt there are problems with dysfunctionality in some of the organisations that seek to publicly represent Australia’s Muslims. This can be a problem when public comment is sought about the nature of Islam. Fortunately a solution is at hand – no longer do Australia’s Muslims need to worry about who is best to speak to the media and the public on their behalf to explain the real nature of modern Islam. Peter Costello is clearly the man for the job.
This weekend, he has kindly sacrificed his time to spread his message of peace and understanding, this time to the conservative fundamentalist Australian Christian Lobby – the perfect place to provide advice to the global Muslim community. Mr Costello’s willingness to tirelessly explain – time after time after time – the real nature of Islam and provide advice and guidance to Muslims must be acknowledged. When you add in the regular helpful contributions by a variety of other experts in the Liberal Party government, Australia’s Muslims can be comfortable in the knowledge there is always a leading public figure able to explain Islam to the general community. The Liberal government even have articulate women like Bronwyn Bishop, Danna Vale and Sophie Mirabella, always keen to add their personal insights into Islam.
With Mufti Costello and a whole range of aspiring imams in the Liberal Party government and amongst conservative Christians, we don’t really need to hear from Muslim Australians at all. As Irfan Yusuf describes it in this piece, they “tell Muslims who and what they are and then demand they take responsibility for things beyond their control.” Quite a generous approach really, to save Muslims the trouble of having to speak for themselves (or the rest of us having to listen to them).
ADDITION: The Australian newspaper has a range of pieces today giving various assessments about Islam and Muslims – none of them from Muslims. Paul Kelly has a piece arguing that “the Catholic church has highlighted Islam’s linkage of religion with violence.” There is another piece by Dr Mark Durie, an Anglican vicar, giving various opinions on what Muslims must do, as well as providing various examples of why Christianity is better than Islam. There is also a piece by Matt Price profiling a 30 year old Australian Muslim named Mustapha Kari-Ali. Price describes him as “brave, engaged and inclined to speak uncommon good sense” and “perhaps the Muslim equivalent of Noel Pearson.” Irfan Yusuf provides an interesting view about this article on his blog.