Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stirring things up

A Muslim protestor in Sydney
Senator Cory Bernardi of Australia's conservative Liberal Party (liberal has a different meaning in the Australian political context than it does in the United States) weighs in on last weekend's riots on the streets of Sydney by a Muslim group against a controversial American-made anti-Islamic YouTube film that they feel mocked the prophet Muhammad. 

Australia is probably one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, and for the most part this works well. Regardless of their ethnic background or religion, the majority of people who call Australia home respect the rule of law, derived from its British heritage, and respect the freedoms and responsibilities that come with this.

There is more to these protests than the Islamic community being aggrieved at their beliefs being mocked by others. Some radical elements of the Muslim community feel marginalized from mainstream Australian society. They believe that their god commands them to overturn the existing socio-political order, and transform Australia into an Islamic theocracy, based on Sharia law, and integrated into a worldwide Islamic caliphate. Some of the protestors subscribe to this Islamist ideology, and believe that their goal can be achieved.

While some moderate members of the Muslim community have denounced and distanced themselves from those behind this unrest, in their minds the militants are true Muslims, and the moderates are false Muslims and traitors.

Now Australia is experiencing the same social and ethnic unrest that has taken place in the United Kingdom, France, and other European nations. I remember reading or seeing news reports about these events, and took some consolation from believing that it could never happen in my own country. Australia was special; that sort of thing could never happen here. As Senator Bernardi writes, the past few days have indeed been a  rude awakening.

Chawkat Moucarry
Stuart Robinson

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