Readers of AIM will recall that there has been an inquiry into multiculturalism in Australia. 379 submissions were made and needless to say I have not read all of them. They have been made available online. Of course the Islamic Council of Victoria has no concerns about Muslims coming here but when I started to read some of the other submissions, I was struck by the number who expressed concerns about the ability of people from an Islamic culture to adapt here. Of course there are predictable exhortations about the need for tolerance and respect. No reasonable person denies that. The difficulty is in understanding the issue in question. The question is - are there some cultures whose worldview demands a deeper assessment from us as to its ability to adapt to a democracy? It is clear that the submission which stated the following has a deficient understanding of the parameters of the debate.
‘….it is to be hoped that the future will see the scourges of racism, prejudice and negative attitudes to the “other” relegated to the “bad old days” by a fully informed and enlightened public in Australia’ (source)
In multi ethnic Australia, there already IS a broad tolerance of people from various ethnic groups and backgrounds. No country in the THE WORLD can rival it. Australia has changed irrevocably from 50 or 100 years ago. The issue is that expressed by those who HAVE HAD the experience of living in Islamic societies - they are warning us of the INTOLERANCE at the heart of Islam. Consider the words of this submission written by a Malay non-Muslim immigrant to Australia .
To be very frank I don’t believe multiculturalism will work in Australia where the migrant community involved is Islamic. This is because of their very strong rabid allegiance and uncritical belief in the perceived superiority of their religion and culture. I feel competent to say this because of my first hand experience in Malaysia as an Indian born and bred in Malaysia. Like so many other non‐Malay compatriots we always feel constrained and compelled to flee Malaysia because of the dominant Malay community’s unabashed practice of privilege to the detriment of the minor Malaysian communities. (source)
These words could come from any Copt, Melchite, Maronite, Bahai, Indian, Thai, Assyrian, Chaldean and Armenian person. They have all experienced racial apartheid in the most cruel ways – like my Armenian friend who so many of his grandparents’ generation in the Armenian genocide. [75% of Armenians died in this genocide]. If people who NOW live in peace in Australia are warning us about the risk to our peace, from many ethnic groups, why are the Immigration officials so slow to take heed of the warnings?
As another person put it.
Islam is philosophically and overtly opposed to the Australian democratic system and therefore, will not assimilate. In fact the very opposite is true. Islam is dedicated to imposing its philosophy of religion, business, relationships, law and values on whatever country it is accepted into. It will not change or assimilate but seek to change the host country. Already in Australia this can be seen in the way pressure is applied to curtail or remove long standing Christian traditions and events which are part of Australian heritage, all in the name of “tolerance”. In these instances it is Australia that is not being tolerated by these foreign cultures. It is a culture of intolerance that is being introduced! (source)
How well spoken were these words “It is a culture of intolerance that is being introduced!”
Having only read a few submissions [feel free to read them here, just scroll down – they are presented one after another] it is clear to me that there is a serious concern on the part of Australians NOT about race, which is not an issue here but about an INTOLERANT and DOMINATING worldview – i.e. Islam - which refuses to allow its adherents to adapt to a democratic and tolerant way of life. When will the Immigration Dept wake up and realise that Australia will only be harmed by increased immigration from Islamic countries?