When Tony Abbott was Prime Minister, our government's policy on accepting 12,000 Syrian refugees was to give priority to Christians. There are more than enough of them to fill our quota of 12,000 several times over. However when the politically correct Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, this policy was abandoned and Muslims are to be included among the 12,000 even though there are many Muslim countries in which they could find refuge.
I have heard that the first Muslim family has already arrived. I wonder how Mr. Turnbull will guarantee that their children do not become radicalised. The first generation of Muslim refugees work hard and are grateful to be in Australia, but because of the stultifying effects of Islam, their adolescent children and young adults find it hard to integrate into Australian society and are susceptible to radicalisation.
In the meantime I have received a letter from Dr. Patrick Soekhdeo, International Director of the Barnabas Fund, an international, interdenominational Christian aid agency based in Southwest England, that supports Christians who face discrimination or persecution as a consequence of their faith. Barnabas Fund channels aid to projects run by local Christians in more than 50 countries. Dr. Soekhdeo asks Australians as a matter of urgency, to write, email or visit their local Federal MP to urge that Christians, the most persecuted minority in the Middle East, be given priority in our refugee intake.
I share Dr. Sookhdeo's concern about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Many of them cannot even take refuge in UN refugee camps because of harassment from the Muslims in the camps. But over and above Dr. Sookhdeo's concerns, I am deeply concerned that many political commentators such as Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Daniel Pipes and Alan Dupont, writing in The Australian, assume that Islamic terrorism is a recent phenomenon associated with extremists like Al-Qaeda and ISIS and that we can co-opt "moderate" Muslims to help battle terrorism. They appear to have overlooked the fact that Islamic terrorism, or "insurgencies", have been with us in the modern era since the end of World War ll.
During my lifetime I have observed the inability of "moderate" Muslims to live within a secular, democratic India, hence the partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan, during which a million or more were killed in riots between Muslims and Hindus. Then there was Pakistan's fratricidal war in 1971 against its eastern Province of Bangladesh in which l00,000 were killed and there was great brutality. There have also been Muslim insurgencies in Russia's Chechnya, and on-going in the Philippines, and in Thailand.
These apparently don't qualify as Islamic terrorism because they do not affect westerners, but it illustrates the inability of practising Muslims to live peacefully within non-Muslim countries or even with each other as the Taliban demonstrates in Afghanistan. Most significant of all is the 14-century old war between the Sunni and Shia factions of Islam which has led to endless killing by Muslims of other Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan. "Moderate" Muslims have not been able to stop any of this, indeed the Muslim community provides the reservoir of recruits for terrorism because of injunctions in the Koran and the example of their prophet.
This is why I support the call by Tony Abbott and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, for a reformation within Islam. Muslims themselves are the main victims of Islam - just consider the bombs detonated in mosques in Pakistan, or the massacre of the children in Peshawar in North West Pakistan at a school for the children of army officers. At the very least "moderate" Muslims and their Imams and clerics need to expunge those verses in the Koran calling for violence against infidels, apostates, homosexuals, Christians, and Jews. They also need to re-evaluate the example of their warrior prophet.
Like many, I am also concerned about the attempts by ASIO Director General Duncan Lewis to stifle debate about Islam. Does he read Arabic or Urdu? Has he read the Koran or a biography of Mohammed?
I am particularly concerned about his suggestion in regard to critics of Islam that it is "blasphemous" to comment on someone else's religion. Does this mean he supports the blasphemy laws of 'moderate, democratic' Pakistan whose government has incarcerated several Christians and Muslims on death row on charges of blasphemy? Does he support the efforts of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Co-operation which is trying to impose a universal blasphemy law through the United Nations on all the member nations of the UN?
If so, this is a dangerous attack on free speech by our security agency and it is heart-breaking for those of us who have lobbied for the release of Asia Bibi, the mother of five young children, who has been in jail on death row for several years in Pakistan on spurious charges of blasphemy.
It is also an insult to the memory of Salman Taseer, the Muslim Governor of Punjab, who was assassinated by his own body guard because he spoke on the necessity of amending Pakistan's blasphemy laws. His murderer was showered with rose petals and garlanded by the Pakistan Bar Association, whose members offered to act for him pro bono at his murder trial. These are examples of the behaviour of ordinary Muslims, not ISIS terrorists, in "moderate", democratic Pakistan, a member of the British Commonwealth and with whom we play cricket. Probably the government of Pakistan would like to amend its blasphemy laws, but the next politician to propose an amendment also risks assassination, possibly by his own security personnel.
The argument that we must mute our critique of Islam so that "moderate" Muslims will co-operate with our security services and inform of potential terrorism is specious. The mother of Farook, the San Bernardino terrorist, lived upstairs in their rented residence and helped care for their 6-months old baby. Yet she was unaware that Farook and his terrorist wife, Tashfeen Malik, were compiling a veritable arsenal downstairs - thousands of rounds of ammunition, rifles, pipe sections and tools to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Wot, she never came downstairs? Not even to dispose of the baby's nappies? Give me a break.
The sooner that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ASIO Director General, Duncan Lewis admit that Islamic violence is justified by injunctions in the Koran and examples in the life of its founder, the sooner we will be able to get to the core of the problem - and its solution.