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Taking Islam seriously 101

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Behead all those who insult the prophet
Obama, we love Osama
Our dead are in paradise; your dead are in hell

Chants and slogans heard and seen in Sydney’s Hyde Park, 15 September 2012

This is a bad, bad time to be a politician or a media executive.


How do you address current events or present the news, including all the facts, and simultaneously dodge the bullets of offending some members of the community?

O’Farrell, echoing President Barack Obama, claims that the anti-Islam video "Innocence of Muslims“ that sparked the global protests, including the one in Sydney, was “made by a fool in the U.S.”

Half right, Mr. Premier.

He/she may be a fool, but the film did not stir the extremist elements peppered amongst genuine protesters in Sydney’s Hyde Park to anger. What stirred them and what continues to stir them is our way of life and the values we hold dear.

Given the film in question was uploaded to YouTube over eleven weeks ago, on 2 July, one can only conclude that Saturday’s protest – in the light of the slogans paraded in abundance - had little to do with the film but a great deal to do with the way a few Muslims perceive their religion is portrayed in the Western world.

Then again, the gathering may have been little more than a reason to ring in the end of Ramadan, just two days earlier. Who knows?


Fairfax Media parroted the vice-president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ikebal Patel, condemning the crowd violence. ''(Violence) is not something that the prophet himself would like. He always talked about peace.”

The joke of course is on Fairfax, who reported the text of what Mr Patel said but is ignorant of the context in which it was said.

An icon of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayyid Qutb, often taught that Islam is indeed a religion of “peace” but he did not mean people living as equals in a pluralistic society.  He defined “peace” as a condition where (at best) all submit to Allah or (at worst) all live in an Islamic state (the infidels under onerous conditions). To achieve such goals, war must be waged.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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