826 Islam and Europe


An image is circulating on social media supposedly depicting the current state of multiculturalism in Europe - a depiction of the experience in the ‘melting pot’. 

(Don't miss the update at the bottom.)

The original image - stolen for the purpose of demagoguery - was created by Friedrich Kunath in 2010 for an exhibition in New York. The artwork, called “Tropical Depression“, had nothing to do with Europe or multiculturalism:





Anyway, art is art ... anything is (and should be) possible. Was the artist asked if it's ok to use his image? Don't ask.

So, do I concur with the message in the appropriation? Well, obviously Europe is a long way from Australia and above all, European societies are very different from Australia’s … the difference being that here we are an immigration country, i.e. our community is built by immigrants. 

In Europe it is a very different story; I am European by origin, but I haven't lived there for forty years, so I find it hard to comment on what impact Islam has on the European psyche. By all accounts - with Angela Merkel declaring multiculturalism as dead - they are not doing too well with integrating Islam into their societies.

What about us here in Australia? As I said, here the situation is very different. We live in a very successful multicultural country, there are too many examples to make a list as to why that is the case.

So I believe any Islamophobia, as it is depicted in the cartoon, is misplaced here. The overwhelming attitude in Australia is one of tolerance. We are thriving on welcoming and integrating people from different cultures and religious backgrounds. 

We would hate to have the problems some European countries have with Islam. Furthermore, here in our homeland we want to be careful to recognise the difference between Islam the religion, and radical Islamism. 

We recognise that (probably more than) 99% of Muslims are peaceful, like the rest of the population ... and a small minority that is not, will be kept in check successfully due to our capable law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. 

We also recognise that vilifying Muslims will radicalize a large number of their young, impressionable followers. Australia can expect to have less problems with Islamism (we don't have problems with Islam anyway) the more we stick with tolerance and the less we engage in demagoguery and vilification as per the depicted cartoon. 

That's my story and I stick with it.




From my faithful reader Bob in South Africa, a note (isn't it great, the internet?!):

Adopt a Terrorist


        Adopt a Terrorist - too good to miss. The Canadians know how to handle complaints. Here is an example.

        A Canadian female liberal continuously wrote letters to the Canadian government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities. She demanded a response to her letter.
        She received the following reply:


National Defence Headquarters
M Gen George R. Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa , ON K1A 0K2
Dear Concerned Citizen,
        Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.
        Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa. You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself, we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defence, to be called 'Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers' program, or L.A.R.K. for short.
        In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself, around the country, under those citizens personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.
        Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.

        Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his 'attitudinal problem' will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. We understand that you plan to offer counselling and home schooling, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

        Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can reason with him.  He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might offend him.  

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers.  We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while helping him adjust to life in our country.
        Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually, since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands.  This is a particularly sensitive  subject for him.
        You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire.  I'm sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of respecting his culture and religious beliefs' as described in your letter.  

       You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counsellor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

       Thanks again for your concern.  We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job and care for our fellow man.  

Good luck and God bless you.
Gordon O'Connor
Minister of National Defence