We are in a war. One side wants to destroy democracy, freedom, and pluralism and establish a universal caliphate with everyone submitting to sharia law. And as it has been said, in a war truth is often the first casualty. Just as we have a civilisational conflict going on (a “clash of civilisations” as Samuel Huntington put it), so too we have a clash of worldviews and ideologies found in the media.
In Australia we have two main media groups which reflect a bit of the political and ideological divide; the leftwing Fairfax media and the Murdoch (News Corp) group, which is somewhat more conservative. On some of the hot potato items of the day, there will not be too much difference between the two, with things like homosexuality becoming a PC monolith for almost all media outlets.
But on other things, such as Islam, we still find some differences. The folks at Fairfax constantly air Muslim spokesmen or dhimmi apologists for Islam, while the Murdoch press is much more willing to run with sensible criticism of this political ideology.
As an example, just in the past week we have had a number of level-headed critiques of Islam and clear analysis of the threat it poses to the West. As a general rule of thumb, the more such critical pieces we find in the Murdoch media, the less such pieces we find in Fairfax.
So let me highlight just three of these, beginning with an opinion piece aired today by former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello. He rightly states, “We must be clear on who are the victims”. He looks at the young Numan Haider and asks why he tried to kill police in Melbourne:
The Australian security agencies are asking exactly that question. We need to come up with the right answer. Because if all it takes is exposure to extremist Islamist sermons and literature, then we have a real problem. The internet is swimming with the stuff.
Self-styled Jihadis are already coming up with their answers. It is all the fault of Australia, they say. Muslim people are treated so badly they are turning against this country towards its opponents such as Islamic State in northern Iraq and Syria. The trouble with explanations like this is that the facts get in the way. The family of Numan Haider left Afghanistan to migrate to Australia. Under the Taliban, Afghanistan was a hardline Islamic state. Coming to Australia meant getting away from that.
And Australia was good to the family. They have a very nice house in a good suburb. The children received a good education. The taxpayers of Australia were pretty good to Numan Haider with schooling and services. The family lived in security and freedom — a lot more than Islamic State would ever give to a minority ethnic or religious group.
Yet Muslim leaders keep telling us that it is our fault when these guys get radicalised:
The next step is to promote a sense of victimhood. Islam was a great civilisation that ruled much of the world, excelling in science and art. But it fell behind the West. It lost its foothold in Europe. Its homelands were divided after World War I. The radicals represent its people as downtrodden and suffering. Only by re-establishing a caliphate, they say, can its honour and prestige be restored. In fact, the fight in Iraq and Syria is between Muslim and Muslim. But the preachers of hate want to blame a whole host of others for the problems: the West for dividing Islam or the Jews for establishing a homeland of their own.
Costello is actually incorrect about the science and art bit. See here for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/06/07/islam-and-science-2/
But he is right about them playing the victim card. This is how they see things:
The real victims here are not the aid workers or journalists who have been beheaded by Islamic State. The victims here are not the Yazidis of Northern Iraq facing genocide and extermination. The real victims are those who were taken in by Australia, given a home, healthcare, a free education and subsidised university places. Such a terrible country. Why would any Muslim want to live here?
This idea that Australia’s treatment of Muslims is to blame for terrorism is so fanciful you would wonder how anyone could believe it. But it is standard-issue opinion among university academics, ABC journalists and Greens senators. They act on the principle that “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Since they don’t like open liberal Western capitalist society, they feel natural support for those who regard themselves as at war with Western civilisation. The brutality of Islamic State does not seem to worry them nearly so much as the imagined “brutality” of the Australian Government.
Thank heavens, real people don’t fall for such rubbish. They know our society, for all its faults, is worth protecting. They are not taken in by the claims of the extremists or their odd bedfellows on the Australian political Left.
Rita Panahi also had a helpful recent piece entitled, “Leaders must show where their loyalty lies”. She wrote:
The Muslim community must shake off the cosy cloak of victimhood and acknowledge that it has a significant problem. One that threatens to turn inclusive Australians into frightened xenophobes as talk of beheadings and homegrown terrorism causes reasonable people to ask why we’ve imported these seething hatreds into a peaceful, cohesive country. It’s time for Islamic leaders to confront the evil within the community and finally dissociate the majority of Muslims from the extremist scourge, the wannabe martyrs and jihadists who despise this country and what it stands for.
It seems mad to think that Muslims in a prosperous land, one where they enjoy abundant freedoms and opportunities, would seek to change that country into the type of place they fled from. And yet that is what we are seeing from a minority that is not interested in integration; a minority of extremists who want to enjoy the lucky country but who do not respect our ways.
The fear of Islamophobia and the imagined backlash against the Muslim community is used as a bat to beat down all valid criticism. But we cannot compromise the values that we cherish in the name of political correctness or even multiculturalism. The only answer is a consistent, principled and uncompromising response that shows that while this country won’t be cowed or have its principles of inclusiveness and equality compromised, its citizens won’t stand by and allow hostile groups to change our way of life.
The Muslim community’s tendency to assume the victim position has been counterproductive and further undermined relations with mainstream Australia. Even moderate Muslims have a propensity to minimise the crimes of radicals. It’s a defensiveness that does not serve them well. It’s time to dispense with the niceties and tell it like it is; the Islamic community has a crisis on its hands and it’s one of its own making. Sure, it’s easier to blame society, the Government, Israel and the US, but the truth is that in 2014, Islam is at the centre of terrorism concerns and atrocities in Africa, The Middle East, Europe, North America, Asia and now Australia.
Even non-Christian Andrew Bolt is far more perceptive about things than even most Christians are, as he demonstrated in his recent blog, “On likening Islam to Christianity”. He offers some contrasts between the two, and here is his final one:
The Islamic State insists it fulfills Islam’s purpose on earth, especially its mission of war. Hitler believed Nazism would destroy Christianity’s purpose on earth, especially its mission of peace. In his private conversations, later published in Hitler’s Table Talk: 1941-1944, the Nazi leader argued: “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew.” And: “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.”
As the great Jewish writer Maurice Samuel warned in The Great Hatred, written in 1940: “It is of Christ that the Nazi-Fascists are afraid; it is in his omnipotence that they believe; it is he that they are determined madly to obliterate. But the names of Christ and Christianity are too overwhelming, and the habit of submission to them is too deeply ingrained after centuries and centuries of teaching. Therefore they must, I repeat, make their assault on those who were responsible for the birth and spread of Christianity. They must spit on the Jews as the ‘Christ-killers’ because they long to spit on the Jews as the Christ-givers.”
For commentators today to blithely assert the connection between Islam and the Islamic State is no stronger than that between Christianity and Nazism is not just utterly false. It is to make a virtue out of a dangerous ignorance and to slander one of the greatest cultural forces for peace, tolerance and freedom.
We can be thankful that there is still some sanity and clear thinking left at the Murdoch Press, at least on the issue of Islam. Too much is at risk to have only the Islamophilic left running with their distorted version of events.