Recently, Australian Prime Minister John Howard stated that he stood by to his views that sections of Australia’s Muslim population are antagonistic to Australian culture. His comments have been outlined in a book to mark the 10th anniversary of his rise to power written by journalists and commentators of mainstream newspaper ‘The Australian’.
Three days later, Peter Costello, the Treasurer and the possible contender of next Prime Ministership went further and called for a US-style citizenship oath and bluntly called for Muslims who don’t observe Australian values to be stripped of their citizenship.
Prime Minister Howard said it was his right and duty to express his thoughts that commitment to jihad and extreme attitudes towards women were two problems unique to Muslims that previous intakes of migrants from Europe and Asia did not have.
Last week Liberal backbencher Danna Vale warned that Muslims could be in the majority in Australia within 50 years.
Pauline Hanson the founder of anti-immigration One Nation Party and former member parliament in a recent television interview said ‘Muslims want to make an Islamic State in Australia’.
Prime Minister Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello also in their statements said that Muslims must respect Australian values and once they are in Australia they should assimilate into the Australian environment and follow Australian way. I totally agree with the views of Prime Minister Howard and Peter Costello. Not only Muslim, people from any religion, culture or race when they live in Australia then this is their home and they should be loyal to their home. However, is this an issue at present? Have there been incidents where Muslims showed disrespect to Australia or demonstrated their will to make Australia a Muslim State.
If any Muslim thinks that Australia could be transformed into a Muslim State or Australia can be ruled under Islamic laws then the person must be living in a fantasy world. However, the fact of the matter is that never has any Muslim expressed the aspiration to make Australia a Muslim State or demonstrated mission to rule Islamic laws in Australia.
Muslims are only about 1 ½ to 2 per cent of the entire Australian population. It does not make any sense to think that Muslims would ever be in a position to even announce a resolution to make this country a Muslim State.
During the last twenty years in Australia I have had the opportunity to work closely with different Muslim ethnic communities and study the problems they are facing. Whether these problems are social, political or cultural, these are identical in their nature and substance. One clearly notices that when the issue of assimilation or integration is raised by various Australian sections, basically for them it is a matter for Muslims to change themselves to live like western society. They principally address to the people of Middle Eastern background and expect them to adopt the culture, tradition and other social habits of Anglo Saxon Australians.
Responsively, Australian Muslims are found very constructive and affirmative in building a unified and harmonious Australia. They have always demonstrated their full commitment to keep harmony and unity with the other Australians. Even when in the neighbouring Indonesia –” largest Muslim nation on earth – the people were demonstrating on the street having the portraits of Osama Bin Laden in their hands, alighting American flags and attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq by US-allied forces the Muslims showed their full responsibility, maturity and understanding like any other citizens of Australia.
This is true that Muslims, by in large, still struggling to find a strong and uniform leadership which should be accepted by all Muslim ethnic groups to raise their genuine concerns, yet the people and the religious leaders of the Muslim community showed a great deal of sensibility and maturity in dealing with the crises in accordance with the situation as a responsible citizen of multicultural Australia.
In whatever way, the government deals with the Muslims in Australia; one hopes that the Australian Muslims will not be provoked and remain positive while playing their important role for the integrity of multicultural Australia. The Australian Muslims will continue to respect, celebrate the wonderful democratic values, notably egalitarianism, the fair go and mateship that not long ago underpinned the miraculous transformation from white to multicultural Australia.
Federal Labor politicians accused the government and Mr. Costello of playing politics and trying to distract attention from the Australian Wheat Board Iraq wheat bribes scandal. This is what exactly, not only Australian Muslims but every Australian has to analyse and think, today, that in past how the events were manipulated and cashed to the maximum benefit for a longer lasting Liberal government keeping in mind the incidents from the crises of Tampa, illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, Australian forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Likewise, why at this time the Muslims’ loyalty and assimilation issue has been brought up by Australian leadership?