The Muslim problem

by on 3 June, 2013

Jack Wilkie-Jans

This perspective on a touchy subject comes from a young, Aboriginal man who feels need to speak out about a looming problem. GC.Ed.@L.

Prior to the 70s it was the Aboriginal Problem. Mainstream society was concerned that the Aboriginal population would over-take those of non-Indigenous Australians. Some politicians were concerned that politics would be side-tracked and made to pander to Aboriginal Affairs until kingdom come and essentially under-valuing non-Indigenous Aussies. 

Every generation has a Youth Problem, "those trousers are too creased!", "that music is too loud", and the golden-oldie "what's those things in your ears?". Well as a nation we now have the Muslim Problem. Society goes through eras where a particular people are placed under the social, political and academic micro-scope. Which, given Australia's rather cagey history (i.e. White Australia Policy) when it comes to new comers, can be understood. It is a part of growing up, it is a part of educating ourselves on those who come to our shores. It is the process in which we compare old values and perceived values and then decide on maintaining or re-forging a national identity.

In the late 60s we did just that, and grew to be a nation inclusive and non-discriminatory (in theory) towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. One would suss out someone on one's door-step attempting to enter the home, and so I say people hoping to come here should be sussed out likewise by society.

Mainstream society are now concerned that the Muslim immigration and inundation is growing too much and some members of Parliament and the Judiciary are concerned that Islamist religion, customs and attitudes will influence sentencing and laws. There was a public campaign to include Sharia Law in our courts and legislation- meaning, a separate set of ideologies and standards for dealing with criminals. Nothing has come of it yet but there are still cases of Sharia Law being dealt and handed down within the Muslim society.

Reading the book, Infidel, one can glean a different, internal perspective of Islam and also the dogma driving it. The book is from a female Muslim's perspective, on completion of only the first few chapters one can be forgiven for being nothing less than wary of the religion and certainly concerned about the influence it has in Western society today. We as a nation have come so far on Indigenous rights, women's rights, animal rights, environmental protection and political fairness, and the road to each has been hard and it is natural for a country to want to preserve their victories and to expect those coming here to celebrate them.

However Australians need to understand that while Islam may well be out-dated and preaches, very clearly in the Qur'an, a stark difference between women's and men's rights and roles, many Muslims are not reflective of their faith. Not all Muslims are extremists; a term that can be likened to extremism in politics and non-religious ideology. Nowadays Muslims are categorised similar to Jews, no other people are referred to by their religion as opposed to their country of birth or heritage. So do Muslims in general truly identify with the Islam religion? Can they, or do they, adopt national identities as opposed to religious ones? I have never met an atheist Muslim myself, I have met some very friendly and easy-going and integrated Muslims but also some very prejudice Muslim immigrants.

In Cairns, Far North Queensland, an immigration worker anonymously rang up the 4CA AM breakfast show two years ago and told of the un-Australian and very Islamic attitudes expressed towards her by Muslim refugees that her service works with. She claimed that Muslim men refused to work with her based on her sex and their wishes were granted by the department. So clearly there is a big issue here and it's one that keeps arriving and will most likely be here to stay.

The standards for refugees or asylum seekers is very different and lapse compared to the standards for legal migrants who seek citizenship. Something has got to give and it is up to us Australians to decide if it will be our standards, potentially our values and ways of doing things or will it be our current and future Government's attitude towards unruly, ingrained, outdated and medieval values. Whenever one calls the negative values and preachings within Islam into critique, one is usually attacked for being racist or prejudice, when one does so for Christianity it's considered academia or social commentary. 

We don't let child sexual abuse hide behind religion, why should we afford a dissimilar courtesy to (what remains) a minority religious group with equally shameful traits.

Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans

Jack is an Aboriginal Affairs Advocate, Artist and Traditional Owner
from Far North Queensland with British, Danish and Aboriginal Australian


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