Sunday, October 16, 2005

COMMENT: Adequate responses to the Anti-Terror Laws

Mr Howard is angry. He has every right to be. His Anti-Terror laws have been released earlier than expected. Further, his hand-picked Muslim leaders have not proven as loyal to his dictates as he would like.

Now is the time for all those committed to liberty and freedom in Australia to join hands and ensure that these laws cannot be passed without a huge stink. It is time for Muslim Australians, the ultimate targets of these laws, to join hands with other people of goodwill and struggle to defeat this illiberal legislation.

On this occasion, we cannot afford to show nepotism or incompetence or stupidity. We have to place our best foot forward. We need people to speak who are properly briefed and who understand the policy, legal, political and media environment.

That means that many of the usual suspects, many of the Uncle Letmesplaynyoo’s and leadership families will have to move aside. It is time for people in the ghetto to stay in the ghetto.

Sadly, up until now, we have had people speaking on our behalf who speak in thick accents (if they speak English at all) and who have little or no understanding of the policy and legal and political environment in which this debate is taking place. People who cannot articulate their concerns about this legislation without sounding like a bunch of communal whingers.

We need specialist voices in this debate, people who can attack the issue from all sides. We need lawyers, writers, journalists, academics, public servants, social scientists and other specialists. We need people in law enforcement, social policy and business. We need our best voices.

Inevitably, these are people on the fringe of the Muslim communities. They are people who spend most of their time interacting with the broader community. They are people who understand how broader Australia thinks and understands and feels.

Allegedly religious Muslims from the ghetto have to accept that their involvement in this debate may be a liability. People whose whole approach to society is based on reading Henry Ford’s “The International Jew”, whose minds are full of conspiracy theories or who are too busy setting up pamphlet caliphates should remain in their burrows.

Migrant Muslim leaders who have spent the best years of their life certifying halal meat or setting up secret bank accounts should stay out of this. People with links to tyrannical Arab Kingdoms should stay away, even if they do get to invite the Attorney-General to lunch.

Yes, these people can have a role. But it must be in the background. The front runners have to be people who can speak and understand and communicate and articulate to the broader community. Whether or not they are religiously observant.

Seriously, we just don’t have the luxury of stuffing up this one. I ask all those uncles who have at the back of their mind the possibility of returning home to have pity on us Muslims brought up in Australia.

You may be able to return to Tripoli or Karachi or Dhaka or Jakarta or Ankara or Ba. You may have only a few years left before you go six feet under the ground. But the majority of Aussie Muslims have nowhere to be sent back home. This is our home. And most of us are young and probably have many years ahead of us.

So be careful before you rush to open your mouths on our behalf. Because what you say has direct repercussions on us.

Yes, we need existing leaders involved. They can share with us their contacts and their knowledge. But they have proven time and again that they have little or no ability to articulate our views. The lacklustre response of these leaders to the London bombings is typical of the limitations of our organisational leadership.

Even more evidence could be seen at the most recent press conference of Mr Ruddock with the Muslim Reference Group. The irresponsible and negligent remarks of an AFIC President with woeful English language skills and no understanding of legal and public policy processes was clear for all to see. His subsequent back peddling on the anti-terror laws was an embarrassment to us all.

What these leaders need to do is stay in the background. They need to shut their mouths and consider stepping down from the Reference Group. Instead, they need to allow a proper and professional group to come forward, with representatives from each state.

That group or network should consist of people with the following types of expertise:

a. Media (print, radio and TV).
b. Public relations and public affairs.
c. Advertising and marketing.
d. Legal and law enforcement.
e. Academia, with an emphasis on politics, law and sociology.
f. Business, finance and banking.
g. Management and strategy.

Network members must be born or brought up in Australia, New Zealand or another Western English-speaking country. They should at least have a university degree and 5 years experience in industry, business and/or academia.

There are people across Australia in the Muslim community who have these skills. But don’t expect the royal families of Sydney or the Uncle Letmesplaynyoos to let these people take over. Instead, these people should come forward and network each other. They need to take the bull by the horns and take charge of the Aussie Muslim voice.

The campaign against these laws has to be led by people who are competent, experienced, articulate and able. They need to come together and network starting yesterday. They need to join with people of goodwill who do not label themselves as Muslim.

Muslim voices in Australia can no longer be hijacked by migrant voices with no respect for locally-born or brought-up Muslims. We Aussie Mossies need to take over. The migrant generation had their chance. Had they done the job properly, and had they left their irrelevant baggage at the airport, we would not be in the predicament we are in now.

Because if we don’t take over now, and if these laws are introduced, we might as well all move to New Zealand.

Yes, I know this sounds over-the-top. But if you read the draft Bill, you will realise our law-makers are even more over-the-top! And it is our liberties at stake. On this occasion, there are no second chances and no second prizes.

So if you feel you have the expertise in any of the areas listed and you know someone who thinks the same way as you, start working. Study the provisions of the Bill. Set up your networks. Agitate. Talk and write in a language ordinary Aussies can understand. Help defeat these laws.

Words © 2005 Irfan Yusuf

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Respect to the Irf ! said...

I totally agree with what you say, put the educated Mozzies leading the show, but do not forget others whom have the same ideals and principles that maybe don't yet have 5 years experience, or haven't get completed that university degree to work as helpers as well, or anyone else who feels the same, otherwise we go form one extreme to another (anti-education to a 'you don't have as much education as us' so you are not allowed to help), either of which is not useful. By all means make these Educated Aussie Mozzies the spokespeople, but don't forget others whom may not be 'there yet' in education or experience and may never be 'there yet' via those standards, yet are intelligent people whom are ready to help.
Without this support, failure will
certainly come.

dawood said...

I would like to see a coordinated response to these issues, and a more public discussion of them, rather than this hush-hush stuff, and announcing the full draft a few days before the voting on legislation etc.