Sunday, February 26, 2006

Actually, Costello is right. Here's why ...

I have a confession to make. The previous entry on this blog was made after I had read all the various media reports from the Fairfax and Murdoch press. I also read and saw the reactions of the usual migrant Muslim self-appointed leaders that love responding in a stereotypical manner that reinforces misconceptions and marginalises Aussie Muslims even more.

However, there was one document I hadn’t read. Guess what it was.

Have you given up? The document I had not read was Mr Costello’s actual speech!

The speech was finally e-mailed to me by someone late on Friday night. I read it and thought about it. I spoke with some more educated and wise Muslims from Canberra whom I was visiting over the weekend. I formed my own view, a version of which can be found here.

What this entire episode illustrates is how migrant Muslim leaders (whose knowledge of English, media, politics and public policy processes is at best minimal) have once again completely misunderstood the mood of Australia’s leadership and the nation.

Migrant Muslim leaders continue to sit on their perches, refusing to allow more sensible and aware Muslims from second and third generations to take on the role of community spokespeople.

These migrant Muslim leaders represent the epitome of mushy multiculturalism. Their hysterical antics are when give Muslims and multiculturalists a bad name. They have displayed a complete inability to address the understandable concerns and fears of ordinary Australians.

Mr Costello spoke of a twilight zone that can affect the children of migrants. Thousands of Muslim youth are part of that twilight zone. But migrant Muslim leaders like the middle aged Indian Muslim men’s club that is the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) refuses to assist those in the twilight zone.

AFIC overseas a system of Islamic societies that manage mosques along irrelevant ethnic, linguistic and sectarian lines. Rarely are sermons given in English whilst women and youth are made to feel unwelcome at most mosques.

AFIC has not had a female on its executive for over 2 decades. It has no formal structure for the representation of women or English-speaking Muslim youth. Yet the AFIC president chairs the Prime Minister’s Muslim Reference Group.

Peter Costello has done Muslim youth a favour by highlighting the dangers of this twilight zone. Yes, he made some errors in his understanding of sharia. But apart from that, his speech was a breath of fresh air and represented a genuine attempt to articulate the frustrations of ordinary Australians including many 2nd and 3rd generation Aussie Muslims.

Instead of criticising Mr Costello’s speech, perhaps Muslim leaders should ponder on the values Mr Costello expressed so well. These leaders might then compare these values to Islamic values and realise Mr Costello is in essence espousing the values of sharia. Maybe these leaders could invite Mr Costello to address their dinners and functions instead of just inviting the Immigration Minister to lobby for the visa applications of their relatives.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

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