Saturday, December 01, 2007

POLITICS: O'Farrell apologises to Moslems (sic.) over Lindsay ...

The NSW State Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, visited the Imam Ali Mosque at Lakemba in South-Western Sydney on Friday 30 November 2007. During his visit, O'Farrell made the following statement (taken from his press release of the same date) ...

Like all right-minded people I am appalled and horrified by the distribution of this offensive, racist and false material. It offends everything I believe in and I unequivocally condemn those involved.

I remain angered by the damage the episode causes to the Liberal Party and its supporters. The action of these rogue Liberals is totally contrary to the Liberal Party’s philosophy and beliefs.

Fifty seven years ago, the founder of the Liberal Party, Robert Menzies, accurately described as ‘stupid’ those engaging in racism and bigotry. Menzies said ‘We must strike down the tendency that exists in the minds of some persons to object to a man because of his race or his religion…prejudice against a person because of his race or origin is a sign of stupidity'.

While welcoming the Liberal Party’s swift and decisive action to expel those involved, I wanted to
personally meet with representatives of the State’s Islamic community and offer a formal apology. As Liberal Leader I remain determined to represent the interests of the whole community, irrespective of race, religion, gender or some other factor.

This city and State’s cultural diversity is a strength to be valued, not something to be toyed with during political campaigns. Those who seek to create division and conflict within our community
should always be condemned.
It's great to see Mr O'Farrell making some effort to apologise to the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association. However, he needs to understand that there are a whole group of Muslim New South Welshmen and women who are not represented by the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

Mr O'Farrell must understand that the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association only allows full membership to men eligible for Lebanese citizenship. Hence, all other men and all women are barred from full membership of the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

Further, the offending leaflet actually included the Turkish flag. Hence, it is arguable that the offence was largely directed at Turkish Muslims.

The vast majority of Aussie Turks living in NSW are either women or men not eligible for Lebanese citizenship. Hence, they are not represented by the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

In my opinion, the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association has as much right to represent Australian Muslims living in New South Wales as the South African National Party of the apartheid era had of representing all South Africans regardless of ethnicity and colour.

I say this because the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association practises both ethnic and gender apartheid in the constitutional provisions governing its membership.

I really wish politicians would stop pretending that this racist organisation somehow represents Muslims or indeed multicultural Australia.

Until the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association is prepared to integrate into the broader Muslim communities and adopt Australian Muslim values, it should be seen as a fringe ethnic and sexist body with no right to speak on behalf of anyone other than its all-male financial members.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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1 comment:

Irving Karchmar said...

Excellent point. These politicians really need to do their homework before they make speeches.