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Islamophobia or Islamophilia and our Democratically generated indifference

Reader comment on item: Islamophobia?

Submitted by Reuben Horne (Australia), Oct 27, 2005 at 22:27

Dr Pipes,

I have little to add to my last editorial save that I find it astounding that Muslim bodies would accuse Dr Pipes of Islamophobia. As a man who writes about the Middle East spends an inordinate amount of time meditating on its, rather than any other region's, problems and the perils of its people, human rights issues, democracy and the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, as well as teaching conversational Egyptian - I would label him an Islamophile rather than an Islamophobe. And if as an Islamophile he is honestly concerned about the direction modern Islam is taking then that is something Muslims should sit up and pay attention to - alas however, self effacing introspection is not their strongest suit.

Much of my focus as that of many previous articles of Dr Pipes and the editorials that react to them is centered around the west and how it responds to the matters raised (often we conclude our reaction is inadequate). An astounding deadlock has been achieved on the matter of Islam and Islamic immigration. Frequently I lambast the left but in truth it is not entirely their fault. John Ralston Saul, the Canadian intellectual - himself recently becoming an Islamic apologist (frequently quoting the Koran in his new book "The Death of Globalism" presumably to cater to his new audience) - speaks of the "shared indifference" of the democratic decision making unit - how all our political predispositions should cancel themselves out in our legislative assemblies. With regards to Islam this will be the first time that our shared indifference has canceled not our predispositions out but our very selves out. Saul criticises ideologies and thinks that they should be controlled though ideologies are the closest things to the aforementioned predispositions - in considering his model then it is instructive to have reference to them.

The left wing, in so far as it possesses political power, has concluded that its assignment in relation to the Muslims is to protect them from the bigotted masses as within their extremely limited ideological framework the reticence of the population to embrace the new arrivals can only be explained by racism or religious bigotry. They will not even countenance an ideological difference of opinion as an explanation and even if they encounter it they have reference to civil liberties that their own political correctness compromises at every given opportunity. So with the judicial bodies the left wing controls we see an utter assymetry in the manner in which religious villification charges are handled. The Muslims can charge the Christians with discrimination but the opposite will never occur. The same standard can be seen being applied to instances of African American racism - so called "reverse discrimination" the left thinks that its is a mere inconvenience for white people who encounter black racism - whereas black people for some reason are devastated by any inkling of prejudice. So too the Muslims - the weaker party in the grand tradition of equal opportunity legislation must have the percieved power differential compensated for vis a vis their critics. These people are Lenin's useful idiots - the vanguard of our impending Islamisation. The left have their own Umma that parallels the Islamic one - they see the world as a gigantic welfare state and feel it is our obligation to fund it.

The next limb of the conundrum is the right wing. Primarily concerned with economic policy in Australia and elsewhere the prospect of an influx of cheap labour reducing the cost of a critical factor input and hence the international trade disadvantage vis a vis countries such as China - but also on a more individual basis the costs of a given firm - is far more important than the religious or ideological beliefs of the migrants who are supplying the cheap labour. As for the threat to democracy they pose well a good economy can function without the aid of democracy - in fact democracy is a really difficult paradigm to follow - in the totalitarian state decision making and government action can be manifestly more efficient - just look at Singapore. Though I have recently abandoned Saul in disgust at the apologistic nature of his latest novel there are things he says that I still agree with. He was quick to point out that free markets don't necessarily equal a free democratic society - it's one of the greatest errors in thinking of the late 20th and 21st century. As an interesting digression with respect to China - a nation simply in the throws of reforming the Middle Kingdom - it may lead to critical errors in trade and foreign policy. Prior to Sept 11 GW Bush's policy was almost totally a domestic agenda centred around the economy rather than aggressive foreign policy - his latest actions merely an ambitious attempt to rise to the occasion - a fact completely and comprehensively forgotten by the left perhaps for the sake of convenience in labelling him a warmonger.

The continuance of the right's economic agenda and ignoring of all other matters of import such as Islamisation through immigration and otherwise has continued rather openly in Australia. We are presently passing a piece of artistic/decorative legislation to make it appear as though terrorism is being taken seriously. The powers granted to domestic authorities in the final draft look to be so curtailed as to leave us right back where we started (apparently this is to avoid the possibility of constitutional challenges). The right in pushing their agenda have no qualms about using left wing paradigms and platitudes to silence their opposition and I got an earful of them in a recent missive from Multicultural Affairs Minister John Cobb. Multiculturalism - the pursuit of diversity for diversities sake, tolerence - the capacity to accept the unacceptable, racism - an overused political biological weapon that the population has not yet developed a significant immunity to and so on and so forth. It is only too easy given the large number of golden calves that politicians kneel down to - to appease and mollycoddle the Islamic community.

The meat in the proverbial sandwich, so to speak, are the Australian people trapped in a dual party system where their own influence is so diluted as to become irrelevant. Like modern corporations our democracy favors the management over the shareholders whose interests are so diverse that any one issue can be taken out of their hands and completely turned against them no matter how objectionable they find the outcome. It is the ultimate case of product tying - if you vote for a political party you must accept at least /some/ policies you don't agree with. 80% of all Australians in a recent poll demand an end to all Islamic migration - a proposition that will not see the legislative or policy light of day. The two party system effectively enables political parties to shut out any potential electoral threats - over 1 million people voted for the One Nation - anti immigration party and yet the party didn't win a single seat due to preference swapping between the two major parties - democracy indeed. The Australian Labor Party - the equivalent of the Democrats in America - is such a broad church politically and so insulated from the Australian population that factions like the extreme left tend to find themsleves well and truly overrepresented given the number of people who actually share their absurd views.

Generation Y is regarded as something of a godsend to the ruling conservative Liberal Party of Australia - unlike Generation X they are not excessively tied up in the 1960s cynicism about their society. They are instead lifestyle and wealth creation obsessed, the perfect corporate henchmen and consumers. They have fewer children, they are not overtly political (only 1-2% are actually members of any formal Party) and whilst objecting to the Government's migration policy are too caught up in their own domestic matters of comfort and acquisition to bother contemplating any political action which they find tedious - better they go home and play on their X boxes than even contemplate matters of importance. A sad, unwilling, unlistening market to the person who prizes ideas above all else and wants to share some of his or her own. You wont galvanise them against Islam until it is their daughter getting raped or heaven forbid it shows up on their income tax statement. Until then they are prepared to suffer all forms of outrages.

Contrast the Muslims, a population unbelievably intense in its passions wound up tighter than a spring. Any suggestion of apostacy and fatwas are issued - people take to the streets - riots ensue - civil disobedience - criminal violence. Small wonder with only 2% of the population they dominate every issue that has to do with their own philosophy. It is their view on terrorism that is the official one - our politicians say what the Muslims want them to say and do what they want them to do - likewise with the media. To act otherwise is simply to invite more trouble. To encounter one is to encounter a rabid bully who rams his views down your throat forcing you to capitulate at every point of digression. They do indeed resemble the left wing dead heads that march around campus at universities challenging every person - saying "if you're not with us you're against us". If you set the Islamic population against ours small wonder what you see is appeasement, retreat and surrender from westerners.

Our "shared indifference" has become a "shared indifference" to the future shape of our society where pertinent matters that are too difficult to discuss are diffused across our assemblies into the realm of utter irrelevance. Noone wants to discuss them and thus they are never raised. I for one wont stop fighting this though I suspect I am pouring my energy into a black hole.

Reuben Horne.

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