Friday, January 19, 2007

A clear message

Something else caught my eye in the furore over Sheik Feiz Mohammed: Australian opposition leader Kevin Rudd's comment that

I would say this to Sheik Mohammed: 'Do not return to Australia, you are not welcome here.'

But Mohammed was born in Sydney, making him as Australian as Rudd himself.

Rudd would never dream of saying the same to, say, an Aussie skinhead who made similar comments about Jews - but he feels that it is perfectly appropriate to tell a Muslim Australian that they are not welcome in their own country. The message couldn't be clearer: in his eyes, Muslims are not real Australians and can never truly belong there. And what worries me is that far too many Australians apparently feel the same way...


Rudd would never dream of saying the same to, say, an Aussie skinhead who made similar comments about Jews - but he feels that it is perfectly appropriate to tell a Muslim Australian that they are not welcome in their own country.

Agreed. But skinheads of the jew-hating variety are widely-regarded as pathetic dorks, whereas significant numbers of people appear to listen to the likes of SFM.

Posted by dc_red : 1/19/2007 08:50:00 AM

Why do you think that Rudd would not say the same things about neo-nazis?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/19/2007 09:41:00 AM

The sheik is obviously very unhappy with his life in Australia. Something must have happened in his childhood so he can't bear the sight of bared women? His mufti scoutmaster wandered where he should not have? He and many Muslims in the west are obviously longing to live in a Muslim land. Why don't we offer assisted passage so they don't have to take to rickety boats, pay people smugglers and run the border guard gauntlet to get them to the land of their choice? Obviously they and we would be much happier.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 1/19/2007 11:50:00 AM

I can't speak for Australians, but in the case of NZ we fought a war against the Nazis and their ideology. Considering that they are against virtually everything NZ stands for, I wouldn't have any trouble saying that a neo-Nazi isn't a real New Zealander and can never be accepted as one- regardless of whether or not they happened to be born here or hold an NZ passport.
In the same way, I don't think someone like Sheik Mohammed would be welcome here or accepted as a New Zealander and there is no harm in saying so. Not because he is a Muslim but because he is a bag of poison who doesn't deserve to live in this part of the world.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/20/2007 08:56:00 AM

I'm sorry to say that I agree - too many Australians feel this way. As an Australian I am ashamed. As the fiance of a Muslim Australian, I'm scared.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/20/2007 03:40:00 PM

It's got nothing to do with race of course....

"JOURNALIST: Can I ask you on David Hicks, Colonel Morris Davis, the Chief Military Prosecutor, has come out and stated that there is a strong case against Mr Hicks. Do you think he may have (inaudible) Mr Hicks’ case?

RUDD: What I say about Mr Hicks is that Mr Hicks doesn’t deserve special treatment. Mr Hicks deserves normal treatment under the law and he’s not getting normal treatment under the law. You can’t spend five years in Guantanamo Bay without charge and without going to a proper criminal trial and regard that as normal treatment under the law. It’s not. In fact, it’s a disgrace.

JOURNALIST: Would you say that the prosecutor’s comments are appropriate?

RUDD: I’m no defender of Mr Hicks in terms of what he has done or what he may not have done in Afghanistan. What I am a defender of is every Australian citizen’s right to a fair trial. What I am a defender of is every Australian citizen’s right to the presumption of innocence. What I am a defender of is every Australian citizen’s right to have proper access to consular services from Australian officials abroad – and when it comes to this case – it has been lacking on every count."

From the first hit googling....

Rudd "David hicks"

Posted by Anonymous : 1/21/2007 12:24:00 PM

Yes the aussies still carry the hangover from the 'white austrailian' immigration policy.

I remember a quote from the book "the ugly austrailian" where one of their govt ministers said " two wongs dont make a white".

.............. and when were the aboriginals granted citizenship in their own country........ late 60's or early 70's I believe

Posted by Anonymous : 1/21/2007 05:12:00 PM

The citizenship thing is often confused with voting rights - that wasn't sorted out til the 60s. I believe WA and Queensland finally stopped pretending Abos had no vote in the mid-60s.

Posted by Psycho Milt : 1/23/2007 07:30:00 AM

Actually, citizenship is a complex thing. Australia only formed in 1901 and there was a short period then when there was actual universal suffrage. They cleaned that up very quickly though, removing the vote from aborigines within a year. During that time the extreme racism meant that few aborigines got to vote.

The 1967 referendum restored citizenship to aborigines. Citizenship was the explicit word used.

But the racism is still very strong today, as a quick visit to the tent embassy would show you. Or wander down to one of the open events in redfern (Sydney). Or just take a look at the "Australia Day" events this long weekend, when all sorts of jingoistic bullshit will be on display. I'll be at the Yabun in Sydney celebrating Survival Day with friends.

Citizenship is not hard to look up, see ABC Oz for example.

Posted by Moz : 1/24/2007 12:16:00 AM

OK, the sheik. "my muslim friend". Sorry, i just had to say that. Anyhow, I work with a Muslim bloke and he had a wee rant the other day about this. In summary, the sheik is a looney as far as he's concerned.

I suspect the guy is longing for a country his parents talked about and he see's only as a visitor. So he rants gibberish to media who are only too happy to talk it up.

My fear is that the Lebanese-Oz parallel to the British-Oz idiots running around the Big Day Out going "kiss my flag or get out" will take this stuff and run with it. It'll just feed their feeling of being ostracised and put upon (which are justified) and drive them further round the bend.

So yes, I agree that the state has an interest in looking at the guy with a skeptical eye and prosecuting him if they can. Like they should do with any other ratbag who's inciting hatred. Say, John Laws (a rantback radio homophobe).

But trying to kick him out? Sod off, Australia made him, Australia can deal with him.

Posted by Moz : 1/24/2007 12:23:00 AM

Moz - you're right that it's not hard to look up; might I suggest the Australian Parliamentary Library page, which includes this statement:

"Many popular notions associated with the 1967 Referendum belong in the category of myths. The referendum was not whole-heartedly supported by both sides of politics, did not end legal discrimination, did not confer the vote, equal wages and citizenship on indigenous Australians and did not permit for the first time Commonwealth government involvement in Aboriginal Affairs."


Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 1/24/2007 09:07:00 AM