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Tag Archives: Muslims

An Open Letter to Reclaim Australia

Dear Reclaim Australia,

Out of genuine curiosity, I visited your website to find out what this ‘Reclaim Australia’ malarkey is all about. You all seem to be very worked up, so I’m hoping this letter lets you off the hook and gives you your weekends and evenings back to enjoy this great country we live in, free of hatred and bitterness. You’re welcome.

First of all, the name of your movement is a problem. ‘Reclaim’ is defined as ‘to get back (something that was lost or taken away)’. You say you want to ‘reclaim Australia’, so I can only assume that you think you have lost Australia, or Australia has been taken from you and that you want to get it back. From my experience of the English language, in order to get something back, that something would have to belong to you in the first place. So are you saying you own Australia? I hope you’re not, because I find it very upsetting to think my country is owned by anyone. I live in a free democratic society. It is not owned by you. It does not belong to the government. UK’s Royal Family don’t own Australia. The fact is, Australia doesn’t belong to anyone. Because everyone who lives in Australia belongs to it. Every single person. Those born here. Those who used to live somewhere else and now live here. Every Australian from every age group, gender, religion, cultural background, occupation, absolutely everyone who calls Australia home for a long time or a short time, everyone who goes to bed each night and wakes up each morning in Australia, belongs to Australia. Not the other way around. I hope you understand this important distinction. There is no way to reclaim something that doesn’t belong to you, so therefore there is no logical way to reclaim Australia. I’m glad we’ve cleared this up.

Another mistake you seem to have made in revving up fear, anger and hatred towards your fellow Australians, presumably because you are scared of anyone who is not like you, and of people who experience Australia differently than you do, is to accuse one particular group of Australians of taking Australia away from you. I find this idea ridiculous. If you don’t like the religion of Islam, don’t be Islamic. If you don’t like Islamic cultural practices, don’t practice them. If you don’t like Islamic people, leave them alone. They’re not hurting you, so why are you attacking them?

I don’t like seafood so I don’t eat seafood. Everyone else in my family likes seafood, and when they are enjoying their seafood, it doesn’t upset me because I have chosen to eat something else instead, such as chicken. I don’t rally against their prawns. I don’t throw their whiting at the wall in anger and make placards and whip up fellow non-seafood-eaters into a frenzy, organising hate rallies and unleashing gangs of face-tattooed-thugs to tell seafood eaters they are taking something from me that wasn’t mine in the first place.

Not that it’s any of your business, but I happen to be an atheist and have zero interest in any religion. But just like I don’t care if my family eats seafood, I don’t care if the family next door goes to church and worships a God I happen to believe doesn’t exist. I don’t care if the family next door goes to a Mosque and worships a different God I happen to believe doesn’t exist. Why don’t I care? Because other people’s seafood eating, and religious worship has no impact on my life and is therefore none of my business.

In this article a Reclaim Australia organiser, John Oliver, is quoted as saying ‘the vast majority of Reclaim supporters … are ordinary mums and dads’. If by ordinary, you mean racist, sure, they’re ordinary. In fact Islam isn’t a race but you’re still all racists and bigots and yes, I do call a spade a ‘spade’. I don’t like the idea of ‘mums and dads’ behaving in this way, taking their children to hate rallies, spreading lies about peaceful Australia loving Islamic Australians, bringing up children to fear and reject people who are different rather than embracing diversity and enjoying the cultural benefits of a multicultural and therefore, interesting, society. But really, if you want to be a racist bigot, that’s your business. I just wish you wouldn’t parade it around the streets where my family and friends are frightened by it.

Reclaim Australia is not about defending, in your words, ‘Aussies and Christianity, our holidays and celebrations, Christmas and Easter and ANZAC day’ as you may have noticed that these things are all safe and well and continuing as they always have without you needing to help them in any way. Reclaim Australia is not about ridding Australia, in your words, of ‘the ways of Islam’, including cultural considerations, Halal, forced segregation, female genital mutilation (which by the way also happens in Christian cultures), Sex Trafficking (also not an ‘Islamic’ problem) and wife beating (which you might have noticed is at epidemic proportions across all demographics in Australia, why don’t you rally against that?). Your website says ‘They have no place here in Australia’ and it’s clear by ‘they’ you mean anyone who is not white like you. But you’re wrong about this. All Australians belong to Australia. What there really is no place for is racism and bigotry, hate, violence and your scary, angry, unhinged and often armed brand of white-supremacy-extremism.

Frankly, the very thought of your organisation existing, and people who I possibly stand next to at the supermarket, and drive with on the roads, and maybe even live nearby, supporting your cause is terrifying. Terror. Terrorism. See what you’re doing? You’re terrorising Australia. If that’s what you set out to do, then *fist pump*, well done, you’ve achieved it. If you feel so sad that you don’t ‘belong’ in Australia anymore that you need to organise hate rallies against Australian society on our previously peaceful streets, maybe it is time you considered belonging somewhere else. Maybe you should leave Australia in peace.

Yours sincerely
Victoria Rollison

 

First rule of war: Know thy enemy

(An update to this article was added on 18 November.)

Following the attacks in Paris on the weekend, there is little doubt that we – along with most of the rest of the Western world – are at war with ISIL. And at the risk of stating the obvious, the key to winning any war is knowing who the enemy is and correspondingly, who our allies are.

But understanding who’s an enemy and who’s an ally in this conflict seems to be something that many are struggling with. This is understandable – to some extent at least – as many still think of war as something that is fought between nations. But as I wrote last weekend, this is not a war which is defined by physical boundaries. You can’t point at a specific nationality – or even a specific religion – and say everyone of that nationality or religion is the enemy.

Jumping on the enemy bandwagon…

Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped some from using the tragedy of war to try and garner support for their own particular message of hatred and/or bigotry. Here’s some homegrown examples:

  • Tony Abbott – has been out and about, using this tragedy to push his stop-the-boats mantra, warning that terrorists are hiding in the ‘flood of refugees‘; and
  • Pauline Hanson – who has also grasped the opportunity to push her own particularly brand of bigotry, calling for a “Royal Commission into Islam” and demanding that Australia immediately cease all migration from “Muslim” countries.

The sad and tragic irony of this is that the likes of Abbott and Hanson have – albeit unwittingly – become voices for ISIL, pushing the very message that ISIL want them to push.

Pushing hatred and bigotry is exactly what ISIS want

Commentator Waleed Aly’s message on The Project yesterday evening made this very clear:

https://youtu.be/XXUZjyZVj6s

In Aly’s words:

“ISIL’s leaders would be ecstatic to hear that since the atrocity in Paris, Muslims have reportedly been threatened and attacked in America, England and here in Australia. Because this evil organisation has it in their heads that if they can make Muslims the enemy of the West, then Muslims…will have nowhere to turn but to ISIL…

We all need to come together, because it’s exactly what ISIL doesn’t want.”

But instead of coming together, many are being taken in by fear mongering – and as a result confusion reigns about who’s an enemy and who’s an ally.

Being French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a refugee.

Just look at the response to the fact that a Syrian refugee passport was found next to one of the terrorists last weekend. Suddenly more than a dozen US states have said they will bar Syrian refugees and many countries in Europe are talking about putting up fences and barbed wire to protect their borders – as though this will somehow keep them safe.

The fact that at least five of the terrorists were French nationals and their leader was Belgian is just completely ignored in discussions around how to prevent terrorism – instead the focus is on refugees. Nobody is suggesting that we close our borders to all French and Belgian citizens – even though they were the bulk of last weekend’s terrorist cell – because we recognise that this would be absurd. Being Belgian or French doesn’t make you a terrorist. Nor does being a Syrian refugee.

Fighting the real enemy

The bottom line is that the very best way to fight ISIL at home is to fight racism, to fight bigotry, to welcome refugees, to support Muslims in their fight against extremism – because this is the exact opposite of what our enemy wants us to do.

If we don’t do this – if we allow the likes of Abbott and Hanson to divert our attention to their petty biases and bigotries – then instead of fighting the real enemy, we will be fighting our allies and doing ISIL’s work for them. And the outcome of this could be catastrophic.

In the words of Sun Tzu:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle.” (The Art of War)

UPDATE on 18 November 2016

Since I first wrote this article, authorities have confirmed that the Syrian passport found near the body of one of the terrorists was a fake, and that the terrorist attack was ‘homegrown’. It had absolutely nothing to do with any refugee from Syria or elsewhere. This suggests what many have suspected – that the terrorist may have been carrying a Syrian passport for the purpose of turning Westerners against refugees.

Unfortunately, the terrorists’ ploy appears to be working, as state after state in the US – undeterred by facts – confirms that it will no longer take refugees from Syria. Since I wrote this article yesterday, the number has more than doubled to 26 states. Further, conservative Republican candidates like Donald Trump are falling over themselves to support ISIS through their fear-based rhetoric – with Trump calling for the US to shut mosques and using the Paris Tragedy as an argument to support US gun laws.

This post was first published on ProgressiveConversation.

 

There must be a better way

Solving the problems in the Middle East is a task we cannot achieve but we can certainly do better in Australia to protect our children from the harm others would try to inflict on them and to improve social cohesion by embracing diversity and tolerance.

What do our police hope to achieve when they send in hundreds of armed men to storm a few houses in the middle of the night screaming, searching as terrified families and neighbours watch on, dragging off teenagers, locking them up incommunicado, and then usually releasing them without charge?

Why are these raids filmed and the footage, if not captured by TV journalists along for the ride, immediately provided to the media? Is it a show of strength? Is it designed to terrify the Muslim community? Should we be using fear as a weapon?

The government argues that we must protect the privacy of tax evaders but they are very quick to show the homes of people who have not been charged with any crime, to show them being led off in handcuffs, to detail evidence in the media before any trial has taken place.

In most instances, these raids have been sparked by information from the community rather than intelligence gathered by security agencies. One wonders if the community will continue to be willing to pass on concerns if their children are subjected to such harsh treatment and penalties. These actions are far more likely to build resentment rather than co-operation.

How could we do things differently?

Intervention should be constructive rather than punitive.

If you become aware of teenagers posting inflammatory stuff on social media, or being contacted by people with possible bad intent, instead of being heavy-handed, why not get the family together with local Muslim leaders, psychologists and social workers, police trained in cultural awareness, mentors – a non-threatening support group who can try to help a young person through a vulnerable period.

We should listen to young people and learn about what they are looking for. Show them a way to a happier life, a different path. Help them know their own worth as a contributing member of our society with all of us working to make it a safe and tolerant place for our families to grow.

Rather than looking for solutions, the government is spending a fortune on how to spin its approach. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its agencies spend up to $9.2 million on communications staff salaries alone.

They have now hired a group called Talkforce Media and Communications Strategists to provide media training to its top executives. Talkforce trains clients to deal with “difficult media situations” and manage “controversial issues and close media scrutiny”. Its full-day workshops include mock television interviews that teach clients “how to take control of an interview, even when under pressure”.

“Talkforce Media and Communications Strategists can help you tailor and direct messages to your audience in order to be heard over all the competing noise that exists in this modern and technology-driven age.”

Managing the message has become on obsession. Whatever happened to telling the truth?

It comes back down to respect.

Do those who want to stop mosques being built and to ban halal certification of food want to impose their religious beliefs and dietary choices on us all? These people who live in irrational fear that Sharia law is about to be universally imposed cannot see they are trying to do the same thing. Security forces use fear and force to fight against those who use fear and force.

There must be a better way.

Against radicalisation

By Barry Hindess

My title might seem to suggest an hostility to radicalisation, that is, to the thing itself – and thus as endorsing the general thrust, if not the actual detail, of Australian public policy towards what is widely seen as the threat of radicalisation. ‘Radicalisation’ is too often presented as something that happens to young people, often turning them into potentially violent extremists. Rather, it should be seen as an ugly figment of the security imagination unfettered, as this imagination so often seems to be, by serious thought. Accordingly, my title reflects an objection to the term ‘radicalisation’ and the ideas it represents.

While it might seem that ‘radicalisation’ could happen to any of us, that whatever views we might presently hold – green, liberal, socialist or conservative, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim or atheist – could become more ‘radical’ or ‘extreme’, when these terms are used without qualification they almost invariably target Islam. This is a problem that Malcolm Turnbull’s inclusive response to the recent Parramatta shooting shares with his predecessor Tony Abbott’s more confrontational stance. In a recent interview with ABC Radio National (PM, October 5 at 18.10), Turnbull insisted on the ‘need to counter radicalisation’ before going on to say that ‘We have to work with the Muslim community in particular very collaboratively … They are our absolutely necessary partners in combating this type of extremist violence.’ Here radicalisation and extremist violence are clearly viewed as issues that arise within the Muslim community, which is why they are ‘our absolutely necessary partners in combating’ them.

However, there are familiar varieties of extremism and of radicalism that are in no sense Islamic. Those of us who watched the recent Bendigo Mosque protests, whether in the flesh or, as in my case, through the security of our television screens, will have observed a truly frightening level of hatred and aggression on the part of some of the protestors. We have yet to see our leaders take a stand against the radicalisation of such people. There are Bhuddist extremists in Myanmar who terrorise the Rohingya Muslim minority. And again, there are militant evangelical Christian extremists in parts of Africa and in North and South America who are not often seen as posing a threat to the Western way of life. There are small groups of these Christian extremists in Australia but, whatever they may do to each other, they generally leave the rest of us in peace.

Leaving religion to one side, we often see radicalism and extremism in political life. At one time, political radicalism was expected of young people – at least, among those of a certain class, a class that allowed its members the luxury of experimenting with political allegiances. The French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau is reputed to have said ‘My son is 22 years old. If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then’. Clemenceau’s comments suggest both an awareness that radicalisation might happen among the young and what now seems a remarkably optimistic response: give it time and it will likely pass.

More immediate examples of political extremism are neo-liberalism and the anti-refugee practices promoted by our two major political parties. The former is a doctrine that promotes radical economic change throughout the world – the privatisation of public assets and deregulation and marketisation of anything that moves. Margaret Thatcher did not come into the world as a neo-liberal extremist but, grew into it in her years as a politician. In other words, she was radicalised. Similarly for the IPA ‘s benighted publicists. Neo-liberal extremism poses a real threat to most people in the West, and to the rest of the world too. It is alive and kicking in the Coalition and, despite Kevin Rudd’s essays in The Monthly, still has disturbing levels of support within the Labor Party.

Australia’s refugee regime is a threat, whose brutality has been well-documented, to the well-being of anyone in its clutches. It is a clear case of irreligious Western extremism, suggesting that both those who run the regime’s camps and those who established them must have been radicalised, perhaps by the thought that being seen to be tough on refugees was a prerequisite of career advancement and/or political success. It is tempting to say something similar about Western military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, ostensibly to counter the threat of terrorism at its source. The manifest failure of these interventions and their counter-productive effects have lead, with the partial exception of Afghanistan, not to serious withdrawal from the interventions themselves but rather to their intensification (or radicalisation).

Another problem is that the term is not well-defined. Both here and in North America where it seems to have originated, it is little more than a reflection of the political concerns of those who use it. It refers to a process identified by its alleged results. Leaving aside the well publicised actions of Western powers in the Middle East, whatever else results in radicalism among Muslims is denounced as radicalisation. As often happens with public policy fads, far too many academics have identified themselves as ‘radicalisation’ specialists, thereby overlooking their responsibility to promote intellectual rigour in public life.

My point is not to deny that talk of radicalisation gestures towards a real problem or problems but it is to suggest that we should examine these problems more carefully before seeking actively to address them. We know that young people and more than a few of their elders, finding themselves alienated from the societies in which they live, sometimes seek support elsewhere and it is hardly surprising that this happens within the Muslim community. The reasons for this alienation and responses to it may be many and various, sometimes including ill-informed talk of ‘radicalism’, ‘extremism’ or ‘fundamentalism’ and the intemperate actions of our governments. The politically-charged notion of radicalisation has little to offer our understanding of these issues.

Barry Hindess
School of Politics and International Relations,
Australian National University, Canberra

 

Would you take advice from this man?

Queensland MP George Christensen has thrown his two cents worth into the debate about marriage equality issuing the following warning to Tony Abbott:

“The party policy to retain the definition of marriage as contained in the Marriage Act is supported by the majority of Liberal and National MPs and senators and I’d say many of them would hold the view that this is what our party stands for.

To many it would be both bizarre and a slap in the face to our grassroots members to suggest that the conservative parties adopt a policy which says we don’t have a stance on marriage and everyone can be a free agent and vote how they want.

The party membership didn’t like being ignored on the ETS and they won’t on this one either.”

Aside from the hubris of an inexperienced backbencher issuing veiled threats to the Prime Minister, and the fact that the government have already broken more promises than I can list, Christensen is courting danger by inviting attention in this area.

As editor of a student newspaper, he published a series of virulently racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and woman-hating rants back in1998.

On one page, Christensen expressed concern that new versions of the Bible were “removing accusations that the Jews killed Christ.”

On another page, he tells jokes about AIDS:

“A homosexual walks into the Doctor’s office, sobbing. ‘Doctor, Doctor’, he says ‘ think I’ve got AIDS. ‘Well,’ replied the Doctor, shocked ‘Who gave it to you?’

‘I dunno, says the homosexual. ‘I haven’t got eyes in the back of my head.’

He doesn’t restrict his venom there either. In an article about the Hollywood actor Will Smith he expressed his thoughts on women:

Most Aussie men often try to crack onto good-looking women and neglect the not-so-good looking (read fat) ones

Perhaps it’s the intelligence of women or, rather, the lack of it?

My thoughts: the truth is women are stupid and that’s that. So on behalf of you, me and the guy that’s shrugging his shoulders in bewilderment after reading his sister’s copy of Dolly, let me just say: Will Smith, you’re lucky God gave women no bloody brains.

Other contributions express concern about the special privileges being bestowed on Aborigines, the transgendered, republicans and so on. He is even critical of former Prime Minister John Howard for being a sell-out to aboriginal interests. He argues that there is an Australian system of “apartheid” which benefits Aborigines through land rights, Abstudy and so on.

After this was revealed during the 2010 election campaign, Christensen apologized. Kerry O’Brien interviewed Tony Abbott who brushed it off as adolescent silliness and defended Christensen as a good candidate.

Gay group, the Coalition of Equality, accepted Christensen’s apology:

“If he has apologised for that particular publication and he’s willing to recant the fact that they were not in the best of taste, and he apologises for them, then I think we should let bygones be bygones and move forward,” he said.

“[We should] make sure that we do understand what is acceptable and suitable comment in regards to gay and lesbian people in Australian.

“We have to accept that what he says now on face value is a sincere and heartfelt apology.

“If in the future, it turns out not to be, I’m sure there will be words said at that point, and embarrassment caused to him.”

But George seems impervious to embarrassment.

Right from the start his tenure was questionable as he had failed to resign from his position on the Mackay Regional Council before the election, putting himself at risk of high court action because of the constitutional ban on “officers of profit under the crown” being elected to federal parliament.

Coming from generations of cane farmers, in 2012 Christensen launched an attack in parliament on the National Health and Medical Research Council which he accused of demonising the sugar industry through their new food guidelines. The strong defence of the sugar industry earned Christensen the title of “sugar plum fairy”.

George hates environmentalists with a passion. In September 2014 he labeled Greenpeace and other environmentalists as terrorists, stating that they are “gutless green grubs” for opposing the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in his electorate. In a speech to Parliament, Christensen said “the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I’m sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement”.

In January this year he posted on his Facebook page a cartoon depicting Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk naked on a wrecking ball, crashing through a wall with the words “Abbot Point Coal Terminal jobs” written on it.

When criticised, he defended his actions saying “Some people need to get a sense of humour I think it’s pretty pathetic to fake outrage at a cartoon that’s satirical just to score political points.

“Taking the mickey especially out of politicians has always been a strong part of the Australian culture and I think we should all just lighten up and have a laugh sometimes because as a nation we’re losing our sense of humour to political correctness.”

Unsurprisingly perhaps, George is also in favour of the death penalty. In May 2011, he refused to back a motion condemning the death penalty and instead told federal parliament he supported the death penalty “for terrorists and for those found guilty of the most heinous of crimes – murder of a child, particularly those involving rape, murder of an elderly person or a person with disabilities, again particularly those involving rape.”

And when it comes to Muslims, George really fires up.

He started off slowly with the live trade export ban, blaming Islam for the torture of cattle in Indonesia and saying it wasn’t the concern of Australian farmers.

He ramped up in the wake of the 2012 Sydney anti-Islam film protests, launching a public attack on those taking part in the demonstration, saying those who broke the law, other than himself, should “jump on the first plane and head back to where you come from because that stuff is just simply not on in this nation.”

In 2013, Christensen was the only federal MP to attend a rally featuring controversial Dutch politician and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders during his tour of Australia. Christensen said he supported Wilders’ view that “people of dual citizenship who act in a way that is contrary to the values of this country and engage in extremist violence should have their citizenship stripped and be deported.”

Last year George tweeted “We shouldn’t tolerate sharia law in Aust and the burqa/niqab shouldn’t be worn in public.”

In November 2014 Christensen claimed in an online opinion piece that Halal certification was “outrageous” and a “religious tax.” He also claimed that it is “entirely feasible” to think some halal certifiers could be financing groups such as Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

When the #illridewithyou campaign was created to counter potential anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of the Sydney siege, Christensen took to Twitter calling it a “pathetic left-wing black arm band brigade campaign” that casts “Aussies as racists who will endanger Muslims”.

He elaborated further on his public Facebook page.

“So Twitter has erupted with a typical politically correct, left wing response to the Sydney siege with these hashtag campaigns #weridetogether & #illridewithyou going viral,” he wrote.

“These campaigns falsely portray Aussies as thugs who terrorise Muslims and, in doing so, create victims where there are none.

“How about we just focus on the real victims of the Sydney siege (who, in my view, are more heroic than the left-wing twitter clicktivist keyboard warrior army combined): Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.”

So, in summary, George appears to hate Jews, Muslims, Aborigines, republicans, environmentalists, gays, transgender, women, and anyone who says we should cut down on sugar.

And the scary part is that he is feeling increasingly empowered to thrust his views upon us as our government continues its lurch to the extreme right.

Enough is enough.

larry pickering

I am ashamed. I am ashamed of the appalling treatment handed out to our first female Prime Minister. I am ashamed of the inhumane treatment of traumatised people seeking sanctuary in our country. This is not the Australia I know or understand. This is not how the people I know think or behave. So where is this hatred coming from?

In a recent article, I pointed out the part Larry Pickering played in the harassment of Julia Gillard, bombarding politicians with hate filled emails about her accompanied by tasteless cartoons, and how it had been allowed to continue uncensured. Apparently his talent at drawing cartoons showing politicians’ penises makes him a formidable man to take on. After all, it’s better to pull your head in and say nothing than to have him draw you with a turtle dick.

Surprisingly, Pickering has some reach online with his facebook page and blog The Pickering Post. A quick visit to his page, which I don’t recommend for the faint-hearted, shows he is still fixated with all things Gillard, the more “scandalous” the better. It appears to be an obsession he cannot let go.

Unsurprisingly, he also hates Muslims – all 1.6 billion of them. Today he wrote of the story of a 26 year old man marrying a 13 year old girl in an Islamic ceremony in NSW. The man has been arrested because this is illegal in our country and not tolerated in our society (unlike some other societies) – a point that Pickering neglects.

He uses this incident to incite hatred towards all Muslims.

“Islam brandishes its endemic paedophelia as a badge of honour, but we try desperately to protect our children from sexual abuse while turning our backs on the Islamic outrage rather than risk the “racist” label.”

Has he not been following the Royal Commission? How many Muslims were there in the Catholic priesthood or the Salvation Army or YMCA or Scouts?

“Religion is about the power of numbers. Islam demands the ovarian cycle must be used to its maximum and at the earliest possible age. Catholicism merely bans condoms, but both edicts are designed to have the same effect… an increase in numbers!”

Pssst Larry – the Catholics WAY outnumber the Muslims in this country, and can you tell me which religions are looking for a decrease in numbers?

“Cannot one appreciate the incompatibility of the weak, compliant Christian to the person born to Islam?”

Ask the asylum seekers we have detained illegally about how weak and compliant we Christians are.

“If your parents tell you, when you are young, that the colour red is actually blue or the World is actually flat, you will believe everyone else is wrong. You will have no choice but to believe your parents. This is the power of religious indoctrination of a child.”

Larry I live with a man who was firmly indoctrinated into the Catholic faith until he was 18. It is amazing what safe haven, education, and love can do to overcome religious indoctrination.

“Therefore their base culture demands the total destruction of non-believers. The non-believers are dangerous apostates likely to convert others to their evils and must be eradicated at all cost. This is what they are taught from birth and this is what they believe with a passion that has no equal.”

There are no doubt some fundamentalist groups like the Taliban and Al Qaeda that may think this way. That is why moderate Muslims flee from places where these people carry out their reign of terror and oppression.

“The congregational togetherness (mosque) is designed to reinforce the disgusting policies of inhumanity toward anyone who is of a different faith. Christianity uses its congregational churches in the same way. There are many fiercely competitive Christian churches but there is only one Islamic mosque… can you see why we are losing?”

Losing our marbles from the sound of it. My local church does not want to “reinforce policies of inhumanity” any more than my Muslim friends want to. This is 21st century Australia Larry, not the Crusades.

“The Islamic preoccupation with decapitation is also clear! If you don’t believe what I believe, my prophet’s command is to behead you, that is my scriptural command. I am commanded by Allah and the Prophet Mohammed to do this! I cannot disobey, I am Muslim!

Islam is the only World religion to legitimise beheadings.”

Now you are getting seriously delusional. You seem to want to project the actions of individuals onto an entire religion. How many people have been beheaded in Australia Larry? Or even worldwide? You obviously have the stats at your fingertips. Or did you just see that Youtube clip?

“Islam is anything but a “religion of peace”. It is a way of life, a barbaric, base culture born of Mongolian inspired historic violence and inhumanity toward non-believers, and women.”

Gee I seem to remember something called the Spanish Inquisition not to mention the practice of burning witches. Does Joan of Arc ring any bells? The barbarism of history is a burden shared by us all Larry. Quoting things that may have happened in 768 or 1086 is hardly relevant to today’s society.

“The terms “extremist” and “fundamentalist” are misnomers of the weak apologists for Islam. There are no extremists, they don’t exist… just faithful, obedient, adherents to the one blind Islamic faith. The people next door who you would borrow a cup of sugar from (as the 9/11 bombers were described to be) have been ordered by Allah to kill you.”

Are you suggesting that my neighbours are Islamic jihadists who should not be kept behind a pool fence? Or that the kid that I gave a lift to to cricket all those years was just waiting for an opportunity to behead me? Get a grip man!

Far be it from me to make a psychiatric evaluation but can I assure you Larry, I do not lie awake at night expecting to be murdered in my bed. Such fears are often described as paranoia. I suggest you discuss them with someone more qualified than I.

I am not a lawyer but it is my understanding that the laws involving hate speech and discrimination towards a race or religion are similar.

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 forbids hate speech on several grounds. The Act makes it “unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person, or of some or all of the people in the group”

The Racial Discrimination act states that racial hatred is against the law.

Racial hatred (sometimes referred to as vilification) is doing something in public based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate.

Examples of racial hatred may include:

• racially offensive material on the internet, including eforums, blogs, social networking sites and video sharing sites

Few Australian jurisdictions prohibit religious vilification, but almost all prohibit racial vilification; if a complaint is made about conduct that was because of a person’s religion/race, it can be dealt with and recorded as a “racial vilification” complaint. In this way the abusive treatment of a Muslim can be addressed and resolved even if – as is usually the case in Australia – the law does not cover religious vilification.

I would call on Attorney General George Brandis to enforce the law and stop people like the odious Larry Pickering from spreading his hate-filled venom and religious vilification, and I would call on all Australians to say enough is enough – this has to stop!