On 10 September 2016, One Nation leader, Senator Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech in the 45th Federal Parliament of Australia. She said a number of things which were questioned on both their legitimacy and general veracity.
We checked the facts of many of her assertions.
Muslims bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own
If you used a toothbrush, had a cup of coffee, visited a library, a university, a hospital, used a camera, had a 3 course meal or had to visit a doctor....these are just some of the contributions that Muslim culture and ideology have contributed to society.
Australia is a country comprised of people with different and competing cultures and ideologies. Muslims are not a homogenous group and are culturally and ideologically diverse. Surveys consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Muslims self-identity as Australians. In the same section of her speech, Senator Hanson speaks of the good old days “before federation” when Australia’s identity “had nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with belonging”.
Hanson conveniently omits a key point – that before Federations, there were no Australians. Before the inception of a Federated Australia, the population consisted of immigrants from the United Kingdom. Aboriginal Australians sat on the periphery and were dispossessed – they were not accepted as part of the vision for the nation.
Like every other community, some bad apples identify as Muslim, but overall Australian Muslims are active highly successful and valued members of Australian society that contribute greatly in all facets of life.
Hanson’s obvious xenophobia and racism towards minority groups, including Aboriginal Australians, Asians and Muslims shows that her values are incompatible with grounded Australian values of inclusion, diversity, egalitarianism and a fair go.
Islam does not believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom if the press, or freedom of assembly
Islam is a religion based on a belief in God and acknowledgement of Muhammad as a prophet, daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage. It is one of the Abrahamic faiths along with Judaism and Christianity. Most Muslims understand Islam to be a way of life that guides one in relation to the worship of god and coexistence with fellow human beings. While the former incorporates ideas about creation, accountability and the afterlife, the latter advocates such principles and values as benevolence, coexistence, compassion, dignity, harmony, honesty, justice, security and wellbeing. The role that Islam plays in the lives of Muslim people varies widely, although, prayer, charity and fasting are practiced by large majorities of Muslims globally and represent the essence of Islam as they understand and practice the faith.
Since the second half of the 20th century, the ideas of several Muslim leaders, led global movements to amalgamate Islam and politics in modern Islamist thought and action. However, neither the Quran nor the narrations attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (Hadith) offer, let alone endorse, any political system. The political systems of the pre-modern Muslim world developed after the death of the prophet Muhammad according to the conditions and realities of the time not on the basis of Islam’s teachings. While democracy has not been a feature of Muslim politics, this has had little to do with Islam’s teachings or Muslim public opinion.
Polls conducted around the Muslim world have shown a strong demand for democratisation. This phenomenon is not occurring as an alternative to Islam or a compromise of Islamic principles, but represents a widely-held view among Muslims that Islam and democracy are compatible. The Arab Spring of 2010-2012, was a clear and profound expression of support for freedom and democracy. Despite the failure of the Arab Spring in creating democratic institutions and processes, there is still a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations.
Senator Hanson’s statements regarding Islam demonstrate a lack of understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of Muslims and Islamic thought, past and present. The Muslim world has always featured multiple schools of thought in respect to theology, philosophy and jurisprudence. Muslim fundamentalists and extremist groups, like the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram seek to convince Muslims that their Islamist agenda is the only legitimate version of Islam.
Such groups advocate a monolithic interpretation and actively destroy evidence of Islam’s historic intellectual and cultural pluralism and manifestations of cultural diversity and interpretations of Islam with which they disagree. Unfortunately, Senator Hanson is unwittingly serving this agenda. We have a problem with ignorance and extremism, which is especially troubling when our elected representatives are in agreement with religious fundamentalists.
Islam and Australian Muslims believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. We don't believe in using these freedoms to vilify and discriminate against others....especially when this is based on ignorance and fans the flames of fear and hatred.
The Grand Mufti and other Muslim Leaders are deafening with their silence or lack of sympathy
The Muslim community, the Grand Mufti and other Muslim leaders have continuously spoken out against extremists and those who want to harm the Australian way of life. Islamic leaders, both in Australia and globally condemn terrorist attacks.
In response to the Lindt Café Siege on December 15, Muslim community leaders across Australia condemned the attack. Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, the Grand Mufti, publicly condemned the attack and the use of the Islamic flag, which Monis made hostages hold up against the windows. Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed , on behalf of the Australian National Imams Council, spoke publicly to “condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam”.
President of the Islamic Society of South Australia Waleed Alkhazrajy said his community was devastated by the incident and praying for the victims. “We are sad for the loss of life. We are sad being part of this nation for the taking of these people as hostages,” he said. “Muslims in the community spent the whole day praying … fearing for the safety of these people. We feel for each other, this pain. We are one body, we are one Australian body.”
Darwin’s senior Islamic leader, Imam Daud Yunus, condemned the attack but questioned the legal system and Monis’ bail, saying the gunman should have faced trial.
“I think it’s bad he’s dead because now he can’t face the consequences. This man was already a criminal and known for other offences … I don’t know how he had been granted bail,” he said.
In 2014-15, Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) broadcast a number of videos of the members of the organisation beheading foreign nationals, including US journalist James Foley.
Prominent leaders of the Australian Islamic community condemned the videos and tactics throughout numerous publications in Australia. And Australians weren’t the only ones. More than 100 of the world’s Muslim scholars wrote an open letter to IS , highlighting the Prophet’s stance on mercy for all worlds, including the saying “He who shows no mercy will not be shown mercy” and “Have mercy and you will be shown mercy”. The letter states:
“You have misinterpreted Islam into a religion of harshness, brutality, torture and murder. As elucidated, this is a great wrong and an offence to Islam, to Muslims and to the entire world.”
Leader of the Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights Joumanah El-Matrah said : “From the Islamic perspective, Islam does certainly not allow for the enslavement of other human beings, much less the selling of them.”
The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) released a statement after Australian teenager Abdullah Elmir left Australia to join IS: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms any threat against Australians … It is utterly deplorable for violent extremists to use Islam as a cover for their crimes and atrocities.”
The ANIC also said , “Since the ISIS group was established we have been very clear about denouncing their lies”, adding that the militants had misappropriated the term “Islamic State” for their own political goals.
Burqas are not a religious requirement... I am sure a lot of the women forced to wear them would love to cast them aside but live in fear to do so
A fundamental teaching of Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion. In other words, you can't force anyone to do anything against their will....be it wearing a Burqa, bikini.. or a Burkini. A very small proportion of Muslim women wear the Burqa, who wear it out of choice, rather than compulsion. In a secular country like Australia underpinned by separation of Church (or mosque, temple or synagogue) and State, Hanson’s argument that wearing a Burqa is not a religious requirement is irrelevant. To ban the Burqa is an attack on a woman’s liberty to dress as she pleases.
The ‘niqab’, (which is different to the 'burqa') is worn by a tiny percentage of Australian Muslim women who exercise their free choice to wear them. Such a ban would be potentially unconstitutional as it may breach section 116 of the Australian Constitution that prevents the Commonwealth from enacting laws that prohibits the free exercise of any religion. Such a ban could also be breaching our international law obligations under the International human rights obligations and under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Anisa Khan is a Muslim woman who wears the Niqab out of choice. In an interview for the 7:30 report in 2014, Anisa was asked to respond to the claim that husbands impose the Niqab on their wives. To this, Khan responded: "Yeah, it's the contrary, quite the opposite, it is. Most women - I'd say 100 percent of the women that I know in Australia make that decision on their own. It's a very well informed decision"
Muslim men marry multiple wives, under their laws, then having multiple children at our expense while they collect thousands of dollars a week from the taxpayer
In Australia polygamy is illegal, as is defrauding Centrelink. Australian Muslim men, like all other Muslims, must follow the law of the land they live in. In fact Sharia law makes it a requirement. The multiple wives with multiple children claiming multiple welfare cheques is an urban myth that has no factual evidence to support it.
Now we are in dander of being swamped by Muslims
Hanson's statement that we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims is laughable in its predictability. Following her election, many commentators simply assumed that her maiden speech would be reflective of her 1996 speech whereby she would simply replace "Asians" with "Muslims" - which in some was she did.
The sentiment is offensive, racists and erroneous. Muslims make up approximately 2 percent of the Australian population. Given that Muslims are 25 percent of the global population and 60 percent of that population live in Australia's neighbouring Asia-Pacific region, Muslims in Australia are in fact under-represented.
Their tolerance to our customs has seen Christmas carols no longer sung at some schools, Bibles not to be found in most hospitals and some public swimming baths have times set aside for Muslim Women only
The Vast majority of Australian Muslims have no issue in participating in the festivities of Christmas and schools are encouraged to participate in singing of Christmas carols. Provisions are made on an individual basis for students not wishing to participate in some schools to sit out these activities.
Many hospitals have chaplaincy services, multi-faith rooms and Bibles continue to be distributed in Australia by groups like the Gideons.
Halal Certification tax has been forced upon us, costing Australians approximately $10 million a year. Halal certification is not a religious requirement but a moneymaking racket, and certification is unnecessary for Muslims' welfare because non-halal products can be consumed, provided the word "Bismillah" is said over the food and a prayer is recited.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. in reference to food, halal refers to a dietary requirement for practicing Muslims, which is not dissimilar to Kosher dietary requirements for practicing Jews. halal food is food that has been prepared to comply with Islamic requirements. and is free from pork products, alcohol and other products. Halal certification is equivalent to certification available for people with various dietary requirements such as gluten free or those with peanut allergies. Various organisations are responsible for the operations of Halal certifications with companies who wish their products to carry a Halal label, paying fees for inspection and certification
It is worthwhile to note that the Senate Committee Report on the third party certification of food, it was noted that Halal Certification does not require a religious ritual, nor does it in itself make food any more or any less halal. products are either halal or they are not - certification merely verifies the fact. This means that water, vegetables, tea and coffee are likely halal foods that you are eating, even though there's no certification.
Halal is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs tens of thousands of Australians and is the lifeblood of hundreds of country towns in rural Australia. As an industry it is estimated that Halal generates around $15 billion annual in Australia. Over 90% of this is for meat and products exported to markets all around the world, with the rest for the local Australian market.
Halal certification fees are not a tax and are designed to cover the operating and compliance costs of holding certification. in 2015, the estimated total amount of Halal certification fees in Australia was around $10 million. As a percentage of the value of halal business generated, that is approximately 0.5 per cent.
Despite numerous calls for investigation and a senate inquiry into Halal certification, there has been no connection made between the process and the funding of terrorism as previously touted by Hanson.
Muslims are imprisoned at almost three times the average rate. The rate of unemployment and public dependency is two to three times greater that the national average.
In a recent study, the high unemployment rate experiences by Muslims has been deemed unusual given the Muslim population had a higher educational attainment that the national average (2014, 18.5 per cent of Muslims had a bachelor degree or higher compared to only 15.6 per cent of the total population; similarly, 27.5 per cent of Muslim Australians had a year 12 equivalent qualification compared to 17.8 per cent for the total population). Significantly, the research concluded that the unexpectedly high unemployment rate was due to Muslim jobseekers having difficulty in overcoming structural obstacles like inadequacy of services and discrimination.
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