Sunday, September 16, 2012

Congratulations. You just ruined multiculturalism for the rest of us.

In case you can't read the sign in this photo: it's a small child holding up a sign that reads, "Behead all those who insult the prophet." This was seen at the anti-American protest in Sydney yesterday. [Source]

This picture, combined with footage of 300 morons converging on Sydney's CBD yesterday to rant about the film that disrespects the prophet Muhammad, might be the confirmation to me that we need to have a serious rethink about the direction of multiculturalism in this country.

I like being in a diverse multi-ethnic society where a variety of cultures are allowed to be expressed. But the multicultural ideal only works when the cultures it contains share the same basic values. While the majority of Australian Muslims have integrated well and become "Australian", there are certain minority elements, particularly in Sydney, that maintain views that are simply anathema to the values that are fundamental to the society we want to be in 2012. It would be slightly more understandable if these 300 protesters had just arrived in Australia from somewhere less genteel, and we could say that they have not yet got accustomed to the Australian way of life. But most of those men were either born here or grew up here. When people can grow up in Australia and yet grow to adulthood with a mentality that is unrecognisable as Australian, then perhaps there is something wrong with the way our society indulges these idiots.

We should celebrate diverse cultures. No doubt. But somewhere along the line, some people have taken that to mean that it's okay to think like a barbarian.

I have no axe to grind with the majority of Australian Muslims who are by and large pretty good folks. I am the child of a Muslim, in fact. I have numerous friends who are of Muslim background, and I can say unreservedly that Australia is a better place for their presence.

But we need to do something to ensure we don't add to the minority of Muslims who are just f*cking idiots. There are plenty of non-Muslims in Australia who are also f*cking idiots of course, but for all their faults, they generally don't advocate murdering people who insult their religion.

You know what Christians in Australia do when someone insults Jesus? Pretty much nothing. Sometimes they might write a stern letter to a newspaper. When people can insult Muhammad as frequently as they insult Jesus, and nothing happens aside from an increased volume of letters to the editor, that's when I'll feel affirmed that everything is okay with multiculturalism.

11 comments:

  1. That's an interesting analysis of what multiculturalism is and what you think it should be. The power dynamics embedded in this post highlights the main problem with multiculturalism - the position of the white, secular majority. Where is your position? Are you siding with the majority, white, non-Muslim population here? Who is 'allowing' other cultures to express themselves? While the response of the Muslim protesters in Sydney is abhorrent, I don't think it is surprising that there would be an outpouring of frustration when a group's religion is constantly misrepresented by people from outside the group, and particularly from what is the powerful white, non-Muslim majority. This is the failure of multiculturalism because there is no mechanism to recognise and correct structural inequalities that exist in society. We're just supposed to celebrate diversity without addressing the difficulties and inequalities that come with living in a culturally diverse society.

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    1. Hi Karen.

      I have to say I don't think the traditional left-wing notions of structural inequalities are at play here. These guys are doing the same thing their counterparts are doing all over the Muslim world. It's not about the dynamics of interfaith or intercultural relations in Australia; it's about the hardline streak that is an all-too-powerful aspect of contemporary Islam.

      I don't think it is surprising that there would be an outpouring of frustration when a group's religion is constantly misrepresented by people from outside the group, and particularly from what is the powerful white, non-Muslim majority.

      The representation is that Muslims are violent and barbarous. If these guys are frustrated by that perception of them, the last thing they should do is publicly act in a violent and barbarous way.

      The power dynamics embedded in this post highlights the main problem with multiculturalism - the position of the white, secular majority. Where is your position? Are you siding with the majority, white, non-Muslim population here? Who is 'allowing' other cultures to express themselves?

      I say "allowed" to contrast to earlier Australian history in which there was no allowance for diversity. I don't want to go back to that. Yet to my mind a flaw of multiculturalism is that we can no longer safely say what Australian core values are anymore.
      To my mind, we are a fairly liberal-minded, secular country, or at least we aim to be. Compared to most of the world, we are fairly progressive when it comes to women's rights, gay rights and other minority rights. (Could be better, of course). There are racists, homophobes and sexists out there, but for the most part they keep their head down and are subsumed by the more accepting majority.
      That is a way of life that roughly evolved out of Western tradition, but has come to be more or less accepted by all Australians, white and non-white. Despite all our differences, virtually every immigrant group has bought into our society's values. That includes most Muslims, who have embraced a secular liberal version of Islam, just as virtually all Christians today follow a secular liberal version of Christianity. But hardline Islam represents a huge challenge, as it explicitly rejects things that we take for granted as a part of the Australian way of life and mentality.

      If someone wears a niqab, for example... they are free to do so. Yet the fact that someone even considers wearing a niqab in the first place tells me that they are not buying into our society as a whole. The fact that members of a crowd of people can carry signs saying "Obama Obama, we like Osama" or "Behead all those who insult the Prophet" and the other 298 people in the crowd seem to endorse that sentiment or at least seem not to mind the signs... that is a sign that something is wrong.

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  2. We should celebrate diverse cultures. No doubt. But somewhere along the line, some people have taken that to mean that it's okay to think like a barbarian.


    Well, I think that you, in your post related to your debate with Razib Khan, got to the core of the problem.

    The problem with multiculturalist ideology is that ALL elements of non-white cultures are supposed to not only be tolerated, but even encouraged, all in the name of equality.

    White people offering even the slightest criticism of non-whites is considered an original sin according to the rules of multiculturalism. And as you pointed out, when whites are lectured about being tolerant, while non-whites are patronizingly exempt form having to be tolerant, that won't yield positive results.

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  3. In Canada we never had serious problems with multiculturalism until the number of Muslims increased and many of them don't want to integrate. We have witnessed in our nation honor killing and we will not stand for this. Three sisters and the first wife were murdered and the father, son and second wife were found guilty of first degree murder. We really don't need these backward culture and behavior in Canada. People are welcome to live in our country, but we are a secular society and intolerant religions and barbaric cultures are not welcome. They were talking to start moderate sharia law courts in Ontario and the Premier of Ontario told them no and dissolved the Jewish and Christian family court systems so Muslims cannot complain. In Quebec a Muslim woman politician held a motion vote to ensure that we never allow sharia law court in Quebec and it was voted in at 100%.

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    1. first off Canada is not your country it belongs to indigenous Indians secondly I don't like muslims either but whites should go have their utopia in Europe . why do white people think Canada belongs to them? you people are illegal in America, Australia, new Zealand, and Canada, as well south Africa. also why didn't whites assimilate and integrate with native Indians? ya funny hey shoe doesn't fit the other foot. Winnipeg Canada is considered the most racist province of whites against the indigenous and what about the 1200 missing raped and murdered native Indians?

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  4. multiculturalism doesn't work,,, Australia is a Christian nation built on jewish.christian values....... theres a difference between letting one enter our land then letting one change our values. im all for every nationality in australia, but I strongly reject any other religious teachings being taught in OZ that doesn't line up with Christian teachings== should be banned,,evry person that enters Australia should be given a bible & told what our nation means,, if they reject that then go back

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    1. Australia is NOT a Christian nation maybe I should tell you about the history regarding british convicts being exiled into Australia and displacing the aborigenese.

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    2. you should go back to England . none of the south pacific islands are white lands to begin with .

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  5. If you support multiculturalism you are a sick deluded moron...

    Thanks for ruining australia for everyone!

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  7. The problem with this poster held up by a child is its came to be true.

    Writing this in 2016 its clear ISIS had brainwashed these people in the park.

    In fact many at the above rally joined ISIS were ISIS and fought and died for ISIS.

    Islam is not a religion or a culture its a political system, a fascist and vile one that with never assimilate or contribute to a pluralistic democracy.

    I feel sorry for those who were in fact slain because Mohamed was insulted.

    How a dead person can be insulted I will never know.

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