Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Humble impressions on Mark Steyn

Islamist terrorists haven’t yet developed bombs that only kill non-Muslims. Victims of the New York, London and Bali attacks included people of all faiths. One of the London 7/7 victims had the surname Islam.

You can fight terror using Andrew Robb’s method – actively consulting all communities, including Muslims, to develop sensible strategies to root out some causes and grievances that turn young people into potential suicide bombers.

You can also fight terrorism by handing victory to terrorists, by actively working to marginalise the very communities whose cooperation you need to win the battle. You can write that bin Ladin and Zarqawi were right all along – that Islam is inherently violent, intolerant and apocalyptic that has no place in Australia.

In other words, you can effectively provide free propaganda services to al-Qaida. Mark Steyn chooses to take this course.

I confess I found Mark Steyn seriously funny on Monday night. But behind all the jokes about burning widows in colonial India were some sinister views.

Steyn spoke at the CIS’s 5th Annual Big Ideas Forum, accompanying by respected conservative scholar Owen Harries and chaired by Dr Janet Albrechtsen.

Steyn argued Muslims will never form part of Western civilisation because Islam cannot exist in a pluralist society. Islam as an “apocalyptic faith engulfing Europe”, the biggest threat coming from 2nd and 3rd generation Muslims. At this stage there’s no need to nuke Mecca, but Western converts must be convinced that being Australian is better than being Muslim.

Pauline Hanson made an appearance at question time (though thankfully this time she didn't dance on stage). Even yours truly got a chance to ask something - what would happen if 2nd & 3rd generation Muslims became too great a problem and needed to be deported. After all, the relevant DIMA bureaucrat in charge of it would probably be of Muslim background. As might be a financier.

(Incidentally, the Chair of the NAB is on the CIS Board of Governors.)

I then suggested Steyn’s arguments be collected into a book entitled “The Protocols of the Learned Mullahs of Tehran”. Visibly angry, Steyn demanded I answer for terror suspects in London. It wasn’t pretty, and at least one CIS person wasn’t a happy camper.

(Then again, another came upto me and congratulated me on having the guts to “challenge” Sten’s “racist rant”.)

Still, that’s what happens when you provide a podium to some Canadian monoculturalist to lecture on the dangers of people like Shaoquett Moselmane pose to Australia!

I really hope that in future the CIS carefully choose their speakers. Inviting neo-Con Muslim-hating polemicists like Daniel Pipes and Mark Steyn doesn’t help further the debate on security and culture. All it does is enable the CIS to be party to a further marginalising of even the most well-adjusted and moderate Muslim Aussies and Kiwis (i.e. 99% of Muslims either side of the Tasman).

When your average Aussie Mossie is marginalised by speakers invited by mainstream thinktanks like the CIS, the only people who benefit are al-Qaida types who point to such events and say to Muslims: “See, we told you so!”

Maybe the CIS could invite other well-spoken and articulate Western Muslim writers and scholars. There’s no shortage of them. Here’s a few suggestions …

a) Khaled Abou el-Fadl

b) Hamza Yusuf Hanson

c) Tim Winter (or Abdal Hakim Murad)

d) Anwar Ibrahim

e) Dr Tanveer Ahmed

f) Professor Abdullah Saeed and/or Hassan Saeed

g) Dr Tariq Ramadan

h) Reza Aslan

i) Waleed Aly

j) Nuh Keller

And there are plenty more. Inviting openly and blatantly racist polemicists is inconsistent with the CIS’s standing and will open it to understandable allegations of pushing an ideological barrel whose only long-term beneficiary is the very radical Islamist groups it wishes to combat.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

A Think Tank with an Identity Crisis

I've decided to temporarily remove this posting. Anyone who has by some freak chance read it and disagrees with it is welcome to provide critical, neutral, supportive or even abusive comments!

But remember that Sheik/Rabbi Musa/Moses bin-Maymoun/Maimonides (the venerable dude in the photo) is watching!!

© Irfan Yusuf 2006