There have been few developments to better illustrate the collective delusions of the progressive media and the Islamic community than the Essential poll finding half of Australians, including one in three Greens voters, support the cessation of Muslim immigration. Sonia Kruger deserves a gargantuan apology for enduring the colossal social media assault upon her character. The result should alert the twitterati and sections of the media how at odds with mainstream opinion they are.
But it won’t. The reaction is an overwhelming projection of blame onto Pauline Hanson, as if she were some kind of world-historical figure capable of dramatic social upheaval. She is merely a receptacle, a rare boat daring to ride a well advanced wave. One Nation is pricking the air polluted with political correctness. Their message is unsophisticated and simplistic, yet the unceasing promotion of victimhood and denial is equally so.
A nuanced case might argue for limiting the immigration of Muslim refugees given a great proportion of the problems of either crime, welfare fraud or terrorism recruits have their origins in such a demographic. That’s not to say Muslims who are skilled migrants don’t hold objectionable views antithetical to Western values, but they tend to acquire social mobility more easily; their resentments diluted.
But if there are no Muslims offering any kind of self reflection or critique, don’t be surprised if the blowback is less diplomatic. The instinct to close ranks in the Muslim community, aided and abetted by leftist media through their promotion of hijab-decorated victimhood, is not working. It is not building any sympathy or greater tolerance, just a frustration and willingness to reject the shrill moralism of the Left and fall into the tuckshop arms of Pauline Hanson.
A good example of Muslim attitudes is outlined by Pakistan-born comedian Sami Shah. In a program for ABC Radio National about Islam he states that he holds discomfort about his religion, so much so that he is an apostate. But at the same time, he states that to express this discomfort serves only to feed the flames of Islamophobia, so he actively avoids exposing his ambivalence towards Muslims or Islam. Like other Muslims with a public voice, he prefers to direct any discomfort to society at large through accusations of racism and discrimination; an acceptable way to express ambivalence towards the mainstream community.
Muslims are incentivised to do this. One of the first stories the Sydney Morning Herald carried after the Essential poll was Islamophobia expert Mariam Vaiszdeh’s account of feeling sick to the stomach that one in two people around her might support banning Muslim immigration. A similar story runs every few weeks with a fresh picture of Mariam looking despondent about racism. She has since been appointed to Westpac as a diversity expert. The currency of victimhood holds considerable privileges, measured in precious media attention, funding, prestigious awards and Board positions.
Mariam’s work is important. Hate crimes are on the rise; a Bangladeshi woman in New York was killed a few weeks ago and the family believe it was on account of her being visibly Muslim. But the other front of facing problematic attitudes amongst Muslims is just as important and there are far fewer voices doing it. They also tend to get ostracised, as British dissident Maajid Nawaz can attest. The idea that only ignorance and racism could lead to the Essential poll result holds the public in contempt.
What if the opposite were true – that the growth in anti-Muslim sentiment, one in keeping with international trends, is not a function of the tabloid press and burgeoning anti-immigration groups? Perhaps the trend is merely a Newtonian reaction to decades of Islamic radicalism, persistent terrorist attacks and Muslim denial, aided by compliant elements of the media and government. What if, shock horror, the public were in fact more informed than ever to make their own judgements?
The most common reasons given for banning Muslim immigration were beliefs they don’t integrate and are a terrorism risk. Well, let’s look at some of the facts. While every other migrant group becomes less religious in successive generations, Muslims become more religious and that piety is often a direct expression of oppositionality and social protest. Islamic schools are the fastest growing segment of the independent school sector. While most believers don’t live by scripture alone, the Koran does explicitly call for the killing of unbelievers and terrorists are merely following that order. Several hundred Australian Muslims have flown to Syria to fight for IS. International poll after poll has shown broad sympathy among large numbers of Muslims with both the aims of and justifications for terrorism, if not the means.
I have long wondered why such polls are never conducted locally, but the attacks on Essential Media after theirs show that having such uncomfortable truths exposed can be intolerable for many and too much of a challenge to their worldview. The evidence suggests that it is Muslims who tend to self segregate first but then accuse the broader public of racism and discrimination. We may well ask then who the ignorant ones are? The chicken and egg conundrum of Muslim cum leftist attitudes requires urgent flipping. Joshua Mitchell, in Politico magazine, outlines why the likes of Trump, Farage and Hanson have been challenging many of the elite ideas since the fall of the Berlin Wall. They include the novel notions that borders and the control of immigration actually matter; people need a belief system partially encapsulated by nationalism and that identity politics is finally reaching a preposterous zenith.
When ‘non-white’ aspiring authors walk out of literary talks because people of privilege dare to write about them, we have reached some kind of dark peak. It is the privileges of victimhood that are the most precious today and those that cry out against white/male privilege know it. This incentive system is working out well for some individual Muslims crafting a public profile, but it is doing little to prick mainstream antipathy to Muslims more generally.
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