Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty. – Thomas Jefferson
When our individual interests and prospects do not seem worth living for, we are in desperate need for something apart from us to live for. All forms of dedication, devotion, loyalty and self-surrender are in essence a desperate clinging to something which might give worth and meaning to our futile, spoiled lives. – Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951)
On February 27 this year, and in a spirit of goodwill, I wrote a post titled Are Muslims A Threat To Australia? I also outlined the threat of Muslim extremism, which I still believe exists only among a minority. However, my attention turned to an article which appeared in The Australian on July 5, just three days ago:
Muslims told to shun democracy
From the article:
British Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Burhan Hanif told participants at a conference in western Sydney yesterday that democracy is "haram" (forbidden) for Muslims, whose political engagement should be be based purely on Islamic law. "We must adhere to Islam and Islam alone," Mr Hanif told about 500 participants attending the convention in Lidcombe.
"We should not be conned or succumb to the disingenuous and flawed narrative that the only way to engage politically is through the secular democratic process. It is prohibited and haram."
He said democracy was incompatible with Islam because the Koran insisted Allah was the sole lawmaker, and Muslim political involvement could not be based on "secular and erroneous concepts such as democracy and freedom".
From information I have (I took my Australian citizenship oath in 1979, after five years of residency, so I’m not up to date, though I believe this information is correct), the Pledge of Commitment to Australia for those taking citizenship is as follows (1994):
From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.
After reading the article in The Australian, my attention was drawn to the Hizb ut-Tahrir website.
What struck me was the number of “Aussie sounding” accents from most of the commentators. Perhaps they were born here in Australia, and never had to take the Oath of Commitment (formerly known as The Oath of Allegiance, but references to God were subsequently dropped). That would indicate why they have such a poor understanding of the foundations of this country, and that it was built upon Christian principles, not Muslim principles. Democracy is enshrined in the founding of Australia. Which essentially means that no matter what your personal belief, you are not entitled to attempt to overthrow the Australian constitution nor the foundational values and principles upon which this nation was built without consequences, and it was built, like it or not, upon Christian principles, not Muslim principles. Whether or not Australians strictly adhere to Christian principles isn’t the point, any more than whether or not every Muslim adheres to every jot and title of Muslim law, including Sharia law.
So here’s my suggestion to the Muslims, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, who are advocating a rejection (or even an overthrow) of Australian democracy. The Taliban would welcome you! We don’t need you nor your ilk, nor your extremist views here. It is, indeed, a free country, and you are entitled to express your views, no matter how misguided they are, a privilege you won’t find in many Muslim countries, so go for your life, but don’t complain when your views are opposed by people like me, also exercising likewise rights to freedom of speech to say what I think.
I ask the question that’s frequently on the lips of many Australians – you left divided and war-torn countries, most of it caused by religion, to come to a land of honey and freedom to do what? Bring back the same animosities and religious and political divisions that wrecked the countries you came from? And you wonder why “anti-Muslim” sentiment is so strong? It’s strong because of the very fear that extremists like yourselves would eventually arise and try to overthrow everything that Australia was built upon, which includes your freedom to express misguided views.
I’m almost disheartened to say that because of organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir, it makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to rebut the offensive and stereotyped emails I receive about Muslims. I usually delete them all, and never forward them, but thanks to extremism, I may think twice about that in future. Maybe we really do need to be constantly warned about the threats from people like you, and your likes will give the Pauline Hansons of Australia more fuel than the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis.