There have been several news items from Australia and New Zealand in the past few days evidencing a disturbing trend, not limited to those countries, of cowering in the face of militant Islam.
Item #1 was the cancellation of a planned speaking tour by Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She had been scheduled to tour Australia and New Zealand this month, speaking at five different venues. She is an especially effective critic because she was raised in a strict Muslim family—a family that disowned her after she refused to marry the man they had selected. She fled to secular Holland, got herself an education, and rose on her own merits in the political world. Then came the day when a colleague she had made a political film with was murdered by a devout Muslim, with a message pinned to his corpse that she would be next.
That’s the sort of message that gets your attention. Since then Hirsi Ali has moved to the United States, and has made a living in part by continuing to research, write, and speak about the subject she knows best. I have no idea how much she expected to earn from her Australian trip, but I doubt she was going all the way there just to gawk at the kangaroos.
Instead, what happened was an online demand from some rather nasty Muslims that she not set foot in Australia. This black African woman was accused, among other things, of advocating “white supremacy” and “misogyny” because of her opposition to the Muslim practice of forcible genital mutilation of little girls (as happened to her).
The demand occurred right about the same time that other Australian Muslims (or maybe the same ones) were posting explicit death threats against, of all people, a moderate Australian Muslim imam. Apparently he wasn’t Muslim enough for them, because he was speaking out against the establishment of yet more Islamic schools in the country. Some Islamic schools are relatively benign, others are decidedly not. Evidently, Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi, son of another Shiite imam who had fled Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, has reason to suspect the tenor of at least a major portion of Islamic education in Australia—why else would he have said that “These schools do exist, they are a problem and they need to be either shut down or changed completely”? This observation earned him a Facebook post that “The Islamic rulling [sic] for this infidel is beheading … I will pay $5000 for anyone who gets me his address and whereabouts. I will handle the rest.” The imam is now in hiding.
Conceivably, someone in the Australian government might have taken note of all this, and responded : “We are not going to allow our visitors to be bullied. Please change your mind and come, Ms. Hirsi Ali—we will see to your safety.” Didn’t happen. Instead, that government may be sliding the other way. A Muslim member of parliament is pushing to change the nation’s race discrimination rules to “backdoor” a blasphemy offense that is not now a part of their criminal code. Under the proposal, words that cause offense to a particular religious group (like this article, I suppose) would send you straight to the slammer.
To be fair, it doesn’t appear that this proposal is going anywhere—yet. But everything starts somewhere. Meanwhile, a “Royal Commission” is hard at work, doing an excellent job getting to the bottom of the religious sex abuse scandals that have riddled the Catholic Church there for decades. Its mandate isn’t limited to Catholicism, though—nor should it be. The commission has identified serious problems among Anglicans, Pentecostals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses as well. There’s something about an old guy claiming authority straight from God that facilitates the pants-lowering of immature victims of every religion, not just Catholicism. Including Islam. Hirsi Ali writes not only about how her private parts were cut to prevent her from ever having too much fun, but about how her skull was fractured by a holy man she was irreligious enough to resist.
So does Australia’s Royal Commission have the courage to examine sex abuse in the country’s Muslim community? It does not. To double check the news reports, I ran a quick search of the commission’s website. References to “Catholic”: 566. References to “Islam” or “Muslim”: zero. Most likely, this is because the commissioners have an aversion to threats of beheading. Attorney Peter Kelso has noticed this omission, and demanded that “victim stories of underage child sex, forced child marriages, and genital mutilation of girls” among Muslims be investigated at the same time that Christians are investigated.
Across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand, the same phenomenon is occurring. A recent study there found that more avid news consumers have “reduced warmth” toward Muslims, compared to people who don’t pay much attention to what’s going on. According to the sages who interpreted this result, this is not because there’s actually anything wrong with the religion of blasphemy laws, hatred of gays, mutilation of convicts, and death to apostates. No, it’s because the media must be biased. If only they would stop reporting that darn news, everyone would feel much better about Islam.
Then there is the curious case of Sonny Bill Williams, a New Zealand rugby player who happens to be a Muslim. His team is sponsored by the Bank of New Zealand, which helps to pay his professional athlete’s salary. All they ask in return is for their logo to be shown on the players’ uniforms, as is the case with soccer teams, race cars, and so on. Williams, though, covers up this logo with black tape, so no one can see it. Why? Because the Bank of New Zealand actually offers to loan money to people willing to pay interest to borrow it, which is a grave sin in Islam.
Although he won’t display their logo, Williams still happily accepts his salary, paid in part by the evil Bank of New Zealand. This is OK, though, because he is a Muslim, and Muslims have to be treated with kid gloves.
According to Pew Research, Islam is on track to become the largest religion in the world by about 2050. Its proportion of the Australian population is expected to double, to about five percent. Unless people wake up and start treating Muslims neither better nor worse than anyone else, problems like these will only get worse.