Multi-culti inquiry finds cultural tension in Australia
Muslim issues are at a flashpoint in Australia and ordinary people's concerns about sharia law and burqas must be heard, a federal MP says.
Liberal Rowan Ramsey said about 80 per cent of submissions to a federal inquiry into multiculturalism were antagonistic to Muslims.
He said, "There is a considerable level of anxiety, mistrust, expressed in that 80 per cent that are at least wary about Muslim culture. We can't just sort of whitewash it out of the findings, we have to acknowledge that and we also have to acknowledge it is a significant issue in the community."
|Australia's Liberal party is a center-right party, "liberal" in this case being traditional economic liberalism (pro free-trade).|
Ramsey is a member the Australian Parliament's committee on migration, which has received more than 400 submissions to its multicultural inquiry.
The MP said there was concern about calls for limited sharia law in Australia and about issues such as burqas and the treatment of women in Islam. He said, "There is a strong body of opinion ... in the wider Australian community that we've got our laws and you can like it or lump it."
Ramsey said the committee's report must address concerns and find ways to defuse community tension.
Muhammad Sahu Khan, from the Bluestar Intercultural Centre, said that when people spoke about sharia law they thought of the worst. He said, "They think of bringing in a law here that women have to have the burqa. They think if anybody commits a theft, we will chop off their hand."
Khan said Muslims didn't want to replace Australian law with sharia, but wanted changes in cases such as dying without a will. He said, "The distribution under the Australian law would be that all children would get equal shares, whereas under sharia law there is a certain proportion which is quite different from equal."
|Gee, I wonder if women get less under sharia. This sounds like a good candidate for the "like it or lump it" treatment.|
|No sympathy for Mr. Khan from me. Immigrants make a conscious choice to come to a new country, and thus are fairly expected to change themselves, not change the host country. One little known fact about the great immigration period in American history (roughly 1850 - 1920) is that about 5% of immigrants turned around and went back to their old countries. They decided that America wasn't for them, so they left. Australia and its citizens should remind Mr. Khan he also has that option.|
Posted by: 2012-05-06