September 11th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Battle lines drawn for October 9 Federal poll

EDITORIAL: Issues for the Federal Election

FAMILY: Better deal demanded for families

NOT SO DRY CONTINENT: Australia has water options

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Taiwan faces continuing threats from Beijing

POPULATION: Falling birth-rates stir action in Taiwan, Singapore

INDIA: The economic test for India's new government

PEACE-KEEPING: Sudan and the progressive mind

OPINION: The case for new states in Australia

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Howard versus New Class Labor / Tap Tap. Who's there?

CINEMA: Bus 174 - A jolting, two-hour masterpiece

CLIMATE: Global warming - the sceptics have won

DEMOCRACY: Lay your hammer down

Labor's foot-soldiers (letter)

Mondragon: a rejoinder (letter)

The West and Islam (letter)

BOOKS: The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French defeat in Vietnam

BOOKS: 7 Myths of Working Mothers, by Suzanne Venker

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The West and Islam (letter)

by John R. Barich

News Weekly, September 11, 2004

Paul Gray is very courageous in writing a book on Islam, Nightmare of the Prophet (Freedom Publishing). While it is very topical, the subject is so interwoven with complex historical and now strategic issues that much deep study is required to achieve a satisfactory result. His book is a good start, especially as it attempts to address some religious aspects of the matter.

Some areas which require further consideration are:

(1) The real offence which the libertarian West causes via Hollywood and the United Nations. The Vatican has for some years co-operated with Muslim leaders in defending pro-family and pro-life positions at the United Nations:

(2) The Australian Family Association has collaborated with moderate Muslim groups within the context of the World Congress of Families (WCF). The WCF, at its 1999 Geneva meeting, gave Mrs Sadat - widow of the assassinated president of Egypt - a standing ovation.

(3) It is not clear which conservatives oppose the Islamists and how far they are willing to go to stop them. Many people do not seem to consider military force as necessary, and yet how else is a terrorist group to be stopped?

(4) Despite the Crusades having been, in part, immoral, there was justification for Christian Europe wishing to regain what it had lost by force of arms. St Francis accompanied the 4th Crusade with the intention of converting the Sultan.

(5) It is clear that at times in its history the Church has been authoritarian, especially when in possession of secular power. However, it is debatable whether it ever reached the position of being totalitarian, unlike Nazi Germany or Communist Russia and China, where every aspect of life has been under the control of the State.

Anyone wishing to place this book in a world setting should read Philip Jenkins's The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2002).

John R Barich,
Claremont, WA

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