February 2nd 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: TRANSPORT: End of the line for rail freight?

FINANCE: Sub-prime mortgage crisis paralyses credit system

EDITORIAL: East Timor's new beginning

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Economic storm facing new government

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: A stern test for multiculturalism

CULTURE AND CIVILISATION: Family values overlooked in the market-place

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Reading the signs for the New Year (Through a hedge backwards...) / Hijacking foreign aid / Sub-prime lending crisis / Was Hitler's defeat inevitable?

AFGHANISTAN: Confronting terrorists and the drug trade

WOMEN UNDER ISLAM: Silence of the "sisterhood"

EDUCATION: The threat to our literary heritage

OPINION: Who is the real Kevin Rudd?

Global warming? Stop and think! (letter)

Flaws in our voting system (letter)

Who is running the country? (letter)

Barack Obama on foreign despots (letter)

Alternative to capitalism and communism? (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Juvenile crime in Britain / Feminist magazine's anti-Israel bias

GOD AND CAESAR: Selected Essays on Religion, Politics, and Society by Cardinal George Pell

BOOKS: CULTURAL AMNESIA: Notes in the Margin of My Time, by Clive James

THE TORCH AND THE SWORD: A History of the Army Cadet Movement in Australia, by Craig A. Stockings

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A stern test for multiculturalism

by John Miller

News Weekly, February 2, 2008
A proposal to build an Islamic school in Camden, NSW, has provoked heated community opposition. John Miller reports.

If ever a policy has become a time-bomb, ticking away at the heart of Australian politics, it is multiculturalism. The Australian electorate has never been given a chance to vote on this policy, which was introduced by the Whitlam Labor Government (1972-75). Prior to that, migrants were expected to assimilate; but since the inception of multiculturalism, assimilation has become anathema to those who drive our immigration policy, irrespective of their political party.

One cannot seriously question the proposition that migrants have enriched Australia culturally. Thanks to the efforts of their labours, our major cities have become cosmopolitan hubs. However, all Western societies are now finding that they cannot import into their midst migrants whose value systems and beliefs are diametrically opposed to those of the host nation, to the extent that they form a hostile counter-culture.


I have met a number of secular Muslims who are little different from the average secular citizen of this country. However, with 350,000 or so Muslims in Australia, it is inevitable that mosques and schools are constructed for worship and education. Regrettably, some of these centres fall under the control of radical clergy who preach jihad or holy war against the West. There are also secret/underground schools which preach that message.

From a national security point of view, this activity cannot be tolerated. Because Australia has not experienced terrorist attacks on its soil like those of 9/11 (US), 7/7 (UK) and elsewhere, our population has become complacent. Nevertheless, Australia has already seen three citizens jailed under anti-terrorist legislation, and some 29 are due to face the courts in the next month or so as a result of Operation Pendennis (November, 2005).

It is instructive to note the experience of Britain where white and black gangs, heavily into crime and vandalism, have a long and vicious history. In South London alone, gang names include the Stockwell Crew, the Peel Den Crew, Mad Crew or Mad4T, the South Man Syndicate and Poverty-Driven Children.

However, the violence of these gangs has apparently been surpassed by that of a group called the Muslim Boys which recruits people from the black community. Four years ago, a black member of the Peel Den Crew, an accountancy student Adrian Marriott, was shot five times in the head. In January 2006, an inquest was told that the student and his sister had been told to convert to Islam or die. (Adrian Morgan, "Britain's Muslim gang culture", Family Security Matters, January 14, 2008).

A senior Anglican churchman, Pakistan-born Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, has stated unequivocally that multiculturalism has created great division in Britain (UK Telegraph, January 7, 2008).

The UK, many say, is walking into segregation. Australia, which is basically a derivative culture, with an Anglo-Celtic tradition and Judeo-Christian law, risks doing the same thing.

Conservative columnist Piers Akerman has recently publicised the controversial issue of a proposed Islamic school for Camden, 60 km south-west of Sydney. On March 11, the Camden Council is scheduled to discuss an application from the Koranic society of Lakemba to build a 1,200-pupil school. Lakemba mosque is the base of the firebrand former Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj din al-Hilaly. If the school is approved, students would likely be "bussed" into Camden, using 28 vehicles on poor roads.

Camden Council has been inundated with petitions and letters. Comments on the council's website have run into the thousands, with more than 95 per cent of them reportedly opposed to the school development.

Defenders of the proposed Islamic school have argued that Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths, as well as various community groups, are allowed to fund their own private schools. However, as far as I am aware, none of these schools has ever sought to indoctrinate their students with values that are inimical to the Australian way of life.

Mr Akerman has correctly assessed the Camden affair as being the debate that "the nation has studiously ducked since the days of Pauline Hanson; the question of the future of multiculturalism" (Sydney's Daily Tele-graph, January 15, 2008).

How the battle predicted by Mr Akerman plays out remains to be seen. However, as Dr Mervyn Bendle of Queensland's James Cook University has warned, the government of Saudi Arabia funds schools in Australia which teach Wahabist fundamentalist Islamic doctrine (National Observer, Autumn 2007). In allowing schools such as the one proposed for Camden, we run the serious risk of Islamic students being radicalised, and some of them even turning to jihad.

I seldom agree with Mr Akerman, but in this instance I stand with him when he says "the current federal Labor government owes it to the electors to tell them where it stands on multiculturalism - the Camden issue would be a good place to start."

- John Miller is a former senior intelligence officer.

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