The MCRG Report

The Age reported last week:

ISLAMIC leaders believe the Federal Government will use the community as scapegoats in next year’s federal election campaign.

Their fears are heightened by the Government’s failure to release the report of Prime Minister John Howard’s hand-picked Muslim advisory group examining how to tackle extremism, terrorism and other issues facing the Muslim community.

Apparently, this failure to release the report has led to members of the “hand-picked Muslim advisory group” feeling under attack from members of their own community:

Members of the now-defunct group regard the report, based on a year of consultations among Muslims by 60 leaders and submitted nearly three months ago, as vital unfinished business. The report discusses ways to tackle extremism and issues such as education, youth, women, unemployment and integration.

Mr Soliman said the group now had no idea what the Government planned and was under attack from their own communities. “The message politicians give is that Muslims don’t want to integrate or contribute to a better future, and that’s not the case at all,” he said.

Well, if the government isn’t willing to release the report in a timely manner, the obviously disgruntled members of the MCRG should just do it anyway. In fact, we’ll do it for them. Here’s a link [PDF] to a copy of the report courtesy of an Austrolabe reader.


#1 Abdullah on 12.17.06 at 9:55 am

So this what $5 million buys you?

They left out a few things on the report like a cure for AIDS and an end to world hunger.

#2 dezhen on 12.17.06 at 6:55 pm

Seems like there are a few good ideas contained in there. I hope they get acted upon.

#3 Insider on 12.18.06 at 9:42 am

I am surprised by several things in this report.

The first is that it is very short, if this cost 5 mill to make, it took me only 15 minutes to read, so it must be either the executive summary otherwise it is an abuse of the government funding to pay 80 people to produce this little pamphlet. Prima facie it is a waste of public money.

the second is that it is full of motherhood statements e.g.:

“Ensuring Muslim Women’s Participation in Religious Life”

but it does not say how, why and what the dividend will be for this, beyond it being intrinsically a good thing.

There are several long lists of bullet points that are not discussed in any depth. I suspect that it was hastily copied from a powerpoint presentation.

here is another

“Self Esteem, Identity, Leadership and Community Workshops Project”

that sounds like a bullshit fest.

here is the conclusion of 5 mill worth of research and community consultation

“The work during the last 12 months, culminating in this report, goes a long way towards providing a good understanding of Muslim and non-Muslim relations in Australia.  The Muslim Community Reference Group has benefited from the multi-ethnic nature of the Muslim community and has used that as an asset in devising actions and projects to maintain social cohesion in the wider Australian community. We also now have a better knowledge of the radicalisation process and have developed initiatives to address issues arising from this. The Muslim community accepts its responsibility in facing the challenges of today’s Australia and is therefore willing to continue working with the government. The effectiveness of the National Action Plan depends on continuing engagement of the Muslim community.”

One cliché after another. I have read the entire thing and cannot find where these points are fleshed out, nor I see the proof for a self serving statement such as

“The Muslim Community Reference Group has benefited from the multi-ethnic nature of the Muslim community and has used that as an asset in devising actions and projects to maintain social cohesion in the wider Australian community”

what does this mean?

Particularly embarrassing is the bibliography, there isn’t one, just 2 pages of “research” with a very short inadequate reading list of other similarly padded official documents from other countries

This group have not found any solution that does not require the government to give them or people like them more government money to create more interfaith fantasies

My personal favourite this is

“Connectedness-Interdependence-Regard-Commitment-Love-Empathy (CIRCLE) The Australian Government, through the National Action Plan, funded the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria to undertake a brief research and scoping project to ensure a best practice approach to implementing a series of CIRCLE workshops. “

I can’t believe that there is any serious person who could keep a straight face at this “pollyanna” event.

This report is embarrassing for the authors and the government that commissioned it.

#4 Dervish » Fogggggy Fog on 12.20.06 at 9:13 pm

[...] I also feel very disconnected from Australia.  I don’t know any of the news – apparently, there are raging bushfires, a Muslim youth leader arrested on a cocaine bust, and Austrolabe has a link to the unreleased Muslim Reference Group report (”Building on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security”) that John HoWARd doesn’t seem to like because it’s not very good for his plans to win the next election on the basis of ratcheting up the Islamophobia. [...]

#5 Baybers on 12.21.06 at 7:21 am

Your not alone, I feel disconnected and I live here.

The only update is that Shame Worn has retired and they will gold plate his jockstrap and display it at the shrine of remembrance.

The MCRG report is a different matter, I agree that the government will be tempted to play the Muslim card in this election (esp. Costello), but I do not think this is related to the MCRG report which is a whole other thing.

I agree with what other comments have said, the report is a manifestly inadequate document for the number of people and the time (as well as money). It reflects unfavourably on the authors, the lack of a bibliography is emblematic of the quality of the document .

#6 Umm Yasmin on 12.21.06 at 9:21 pm

Apparently they have released it, as it’s up on the DIMA website:

#7 Comrade Prime Minister: John Howard is the socialist alternative on 10.28.07 at 12:23 am

[...] of cultural commissars to regulate cultural expression amongst religious and cultural [...]

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