Stopping Muslim immigration: be careful what we whinge for

Is it that time of year already? Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, has called for an immediate halt to Muslim immigration. Last year (or was it the year before?), he was calling for the niqab to be banned on the apparent grounds that bombs might be hidden inside it. Why terrorists might choose a woman conspicuosly dressed as a Muslim to hide their bombs was, of course, never discussed.

Reverend Fred Nile, the longest-serving member of the NSW Legislative Council, made the comments at a gathering in the Sydney suburb of North Ryde yesterday.

He said there has been no serious study of the potential effects on Australia of more than 300,000 Muslims who are already here, and Australians deserved some breathing space.

Well, here’s one study, conducted by a Muslim organisation, that might reassure Mr Nile and the rest of the community that Muslims, particularly Muslim youth, are settling in just fine:

AUSTRALIA’S disadvantaged young Muslims are so directionless and fearful of being excluded by the broader community many are turning to drugs and contemplating suicide.

Ninety-eight per cent of 150 Sydney-based young Muslims surveyed had considered suicide as a “way out” of the conflicts in their life as a Muslim in a non-Muslim society.

The All Eyes On Youth study found eight out of 10 young Muslims aged between 12 and 25 considered the education system of no assistance “in making lifetime choices”, and 94 per cent lacked a clear goal in life.

Or maybe not.

Regardless, one must wonder to what extent the picture Muslims paint of our own community shapes the opinions and views of the broader society. As Baybers notes in the previous post, some Muslims seem to spend a lot of time and effort painting the Muslim community as, to put it delicately, somewhat troubled. Our youths, we are repeatedly told, are disgruntled, disenfranchised, dysfunctional, disatisfied, and, at least potentially, dangerous ticking time bombs who might easily become terrorists should a suitably fully sick radical preacher descend on the Sunni triangles of Sydney and Melbourne.

This portrayal might work well when pitching for a grant to help all these troubled yoofs but perhaps it doesn’t go down as well in non-Muslim Australia. Yes, we have problems but these problems are limited to certain sections of the Muslim community. We also have an increasing number of middle class, educated and productive Muslims and this should be highlighted even more. For most of us, the faux gangsta subculture with its drugs, misogyny, and antinomianism is as foreign and as confronting as it is to everyone else.

And this is what it comes down to: if Muslims are really as troubled and troublesome as some of the Muslim leaders want the world to believe, then why should the government and non-Muslim Australia support continued Muslim immigration? This is, unfortunately, the natural consequence of constantly promoting our victimhood. It seems we can’t have it both ways.

14 comments ↓

#1 Dave on 03.12.07 at 3:15 pm

Hi, long time reader but never posted… until ..

“Last year (or was it the year before?), he was calling for the niqab to be banned on the apparent grounds that bombs might be hidden inside it. Why terrorists might choose a woman conspicuosly dressed as a Muslim to hide their bombs was, of course, never discussed.” – Mar 12th, 2007 by Amir

Are you just going to make stuff up now!?
To avoid being labelled a bigot, you may want to check your facts before you go espousing your obviously biased opinion.

—————————————————————————–
Extract from Transcript of NSW Legislative Council Hansard, 20 November 2002, Pages 7058 – 7059 (article 27)

MUSLIM WOMEN CHADOR PROHIBITION
Page: 7058

Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE: I ask the Minister for Police a question without notice in view of the terrorist alert yesterday given to the whole of Australia.

Is it a fact that the Islamic female terrorists in Hamburg, Germany, and in the recent Muslim terrorist attack in Moscow, Russia, wore the black chador / burka body covering that is seen in Iran and Saudi Arabia?

Is it a fact that such total body covering completely conceals a person’s identity, even whether the wearer is male or female—which is a perfect disguise for terrorists as it conceals both weapons and explosives, as occurred in the recent Moscow theatre attack when female Muslim terrorists carried explosives strapped to their bodies?

Is it a fact that many Muslim women in Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, et cetera, only wear discreet, Western-style clothing eg the hijab and not the full body chador?

In view of the new terrorist threat and as part of our new Australian security precautions, will the Government consider a prohibition on the wearing of the chador in public places, especially railway stations, city streets and shopping centres?

#2 Amir on 03.12.07 at 3:23 pm

Dave, which part of what I wrote is “made up” and puts me at risk of being a bigot?

Firstly, as your extract from the NSW Hansard confirms, Nile did call for the chador to be banned in public places. I don’t think that is in dispute.

Secondly, Nile merely points to some overseas incidents in which women wore a chador but he does not discuss or explain why he believes that terrorists looking to launch an attack on Sydney Opera House would choose to dress in a chador or Afghan-style burqa.  If you can point me to a discussion where Nile explains why terrorists in Sydney would prefer to wear a burqa rather than a trenchcoat or some other less attention-grabbing garment, I’ll happily concede the point.

#3 E. Mariyani on 03.14.07 at 10:36 pm

In view of the occasional rioting by white men at football games in the UK (resulting, incidentally, in a greater death toll than is due to terrorist acts in the UK), will the Government consider a prohibition here in Australia on this inherently dangerous and evil sport?

Didn’t think so.

I hope this post is not interpreted as an example of bigotry.

#4 Attilla on 03.14.07 at 10:49 pm

‘In view of the occasional rioting by white men at football games in the UK (resulting, incidentally, in a greater death toll than is due to terrorist acts in the UK), ‘
Any figures to confirm your claim?

#5 James on 03.15.07 at 12:15 am

Well it is nice to know that knuckle-dragging anti-immigrant yahoos are not limited to the USA. I wonder if the right honorable Mr Nile is getting his talking points from Virgil H. Goode, Jr. (R-VA-5th District). or Tom Tancredo (R-CO)? Do I see the ghost of “white Australia” rearing it’s head again? Over here, in the USA, there more than few people who want scare the uninformed with visions of unwashed swarthy Arabs invading our shores. Representative Goode made this claim in the halls of the US Congress, that the goal of Muslims was to raise the crescent flag over the US capital. He too would like to stop all Muslim immigration. This is just fear mongering at its worst, and par for the course with right of center parties.

Of course this vile position plays well to the emotions of some of the electorate. It plays very well to the hard core true believers of the right wing. Need we say the white protestant subset of the right wing? Need we say these people would not accept Muslims under ANY condition period? Even if every Muslim was a pillar of rectitude and humility these people would not accept them. Not even if every Muslim were to convert to the “true” religion (Christianity) would they accept them. These right wingers want to exclude anyone who doesn’t fit the lily-white European mold. Today the Muslims, tomorrow the Asians, the Indians, the Mixed breeds, fill in the blank.

Interestingly enough there is another group that is all too willing foist the idea that Muslims can not adapt to societal norms. This group is not part of the anti-immigrant right wing. This group is part of the warp and woof of the Muslim community. Unfortunately in any minority community there are people who gain power via victimhood. There are organizations who’s existence requires that there be an “oppressed” minority and sadly perpetuate the sense of grievance in that minority. This is because grievance is their bread and butter. They are not going to ever stop whining because it is their very reason for being. Even sadder is the way right wing Islamophobes and Muslim “permanent victims” feed into each others demonology. The Cooperate media is also fed by this facile argument between “newcomers” vs “old blood” Australians. The Cooperate media get to slap up two screaming heads, generate some controversy and then sell ad space.

This is not to say that there is not trouble in paradise. All immigrant communities endure real hardship adjusting to their new societies. This is a very common theme in countries who’s history is that of an immigrant nation especially the USA and Australia. Eventually the immigrants and the nation get things sorted out to a fashion. Eventually everyone adapts.

#6 Amir on 03.15.07 at 12:44 am

Thanks for your comments, James.

As you are evidently familiar with both Australia and the United States, I was wondering if you had any thoughts or observations on the differences between the two in terms of how they have absorbed immigrants. Whereas Australia has long had a policy of multiculturalism, the US seems to be based around the idea of a ‘melting pot’ (i.e. a more hands off approach to dealing with newcomers). Is this an accurate assessment and, if so, do you see any differences in terms of the result?

The reason I ask is that it has been my albeit cursory observation that politicians in the US are not as given to commenting on the religious practices of their citizenry as are politicians in the US and UK. For example, in Australia and the UK, senior politicians have criticised the wearing of the veil whereas, as far as I am aware, this is not a debate that either the President or those around him have waded into. One theory for that might be, assuming my observation is correct, that multiculturalism has effectively bought politicians the right to comment on the religious and cultural practices of their constituents whereas under the American system such talk wouldn’t be as readily accepted or seen as politically justifiable?

#7 Baybers on 03.15.07 at 4:25 pm

E,
I sense a degree of frustration in the last few comments you have made. Amir is not suggesting that the government is not playing the race card, clearly it is. It is also fashionable for both sleaze and also mainstream media to highlight the foibles of the Muslim community. But there is really no benefit in continually whingeing about it. Muslims have to deal with society as it is and not by Queensberry rules alone.

Fadi Rahman has been quoted as saying that over 90% of Muslims are drug users and extremist muslims are tax evaders. When the wide community read this why wouldn’t they reasonably conclude that it is better to get rid of this problem?

This post is not an example of bigotry but rather a way to reduce it. We have a cohort of imbeciles who represent us to Australia who achieve nothing except to further demonize us in order to curry favor with the govt. or to angle for public money .

There is no point complaining about this post, better that you direct your anger to the self appointed howler monkeys who we see interviewed every night.

Being a leader to Muslims is not just about angling for public funds by talking up problems, its about getting off ones backside and serving the community you seek to represent.

#8 E. Mariyani on 03.15.07 at 6:38 pm

Baybers,

My comment was a response to Dave’s comment.

#9 E. Mariyani on 03.15.07 at 7:38 pm

Attilla

‘In view of the occasional rioting by white men at football games in the UK (resulting, incidentally, in a greater death toll than is due to terrorist acts in the UK), ‘
Any figures to confirm your claim?

Nope – the football reference was a throw-away line. I have no idea where one would find the data on such matters.

But if we want to be even sillier about it, here is a comparsion of actual data on deaths due to terrorism verses deaths due to railways:

year - terrorism - rail accidents
2006 – 0 - 1
2005 - 56 - 1
2004 - 0 – 13
2003 - 0 - 1
2002 - 0 - 7
2001 - 0 - 10
2000 - 0 - 4
1999 - 3 - 31
1997 - 0 – 6
1996 - 2 - 2
1995 - 0 - 1
1994 - 0 – 7
1993 - 4 - 0
1992 – 4 - 0
1991 - 0 - 6
1990 - 1 - 1
Total - 70 - 91

Given this UK data, where are the new Anti-Railway Laws for Australia? My two original (implicit) points re Dave’s post were: (a) constructing laws for one country based on the experience of another country (as Nile suggests in Hansard) is idiotic; and (b) even assuming we did, if one imposes laws on X because of perceived bad B1, then one should also impose laws on Y which is associated with B2, where B2 > B1. If one is unwilling to imposes laws on Y, then one must have a better reason than B1 to impose laws on X. Hope that is clear.

#10 Baybers on 03.15.07 at 9:53 pm

E, oh!, then I agree entirely.
as for Atilla, we try not to humor him with responses, so don’t waste your time.

#11 Attilla on 03.15.07 at 11:08 pm

E. Mariyani.
You have been selective in your choice of terrorist-caused deaths in the UK. An obvious example is the omitted year 1998, when twenty nine people dies in one attack alone. In the case of deaths on the railways a great deal of time and money has been spent seeing what caused them and removing those causes; it seems only reasonable to do the same thing with terrorist-caused deaths.

#12 Club Troppo » Missing Link on 03.15.07 at 11:24 pm

[...] Amir at Austrolabe, discussing Fred Nile’s recent comments on restricting Muslim immigration, calls on his fellow Muslims to refrain from appeals to victimhood as it can backfire on them. [...]

#13 Amir on 03.16.07 at 7:13 am

Atilla:

The fact is that the risk of terrorism is miniscule and the money spent on ‘fighting’ it is completely disproportionate to the threat.  A person is more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by pesticides than they are from a suicide bomber or terrorist.  Despite that, the government treats terrorism as though it poses an existential threat to our society and the lives of every Australian.

Given that the resident population of Australia is projected to be 19,767,520,1 that 11 Australians per year, on average, have died in terrorist incidents during the past ten years and assuming that this toll will continue into the future, it follows that the likelihood that a randomly-selected individual will die under such circumstances during a given year is 0.0000006 (that is, a chance of 6 in 10 million or 1 in 1.7 million).Further, given that 55 Australians per year, on average, have died in terrorist incidents during the past two years, and assuming that WTC and Bali-like incidents continue and therefore that this greater toll will continue into the future, the annualised risk of death from terrorism will increase to 0.000003 (that is, 3 in 1 million or 1 in 333,333).

This risk compares to the odds, over the course of an average North American life span (let us assume that these odds are roughly comparable to their counterparts in Australia), that one will die from pesticide poisoning (1 in 200,000), a lightning strike (1 in 30,000), a motor vehicle accident (1 in 60), and disease caused by smoking one packet of cigarettes per day (1 in 6).2 Relative to the major killers of Australians, the ‘terrorist threat’ is thus minuscule; and to assert that terrorism poses a grave threat to our safety is simply false.

source

#14 E. Mariyani on 03.18.07 at 8:45 pm

Attilla,

That you are even debating this indicates how surreal the world has become.

You have been selective in your choice of terrorist-caused deaths in the UK. An obvious example is the omitted year 1998, when twenty nine people dies in one attack alone.

I was going off records from wikipedia, which I must admit, is hardly an authoritative source in itself. If I go by data from the Terrorism Knowledge Base at The Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, the number of UK fatalities from terrorism actually falls from 70 to 56! So rather than being “selective”, I have apparently been overly generous!

Anyway, as Amir noted, the chances of Australians dying from terrorism with or without massive government expenditure to prevent it, is tiny relative to just about everything else that possesses lethality. It’s really a question of opportunity costs: spend the money on terrorism prevention to make the people you have frightened feel safer about a threat which in fact barely registers on the scale, or spend it on, say, incubators for prematurely born babies. The current government seems to think the former ranks higher on the list of priorities.

In the case of deaths on the railways a great deal of time and money has been spent seeing what caused them and removing those causes

This is silly. It is pretty easy to make this statement eat itself. E.g.: If so much money has been spent on railways to make them safe and they are still more lethal than terrorists, then that is proof enough that they, like terrorists, need to be shut down for good! You see how ridiculous the argument becomes when one is consistent about it?

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