Malcolm Turnbull’s recent response toward the recent terror attack in Parramatta left many Australians, including myself, deeply ashamed. My fondness of Turnbull after his overthrow of Abbott was never great, however his recent actions indicate a great inadequacy. At a time when the Islamist terror threat has never been greater, Turnbull demonstrated leadership that was not half the equivalent of his predecessor.
Upon hearing the news of the attrocity, which left innocent 58 year old police worker Curtis Cheng dead, Turnbull in his press conference reacted immediately to reassure and offer support to the Muslim community. Rather than using his position of leadership to directly confront the growing problems this tragedy highlighted in relation to Islamic terrorism, Turnbull focused on assuring the well-being of the Islamic community, calling for Australians to show ‘mutual respect’. This absurd focus on anything but the victims of the Parramatta shooting, and his intent on respecting an ideology which contains little or no respect for others, reveals a dubious and weakened leadership offered by the new Prime Minister. This displays much of the common thought employed in Australia and throughout Western Europe and North America, that by appeasing an enemy, by deliberately using passive and peaceful rhetoric, we are able to supposedly ‘reach out’ to the Muslim community, and avoid ‘alienating’ people.
Fundamentally, the notion that Muslims are this kind of ‘protected species’, as Richard Dawkins recently described, holds no credibility. Yes, there are some in the Australian community who wish to cause some harm to Muslim people, and at every turn this kind of action should be condemned. However, the constant mentionings of ‘Islamophobia’, the constant pandering, as well as the appeasement policies, are simply unwarranted. It is important for Australians, to recognize that this kind of special treatment is truly unnecessary, as there is nothing that Muslims have been subjected to that any other minority group in Australia past hasn’t. Australia’s complex and long history with its Indigenous people, contains many tragedies and persecutions which contain a legacy that carries through to this day. At first English settlers in Australia were suspicious of the Irish, then later after World War Two, Australians had doubts about immigration from Southern Europe, and then the early Vietnamese migrants were often subject to various forms of racism. All of these groups had difficult times settling into Australia, but by no measure were their cases unique, and gradually, they became more and more integrated into the Australian way of life.
The concept that we constantly need to do more to reach out to the Muslim community, in order to prevent the ‘radicalisation of the youth’, is misleading. In fact, this idea should be turned on its head, with Muslims seeking to interact with broader Australia, and become more accepting of our values, history, culture and customs. To say that Australia is poorly integrating its Muslims, and we need to do more, is grossly unfair. On the contrary, Muslims are poorly integrating into Australia, and it would be a tremendous step forward if integration was to improve.