By Ghali Hassan
31 December, 2014
It is official: Australia is at war with Muslims and Islam. Australian politicians and the racist media are fanning the flame of prejudice and racially-motivated violence against Muslims. Anti-Muslims bigotry has become the most important issue in Australian politics. The aim is to demonise Muslims and connect Muslim Australians to U.S.-led war in the Middle East and justify Australia’s direct complicity in U.S.-led imperialist aggression in Syria and Iraq.
First let’s look at how Australia treats Muslim Australians.
The 2014 Social Cohesion report, published by Monash University and the Scanlon Foundation found that Australians were five times more likely to hold negative attitudes towards Muslims than any other religious group. The Government and the media bear full responsibility for the rise in Islamophobic and racially motivated attacks against Muslim Australians.
Just as the Western bloodletting in Syria and Iraq began, the “Coalition Government” – a substitute for a neo-Fascist Liberal government – of Prime Minister Tony Abbott has begun a vicious campaign against Muslim Australians and Islam. The Government resurrected an old campaign of vilifying and demonising Muslim Australians. The racist campaign is designed to manipulate and scare the public into supporting U.S. war on Iraq and Syria and more importantly as a diversion to divert the Australian public away from serious economic issues and from rampant government corruption and incompetency to govern the country. The Australian Government fabricated a “threat to Australia's security”, allegedly posed by Muslim Australians who travel to the Middle East, to justify new draconian “anti-terrorism” laws targeting the Australian Muslim Community.
Echoing war criminal George W. Bush's racist and divisive call of “you are either with us or against us”, Tony Abbott is calling on Muslim Australians to join his neo-Fascist Liberals “team Australia” or else. He is telling Muslim Australians, “You are all guilty until proven innocent”. On 21 August 2014, Mr Abbott told an audience in Adelaide: “Extremism is the enemy, not Islam”. We all know that “extremism” is a catch-all word for all Muslims. According to Abbott's sick mind, Muslim Australians who refuse to join Abbott's “team” will be considered “extremists”. Taking his cue from notorious war criminals like Tony Blair and Dick Cheney, one of Abbott's advisers, retired Australian army Chief Peter Leahy – a warmonger who has become a fixture on the Australian TV screens – was more frank when he said: “We will fight Islam for 100 years”. It is difficult to discern the reasons behind Australians hatred for Muslims and Islam.
Repeating his mentor, the bigoted John Howard, Mr Abbott said recently: "If someone [Muslim woman] walked into a bank with a full covering of their body, I'd be fretting about it. There are legitimate security issues that people have when someone walks into a public place where you cannot identify them". Mr Abbott was attacking the few dozens of Muslim women who wear Hijab or Niqab. It is “confronting” to see people like these, said Mr Abbot. “Confronting” is a loaded word which implies a threat to society and aimed at fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment. It was used by Howard and his Liberals gang, including Mr Abbott to demonise Muslim women. Of course, Howard’s racism has a trickle down effects on the wider society. Howard was elected Prime Minister four times. Even Howard’s direct complicity in international war crimes and the bloodbath in Iraq did not deterred Australians from voting for him. The Abbott’s government is using the same fear-mongering policy, scapegoating refugees and Muslim Australians to win votes. Indeed, the Abbott’s government won the last elections by scapegoating desperate refugees and Muslim Australians.
Muslim Australians are persecuted for being Muslims. The Niqab or Hijab is a pretext for persecution and used to encourage attacks on Muslim women. In Australia, there are only a few dozen women wear the Niqab or the Hijab, mainly from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. The Veil (the headscarf), which is more common around the world, has nothing to do with Islam and has been used by women before Islam. It is a culture practice. It is worn by women in all religions. Women are free to wear whatever they like, and Muslim women are no different from non-Muslim women.
As far as this author knows, there are no Burqa in Australia. The Burqa was introduced in Afghanistan in the 19th century during the British invasion of Afghanistan. It was worn by Afghan women and girls to cover their bodies in public and protect them from the British invading forces. Of course, the British never stop going to Afghanistan to “liberate” Afghan women from the oppression they had instituted there.
The impact of this vicious campaign of demonising and vilifying Muslims and Islam is to feed a rising tide of Islamophobic and racially-motivated violent attacks on Muslim Australians. A recent Vic Health research into Victorian attitudes to race and cultural diversity has found that, about 40 per cent of Australians feel “cold” towards Muslim Australians, Australians of Middle Eastern, African backgrounds and refugees. It is most likely those Australians who feel “cold” have never met a Muslim Australian, an African Australian or a refugee. Their knowledge of Muslims, Africans and refuges is acquired from a daily diet of racism and xenophobia supplied by neo-Fascist politicians and the racist media. Victoria Police confirmed that more Muslim Australians were reporting public assaults, discrimination and crimes motivated by prejudice.
Furthermore, the Muslim Legal Network compiled a large number of anti-Islamic assaults and acts of violence, including threats made against the Grand Mufti of Australia. "In one case, a western Sydney mother and her baby were spat on and her pram kicked. In another, a man in Perth tried to rip the scarf off a woman's head. Several mosques around the country have been threatened, egged, vandalised and a pig's head impaled on a cross," said Mariam Veiszadeh, a lawyer and Islamic community spokesperson. In addition, the vicious campaign is designed to foster fear and prejudice in the non-Muslim Australian population. Muslim Australians, on the other hand, live in fear and Muslim women, who wear the traditional Niqab or Hijab, bear the brunt of the violence.
The neo-Fascist Liberals have made it their business to persecute Muslim women who do not conform to their liking. What clothing they should wear? Where they should go? Their freedom must be curtailed “for their own good”. It is important to remember that, Muslim women decide what to wear as a matter of personal choice, and has nothing to do with religion. Full clothing is used as a “protection” against the sexual objectification of the female body. Before Australian politicians have the audacity to lecture Muslim women on oppression and women rights, they should look no further than their own backyards. Australia has one of the highest (if not the highest) rate of violence against women in the world. It is on a par with savage Papua New Guinea (PNG).
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, one woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner (AIC, 2013), and one in three women say they have suffered violence from someone they know. Moreover, it is a disgrace that, Australia is one of the leading countries in the sexual objectification of women. Women are treated as chattels to be used and discarded at will. Muslim women do not need Australian politicians to speak on their behalf. If Tony Abbott and his neo-Fascist Liberals are serious about the human rights of Muslim women, they should immediately: (1) free all Muslim women refugees (and their children) that are languishing in Australian prison camps in remote parts of Australia, Nauru, PNG and soon to be Cambodia, and (2) make it their policy to treat refugees, including women as humans by abolishing the immoral and criminal policy of refugees and stop trafficking in refugees. Australians politicians – if they have the slightest courage – should condemn in the strongest term the Israeli fascist regime on-going imprisonment and sexual abuses of Palestinian women in Palestine.
On Wednesday 24 September 2014 – just a few days before Mr Abbott warned of random attacks by Muslim Australians –, an Australian teenager (18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider) was shot dead by police outside a Melbourne police station. He was executed in broad daylight after attending an interview with the police at the Endeavour Hills Police Station. Why he went unaccompanied is not known. The police have alleged that the youth was carrying a knife and has attacked two police officers. The police provided no evidence and there was no CCTV footage of the incident at the police station. The youth is a well-liked, has no history of violence and has committed no crimes. After his death, the police and the media concocted a “radicalised” profile for him. That is, he was seen praying and carrying a religious flag, and has not been assimilated into Western decadence. In a nutshell, he was accused of posing a “threat to Australia’s security”. His death and the anti-Muslim false propaganda associated with it justifies imposing new anti-Muslims draconian laws. Young Muslim men became that convenient scapegoat in a racist society that is immediately suspicious of people of colour. Any Muslim, who dares to speak up against Western-perpetuated war crimes, including the rape of Muslim women and the slaughter of innocent Muslim women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, is a “radicalised extremist” and must be stopped at all costs.
By contrast, criminals who pose serious threat to the Community are set free and allowed to spread anti-Muslim propaganda. The case of “Man Haron Monis” (also known as, Mohammed Manteghi and Manteghi Boroujerdi), the thug who took 17 hostages at Lindt Café in Sydney on 15 December 2014, is a case in point. Let’s call him Monis. We know now that Monis was on parole for crimes committed in Australia. We also know that he has committed crimes in Iran before fleeing to Australia in 1996. We also know that the Iranian government has requested his extradition, but rebuffed by Australian authorities. Monis entered Australia as a “refugee” in 1996 and was granted political asylum in 2001. In 2004 Monis was granted Australian citizenship and began waving the Union Jack.
Monis was used as the perfect native stooge to serve the Australian government’s anti-Muslim agenda. The media, led by the Zionist ABC, referred to him as the “Muslim cleric” and often showed him in fake Islamic attire to associate him and his crimes with Islam. He was attacking Islam and spreading anti-Iran and anti-Syria false propaganda. As a fake pro-Western “cleric”, Monis often bragged about his love for the “West” and praised the Anglo-American criminal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Monis was known to authorities and was on the radar screens of law enforcement agencies, the media and the Australian government. In 2008, Monis was removed from the “Security Watch List” despite warning by well-known senior Muslim Australians of his criminal behaviour and potential threat to Australians. Soon after, he swore allegiance to the “Islamic State” IS or ISIS, the U.S.-Israel proxy terror network. The Australian government’s anti-Syria policy is contributing to the increase in Australian recruits willing to travel to Syria to fight on the side of the terrorists.
Like all Muslim communities around the world, the Muslim Community in Australia is infiltrated by Intel agents from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and co-opted informants. The Government and its Intel agencies know that Australia, Sydney in particular, is one of the world’s largest recruiting grounds for anti-Syria terrorists and ISIS mercenaries.
Unfortunately, many Muslim Australians, especially the self-appointed “community leaders” have fallen for the Australian government’s false propaganda of justifying its attacks on Muslims and Islam. Some of these “leaders” are going as far as spying on their fellow Muslims and calling on Muslim Australians to buy into the government’s false propaganda. That is, ISIS is an “Islamic insurgency” or “Islamic cult” fighting with an anti-Western “Islamic ideology” against “Western values” that combined with great efforts to whitewash Western war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is a falsehood that forms part of Western governments’ efforts to associate ISIS with Islam and Muslims.
Monis' crimes were not only predictable but also preventable. Instead of spreading anti-Muslim lies, the media should ask whether the Australian Intel agencies had prior knowledge of Monis criminal act and who supplied him with guns. After his death, which cost the lives of two innocent young people, politicians and the media couldn’t be happier. Monis crimes are now used by the media and politicians to fuel the stereotypes that Muslims are essentially “dangerous extremists” and justify stronger surveillance powers against Australians who the Government depicts as “radicalised” Muslims.
Muslim Australians are not “radicalised”. These are false accusations to demonise the entire Muslim community. If some Muslim youth are “radicalised”, it is because of Australia’s complicity in U.S.-led war of aggression on Islamic countries, and more importantly, Australia’s systemic racism and racist attitudes toward Muslims in particular. Muslim Australians are marginalised, discriminated against and often abused because of their religion and the colour of their skin. They are alienated and made to feel they do not belong here.
The government and its agencies, the Anglo-Zionist media, the police, the justice system, and the education system, including universities cannot function without a daily concentrated dose of insidious racism. Whether in government departments, the media, the Justice system or the universities, the most indoctrinated and insidiously racist Australians control key positions. They decide who is “Australian” and who is not. Who they employ and who they don’t. Employment in these departments and the universities is based entirely on racism and nepotism, and it is exclusively for white Anglo-Europeans. It creates a very corrupt apartheid-like system. For example, Muslim Australians with higher education qualifications (Masters and PhDs) have the highest rate of unemployment in Australia when compared with the general population. “Now and then, a few crumbs are thrown for those “ethnic Australians” who are more racist than whites and are ready to serve whites. They are used as PR to provide a veneer for a shallow “multiculturalism”, a collection of designated ethnic boxes that despise each other and designed to protect white supremacy. The latest Mapping Social Cohesion survey by the Scanlon Foundation found 19 per cent of Australians were discriminated against because of their skin colour, ethnic origin or religious beliefs – up from 12 per cent in 2012. It was the highest level since the survey began in 2007”.
When it comes to racism, White Australians treat non-white people as subhuman, and are in complete denial that racism even it exists in Australia. In fact, there is nothing White Australians hate more than being called racist. Racism is deeply rooted in this very backward society. It is subtle form of racism, simmering just beneath the thin surface. The rise in ignorance and racism toward Muslim Australians stems from a myopia affecting all Australians, including the most “educated”. The government-installed and funded bodies like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Anti-Discrimination Commission are tasked to implement white Australia’s racist policies of normalising racism and discrimination. The prime objective is to protect racist Australians from being accused of racism and victimise the victims of racism.
Under the cover of “fighting terrorism”, the Abbott government, with the support of the “Opposition” Labour Party, have turned Australia into a truly police state for Muslims. The new legislations could see journalists jailed for reporting on related matters. (See: Crackdown on freedoms? Australian Senate passes draconian anti-terror laws). In addition to the 43 laws that are already in place, the new repressive anti-Muslim laws have absolutely nothing to do with national security. Rather, the new laws (like the old ones) are aimed at criminalising Muslim and Arab Australians, restricting the right of all Australians to live in a free country and intensifying police state measures. For example, according to Bret Walker, the former independent national security legislation monitor, the new laws will make it a crime for the media to disclose the death of an innocent bystander caught up in a bungled covert spy agency operation. All in the name of “fighting terrorism” people will simply disappear without a trace.
Let’s put empty and manipulative rhetoric aside, there is no such thing as “fighting terrorism”; creating and fighting terrorism would be an appropriate slogan. Terrorism is a Western-made instrument used to advance Western-Zionist interests at home and abroad. Terrorism brought great benefits to Western nations that pretend to fight terrorism. The fraudulent “War on Terror” is in reality a war of terror unleashed against defenceless nations in flagrant violations of international law and civilised norms. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, the U.S. and its Western allies have illegally invaded and occupied several sovereign nations and exploited their resources by simply accusing them – without evidence – of “supporting terrorism”. The U.S. and its fascist ally Israel have consolidated their Zionist dominance over the Middle East. Furthermore, in the name of fighting terrorism, Western governments have enacted draconian “anti-terrorism” laws to crackdown on civil liberties and anti-repression protests.
In Australia, the new “anti-terrorism” laws, “would extend the powers of government at the expense of [Australian] citizens is unexpected and quite shocking, observed George Williams, a professor of law at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. By “allowing innocent Australians to be detained in secret and subjected to coercive questioning by ASIO is more suited to dictatorship regimes”, added Williams (SMH, 11 August 2014). In particular, the government wants to extend the life of three extraordinary regimes until the middle of the next decade. These provide for preventative detention orders, control orders and questioning and detention by ASIO. “None of these regimes can now be found in nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom”, added Williams.
The label of “terrorist” applies to Muslim (and Arab) Australians only. White Australians (Christians or Jews) who commit acts of terrorism are labelled as “psychopaths” or “loners”, not terrorists. Every Muslim Australian is a target and every Muslim Australian is guilty until proven innocent. In other words, a false shadow of guilt is cast on every Muslim Australian. Any Muslim Australian could fall foul of the new laws even if he/she simply advocating the duty of a Muslim to defend his/her land.
Of course, for ASIO and its variants, the threat of terrorism is a lucrative business. ASIO’s budget has swollen in recent time at the expense of education, health and the environment. “The war on terror has now become a war without end: a permanent state where a politically constructed ‘national security’ trumps the actual security of citizens and feeds a continual ideological campaign to discipline and intimidate the Muslim community”, writes Seumas Milne of the Guardian in Britain.
The Muslim community is singled out by politicians and the media because it is a small – 2% of the population – and divided community. Muslims lack a power base to defend them in Australia or outside Australia. In Australia, Muslims are defenceless against discrimination and racially-motivated violence. Outside Australia, the Muslim community do not expect the profane White Turks or the Saudi dictators to stand up for them when they are attacked and their properties desecrated. It is also easy to single out the Muslim community because of years of demonization and vilification by politicians and the Australian racist media.
Furthermore, the new laws will also allow Muslim Australians to be jailed for up to 10 years for travelling in certain countries. The Abbott government could declare any country to be a no-go zone on the basis that a listed organisation is engaging in anti-Western activity there. Iraq and Syria certainly come to mind. Muslim and Arab Australians who travel to the Middle East to visit their relatives and friends will be labelled “terrorists” and accused of endangering “Australian security”. They risk prosecution and even jail if they return to Australia. Indeed, several innocent Muslim Australians have been detained at Australian airports in the past few months and prevented from leaving the country because of their Middle Eastern backgrounds. Moreover, the Abbott government is introducing legislation to stop welfare payments for Muslim Australians who the government and its security agencies deemed pose a ''serious threat to Australia's national security''. The Nazis-like laws are forcing Muslims to live in fear.
Yet the Abbott government and its Intel agency have nothing to say about hundreds of Australian Jews (“dual citizens”) who travel to Israel – a self-declared religio-fascist entity (“Jewish State”), guided by a Jewish supremacist ideology – to join the Israeli fascist army in its Jewish ritual of murdering of innocent Palestinian women and children. They are not labelled terrorists. They return to Australia as heroes, wandering the streets of Melbourne and Sydney with Palestinian blood on their hands. They do not risk arrest for war crimes or being called terrorists. The Australian media and Australia's despicable journalists and commentators treat these war criminals with deafening silence.
The fears that Muslim Australians of Middle Eastern backgrounds could pose a threat in Australia are absurd and racist. It is a hysteria created by politicians, ASIO and the media to justify repressive measures. There has been no act of terrorism committed in Australia by Muslim Australians. People are targeted because of their Islamic faith, and for offences unrelated to terrorism. Innocent Muslim Australians are framed by ASIO and the police in so-called “Sting Operations”, prosecuted and imprisoned on fabricated charges and offences unrelated to terrorism. As Melbourne barrister Greg Barns observed recently; “there is a history in this country in recent years of hyperbole, sensationalism, paranoia and misconstruing of conversations and activities when it comes to reporting on and about Australia's anti-terror laws.” For example, a Muslim Australian man was accused (by police and the media) with conspiring to behead a random person in Sydney's CBD, but the raid which involved 800 police found the sword to be a plastic decoration common in almost every Muslim household.
From waging the war on Muslims at home in Australia to waging war on Muslims abroad, the Australian political and military establishments were thrilled by Obama’s request that Australia joins the U.S. war on Iraq and Syria. Australia’s decision to join the U.S. bombing of Iraq has little to do with any genuine consideration for “terrorism” and “human rights”. The decision was made with barely a murmur and without parliamentary approval, despite overwhelming public opposition to war. We do know that Australia’s foreign policy has nothing to do with “Australia’s interests”. Australia’s foreign policy is designed to please the U.S. regime. The Australian government is proud to be one of the most obedient U.S. lapdogs. Australian politicians will jump on the U.S. war bandwagon before a U.S. president utters a word or two. The pretext to join U.S.-led war is as always; “humanitarian”. On 28 August 2014, Tony Abbotts unashamedly told Parliament, “that no one in this Parliament I am sure, no human being anywhere, would wish to stand by and watch the preventable slaughter of innocent people” by ISIS mercenaries.
Hypocrite is not the word to describe someone who is very sick with the contagious disease of dishonesty. Mr Abbott and his neo-Fascist Liberals had often stood by and watched the slaughter (genocide) of innocent Palestinian women and children by the Israeli fascist regime in Palestine. In 2014 alone, the Israeli army and Israeli Gestapo thugs had killed 2,260 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including 600 children. According to the UN, the majority of those deaths occurred in the 50-day attacks on Gaza in which 2,192 Palestinians were killed, the overwhelming majority were civilians. Mr Abbott will commit political suicide before he dares to criticise the Israeli fascist regime. The Nazi lobby in Melbourne will have none of it. Keeping with its Anglo-Zionist traditions, Australia remains unconditional supporter of the Israeli fascist regime, even when it massacred innocent Palestinian women and children in broad daylight. Australia’s immoral and criminal treatment of refugees fleeing war zones is another example of a classic hypocrisy.
Since 2011, Australia has been at the forefront, supporting the anti-Syrian Government terrorists, including ISIS mercenaries in their reign of terror against the Syrian people. Following the U.S. diktats, the Australian government has imposed sanctions against Syria and Syrian diplomats in Canberra were expelled. In addition, the Australian government is no longer recognises the legitimacy of the Syrian Government despite President al-Assad having been re-elected with 88.7 per cent of the vote in June 2014. Australia provides assistance to “refugee camps” in ISIS-control territory in Syria and the Australian media spread anti-Syrian government false propaganda. In joining the U.S.-led war on Iraq and Syria, Australia is making the same mistake it made in 2003, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Western policies of “humanitarian interventions” and “promoting democracy” are nothing more than a cover for illegal aggression, in violation of international and human rights laws.
If Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his ministers are concern about Australia’s security and want to make all Australians fell they live in an egalitarian society, they can achieve an effective solution by: (1) abolishing the anti-Muslim laws and abandoning anti-Muslim propaganda, (2) banning Islamophobia and all forms of racism and discrimination against Muslims, (3) stop Australia’s direct complicity in U.S.-led wars of aggression, and (4) direct Australia’s “humanitarian intervention” at helping people fleeing wars.
Ghali Hassan is an independent researcher and writer living in Australia.