Monday, July 25, 2005

Who are you calling inflammatory? 

Sheik Mohammed Omran: "I believe there is a... conspiracy against Islams and Muslims... There is a mastermind behind these things [9/11 and 7/7] and the mastermind is 100 per cent... from the US Government."

Prime Minister John Howard: "I make no bones about saying it, when I hear one of the imams in Melbourne saying that in effect bin Laden is a good man and that the attacks in London were the responsibility of the Americans, I mean I think that is an appalling thing."

And a few days earlier: "We shouldn't complacently imagine that there aren't potentially suicide bombers in this country."

Sheik Mohammed Omran: "Australia does not have a culture of suicide bombers... This statement does nothing but entice fear into the hearts of Australians. It is your [Prime Minister's] statement which is 'inflammatory'."

Very true - Australia indeed doesn't have a culture of suicide bombers. Neither did Britain until a few weeks ago. Oopps, sorry, according to the Sheik these weren't suicide bombers but an inside job by the Americans.

The PM Howard also had this to say:
There is an obligation of tolerance and respect on the part of all of us for bona fide different views on religion and politics and so forth... But there is a reciprocal obligation on leaders of communities, be they religious or otherwise, not to incite hatred, not to preach intolerance and that's a responsibility Islamic leaders in Australia carry very heavily. I think some have not been as strong in denouncing these acts as they should have been.
Eliciting this response:
A spokesman for radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wassim Doureihi, said Mr Howard's comments were an attack on the core of Islam and that his group, which is being investigated for links to one of the London bombers, would continue to recruit new members in Australia.

"It is becoming more and more clear that the issue is Islam itself, not just radicals or moderates," Mr Doureihi said. "(Mr Howard) is implying we should not advocate an Islam that is a threat to Western capitalism."
Precisely illustrating the point made by the Prime Minister - unless the moderates speak out, hatred and intolerance might indeed become "the core of Islam".

Hizb ut-Tahrir, by the way, is an organisation that advocates the same ends as Al Qaeda (i.e. a world-wide Islamic Caliphate), but to be achieved through peaceful means. The British branch has been in the news lately as the spiritual home of the now former "Guardian" trainee and sometime columnist Dilpazier "Sassy" Aslam.


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