Blaming the victim - the Australian community generally - by scattergun allegations of supposed "Islamophobia" is surely the last refuge of scoundrels. Leaders of Australia's Islamic community, and many Australian Muslims generally, need to stop blaming their fellow Australians under actual attack from Islamist terrorism. They need to focus instead on the denial and equivocation prevalent among so many Muslims as to why Islamist terrorism is occurring and the basis the Islamists claim for their terrorism in Islamic theology (no matter how incorrect or bigoted such interpretations are).
Letter to The Canberra Times
Monday, 25 August 2014
(published Wednesday, 27 August 2014)
Several claims made in the article “Muslims feel pain of association with horrors abroad”, August 23, p.4, seem to reverse objective reality.
Since the early 2000s, for example, no respected Islamic theologian has ever queried the Australia Defence Association's use of “Islamist” to preserve the necessary distinction between mainstream Islamic practice, and propaganda or worse by Islamist terrorists and their apologists.
To the contrary, our consistent usage of “Islamist” has invariably been well received by mainstream and informed Australian Muslims.
As has our longstanding criticism of those who sloppily refer to Islamic or jihadi terrorism, or those referring to the terrorist organisation “Islamic State” without using the prefixes “so-called” or “self-described”.
(Jihadi should not be used to describe terrorism undertaken because of religious bigotry rather than theologically sound beliefs about purely spiritual renewal).
But it did take a very long time for many Islamic community leaders, and indeed the community as a whole, to always condemn terrorism carried out by professed Muslims supposedly in Islam’s name.
Moreover, recent mutations of such denial continue to smack of blaming the victim — and even then only for their alleged words — rather than the terrorist perpetrators for their actions.
Over the last decade and a half over 100 Australians of several religions have been murdered by Islamist terrorists.
Yet not a single Australian Muslim has been murdered by religious or other bigotry except when killed by Islamists.
The resilience and tolerance of the Australian community is to be admired, not misrepresented.
Indeed, to paraphrase Dr Johnson, scattergun allegations of Islamophobia seem to have become the last refuge of scoundrels.
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