From the Australian:
ISLAMIC leaders are disturbed Prime Minister John Howard has singled out the Muslim community as extremist and unwilling to becoming part of mainstream Australia.
Mr Howard believes some Muslims migrating to Australia are bringing problems such as jihadist views and conservative attitudes to women not encountered with other immigrant groups.
The Prime Minister’s views, contained in a book to be published later this month, have drawn fire from Islamic leaders, who say every community has its bad elements.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has stressed it is a tiny minority of the Islamic community that is a concern.
“(Those) who have shown sympathy for, or enthusiasm for, the jihadism movement and obviously … they have been a preoccupation and a concern for us,” he said.
Mr Howard today stood by his comments, first made in December and before the Cronulla riot.
“There is a small section of the Islamic population in Australia that, because of its remarks about jihad, remarks which indicate an extremist view, that is a problem,” he said.
“It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia’s mainstream.”
Mr Howard said the community at large wanted newcomers to adopt Australian ways.
“We don’t ask them to forget the countries of their birth, we respect all religious points of views … but there are certainly things that are not part of the Australian mainstream,” he said.
The Prime Minister also expressed concern about Muslim attitudes to women.
“There is within some sections of the Islamic community an attitude towards women which is out of line with mainstream Australian society,” he said…
Lebanese Muslims Association spokesman Keysar Trad said Mr Howard was pandering to the “Islamaphobia” in the community.
“I’m extremely disappointed that the PM would again single out the Muslim community still reeling from the spin out of the Cronulla riots,” Mr Trad said.