In the Rudd Government’s first statement on Muslims, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs Laurie Ferguson yesterday told The Australian it was time to tackle the myths surrounding Islam, arguing religious leaders were not representative of the mainstream Muslim community.
“We can’t prescribe how the Islamic community is to organise itself,” Mr Ferguson said.
“But we certainly must make sure that the fact there are international tensions and terrorist issues doesn’t kind of stereotype the whole community in Australia.” — from this news article
It was Laurie Ferguson who, as federal “Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs,” introduced Tariq Ramadan as the main speaker at a Griffith University conference.
When Muslim and Jewish leaders expressed their concern about Tariq Ramadan (and among them was a former Howard government adviser on Islam, Ameer Ali, who urged national security authorities to keep him under close surveillance) Ferguson, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs, dismissed those fears, and described the American government’s preventing Ramadan’s entry into the United States in 2004 as “over the top.”
Here are some questions for Laurie Ferguson, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs, who is worried about “myths” being created about Islam and Muslims, and worried about “stereotypes” about Islam and Muslims that might be fostered if the wrong representatives keep on representing Islam. For, as Laurie Ferguson sees it, his portfolio is to make Australians feel comfortable with Muslims, to allay whatever fears or anxieties may somehow have been created in them by Muslim behavior, including the behavior of Muslim spokesmen. For the next step, a step which must under no circumstances be encouraged, would be for large numbers of Australians to begin to look for themselves into the texts of Islam, into the tenets of Islam, into the attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, and even perhaps to read books other than the pabulum of the apologists, but the real books, by the real Western scholars, of Islam. And that would never do, not for Laurie Ferguson, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs. That would be hellish. That would be wrong.
So for Laurie Ferguson it is time, past time, way past time, “to tackle the myths surrounding Islam.” And that can better take place if more plausible and crowd-pleasing “representatives” of Islam come forward — not the clerics who so far have had the lack of common sense and tact to hide much of what Islam teaches, in order to replace those hairy men with smooth men (a Jacob for an Esau, forsooth!). There is a need for smooth men, just like Tariq Ramadan, the fuss about whom Laurie Ferguson finds simply “over the top,” who can do a better job of presenting Islam to a still largely-ignorant, and therefore still credulous, audience of Australian Infidels. At no point in any of this is there any indication that Laurie Ferguson has read or studied Islam on his own. There is no indication that, as part of his preparation for admitting, and even serving as introducer of, Tariq Ramadan, Laurie Ferguson read Caroline Fourest’s Brother Tariq or Paul Berman’s excellent 15-page essay on Ramadan in The New Republic. There is no indication that he, Laurie Ferguson, has been studying Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, or the surest Western guides, written by non-apologists, on the subject of Islam’s contents and its conquests, over 1350 years, of vast non-Muslim lands, and the subjugation of the non-Muslim populations that followed upon those conquests, with the same dismal islamization and attempts, often successful, at arabization that followed.
No, there is none of that. And since, despite some highly intelligent people in Australia who cannot be fooled, because they are too well-prepared, and these include the Anglican writer Mark Durie, the journalist Andrew Bolt, the politician Peter Costello, and many others, most people in Australia, like most Infidels everywhere (in Western Europe, in the United States and Canada, in Israel), remain still ignorant of Islam’s texts and tenets and attitudes, and their ignorance makes them dangerously credulous.
The Muslim clerics whom Laurie Ferguson wishes to replace because they feed into “stereotypes” about Islam and therefore, he says, cannot possibly be representative of Islam, may indeed be replaced. But the question is: do those clerics adequately represent what Islam teaches, what Islam not only teaches but inculcates? If so, would it not be useful to keep them on, rather than to replace them with those who also know what Islam teaches, but are also keenly aware of the need to obfuscate, to hide or distract or confuse, because the position of Muslims in Australia is not yet so firmly entrenched that they can now, with impunity, tell the truths that those clerics have been unsettlingly telling?
One thing is clear. Whether or not those clerics represent “Muslims in Australia” (to be distinguished from adequately representing the tenets of Islam or are unrepresentative representatives of “the Muslim community”), Laurie Ferguson, the Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs, has given every sign of being a perfect representative of the vast majority of Infidels in Australia who remain ignorant of Islam, and therefore almost willfully credulous.
Well done, Laurie Ferguson, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs. You deserve your high office. Your high office deserves you.