An Insight into Fundamentalist Islam

Earlier this week I appeared on SBS’s Insight program to discuss banning the burqa. The assembled audience included some burqa (and niqab) wearers, a sheik from Melbourne and a number of people whose interest covered both sides of the debate.

While others will make their own judgement about the program and content, personally I was left more concerned about radical Islam in Australia than ever before.

I was sitting next to Sheik Omran, head of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah Association. After I made my case in regard to the security concerns arising from the burqa’s acceptance in society, the Sheik maintained that no crime had ever been committed by anyone, anywhere in the world whilst wearing a burqa.

I showed him a folder full of press clippings that detailed many hundreds of such instances which he dismissed as “western lies”. Another chap chimed in with taunts of “racist” but refused to justify his accusations by identifying exactly what race the burqa is.

The Sheik then pointed out that it was impossible to identify even unmasked western criminals because “you all look the same”!

Given that Sheik Omran maintains that the September 11 terrorist attacks were a US government plot, we could be forgiven for not taking him seriously. Unfortunately that is not an option because his is the voice of fundamentalist Islam in Australia.

Another guest on the program was Uthman Badar of the Hizb Ut-Tahir (HT) organisation. This is the radical Islamist group that has been banned in countries like Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Holland, Germany and Pakistan but feels comfortable enough to hold their world congress in Australia.

I have written before of their message calling for Muslims to rebel against democracy and the rule of western law. HT openly seeks the destruction of democracies and the establishment of an Islamic super-state and sharia law. It has also publicly supported terrorism against Israel.

Despite persistent questioning, neither Sheik Omran nor Mr Badar would publicly state if wearing the burqa was a requirement under Islam, resorting instead to long winded platitudes. In Mr Badar’s case, he supports the burqa being worn as a “freedom of choice” issue even though his desire for an Islamic caliphate would remove freedoms and choice for billions of people.

Listening to the contribution of these (and other) fundamentalists make their case, it would be easy to dismiss them as simply part of the ‘rich tapestry of life’. Regretfully, to do so would be to turn a blind eye to the danger that such a system of belief presents to our way of life.

Among the hardy souls prepared to speak out against such fundamentalism was a young Muslim woman who called these extremists out for what they are. By her own admission she clearly felt uncomfortable going public with her concerns but she felt she needed to say something.

I, for one, am glad she did and can only hope that more Australians will find their voice and do the same.

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