It’s Time We Defended Our Culture and Freedom

France has taken the first significant step towards banning the veil of Islamic oppression – the burqa.

One French minister said the veil “amounts to being cut off from society and rejecting the very spirit of the French republic that is founded on a desire to live together.”

The minister continued, “At a time where our societies are becoming more global and complex, the French people are pondering the future of their nation. Our responsibility is to show vigilance and reaffirm our commonly-shared values.”

The vote in the lower house of the French Parliament was “a victory for democracy and for French values.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Replace the references to France in the passages above with Australia and things aren’t so different.

We all need to constantly reaffirm the values that unite us rather than appease the customs that isolate some from their fellow Australians.

For too long, political correctness has allowed the power of vocal minorities to intimidate, cajole, bully or shout down any critics who dare question their ‘rights’. The fact that these so called ‘rights’ conflict with the rights of others or the essence of our democracy is conveniently forgotten as labels of racist, bigot and intolerant are the standard ad hominem return of fire.

In today’s politically correct world, such slurs have the power to wreck promising careers and stifle any rational examination of the issues that confront us. One such issue is religious extremism.

Now I admit to being a Christian – certainly a flawed and failed one – but nevertheless, I continue to strive toward a more virtuous life. I am also very tolerant of other recognised religions and have defended the rights afforded them under our Constitution in the parliament, even when I have disagreed with the very premise of their faith.

However, when the same PC brigade that regularly insists upon the separation of church and state defends the extremism of the so-called ‘religious’ whose political agenda is contrary to the very foundation of our nation, then it’s time to take a stand.

If you haven’t already guessed, I am referring to fundamentalist Islam, whose adherents wish to impose sharia (or Islamic) law in Australia. These are the same groups that insist the full face veil is a requirement for women to live an Islamic life. To me, concealment of the face is akin to slavery as it voids the individual identity in favour of their submission to Islam and sharia.

You might also be interested to know that sharia also advocates stoning to death people who commit adultery or seek to renounce the Islamic faith. This is a system where women are considered second class citizens and homosexuals can be hanged. To most Australians, such a culture would be considered a return to a more primitive and barbaric time. It’s as unwelcome as it is foreign.

Why then are there defenders of what I consider the most public symbol of fundamentalist Islam in Australia – the face covering veil? It beggars belief that these civil rights activists don’t recognise that they are defending a political agenda that has the cessation of civil rights as its ultimate goal.

In our age of PC intolerance any criticism of such a repressive garment is met with hysterical criticism and indignant shrieks demanding individual freedoms.

Now, freedom is a serious matter and all governments strive to achieve a balance between anarchy and tyranny. However, where our freedoms are being used to undermine the very system that ensures those freedoms, we have to respond.

Appeasement, in any form, of the fundamentalist Islamic agenda will be a nail in the coffin of our fragile democracy. While this may seem an alarmist comment, the evidence of such actions in other nations is evident. In some countries (such as England), sharia law operates in parallel with western law in a number of areas. In Australia, already there are calls for sharia law to operate in regard to finance, divorce and property settlements. The Gillard Government is even considering legislative amendments to appease sharia finance advocates.

This is the first step in a process that will undermine our democratic ideals and the belief that our laws apply equally to all.

Already we have groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) holding their international congress in Sydney with their accompanying 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. It also publicly supports terrorism against Israel. This group has been banned in many other nations due to their links to hate groups and terror, yet our own security service (ASIO) recommended against a similar ban in 2007.

In the United Kingdom, despite a similar recommendation from their national security agency, the Conservative Government has pledged to “ban any organisations which advocate hate or the violent overthrow of our society, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir” as part of their national security platform.

I recognise there might not be concrete evidence that they are involved in terror or violence in Australia, but common sense says we shouldn’t be indulging in hosting adherents to such extremist beliefs. What does it say about our nation when these anti-Semitic extremists can gather in Australia but are banned from doing so in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Holland, Germany and Pakistan?

Now I know we are different to the nations I just mentioned. We have different values and a different culture. However, every nation has a duty to protect and defend its own culture. Unfortunately, too many Australians appear unwilling or uninterested in doing exactly that.

The greatest threat to freedom is the tyranny of government, yet our democratic government is often the last line in defence of our freedom. When we have groups and organisations that are using our freedoms to overturn our system of government in an attempt to impose an antiquated and brutal regime, we cannot feign tolerance.

It is time we learned from the experience of the French, the Belgians, the Dutch, the Swiss and the British. We need to stop the expansion of fundamentalist Islam in Australia lest we lose the foundation, the essence, the very culture of our great nation.

Defending our culture can start with an effective ban on the burqa and groups like Hizb ut-Tahrir. In fact, our future freedom may depend on it.

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