HERALDSUN… What an offensive corruption of our curriculum. Children are to be taught the fabled best of Islam and the imagined worst of Australia to blind us all to the real challenges Islam poses even to a country that’s peacefully integrated the many more Buddhists here:
EVERY Australian school student would be taught positive aspects about Islam and Muslims – and that Australia is a racist country – under a proposal by an education think tank.
The plan is outlined in the Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools booklet, published during the week by the Australian Curriculum Studies Association and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies.
It says there is a “degree of prejudice and ignorance about Islam and Muslims”, and Australian students must be taught to embrace difference and diversity.
The booklet refers to the al-Qai’da of Osama bin Laden as “a famous name” synonymous with the traditionalist movement in Islam. It makes no reference to terrorism.
It says “most texts used in Australian English classes still have a Western or European perspective”.
How impudent for a largely immigrant community, comprising a very small minority, to demand English classes now be taught more from their perspective rather than the communal perspective of the country to which most chose to come – a communal perspective that reflects the values and institutions that have made this country worth coming to in the first place. It is particularly offensive in that the host nation is demonised as racist while the very real and in some cases lethal challenges posed by the newcomers are glossed over.
This National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies document is the well-meaning – but dangerously foolish and deceptive – work of Dr Eeqbal Hassim, a former research fellow in Islamic Law at the University of Melbourne, and Jennet Cole-Adams, director of Curriculum Services at the Australian Curriculum Studies Association.
Most tellingly, it has only passing and vague references to Islamic terrorism, which is the key explanation for Australia’s alleged “racism” towards Muslims – something that might in many case might be more properly described as a natural caution, and one limited to Muslims here than to Buddhists or any other largely immigrant group that seems curiously immune to our “racism”. There is no mention at all of the Islamist killings of some 100 Australian in Bali, or of the Muslim terrorist plots in Australia itself, which have seen 20 people jailed.
Here is the document’s reference to Islamist terror groups, suggesting that Islamist terrorism is created by Western arrogance more than any sickness within Islam itself or Arabic cultures:
The rapid nature of this change has seen the Muslim world struggle to cope with modernity at times. The decline of Islamic influence has been met with two broad responses from the Muslim world. The first has been to adapt Islam to modernity, the approach of those we generally call the ‘modernists’ or ‘moderates’. The second has been to oppose it, an approach labelled, correctly or incorrectly, ‘traditionalist’ or ‘fundamentalist’. The first group focus on the inherent harmony between Islam and scientific progress, regardless of who is leading that advancement, and are not generally in conflict with the West…
The second group believe, in general terms, that the West has always tried to subvert and gain ascendancy over Islam. Their focus is on giving Islam global dominance once again. Some famous names synonymous with this movement are the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul-Muslimin) of Syed Qutb and Hasan al-Banna, and Al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden.
After the Oil Boom in the 1970s and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the 1980s saw an Islamic revivalism that reflected the second response. This revivalism has exacerbated tensions between Islam and the West. The mutual distrust between the Islamic and Western worlds is nothing new; it was evident during the Crusades. Often, this mistrust is caused by, and/or coupled with, ignorance and prejudice. The current tensions, particularly concerning Arab-Israeli relations, the oil trade, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and terrorism, are constant reminders of this distrust.
And that’s it. Oh, and the Crusades are presented largely as noble Muslims defending holy lands from barbaric Christians. You’d never guess that Christians thought they were recapturing holy lands from Muslim armies that had overrun them militarily.
Then there is this pious assertion, claiming an overwhelming public rejection by Muslims of Islamist terrorism that very few, if any, Australians would have actually heard:
On the contrary, most Muslims are outspoken in their criticism of terrorism, regardless of the perpetrator. This is because Islam only allows for a just war as outlined above. It cannot be denied, however, that some Muslims condone terrorism in the name of Islam. From their perspective, the ‘enemies of Islam’ are the terrorists and they are the warriors of the faith.
Well, at least the authors admit some Muslims here do indeed condone Islamist terrorism, which is precisely why many Australians are so jittery about the people they’ve invited here.
Nor is this the only grudging and muted acknowledgement of the difficulties we will have in integrating Muslim students here, and not because we are racist. In fact, the difficulties are of the kind and extent that suggest to me that in many cases we will fail to integrate Muslims, and perhaps to our cost.
Examples from this teaching guide for schools (and note the blameshifting from Muslim culture to Australian racism):
Muslim unemployment figures are generally higher than the national average. The reasons for this are numerous but underlying discrimination and prejudice towards non-Europeans in Australia may be a factor …
Religious beliefs held by Muslims (and others, including Christians) can lead to concerns about some content covered within the science curriculum. Many Muslims oppose Darwinism and the theory of evolution, deeming these to be in opposition to Islamic creationism….
Some Muslims also ask why some of their fellow believers are so socio-economically and educationally disadvantaged in the world today. They argue that the reason for this is not Islam; it is the fault of the former colonial powers who left Muslim lands unprepared for independence.
Many make the same argument about America’s involvement in various Muslim countries on the grounds of fighting terrorism and introducing democracy….
In visual art, some Muslim students and/or their parents will be uncomfortable with drawing and sculpting animate objects (people and animals). .. While most Muslims do not see any harm in drawing animate objects, some students have gone as far as defacing their works and the works of others…
Here are some of the opinions that you might encounter on this issue:
1. Music is prohibited in Islam except during the two Id festivals and at weddings… 2. All types of musical instruments are prohibited in Islam except for the daff, which may be used for musical purposes at all times….
Most Muslims recognise that swimming is an important life skill for all Australians, but some Muslim women in this country will not swim unless they can find an all female (and preferably all Muslim) pool….
Some Muslims see capitalism as a greed-driven economic system that leads to an imbalance in the global distribution of wealth. They argue that it makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, noting that many Muslim communities live in poverty. They also see capitalism as a product of the West. However, most Muslim students will approach the study of business at school with an open mind…
The quotes below, from her interviews with Muslim parents, identify some of their common concerns. “Morally, Australia is not a good place to rear children. Smoking, drugs and illicit relations are a constant threat. We have to be particular about children’s friends, try to know the family and make sure that the child has good company.”… “You cannot become part of mainstream Australian society due to the cultural difference. So, for the sake of maintaining one’s identity, you tend to find refuge in religion and start practising it more strictly.”…
Muslim student absenteeism during Ramadan is common…
However, it is common for female Muslim students not to attend (school camps)…
While many Muslim states across the world do not adopt democracy, the Quran actually orders Muslims to engage in consultation (shura) in order to run their daily affairs. The system of shura is somewhat similar to democracy. However, many Muslims still live under authoritarian regimes and/or believe that democracy is the product of the West and should be dismissed…
While some Muslims believe (women are inferior to men under Islam), due to their cultural and family background, others strongly oppose it…
Some Muslims do want this (their own system of law) but the vast majority of Muslims will abide by the laws of the land.
Only a fool could not see a problem in importing more people from a faith that sets many so apart from, and at odds to, the culture of their host country.