Channel: Khalid Yasin
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It's great to be back. Last week, john Howard heard from some Australian Muslims at a summit in Canberra, but other prominent Muslims with radical opinions weren't invited to the meeting. Tonight, radical voices join moderates and the Attorney General in our studio. There are some notable absentees shake Omron, a controversial cleric from Melbourne declined our invitation to debate his fellow Muslim Australians. But shaken man's views are on the record. On this program, he was asked what he told his followers to think about Osama bin Laden. This was his answer.
this is a complex matter.
We talk about a person
almost sacrificed himself, his world, his family,
for something he believes is absolutely true.
And in that regard, I find him very great man who is responsible for September 11. I don't want to say USA government, but I would say some of them they are responsible for that. The government is responsible. Yes, yes. I believe in that 100%. I believe there is
what they call it in conspiracy against Islam and Muslims. Is it a good duty to go and fight the coalition forces for jihad in Iraq at the moment?
Well, Adam Sameera, you're a Muslim, and you're a Victorian MP. And you've said recently we have the same types of people in Melbourne as those polarizing London. Do you mean people like check online?
Just like Eugene, I entered parliament in November 2002, not as a Muslim MP, but as a MP as a candidate representing the values of my party DLP. And ultimately I am in Parliament to represent my constituents. Now, I in the question I'm asking is when you talk about extremism, is that what you're talking about? It is absolutely it is. Now, I entered this discussion. Only after the London bombings prior to that I did not want to give a running commentary on Muslim issues. Now, after the London bombings, people such as the gentleman just sitting there, and by the way, I congratulate him for keeping a low profile to glad he's not. I'm happy that he's keeping a low profile. So that
sensible, actually, that's to be Let's be congratulated.
hasn't kept a low profile.
Last month, oh, sorry. I think he has for the last month. And he's been he's a prominent Muslim leader in Melbourne. And presumably he has a fair amount of influence over young people. Is that dangerous? Do you think someone like that to be influencing young people? I would say his influence is overstated. But certainly he does get he has been getting the headlines. Now that's always frustrated that that and I was also frustrated the inability of mainstream Muslim leaders to nylife simple anti terror message.
You know, when Muslim ladies have condemned terrorism, and I've done it often, but the problem is when you get leaders that want to sort of go off on a tangent and, for example, talk about the golf on a diatribe about a long time, the US is responsible for long and sort of convoluted diatribe about American Imperial foreign policy objectives and practices in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Now this is not dialing a message. This is going off on a tangent Okay, not sure I but what about you? You're from Melbourne? How do you feel about shake on man speaking for Muslim Australians? Sometimes, well, that being the impression that people out in the community have that
he somehow represents, unfortunately, people who are outside the community, May, it's really difficult to understand how Byzantine and how complex views within the Muslim community are. And when you're looking at it through the prism of Person A or Person B, it's easy to take that view as representative of the whole community. Are you worried by views like that? I'm more worried about how people will react to those views, both Muslims and non Muslims. What do you mean by that? how they react? I'm worried about you know, my mother walking down the street with nobody with her. I'm getting attacked. I'm worried about people's reactions to those of us in terms of, you know, what my
little brother has to face in his classes. That's
discrimination. Are you worried?
Read about those views at a at a more political level at the level of somebody preaching that kind of I think perhaps you're under estimating the intelligence of the average Australian. So, you know, you've got to bear in mind that the audience isn't isn't the passive one. Okay. Yeah. Fair enough. Miranda. Yeah, I think the fundamental cornerstone of Australian society is freedom of speech, freedom of expression, he has the right to express himself in any which way he wants, as long as I believe that the line is drawn, when he's inciting any form of violence. If he doesn't do that, then he has a right to express himself. And, and I think we that's the beauty of Australian society, we
have a problem with him saying that as a as a Personally, I have a problem with him because of what Nancy said, it's the reaction that the mainstream society has, thinking that all Muslims are like him, he's a minority, and he doesn't represent most Muslims. In actual fact, he's probably less than a percent of the Muslim community in Australia. What's most disconcerting, of course, is that the Australian public is being told that we should be greatly concerned about words spoken. Whereas in reality, that there are Muslims dying in the hundreds of 1000s in the Muslim world that are directly responsible, and responsible and carried out by the hands of this government even accepting that,
that Muslims are dying. I wonder, I'd like to ask you with him because we're your local spokesman for his book Toria. Now, it's an organization that's about to be banned in Britain, after the London bombings.
And I'm interested in that context in what you think about a suburb in London. And I'd like a clear answer from you about what
is he? Is he a great man? Do you support what he nL cotteridge? A very clear answer to that is that the issue is bigger than sama bin Laden. What is most important is that irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators, 911 or Madrid or London, the reality is that Western governments have
a clear answer to my question.
It's a really simple question. It's a really, really simple question to answer is, do you really know, I'd like to ask you the question. Do you condemn the actions of a sama, bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Yeah, I can. I can go even further than that. I will state unequivocally and this is where I challenge the government and everyone else, I will say unequivocally, that I will condemn the killing of any noncombatant innocent civilians, whether in Australia or whether in Iraq, they will the government do the same. All right, so you're saying you don't support al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's a bit I don't support at all no Muslim support, no one has gone on the record to say that
they will justify the killing innocent civilians. The reality is, is that we are being told we should be concerned about words that are spoken, whereas in reality, bombs have been dropped by Big B 52. Okay, check it in. You're a visiting lecturer from the United States. What do you think of the summit in London? I think that it's wrong for you, and anyone else to crystallize this issue would have some urban legend. I am I am as a visiting lecturer to this country. I'm a visitor to any other country and an American. I am enraged that people keep personalizing an issue with individuals. I do not support the suicide bombers or genocide bombers, wholesale terror, or retail terror, the terror
of individuals on terror of states. And I think again, I'd like to reiterate what with my constituent over here said that you are personalizing the issue. And that is not the whole issue
of the issue. It is not a baseball be fair. I don't think I don't think I'm personalizing. Bouncing off what someone else has said.
I'm bouncing directly off of you, you according so you're saying you don't support? I think I've said for the record of my answer to what you have just said. And I don't think I don't think that we should personalize the issue. We're living under a spectrum of terror. And if you take that spectrum in half and make a straight line, there are two ends of it. We need to work about both ends, those who provoke it and those that react to the provocations. Yes, I'm sure, Jamie. I think I mean, we have made this point very clear before that. It's about time that the Muslims are bound up to some of the things that are happening and it's the wrong message that we are sending to our community to
our youth. When we keep on saying that Osama bin Laden is a great man, or that we are not prepared to say that what he did was wrong. It's about time we did that. It's It's It's It's very important that we should put the car on the table. Do you think that's too much obfuscation going on? Do you think people are not being direct enough? Absolutely. Within the Muslim community? Absolutely. And I think we need to put this matter straight on the table. What has gone on has had involvement of Muslims around the world. And it's about time we acknowledge that and we move on from there to deal with it. You were great. Yeah. Well, look, I think to talk about Iraq, in the current law, September
happened before you rock so that iraq cannot justify acts of terror. I think, look, there are competing images of Islam at the moment. One image is this gentleman there staring at us with the Kalashnikov and the other images of a peaceful Muslim, overwhelming majority population. And the challenge for the Muslim Muslims today is to make sure that the dominant images of Islam in Australia are those of peace. Philip Radek, I'd like to bring you in at this point. Now Watson dragees group is about to be banned in Britain, he's sitting here, and today you've expressed concern about his career, the grip, the grip that he's involved in, you've said that it, I think,
give succor and counsel with the terms that you used to terrorism or to to the things that we've been talking about.
What are you going to do about that? I mean, are you planning to ban this group to ban the grip that this young man is a member of? Well, I'd like to make one statement first, and that is that the government certainly does not counsel, the killing of innocent civilians. And when civilians are deliberately targeted,
for for death, by terrorists, that is a very different set of circumstances to somebody who may be unfortunately, and I use that term very deliberately, the subject of collateral activity with it not been targeted at all, where they've not been targeted. Okay, I'm not gonna get, we're not gonna get into a debate about hierarchy, because that's not why we're here. So So I'd like to move on to the question I asked you, which was about Watson's group and the banning of Watson script. Now, why are you expressing an interest in possibly banning screws? in following what they've done in Britain? Well, what it what is it the words you're about, to hear has been the subject of prescription in a
number of countries through Central Asia, in Eastern Europe, and in Germany? And what is it about that group that worries you? Well, I've indicated that they have been the subject of
prescription in a number of countries and Britain has now announced that it is doing so I asked our agencies here, whether under the Criminal Code, it could be prescribed.
well, the test that is outlined in the legislation is that you can only ban for prescribing organization where it has
planned, prepared or fostered and frosted, is governed by the earlier words that he used. And the legal advice is, that even though it may give succor and encouragement to to terrorist activity, that that would not bring it within the specific provisions of the Criminal Code. It gives succor and encouragement to terrorists? Well, the point I made very deliberately was that the legislation does not cover that sort of activity. And so if you have an organization and I wasn't suggesting in relation to his but to hear a light form to view about at all, because if a decision is to be made, if the war is changed, it's got to be made objectively and on the fact it sounds like that's the way
you're headed, though. Yes, no, it's a it's a question that we will be looking at in the context of a review of the legislation that we're undertaking.
Very quickly. Let me put it in context. And this is where we want to talk about terrorism. We can't localize the issue just in Australia. It's a global phenomenon. And it has developed as a consequence of events. First of all, let's be realistic, and every Australian should know that the Western world has occupied Islamic law for over a century, has destroyed streets, divided divided lands, appointed time rules over at stolen resources, property people. Now, the reality is, is that the Muslims are trying to free themselves from the shackles of Western imperialism. Now, the problem is Western governments. And not only are they just not prepared to accept the price that comes with
bombing. They're not even prepared to accept criticism of their foreign policy. And that's the reality when you start talking about banging his head, which the world over knows, is a non violent organization that purely deals with inflation, political means the reality is a message a sent to the Muslim community is that this government, as we always say, governments are no longer prepared to accept any criticism of his foreign policy. Not sure you want
to add that there's a real danger in narrowing the framework of the discussion to how many Muslims condemned with some of in London, if we're serious about clamping down on extremism, we've really got to move away from this decontextualized thing of terrorism, and insisting that the framework of the discussion de do we in Australia doing the Muslims in Australia condemned sama bin Laden or not. If we were to get every single Muslim in Australia to sign a letter saying we do not like Osama bin Laden. I don't see how that is really
what people want to know is how big is the danger, the threat of extremists and the average person wants to know whether a suicide bombing is likely to happen in Australia? And if so, where it's going to come from and how
the paradigm of the discussion then should move beyond who is who's extremist who is moderate, or these very sort of divisive labels on both sides.
Were both extremism, it's not just coming from the Muslim community. If we view it in a negative context, we're perpetrators of extremism as well. I mean, you know, this is a human problem. This isn't just about Muslims or about Western society. This is for all of us to consider.
You know, it's a bit rich for the government to start lecturing people about extremism. When Philip Radek knows that in his own conference, there are extremists young liberals who are stepping out his branches. We've already had one step last night it was john, bro.
They're not they're not bombing people. Not you know, but if you read some of the speeches that you that I've read, enhance od in the New South Wales upper house, if you read some of the things, some of the rhetoric that's coming out from liberal in peace, okay, they're not killing people. But it's still extreme, not extreme.
We'll move on from the Liberal Party. I think a couple more comments down the front. Yes. In terms of a terrorist attack in Australia, I think it's probably inevitable. We've had them before the hidden bombing was one, and they've made some embassies attack. Now, it's probably going to happen. It may come from someone with an affiliation to Islam. But the thing that you have to remember is that it's not just going to be for non Muslims of the victims, the Muslims are going to be the victims as well. Just about every terrorist attack that has happened in the West has had Muslim casualties. We're all targets. And at the moment, this talk about us being the enemy is a big
danger. Muslims need to be inside the tent, fighting against the terrorists that are targeting Australia. What I mean when I talk about liberal MPs, backbenchers demonizing their constituents and talking about, you know, what are you referring to banning hits I'm talking about? I mean, what what does a cloth on a woman's head have to do with suicide bombing? or dropping bombs or blowing people up? It is totally irrelevant when you have when you have backbenchers and when you have the young liberal president, the future leader of the party, talking about these sorts of things, and giving talking about extremist rhetoric, it's like when the government talks about Muslims, like people in
glass houses throwing stones, okay, Adam, you want to say something about his career, which we were talking about before? Do you think it should be banned as an organization in Australia just to kind of decide what wasn't said before? Sounds to the to the average Australian out there listening? What he said sounds like justification or rationalization of killing off mass murder, essentially, Australians don't want to hear that. They want to hear a clear unequivocal message.
Well, that's what i i don't disagree with a lot of what we're seeing in these organizations say, but I've never heard them justify killing anybody. They have a message. And it's a message that comes out from people like the university and a whole range of others. You gotta have to ban a whole lot of other people. If you ban him. Yeah, check it out. me say something. I think that as students of history, we forget, this whole new definition of terrorism is about eight or 10 years old, a new definition. But there's an old definition look to thorndyke Webster, look to fuckin Magno look to their definition of terrorism. And I give you, I give you 14 countries that right now with the G
nine, who themselves have perpetrated and fell within the categorization and the very clear definition of terrorism. And I'll tell you what it cost over the period of the last 150 years, it costs 37 million lives. So I asked you what this new definition of terrorism that we keep on talking about, okay, how many lies Of course, we need to discuss the whole spectrum of terror. What is the definition of terror? who participated in it, even if we're wearing suits now, if we have constitutions Now, did we perform it? And I asked Mr. Roddick, let me just finish one thing, misurata kinos. In this country, there is no
limitation statute of limitations on murder. If you murder somebody 200 years ago, you're still a murderer today. So I say that all the people who murdered people all over the world, 200 years ago, there's still murderers. And that was the spectrum of provocation. All right.
I'd like at this point should just go to a few things that you've said, since you've been in Australia, you're visiting Australia at the moment some of the things that you've said that people have may not have seen. Let's have a look at those.
There's no such thing as having a non Muslim free.
So non Muslim could be your associate, but they can't be afraid. The punishment for homosexuality or bestiality or anything like that is death. We don't make any excuses about that. It's not our law.
Let me say first of all, that's what's called a sound bite. Everybody here knows that the sound bite is not actually what a person said.
This was directed at myself. So just hold up for me. Let me qualify my statement if you if you will, okay.
Let me qualify my statements, yes, you'll get a chance to jump into the circus. All right, just a minute. First of all, what I meant in Islam, there are two kinds of friendship, colony and sharing. Which means that we have the right to have Muslim friends who are intimate with us. For instance, Mr. Brother could be my closest friend, he could marry my daughter, I could marry his daughter, maybe. You see, that's a different kind of friendship in Islam. shuddering friendship is one that is based upon Islam. The other kind of friendship is kind of funny, which we have. We have, we have associates, we have colleagues, we have co workers, who are our friends, but punishment for
homosexuality is death. I said in Islam, and also in the Bible, for those who are Christians, the punishment for homosexuality and bcrc is death. But we are not living under an assignment governmental apparatus. And therefore I did not promote or I did not say that this is what we should do today.
I'm interested in what you think about this thing with respect, that this would give the wrong message to young people. I have a lot of Australian friends who share Islamic values with me, they are Australian values, too. And when you look back to the way of the Prophet, and we know that he was delivering Koran, and that we emulate him, that's good. He used to go and knock on the door of his Jewish neighbor, if he didn't see him for a few days, and find out if he's, well, if he needed assistance. When Christian delegations came, he invited them to meet with him in the direction and when the time for prayer came, he allowed them to pray is correct. Could you just let her finish?
Why, oh, he then stressing extreme lies like marriage. That is, you know, personal decision. Anyway, that's a question we cannot really
we cannot promote an attitude like that. Among the young people of the Quran forbids us from the Quran forbids, that I give my daughter to a Christian.
We're talking about
what do you when you hear those sorts of comments as an Australian Muslim? How do you feel about that is a representation a upset because I, I feel that young people on both sides, Muslims and non Muslims are getting the wrong message, or getting the message that we cannot be friends with you? We cannot share anything with you. And that is not true. And clearly, there's criticism of the media in this. But is there also criticism of the community itself or members of the community for the way they portray it? Because a lot of the women sometimes that I need, tell me, oh, my daughter is a friend of an Australian girl. I can't let her be like that. I said, Why? Australians believe in
family values, believe in morals, believe in our things. Just check to the family and find out if they're on the same level as yourself. Gentlemen up the backs had his hand up for a long time, I just like to ask the Attorney General one question. And that is, as a simple seventh generation Australian, I have always felt that incitement to murder is a criminal offence. And I really wonder what is the problem? If these people are encouraging others to commit mass murder? Why isn't the government doing something about it? Well, I don't know that we've established that these people are doing
a quick, quick response. Well, look, I mean, always made us depend upon the facts, and they may well be an offense, if the relevant evidence is there, then if it's just
a legal opinion, we have incitement laws at the moment that covered this sort of thing. Why are you flagging the need for new laws to deal with to deal with some of these issues? If we've already got incitement laws that do cover incitement to violence? Are they adequate? Well, I think the in relation to the way in which the war is operated the advice that we have in relation to particular situations, it may well be necessary to extend the operation of the law to put beyond doubt, what the parliament might intend, but I'm not going to foreshadow provisions in in that is where we haven't yet concluded our deliberations. So you're foreshadowing something that you're not telling
us well, Minister made it very clear that in the light of the London bombings that we would look at what is being done abroad, see whether there are any lessons in relation to our domestic situation, and then in a considered way, bring forward any amendments that might be necessary. Julian, I know you've got strong views on this on this whole issue of speech.
I mean, at what point does speech become dangerous? I'm troubled about the way this conversation is going. It's falling into the same trap as the public conversation at large, you pick out a couple of extreme views. And the assumption is that these are generally
expressed an extreme view, I don't think the community at large would attribute those views to the entire Christian community in Australia. One of the interesting things that's happened in the research for this program is that in talking to Muslim Australians, what we've found is that a lot of people are not happy with the leadership in the community that that is part of the seems to be part of the problem. Is that a fair comment on end? Do people feel that the leadership isn't adequately isn't adequately responded to the statement that he made you well know that the statement that he makes, I think, is a valid statement to make, but I think beyond that there is also an issue
of Who are the people who are popping their heads up and making comments that are read read as by the broader population representative of Muslim Australians? I mean, do you think that's a problem? I can quite understand that moderate Muslims, Muslims who think that they're being misrepresented by statements like this might be a little hesitant to put their heads above the parapet. You know, it's not a great climate for that sort of free speech. But I think there are people who want to put their heads above the parapet, Corrado, you've been critical of leadership, I think we've got to appreciate the fact that the Islamic community is not one homogenous group, there are so many
different factions, there are so many different ethnicities. And so you will get people that call themselves leaders, and they will speak on behalf of their congregation, but they won't represent the mainstream. I know for a fact that no one in the Islamic community in Australia is inciting violence, no one is calling for any, any type of so called jihad. What people here are saying is that they are unhappy with some of the things going on in Iraq or Palestine, they have a right to express those views. But they're not they're not inciting violence. And I don't know any Muslims that have any values that are incompatible with the so called Australian values that our Liberal
government has been espousing. So I don't see what the problem is. I think that Australian Muslims are one of the most integrated Islamic communities in living in the West, we've got to be proud of that fact and work with the community. Dr. Neville Abraham, ma'am, you're, you're a doctor, you've set up a group called Australian Muslim doctors against violence, with 57 doctors, I think, who are members of that group. Now? What do you think about the way that the Muslim community has responded to the climate at the moment? Well, in terms of leadership, let me tell you, the only the absolutely single reason that we formed, the group was the
very obvious absence of leadership was in the Muslim community, at a time when the prime minister was in London, and he was crying out for people to do enough. And also, we realized that there is a definite risk as doctors and surgeons, and we realized that there is a definite risk. And as people who do understand
human beings and human sufferings, and we're in the game of looking after people, we really did not really see a reason for us to be to wait until we dealing with the problem at the other end. Okay, so you so you felt there wasn't enough leadership? Well, it's not only that, and in fact, for a long, long, long time, we felt that the leadership that was in the Muslim community is far from conclusively representing the community and particularly the afra group. Gentlemen, he
is not with the leadership. Anyway, this is the this is the burden with democracy, because democracy is a democracy where the people want to come to come
ahead and do something but the problem is, even if the leadership condemned something while the state is in continues, and the Bible Still, the Bible is still butchered in Iraq and Palestine, in Afghanistan everywhere, nobody will listen to this leadership anyway. So the leadership must must the verb is to address the causes of the two is in which is why this why Australia on Spain, USA was only targeted in the last in the last few years. It's very clear because of of the extreme governments in USA in Australia and Britain and Spain, which is
which is continuing to the what what was your thing that's what's driving the problem any any any any issue like I came from medical background, if we if we want to talk about medical issue, we must we must address the causes and the causes is not because
my fellow panda here is saying something or the other Philippines saying something is the causes of the issue is the injustice the huge injustice for the last few
The last decades, which is inflicted on the whiskey on the Muslims around the world. Okay, everyone wants to have a say, john, quickly. Yes, I just want to take up a little bit further, I think we're moving away a little bit from it. My understanding is that there's about 300,000 Australian Muslims. At the moment now, of that it's a very, very small minority that may express a particular view that seems to go against the grain of what the majority of people were talking about. And I'm not talking about a majority 51%, I'm talking about a majority of over 90%. What I've got a concern about if I'm sorry, to you, what I'm what I'm going to concern about, is the fact that if we keep on creating
these supposedly visions, then eventually some people might start to feel a bit disenfranchised, and some things where they used to think, look, this is not me, this doesn't appeal to me, I am Australian, then I'm concerned that we may start losing a few people who are a lot more, as I said, over 90%, moderate, they might start to start getting different opinions and so forth. And then this is my cousin. That's what I think we should really be addressing. Gentlemen at the back. Yes, thank you, sir. Madam Mauer site, just to go constructive, constructive discussion, I'd really like to say that there are so many Muslims out there who really want to integrate into this nation. And I think
what we're saying today is not really being constructive. What I'd like to say let me finish please.
Is that just a message to the future of this nation if we say that the future may be in Australian Muslims, just to all my fellow Young Australian Muslims, please listen very carefully. Those who know me I'm not going to lie, but I'm going to say because I've said it so many times. But Robert Kennedy once said, that it is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lives of others, or strikes out against injustice, they sent forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current, which can
sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. I hope that all the Muslims, all the Australians, Muslims and non Muslims can wake up tomorrow morning and say that they want to build a society where they can get this to that where they can get their kids being brought up in a harmonious society. I'll call upon all Muslims. Okay.
I think I think I think we've taken your point. And thank you for making it. Club. You had your hand up before, I wonder what you wanted to say? Well, I think that we can point to injustice has been perpetrated in a number of places overseas, Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Kashmir. And so I think the real issue for us is to try and prevent that playing itself out in Australia. And I thought I didn't really agree with the the summit that was held, because I felt that what we really needed to do, we were not addressing the right people, because I'm not sure that many of those people actually do represent their constituencies. What I would have liked to have seen instead, is a summit of young
people, not just Muslims, but young people who could address the issues and see where we go forward in Australia.
That's not the back here yet. I just wanted to say in terms of, of the ladies, the Muslim ladies out there that do get up and say what they want to say, like, Alison,
I just feel that at this point in time, yeah, our religion tells us not to, you know, back away from, from what is the truth and everything. But I guess, they've got to understand that, you know, not just Muslims are listening to the lectures that are being given. So just make sure what you say is very clear and concise. And don't leave it up and open for people to just take sound bites, and just understand it.
Two points in particular, number one, this whole issue of a representative or one voice, I find this whole discussion really is quite ridiculous when you're looking at such a large number in such a large community. I mean, if we're going to look at representatives and people that are going to take the community that they reflect and say, I'm going to actually do what they're what they're asking me to do. I mean, I'd like to ask a very simple question. When john Howard decided to send the troops off to Iraq, we had a rally here of over 1 million people who protested against this. Okay. Now, I don't believe that their voices were being heard. Now in regards to more lectures, more
people giving lectures and and this matter, I think what we must address and I think you you use any other journals? Well, no, Jenny, that many people can give lectures, and many people can give talks, but what goes to air is not dictated by the Muslim community is dictated by those who who are in ownership. And I must, I must make the point to and I look, I think the criticisms of the meteor are very fair, actually, a lot of the criticism of the meteor is very fair on this issue. But at the same time, I also know from talking to Muslims, a lot of Muslims in the preparation of this program, there was a lot of criticism of the leadership of people like you and Jeb, because people were
saying that you hadn't stood up quickly enough strongly enough that organizations like the Federation of Islamic councils should be doing more it should be out there more it should be putting its message out more often. How do you respond to those comments? Well, they were widespread comments we had from quite a lot of people. We spoke to
Well, Jenny, I don't say that the epic is a perfect organization, we are part of the community that we represent. But I believe people know from the fact that we haven't had any
attacks on Muslims, in the aftermath of the London bombing, for instance, was evidence of the fact that some of the things that the Muslim community as a whole and I don't claim that Africa was alone in doing that had done the kind of programs that we had conducted in the media and and outside of the media, that it did bring those kind of results. And I think we have a long way to go. Secondly, there are problems. It's a diverse community. But I think a lot of Muslims also don't know what Africa has done now that there are these are some of the weaknesses that we have. What do you think about this whole question of leadership? I think that the thing that has been started so far, that
is incredibly true, is that the Australian Muslim communities so diverse that the idea of having them represented so that the thoughts of 400,000 people have funneled through the mouth of one person? I mean, that's just absurd. I don't think that's I don't think that's the criticism to be fair criticism I've heard is hasn't been strong enough, you know, doesn't matter how many voices? I mean, you could have 10 different voices being strong in condemning violence, absolutely outright sense that it hasn't been strong enough, have been lots of condemnation of that, and cannot decide that it ethically, but we did in the aftermath of September 11, we trained a whole range of people
throughout Australia, in, in, in dealing with the media, in in managing the media, for instance. And I think they did an excellent job. And I can learn some of them. Yes. Now, I think very, I'm trying, we diverting a lot into the leadership. Well, the leadership of the Australian Muslims is no good. I can tell you that now. And especially if
it's no damn good, why is it no good, I think works on dividing the community to others and solidifying. And I challenge anybody that say that afrik work for the youth, which is a future generation of Australia. But all the women you say, and I come to another point here,
Now, we diverting from the actual issue,
we blaming the community for something we haven't done. Every time something happened in the world, the Muslim community suffer, we have no authority to send the troops to Iraq. We have no authority to send the troop to Afghanistan. We have no authority to condemn the Palestinian rather than condemning the Palestinian and Israeli every time something happened. So there is a bias. And there is troops in Afghanistan, there is a drop of luck, the government can jump up and down and say it's not the reason for terrorism. We have to go to the grassroots and treat it so we can get rid of the gentlemen up here.
Explanation saying we condemn terrorism, we don't need to give one. It says in the Quran, if you take one in some are still taking all mankind. If you say warning someone if they saw seven golden mankind, you don't need Muslims sitting on a stage saying we can then killing we can then say we don't need that window. That was the epidemic of the epidemic of the Catholic priests, pedophilia, Muslims, and also Catholic priests. Can you condemn pedophilia? We know Trump gentlemen every day. Yes. Look, I think is what Australians as an ordinary Australian listening to all this and it just strikes me is that you're so hung up on what's happening in Iraq and Lebanon, and over here and
blaming governments there and ordinary Australians just want to hear from you, that you want to be here that you want to.
You want to share in our in a future together, and that you want to do it in a way that that we know, in the West, just as you are afraid of walking down the street, we're walking down the street from you, Brian, we want to know that we can let down our barrier and build a bridge to you and that you're going to want to come across
the thing is because of the government, I guess, sort of let's not blame the government.
You know, Muslim, you know, women with the scarves issue, right? That makes Muslims feel that we're being alienated and left as a single group. And we can we cannot come to an Australian.
Like we discuss things where he understands for me and he gets my point of view, I'll get his point of view. That's what we'd like to see happen.
Just a couple of people who we haven't heard from there are a couple of people with their hands up over here. Yes, yes.
You know, crime is crimes any nevermind, who's doing that crime. A criminal is a criminal. What happened in before five, six year in Oklahoma, the guy killed 200 people. He was a criminal.
And he was a Christian how Hitler is done, you know, he's been the Judea. He was as a criminal. What is another? I don't know. I mean, they were the people they done in New York or London or in Bali or here they are they done Also in, in Spain or in Santa Fe. That's the kind those people that just listen to me those people they don't this is a crime, we condemning a crime. And these kind of people, they are criminal. Okay.
This minute, we are not we as a Muslim beside our differences, this and other things. We as a Muslim 99 point 99 we condemning old crime old criminal, those people they're doing okay.
The problem is that the views of the overwhelming majority of Australians, including Muslims, because this is a community that's been in Australia since the 1830s. Remember, this is not a migrant community, we're talking about these people, their views are not being articulated by the leadership because the leadership is dominated by people with a migrant mentality. What I mean by that instance, dominated by people who don't really have roots in Australia, who are prepared to say things where it's okay for them, if things go bad, they can go back to Delhi or bar or wherever. But where am I going to go? He stride? I mean, it's really crazy, like so. So because of that our views
reflect the bottom line, I think, for people, the bottom line for people watching this, one of the things that they want to try and get a grip on is whether that there are people in Australia who are capable of carrying out suicide bombings, that's what people are frightened.
And I wonder what people here think about that, whether they think, what do you think is the answer to that question? Are there people here that are capable of doing it? They're motivated to do it? I'm not a security intelligence official, you probably have to ask them. I mean, they know more than me. But what I
what frustrates me about this whole discussion, is that it's a polarized discussion, on the one hand about, you know, it's all about foreign policy. And on the other hand, it's all about ideology, especially in the public conversation, consistently Western government lies has been, terrorism is purely about an art. It's an ideological phenomenon. You think this way you go do that? I think both propositions that explained very complex human behavior through one dimensional narrative. Both propositions are equally absurd. What we're not doing is actually engaging with the human complexities that go into making someone who may have a particular ideological bent, sure. But
there's a difference between having that ideological bent and actually strapping a bomb yourself and doing it. It's far more complex than just reducing it to a very important point, I think that you make actually that the difference between doing something and having a particular ideological position, I think, that often gets lost, talk about good and evil, we will actually never get anywhere. What do you think about that? What do you think about this idea that there's a difference between people expressing political views passionately expressing political views, that might involve violence, that they might involve references to violence? But that doesn't necessarily mean
they're going to go and commit an act of terror? Well, it's a question of what he said in the context and how people, perhaps even with diminished capacity might react to those comments and observations. And if somebody is encouraging people to go out and deliberately take the life of an innocent person, and you have to ask yourself, whether that conduct which might lead to such an act is something you need to deal with. And you clearly think it's, you clearly think at the moment there's a need for tougher laws that will put your foot forward I would make is that Chevron can made it very clearly, I am concerned to deal with terrorism, extremism, I have a very strong view,
that it cannot be confined to any one particular community or any one religion. And I don't believe there is any justification. However, it is put in political terms for targeting deliberately, innocent women and children to try and achieve a political objective
will know it, and when and when and when and when you have people when you put that proposition, who then argue that there is a justification for that sort of behavior. You can see why I have some difficulty with it.
The death of half a million children in Iraq. And if you say we can't rationalize acts of terrorism, the reality is the Australian Government with its allies of the US and Europe, have inflicted the worst sort of terrorism that has been known to mankind. Now he's rationalizing that by
justifying that you want tougher laws to what? Why do you want tougher laws? Well, I think part of the problem tonight has been the debate, perhaps naturally enough, because it's been a debate very much so far among the Muslim community as contextualize the problem as just applying the Muslims. If you look at this, in the widest sense, Australia is a pretty tolerant society. I mean, it's the most extremist murdered Australians in Bali, and most Muslim Australians copped no flack about it. As an example over two years ago.
They certainly didn't come as much flak as I do get Australians and barley. Well.
We are running out of time, can we finish
this there's a there's a simple point here, and that is Australian society as a whole.
One, this is one of the disadvantages the Muslim community face, Australian society as a whole
lacks so much religious belief and understanding the average Ozzie can no longer tell the difference between a mainstream believer of any religion and a bigot. And that's half the problem because the vast majority of Muslim Australians are mainstream believers who are no problem at all. The gentlemen over here, for instance, is a bigot. Okay. Can we can we get to this question of what you want to happen? Because I know that you will. Law has to face up to this problem there are sedition and treason laws have to be tightened up to some extent.
Because we face the same problem we faced when we have to fight extremism from communists or Nazis or receptionist, it's not a new problem. You have to take the long view and look at this calmly. We faced this problem before and we'll face it now.
Julian, I want to comment back from you on this because I know you think the response the political response to the to the climate, the political climate at the moment has been disastrous, why?
It has taken centuries to get the democratic freedoms which characterize our society, no erosion of democratic freedoms should be allowed unless it is fully and plainly justified. Now, the threat of terrorism in Australia, I think is real but minor, that the actual consequences of terrorism will worldwide although terrible, minor. When you consider it a worldwide, I think terrorism has killed a couple of 1000 people in the last couple of years. Typically, the figures ran at less than 1000 deaths a year. Each one of those deaths is tragic. The war on terror has cost 400 billion American dollars, wouldn't that money have been better spent by fighting the war against AIDS for against
poverty, or against childhood?
Good. I wonder what you think about this, because I know that your liaison officer in the community with the police in in Victoria now.
What do you think about this idea of top to top a lot of work? I mean, is that is that a way of dealing with some of the issues that we've been talking about, y'all can just let alone an expert
with with regards to law reformation. So I suppose we've got the relevant parties here to comment on that. What I can say, though, is with regards to addressing issues which impact the broader the broader society. Education is the most important way of addressing this particular issue. And we've demonstrated that through Victoria Police, for example, through the multiculturalism unit, where we established we have established very strong links with members of the Muslim community, for example. And that gives it gives them an opportunity to to, I suppose, view their concerns, their issues, as well as what our concerns are. And we work together collectively, collectively to address this
particular issue. And opportunities for me as a Muslim, just listening to a lot of the comments being made here today, how opportunities for me how grateful I am, the fact that I've been born in Australia, the fact that I no Muslim get on taking on a leadership role, by I suppose getting across a very powerful message, a very positive message to all members of the community about how we can all contribute, what the obligations of a Muslim is, how we can all contribute to the broader society for the better. We are nearly out of time. I know you've got a couple of proposals. I mean, what do you think about suggestions of deportation and burning and those sorts of things? I mean,
would you like to see some people out of the country?
Just that's, that's, that's a that's a thing. Where did I go? I mean, why I was born in Turkey, for example. Why should if I sort of turned into a Thai extremist, or whatever we call it, I mean, we're talking about language here. Why should turkey take me? There is one big issue. Can I just say, as far as education, that's my frightening thing about London. The people that were involved in the bombings were well on appearance, decent, upstanding, sort of middle class, well educated and extensively well adjusted individuals. That's why I say hey, can you categorically say, Hey, can you present a coat
Talking about decide that he wants to happen in Australia.
Can I just get a final comment from you? What have you made of what you've heard? What What is the message you're coming away with? You'd like to send out I would like to send out this message. All Muslims and non Muslims should feel free to sympathize with victims of colonization and war. But we should also remember that Islam and Christianity condemned the taking of civilian innocent life, and that more victims are Muslims that are falling every day in Iraq, then maybe sources of the coalition of coalition Palestine is another issue altogether, they are fighting on their own land.
In terms of just summarizing your, your view now about about the message you want to get out? I mean, that's a complicated message in the same house, what is the length Did you think that needs to be sent a message is Australian Muslims are Australians, we care very deeply about the welfare of Australia. But we don't like to see Australians held on the stage, we would like us to be treated as Australian citizen.
Just gonna just add a bit more to that. I thought the the most important thing tonight is probably trying to show people that me as a Muslim, you know, is just as Australian as the person that lives down the road as well. I mean to that in everything that they participate in either I participate in it to answer the question of my learned friend who, up there wanted to know whether, you know, there was a threat. Look, there's no threat for me. And there's no threat from the lot of the people that I know. And that's the majority of Islam in Australia is a moderate place. I think that's a very, very good watch and on and I'd like to think we are out of time. I'm sorry. I'd like to thank
everybody very much for taking part tonight. It's been really interesting. Thank you very much.
I should point out that we also invited shake allele from the Leukemia monster join us tonight, but he was overseas and unavailable. You can keep talking on our website about this is www.usps.com.au forward slash insight. And you can join our audience here anytime if you log on to the web and follow the prompts. Tonight's insight will be repeated on Friday at 1pm. I hope you'll join us sometime next week. Until then, good luck