Australia Now; Canada Tomorrow or Muslims Now; Your Faith Tomorrow

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A couple of days ago, I received an email forward reciting a speech given in 2005 apparently by Australian government officials.

I was a bit alarmed when I read the email, so I did a little research into the contents. I thought others may be interested to know what I have learned, but first here is the email:

Subject: Australia Now, Canada Tomorrow HOW TRUE !!
Excerpts from an on going debate in Australia.

This is true and can be checked at http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/australia.asp

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Shari law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament “If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Shari law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you”, he said on National Television.

“I’d be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another Islamic law that is false. If you can’t agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Shari law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that’s a better option”, Costello said

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should “clear off. Basically people who don’t want to be Australians, and who don’t want, to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off”, he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques.

Quote: “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.”

“However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the ‘politically correct’ crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia.”

“However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.”

“This idea of Australia being a multi-cultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. And as Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.”

“This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom”

“We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society .. Learn the language!”

“Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

“We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.”

“If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don’t like “A Fair Go”, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.

“This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom,

‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.”
“If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here So accept the country YOU accepted.”

Maybe if we circulate this amongst ourselves, Canadians will find the backbone to start speaking and voicing the same truths !

This could apply to all of our Immigrants’ both Legal and illegal.

If you agree , please SEND THIS TO EVERYBODY YOU KNOW!

If you disagree hit the delete button!

First off the link to Snopes’ research on the topic is misleading. Yes it is true that there was a press conference, but it is only half true that what we read is what Snopes confirms.

Halfway through the piece, the article is hijacked by an editorial written by, not a member of the Australian government, but an Australian citizen and published in an Australian newspaper (I was unable to determine the specific paper).

Some things written in said editorial are frankly, not true.

‘”In God We Trust” is our National Motto.’

This is false. As stated in the first half of the article, Australia is a secular state and besides that, they have never adopted any official motto. The closest thing they’ve ever had is “Advance Australia”.

‘We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.’

I tried, but cannot confirm any such documentation. It is true that there is a large Christian population in Australia, however, it muddies the argument when facts are so wantonly fabricated.

Please bare with me as I appeal to the Encyclopedia for knowledge:

“The mainland of Australia has been inhabited for more than 42,000 years by Indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and by European explorers and merchants starting in the seventeenth century, the eastern half of the mainland was claimed by the British in 1770 and officially settled through penal transportation as the colony of New South Wales on 26 January 1788.”

Even if we’re ignoring the Indigenous Australian angle, that still just leaves the penal colony. Maybe it can be argued they were “Christian” prisoners… As for Australia being a religious state, according to Wikipedia’s article on Religion in Australia, the exact opposite is true.

From their article:
“there is no state religion, the establishment of which is prohibited by the Constitution.”

The forwarded message goes on to promote the idea that those living in Australia who do not share Christian beliefs “should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.” The writer continues, “If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

Muslims worship the same God that Mormons and the entire Christian world worship. Our intelligence is insulted when we are told that Muslims are offended by a belief in God.

I find it alarming given our own history of religious persecution that members of the church would forward this kind of hate when officially we pride ourselves in promoting tolerance and freedom. It really hasn’t been that long since our own pioneer parents were also asked to leave. How can we have forgotten?

Regardless of how we feel about another’s faith, we should be vigilant against such messages of hate and speak out against them. Perhaps if the subject read, “Muslims Now, Mormons Tomorrow” we would more easily recognize if it promotes Christan principles.

22 thoughts on “Australia Now; Canada Tomorrow or Muslims Now; Your Faith Tomorrow

  1. “I find it alarming given our own history of religious persecution that members of the church would forward this kind of hate when officially we pride ourselves in promoting tolerance and freedom. It really hasn’t been that long since our own pioneer parents were also asked to leave. How can we have we forgotten?”

    Jeff, I agree. I have felt this way for a long long time. When Pres Hinckley was urging members to be tolerant of other’s beliefs, I was stunned he even had to SAY that! With our church history, should we not automatically be more compassionate towards other religions? We know what it was like to be persecuted (well for the church pioneers) for our beliefs. We shouldn’t perpetuate that.

  2. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    Given our own history of religious persecution I am in favour of getting along in society. Obeying the law is vital.

    Asking someone to obey the law isn’t intolerant.

  3. This is indeed a can of worms and I’m somewhat surprised that there has been very little comment.

    I would like to point out, as Jeff did, that this was not a statement made by the Australian Prime Minister, in fact some of the sources have proven to be of a dubious origin. Nevertheless, certainly the ideas are worthy of consideration.
    Perhaps the letter was written in response to racial tensions which occurred in Sydney.

    “On Sunday, December 11, 2005, approximately 5000 people had gathered in a protest to “reclaim the beach” from recently reported incidents of assaults and intimidatory behaviour by groups of non-locals, most of whom were identified in earlier media reports as Middle Eastern youths from the suburbs of Western Sydney. The crowd had assembled following a series of earlier confrontations, and an assault on two lifesavers which had taken place the previous weekend.”

    Whilst I like the concept of a Global Village and religious tolerance, this is best practiced as a two way street and I suspect the Muslim view of the Global village is somewhat different to mine.

    I do wonder if the level of political correctness which we practice at this moment in time might not have long term ramifications for the Christian world and the Christian way of life.
    An example:
    I teach my daughters to dress modestly but I don’t think they should have to stop wearing bikinis on the beach because it ‘offends’ Muslim men. Interestingly, these men then feel they have the right to harass and intimidate the bikini girls.

    Mormon men too may be ‘offended’ but I have no doubt that they are taught, as my son is, to show respect for an individuals choices.

    I think that the Christian world needs to be tolerant but to what level? Should Australia change it’s culture to tolerate Muslim beliefs towards women(as an example)?

    What are your thoughts? It is indeed a very dangerous area, an area ‘Angels fear to tread’.

    cheers
    Louise

  4. “Asking someone to obey the law isn’t intolerant.”

    Ummm…ok, but so why should mosques be monitored? How about churches? Being Muslim doesn’t make one a terrorist.

    There was a law, that until recently (a couple of years ago), made it legal to kill a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, in Missouri. So, Gary, should that law have been upheld?

  5. Mary Siever said: “There was a law, that until recently (a couple of years ago), made it legal to kill a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, in Missouri. So, Gary, should that law have been upheld?”

    This sounds like a Mormon Myth story. Any proof to it being a real law?

    Why are you opposed to Muslims proving they are not teaching hatred and murder?

  6. No, actually, it wasn’t a myth.

    Don’t you know your church history, George?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extermination_Order

    All references are found on that page (for verification purposes).

    I believed it was only repealed a few years ago, but it was slightly longer than that…1976.

    “Why are you opposed to Muslims proving they are not teaching hatred and murder?”

    I am not opposed to it as long as it applies to everyone, no matter what their religious, or non religious beliefs.

  7. It’s a real law and was repealed June 25, 1976 after 137 years. Look up “mormon extermination order”.

    Comparing, a bigoted law such as the extermination order to laws that forbid murder is lacking in frankness, candor, and sincerity. I realized that you are probably just looking to stimulate conversation, but how can I take something like “please don’t murder” and “please kill people from this religion” to be similar.

    What about when we were asked to leave Missouri and other states at the point of a gun? I think it better that we just moved along to a place where we could practise our religion in peace. Later to become somewhat accepted members of society.

    Any place where people are breaking the law (or plotting to break the law) should be monitered. Jim Jones had a church and so did David Koresh. In the future churches like these should be monitered right along side the mosques where people are suspected of planning crimes.

    Maybe the agents will learn to be more peaceful while they are monitering things. How’s that for win-win :)

    As for using the extermination order as a defense for murder. The first guy should get off, but then lawmakers should be peacefully petitioned to change the law. Good laws generally stick, bad laws generally go, even if it is 137 years late.

  8. I’ve had reason to reconsider the harsh tone in this post.

    I felt a little betrayed by the original post claiming to be “true” when it was so misleading and I was alarmed at what I interpreted as a call for Canadians to tell Muslims to get out.

    Having said that, I’ll admit my evaluation of the message was skewed.

    Upon re-evaluation, I’ve decided it is not so much a message of hatred as an airing of legitimate concern. I still contend that telling people to like it or leave is a slippery slope though.

    Louise said:
    “Should Australia change it’s culture to tolerate Muslim beliefs”

    I do not think (based on my limited exposure) that Australia is a particularly intolerant state. Nor do I feel they need to improve their tolerance toward people of differing faiths.

    Upon learning what happened in Sydney which incited this editorial, I have a new opinion.

    The Muslims shouldn’t be hated for being Muslims. They should be justly convicted of any crimes they commit. A gang of men (or teenagers) attacking people on the street because they are dressed immodestly (in the gangs opinion) is where the hatred is, and it should be prosecuted as a hate crime—not because of who they are, but because of what they did.

    When it comes to harassment, where no crime has officially occurred and yet, (continuing Louise’s example) some girl in a bikini feel victimized, what is to be done?

    I don’t know. Those men need to learn tolerance too.

    We just need be careful not to paint them all with the same brush.

    As for my comparing the Mormon persecution with what happened in Australia, I realize now I was comparing apples to oranges and I apologize.

  9. The LDS version of history is often very biased. Is there a law in the actual state statues for Missouri?

    The LDS PR department does a good job of presneting a story. A little bit of truth can go a long ways.

  10. I’ve never heard of it being done, ignoring murders that may or may not have happened before migrating west. It is something I’ve always wondered about. I would suspect that this particular defence has never been used.

    “When it comes to harassment, where no crime has officially occurred and yet, (continuing Louise’s example) some girl in a bikini feel victimized, what is to be done?”

    You missed the part about the actual assaults on the lifeguards. That’s like beating up a small group of boyscouts. Aussies hold their lifeguards in high esteem. Actual crimes have been committed on both sides.

    A week or so after the riot to “reclaim” the beach, a group of Muslim teens beat the tar out of a few guys at that same beach. Interestingly, video of the first riots and violence against the Muslims was released to the media right away and most of the perpetrators were arrested.

    Video of the Muslim violence on Aussies wasn’t released by the police for over a month and then only because an outraged shop keeper had a copy of his own security tape and sent it to the news to shame lax investigation by the police.

    So here we have a case of it being intolerant or racist to show the Muslim violence on TV to aid the investigation, but that tactic was proven effective in finding the Aussie perps.

    The last I heard the Muslims still have not been caught for their assault. But I’ve been back in Canada for seven months.

    Here is a question for you. If you’re sitting at church and you find out that the guy next to you beat some stranger with in an inch of his life, do you turn him in or keep quite because you have the same religion?

  11. “You missed the part about the actual assaults on the lifeguards.”

    I don’t know many of the details, but as I stated, “They should be justly convicted of any crimes they commit.”

    Do you know the details as to why they attacked the lifeguards? I really don’t know, I only ask because I’m wondering how the religion aspects plays into this assault. Was it because the lifeguards were sticking up for someone’s right to wear a two piece bathing suit?

    Actual assaults need actual police work. I applaud the shopkeeper for releasing his videotape. Whether or not it’s a hate crime is another question, hopefully someone can shed some light on that.

  12. “The LDS PR department does a good job of [presenting] a story. A little bit of truth can go a long ways.”

    Ok, I’ll bite.

    Actually George, there was an extermination order. It lasted until 1976, and I had direct relatives that were murdered because of it.

    As for the Church’s public relations with regard to this subject, I have been taught in church and by my parents that we downplay this incident because we like to keep a low profile.

    I was taught, don’t make waves, don’t draw a lot of attention to the fact that the United States Army considered Mormons an enemy to the country. As far as the Church’s PR is concerned, I think they want to downplay the incident, not hype it up.

  13. “It lasted until 1976”

    I should have said, it was on the law books until 1976, after the Mormons fled Missouri, I don’t think many people even knew it was still on the books. Hence the reason it took so long to rescind it.

  14. I don’t think Gov Boggs’s extermination order would have been upheld as a defense if, for example, someone had tried to claim it after murdering a Mormon in Missouri in 1940. It’s far likelier the courts would simply have declared the order unconstitutional—which it clearly was.

    The proclamation of Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor resciding the order in 1976 used to hang in the Church’s visitor center in Independence, Mo., but I think it’s been moved away.

  15. …Maybe I should explain where my info comes from:

    I visited the center in independence in 1983 and saw the Lieutenant Governor’s rescinding order displayed there. It wasn’t particularly prominent and would have been easy to miss, but it was there.

    I visited the center again in about 1995 and couldn’t find the order displayed any more.

  16. “It’s far likelier the courts would simply have declared the order unconstitutional—which it clearly was”

    Ah, there is the key. Some laws are unconstitutional, or in other words, just plain wrong. Do we uphold these just because they are the law? Or do we try to change them to make it fair for everyone?

  17. The Church has an extensive history of seeking to change or overturn laws that we perceived as unconstitutional, or unfair, or both. As a matter of general policy, however, once such efforts fail we still encourage our members to follow the laws as interpreted by the courts. This has mostly worked all right, becuase for the most part, the laws have not required morally repugnant conduct (unless you count—as I do—the forced severing of family ties and abandonment of wives and children as morally repugnant).

  18. Here’s the thing – If a crime is committed by someone who is Christian, their religion does not come into the discussion. If, however, a crime is committed by someone who is Muslim, their religion becomes the focus of the crime. This is similar to what happens when crimes are committed by Hispanics or Blacks or members of various other minorities.

    A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. Criminals should be punished for the crimes they commit. They should only be punished for committed crimes and only the criminal should be punished. To say “You share a characteristic with a criminal and therefore deserve to be punished” would land us all in jail.

    The true questions that we need to ask ourselves when faced with situations such as this are, “What WOULD Jesus do? Am I acting in a manner that promotes my religious values? On judgement day, will I stand proud in defense of this behavior, or will I hide my face in shame?”

    Personally, if I were to act in support of the original article – if I were to stand by and not voice my dismay and sadness at those sentiments – I would have to hide my face in shame.

  19. Karen

    That’s not entirely true. If a person is LDS (Mormon) it is mentioned more often than not, when a crime is committed. Most other Christian religions aren’t mentioned though. And I have seen Wiccanism mentioned in relationship to crimes as well.

    But yes, I agree with you. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal, etc and everything else.

  20. “If a person is LDS (Mormon) it is mentioned more often than not”

    …as is the case of when it’s a midget or any other curiosity not generally seen in the public eye.

    Mormons not been seen as crime-committers is a good thing, no?

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