Response to Nadel Harfif

9 October 2015

In response to my post, Grand Mufti Speaks regarding the Parramatta shooting, Nadel wrote the following on Facebook:

Why do people loathe Muslims so much. The US has killed more people then Muslims ever will. Was it not that the US that invaded a sovereign country and killed people in the masses including women and children for the so called weapons of mass destruction and found nothing. Why is this not claimed as terrorism. I don’t feel any sympathy for the kid that killed Mr Cheng. But why do you guys not like the truth. The kid was born in Iran and is an Iraqi. He must have grown with hate all his life considering all he saw was US sanctions, US wars and US killings. Ask yourself this, if not for the US and it’s so called fabricated wars would the world be in the situation it is in today. Every generation has had a scapegoat. Once it was the Jews, then it was the blacks, then it was the Asians and now its the Muslims. Seriously you are just sheep in a rich man’s world. I can go on but I will now take cover as I know I have ruffled a few feathers in this nest.

I am going to try and respond to each of the points, as I think it is important to debate these issues:

“Why do people loathe Muslims so much[?]”

The Australian people certainly do not ‘loathe Muslims’. As a nation, Australia is incredibly tolerant of different cultures and prides itself on getting on with people from all corners of the world. Indeed, the West in general is infinitely more tolerant of other cultures than Muslim countries with regard to Christians and Jews, for example. You will find plenty of mosques in Australia, but no churches in Saudi Arabia.

What people fear is the ideology of Islam, which is being used in many places around the world as justification for an expansionist agenda and attacks on non-Muslims, again, particularly Christians and Jews. Of course, the majority of Australian Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, but the reality is that such people are not strictly complying with the requirements of their religion. They may have been born Muslim, but are happy to live in a predominantly Christian democracy such as Australia.

However, there is a significant minority within the Muslim community who wish to follow the religion more strictly, requiring them to refrain from interaction or friendship with non-Muslims, whom they regard as unclean and inferior, and who would regard the shariah as being superior to man-made Australian law. There is a smaller minority within that group which would like to see the overthrow of Western democracy and the imposition of an Islamic state, and some of those are prepared to use violence to achieve those ends.

The Australian people are naturally fearful of such threats within their community, and are expressing their views more now than in the past.

“The US has killed more people then Muslims ever will. Was it not that the US that invaded a sovereign country and killed people in the masses including women and children for the so called weapons of mass destruction and found nothing. Why is this not claimed as terrorism.”

Let’s be blunt here – the aim of extremist Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State is the overthrow of Western democracy and the establishment of a global caliphate where the entire world is governed by Islamic law and submits to the will of Allah. This is not in dispute. Their aim is nothing less than the removal of the infidel lands and conversion of them to the dar al Islam. This is a proactive position – just sitting back and doing nothing will not achieve this goal, so by its very nature, this revolution requires positive action.

Contrast this with the position of the US, and you need to put aside any prejudices you may have towards that country. The US is not in the business of expansionism, it really isn’t. Whether you accept it or not, the US, like all Western democracies, operates on a live and let live basis. The unprovoked invasion and overthrow of other sovereign states is incompatible with this notion. But the key word here is unprovoked. All countries have the right to defend their citizens against threats to safety, and when Al Qaeda flew planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11, the US were justified in taking action against countries that harboured those terrorist organisations. Whether you agree with how they went about that is another matter (and I’m not going to discuss it here).

Similarly, Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons on numerous occasions since the 1980s, and during the period up to 2003, it was clear that the country posed a significant risk to its neighbours in the Middle East. The coalition that acted against Saddam was mobilised because of that threat, and whether you accept this or not, it was a defensive action in response. A significant number of WMDs were in fact discovered in Iraq after the war. Again, whether you agree with how the action was carried out is another story. My view is that the US withdrew too quickly, and the vacuum left was filled by Islamic State.

Neither of these actions are terrorism.

And I note that you do not acknowledge the vast numbers of jihad terrorist acts that have been carried out in the name of Islam since 9/11 – over 27,000, with millions killed or injured. Do you not think that there is something in the ideology of Islam that drives these acts?

“I don’t feel any sympathy for the kid that killed Mr Cheng. But why do you guys not like the truth. The kid was born in Iran and is an Iraqi. He must have grown with hate all his life considering all he saw was US sanctions, US wars and US killings. Ask yourself this, if not for the US and it’s so called fabricated wars would the world be in the situation it is in today.”

The above answer addresses much of this. These wars were not ‘fabricated’ as you put it, they were in response to a clear threat to the security of US and Western interests. Again, whether you like it or not, there is a significant portion of the world that is based on a Western democratic and liberal model, and the US, together with its allies, is entitled to protect that model when it is threatened, as it clearly was.

If anything, the populations of countries like Iran and Iraq should be angry at their own governments for the actions which prompted the sanctions and wars that you complain of.

And in any event, does such ‘provocation’ entitle individuals in another country to kill a non-Muslim in revenge? No, it does not.

Every generation has had a scapegoat. Once it was the Jews, then it was the blacks, then it was the Asians and now its the Muslims. Seriously you are just sheep in a rich man’s world.

I fundamentally disagree with this statement. The only group that has been persecuted since the dawn of time is the Jews, and which religious group is most vehemently antisemitic right now (and indeed has been since its formation)? Islam.

If you wish to respond or comment, please do so.

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