Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Islamic Republic of--Australia?

Other than England, Australia is America's closest ally in the battle against global terrorism. In part, this reflects the determination and ideals of long-standing Prime Minister John Howard (from Australia's Liberal--meaning conservative--Party). Also, Australia wields an unusually (for its size) competent, professional army with proud traditions. And Australians themselves are targets of Islamo-fascism--more than 100 were killed when terrorists bombed a Bali disco in October 2002.

Which must explain two recent communiques from "Jihad International," translated by MEMRI. First, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali, the Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, insists Australia originally was Muslim--because its aborigines allegedly came from Arab lands:
[T]hey have customs such as circumcision, marriage ceremonies, respect for tribal elders, and burial of the dead--all customs that show that they were connected to ancient Islamic culture before the Europeans set foot in Australia. That is, Islam had roots deep in the Australian soil and read the Qur'an and called to prayer before the bells of the churches rang in Australia.
Emboldened by this new-found historical injustice, Sheikh Al-Hilali wants to dump democracy and install Islam--because Australia is too free:
The dangers threatening the Muslim community emanate from the law that prohibits the family's guardianship over its sons from the moment they reach the age of 16. The father has no authority over his son or his daughter, and if you try to intervene in your son's private life, he brings in the police. The moment your son reaches 16, he takes his freedom and becomes independent.
The sheik also opposes public school sex education and gay marriage (under consideration in Australia).

Sex education and gay rights also are controversial in Western societies. But democracies routinely discuss and debate such questions without risking revolution. Freedom of speech and freedom from unnecessary government are prized by liberals and conservatives alike. Not to mention freedom of religion--try that in Saudi Arabia.

Yet many if not most liberals oppose the global campaign against Islamic terrorism. That is, they insist the U.S., Britain and Australia are governed by fascists, in contrast to their pet dictatorships such as Saddam's torture state, Cuba's threadbare but repressive Marxism and North Korea's deadly work camps. Citizens of those countries have no rights. This is, to say the least, a warped moral inversion.

Two years ago, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated days before he might have become Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Fortuyn's politics were complex, but he was socially liberal, openly gay--and convinced Islam threatened Dutch tolerance. Rob Dreher, now editorial writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, summarized Fortuyn's arguments shortly after the murder:
[I]mmigrants--particularly Muslims, whose views on women and gays he considered barbaric--should be pressed harder to assimilate into Dutch life. . .

Fortuyn challenged one of the fundamental principles of liberal Dutch culture: Thou shalt not be seen as intolerant. Immigration and immigration-related crime are not new problems in the Netherlands, but the ability to speak openly about it is. For years, the ruling elite, which includes the media, has made discussion of the growing immigration problem taboo, on pain of being branded a crypto-Nazi.

As recently as last week, Fortuyn denounced this paralyzing political correctness, telling an interviewer that "everywhere in Europe, socialists and the extreme left have forbidden the discussion of the problems of multicultural society."
Fortuyn understood that radical Islam is inconsistent with the freedoms treasured by the left. Obviously, core liberal values--such as abortion or gay rights--would be the first casualty of Muslim Shari`ah law. George Bush understands that radical Islam is inconsistent with the freedoms cherished by the right. Core conservative values--limited government and preservation of contracts--wouldn't survive an Islamic revolution either.

So why do lefties rally 'round dictators who spurn any progressive rights? Because they reflexively oppose America and loathe George Bush. It's practically automatic; no thinking required.

Which brings me--finally--to the point. Next time you chat with an American anti-war liberal, ask whether he'd consider moving to Saudi Arabia, North Korea or Cuba. Ask any Australian lefty whether turning Canberra into Shari`ah, as the good Sheikh suggests, would bolster his liberties. And then ask yourself: Can someone so casual about freedom purely for personal pique really be considered "liberal?"

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