Bigotry in the sunshine state

The only problem with Queensland, apart from the occasional severe storm, is that they filled it with Queenslanders. Here's a bunch of northern bigots protesting a Muslim school being built on the Gold Coast "because they won't integrate" with Australian society by being, I don't know, Christian or something.

Resident's spokesman Tony Doherty said Muslim schools did not encourage multiculturalism.

"It's segregation, not integration," he said.

"They're not trying to integrate into the rest of society.

"Since we have started protesting against this our churches have been covered in hate-filled graffiti."

He denied it was hypocritical to oppose Muslim and not Christian schools.

"Catholics aren't a different culture," he said. "They are the same as us."

Actually, Catholics aren't the same as me, most of the time. They have illiberal views about most social issues like abortion or contraception, and insist on imposing these views on the rest of us, including the around 15% or more who have no religion. The only thing about Catholicism and indeed Christianity in general is that it has been around longer.

If a Muslim school promoted tolerance, secularism, civic duty, rule of law and didn't wake me on a Sunday morning, I might actually be more like them than a Catholic school.

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"If a Muslim school promoted tolerance, secularism, civic duty, rule of law and didn't wake me on a Sunday morning, I might actually be more like them than a Catholic school."

Haha, if a Muslim school promoted tolerance, secularism, civic duty, rule of law and didn't wake me on a Sunday morning, I will purchase the finest top hat in Australia and eat it!

How would you know if they did? Maybe half of them do exactly that. You'd never hear of them. But I know that a substantial number of Catholic authorities do not.

The only thing about Catholicism ... is that it has been around longer.

As a historian I would actually contest that. OK the current bunch of bigots inhabiting the Vatican claim to go back to Peter the Pearly Gate Keeper, but in fact the Catholic Church as it stands today is to all intents and purposes a product of the 12th and 13th centuries thus making it actually younger than Islam.

Bigotry in the Sunshine State? Now, there is a dog-bites-man headline. Why, it's simply ages since Anita Bryant stepped out of her role selling Florida orange juice to give her anti-gay rants (and was not allowed to step back into the role), so --

Oh, I see. Northern bigots in the sunshine state. Never mind. Your guys had to catch up some day, and you have my sympathy.

By Porlock Junior (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Thony: Not in Australia, although it's arguable that Islamic fishermen used to visit Arnhem Land before the Europeans arrived... I know Hindu fishermen did. They even maintained family connections for several centuries we know of.

Porlock: we had such bigotry here for a long time before this. Probably nearly as long as there have been bigots in the US.

There is definitely something to be said by not allowing religious schools, or at least not state funding them and requiring them to cover at least the basics of whatever universal curriculum you have in your country.

But thats *all* religions. A Muslim school is no more likely to be "segregationist" or teach to the loony fringe than a Catholic one is.

By Captain Obvious (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

If a Muslim school promoted tolerance, secularism, civic duty, rule of law and didn't wake me on a Sunday morning, I might actually be more like them than a Catholic school.

most of the 'muslim' schools and institutions in india [except those (poorly)funded by the government] have secular curricula, and do promote what you suggest they should. in that sense they are just like any other 'missionary' or other public schools.

Around here bigotry seems to becoming more prevalent, or perhaps the rabid right that rules this area of Canuckville is simply becoming more vocal.

Since I live and interact with the usual target of that bigotry 24 hours a day, I consider myself to be much less like the bigots demanding conformance and integration (whatever that means) than their targets.

I really believe people like Tony Doherty, Bill O'Reilly and other nutty social conservatives think differently than I do. I suppose their brains are wired differently than mine.

By Gary Bohn (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

And of course their were the Moslem Afghan camel operators who helped open up the interior for WASPs and WASCs.

"How would you know if they did? Maybe half of them do exactly that."

Of course the Catholics do not -- but I really doubt that a single Islamic school does since Islam is intrinsically anti-secularist (unless there are very un-mainstream Islamic schools out there -- but such radical Muslims usually don't stick their heads out).

Again I ask: how do you know this? How many Australian Islamic schools have you visited? How many do you know directly? Have you seen this one for example?

Many Catholic schools do exactly this, by the way - it is the Catholic authorities that have the illiberal views, by appointment.

He's right on the schools issue though. Faith schools are all about segregation, not integration. "If you are not of this faith, you cannot come to this school" is a discriminatory policy, pure and simple. Where he falls down is in failing to realise that this applies to all schools, not just Muslim schools.

IMO faith schools (whether Muslim, Catholic, Anglican, Jewish, Buddhist or Pastafarian) should not exist, or at least not be part of any state-sponsored system. By all means follow your religion(s), but promulgate them through your churches, synagogues and temples, not through schools.

By Peter Ellis (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

How do you enforce this? Prohibit schools other than state schools? Stop churches from running paraschool education? Are Jews not to have Schuls any more? Where is the limit?

In a free society, one has to have the right to educate children in your own values. At the same time, they ought to teach to the general curriculum of the country. A free country permits segregation where it is voluntary and lawful.

I guess I don't know specific schools -- my estimate is based on what I know of Islam itself (which is not a huge amount but definitely a lot more than about specific organisations). Maybe there are some schools that promote secularism but because this would be considered quite a radical thing within Islam this is why I said I'd be surprised (and hence eat my hat).

So the 'christian-jewish culture' meme (apologies for using that word) has reached Down Under. I think it started here in Europe as an reason why Turkey could never ever be a member of the EU.

Other common excuses for islamophobia here in the Netherlands:
Inverse muslim fundamentalism:
"Islam is evil, just look at the sharia."
"But I'm a muslim and I'm against the sharia."
"Then you are not a [i]real[/i] muslim. Real muslims want the sharia."

Protecting equality through inequality
"We've fought long and hard for equal rights for gays and women. Muslims are against that. Therefore we should ban islam and deny muslims political rights."