Some seventy years on, following decades of a zestly-pursued and much-vaunted policy of multiculturalism, and the migration of significant numbers of Muslims to a country which, pre-war, had been almost homogeneously “British” in population and culture (the “White Australia” policy, which had its genesis in New South Wales in the 1880s as a result of fears over the “cheap labour” of Chinese immigrants, was enshrined in law when Australia became a federated nation in 1901 and only began to be abandoned in the 1960s) demands for sharia law are being heard.
|At an anti-Israel demo in Melbourne|
Former Prime Minister John Howard observed a few years ago when still in office that
“there is a small section of the Islamic population in Australia that, because of its remarks about jihad, remarks which indicate an extremist view, [present] a problem.
It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia's mainstream.
We want people when they come to Australia to adopt Australians' ways.
We don't ask them to forget the countries of their birth, we respect all religious points of view and people are entitled to practise them but there are certainly things that are not part of the Australian mainstream.
There is within some sections of the Islamic community an attitude towards women which is out of line with mainstream Australian society.
It needs to be dealt with by the broader community, including Islamic Australia. There is really not much point in pretending it doesn't exist."However, a prominent barrister in the Australian state of Victoria, Peter Faris QC, has now argued that no such opt-out on the lines of that of Oklahoma, where voters recently endorsed a proposal to forbid state courts from considering or employing sharia and other foreign law codes, is possible in Victoria owing to the latter’s adoption of the Charter of Human Rights (hat tip: reader Shirlee).
‘In Victoria, the Charter of Human Rights actually permits the use of international laws and judgments in applying the charter,' explains Mr Faris.
'Section 14 of that charter provides for freedom of religion. The issue then arises, does this mean that Muslims are entitled to have Shariah law applied to them in the Victorian courts?
Obviously, Islam is a religion. Less obvious, but more important is that, unlike Christianity, Islam is a complete religion governing every aspect of the believer's life, including law.
Shariah law is actually an integral part of the Islamic religious belief and, under the charter, must be protected and applied. Section 32(2) of the charter throws more light on the issue.
That subsection states: "International law and the judgments of domestic, foreign and international courts and tribunals relevant to a human right may be considered in interpreting a statutory provision."
It is important to understand that there are "courts and tribunals" applying Shariah law to the 1.6 billion Muslims in the Muslim world.
In addition to that, the Islamic world has its own Human Rights Covenants – Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, 1990, which is intended to "serve as a general guidance for member states in the field of human rights". In the Cairo Declaration, it is made clear that all human rights derive from the Koran.
For example: "There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Shariah" (Article 19(d)); "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this declaration are subject to the Islamic Shariah" (Article 24); and "The Islamic Shariah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration" (Article 25).
These human rights must be fully respected. Australian Muslims deserve no less.
Decisions on Islamic human rights must be relevant in deciding whether Shariah law is applicable in Victoria.
Quite obviously, those Islamic decisions powerfully state that Shariah law must be applied. The Victorian courts must consider these decisions under the charter, thus it makes it very likely that, at some stage in the future, Shariah law will be applied.
Further, there is precedent in Victoria through courts that are for the exclusive use of a minority group, in this instance Aborigines (known in Victoria as Kooris).
As a matter of principle, there is no difference between special courts that are racially defined (Koori courts) to those which are religiously defined (Shariah courts).
In fact, the Muslims have a much stronger case because their devoutly held beliefs actually include a legal system (Shariah).
It is this sort of process that the Oklahoma citizens voted against. In Victoria it is too late.(http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/charter-opens-door-to-sharia-law-recognition/story-e6frg8zx-1225964766903)
This has prompted an Egyptian-born Copt, now resident in Sydney, to make the following heartfelt and powerful response (I'm most grateful to Ibby for giving me permission to reproduce his statement, and to Shirlee for bringing it to my attention):
|Copts rallying in Washington earlier this year|
“Whilst very happy to see Shariah is been raised in the public arena, I was extremely disturbed when I read the [Faris] article. It concerns me immensely that our government is seemingly oblivious to the venomous consequences of shariah.
For our governments irrespective of political affiliations to allow any form of Shariah law to creep into our legal system under any guise is a total dereliction of duty and betrayal of our constitution. I have written a few articles on shariah and have read the reports relating to the dire consequences and threats posed by shariah.
As you may be aware there are a number of countries that extensively exercise shariah to differing degrees under the pretext of a legal system. I find it difficult to fathom the actions of Victoria as Shariah in fact totally contradicts and ignores many elements of the charter of human rights.
I am disgusted Victoria has displayed a total lack of diligence, vigilance and allows shariah to challenge the fundamental principles our wonderful country is founded on. The Anzacs must be rolling in their graves, our traditions and values can never ever be compromised for any reason. The incompetence of the Victorian government will leave a legacy that will haunt future generations for decades. With a growing Islamic population demands will increase, allowing Muslims to bypass our legal system and allow a draconian barbaric Stone Age system to infiltrate our country.
I hold the view that there is no word that truly defines Islam.
To say it is a religion is a fallacy and an insult to the word “religion”. It is not a religion. The term “religion” has a generally accepted meaning. Most people consider religion as, “a faith system usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs in so far as it relates to the individuals spiritual and moral conduct”.
On that basis Islam is not a religion. Islam is an all encompassing ideology that includes religion as part of that Ideology. Islam has many tentacles; it is a totalitarian extremist system that includes military, social, legal, religious and political controls over every aspect of an individual private and public life. Religion is but one of the tentacles of Islam. Shariah is in fact the legal tentacle of Islam. As a result of the worldwide Islamic tsunami, the world is fast reaching a point where nations are losing their national identities, heritage, culture and foundations. Nations are increasingly been [being] referred to as Islamic and non-Islamic. Radical Islam is also a very loose term; fact is the text of Islam “Koran”, demands and imposes upon every Muslim a duty for “World wide domination, Islamisation and imposition of shariah law and installation of a caliph. The end result is the call for “Jihad”.
I would ask all our politicians the following:
How is it possible that Australia tolerates the introduction of any aspect of shariah law to run parallel in any form to any degree along with our laws?
How can Australia allow a system that fundamentally undermines our democratic system that guarantees freedom, liberty, and equality with in the confines of our laws?
What will Australia do when posed with the dilemma of a Muslim person refusing to be subjected or tried under shariah law?
How is it possible that Australia will allow for its citizens to be judged differently based on been Muslim or non-Muslim?
Does this not contradict the whole concept of our legal system one law for all citizens?
Why does the Australian Attorney General allow any legal system of any description to openly challenge the fundamental principals of our constitution and legal system?
What will the Attorney general propose to about the creeping shariah into the Victorian legal system? Who is guarding our laws and system??
Hopefully the slap in the face to the Victorian ALP in the last election will awaken those apathetic politicians.
More importantly, does this precedent pave the way for other religious denominations to demand the same rights?
It may be a very good idea for the Einsteins in our parliaments to look at Egypt and learn of the consequences of shariah and Islamisation. The Copts in Egypt have dwindled to 10% of the 80million population. The experiment of Islamisation has been performed and the results are dark and sinister. Egypt was 100% Christian, after the Arab Islamic invasion 1400 years ago the Copts have become the minority and are treated as second class citizens in their own home land. The Copts struggle daily for recognition and basic human rights such as construction of a church. It terrifies me that my homeland of Australia could one day suffer the same fate. (You may have heard about the attack on the Copts by the Egyptian security force 2 weeks ago. The security force ( an "army"), of 3000 men stormed a church, fired live ammunition, tear gas, rubber bullets, stole the church pews, stole the donation boxes, killed 4 people to date, arrested up to 1200 according to some reports all over an alleged "unauthorised use of a building and not build in accordance with building approvals.)
.... I would pray that our legal eagles, take up the concerns and force the A[ttorney] G[eneral] to address the same and protect our legal system.
Finally I consider that it is imperative that every Australian should be fully conversant and aware of the realms of shariah and its repressive abusive nature which is diametrically opposed to Australian civil liberties, with out this knowledge they will never be in a position to make an informed decision about shariah.'
AMEN ......to that Daphne.ReplyDelete
Brilliant !! Thanks
'Obviously, Islam is a religion. Less obvious, but more important is that, unlike Christianity, Islam is a complete religion governing every aspect of the believer's life, including law.'ReplyDelete
I take it that Peter Faris QDC is a practising Muslim. Certainly no educated and believing Christian or objective historian or lawyer could have written such abject idiocy.
It was John Wesley who said 'The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion'. No reasonable theologian would differ. The link between Love of God and love of one's brother is constant. The answer to Cain's question, 'Am I my brother's keeper?' is prety much 'Yes', bearing in mind that a keeper is not a jailer. Christianity governs law and in those Western countries where that has ceased to be the case freedom begins to perish. The admirable Melanie Phillips has written much that would support this case.
The difference is that Christianity is not, primarily, a religion of law. It seeks relationship. Islam states that the end of wisdom is to fear Allah. The Tenakh states that the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. What then is the end of wisdom in the Judeo-Christian tradition? Surely it is to love YHWH? Thus God's law works in a different way to Shariah rules.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Isaiah 5:13-15 "Therefore my people go into exile for want of knowledge; their honored men are dying of hunger, and their multitude is parched with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and he who exults in her. Man is bowed down, and men are brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
Bless you Sunshine.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this well written and informative piece. I am posting a link to it on my blog if you don't mind and getting some other readers for you. I will post it in full with your permission although you may rather just have the link published.
Thanks for the comments, Shirlee, Ian, Anon and Ilana.ReplyDelete
As far as I know, Ian, Mr Faris is not a Muslim.
Ilana, you may publish it in full if you wish, though I'd appreciate you mentioning my blog as its source. Thanks.
I am sorry to post a comment which has nothing to do with your text. However I got an article which I think deserves attention of Jewish sites: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/qanta-ahmed/adventures-of-an-accident_b_788784.htmlReplyDelete
I translated it into Polish and placed it here: http://www.racjonalista.pl/kk.php/s,189, but the site is not Jewish and the language is not accesible to many. It would be wonderful if you could mention it.
Thanks, Malgorzata - it's a look at Jewish anxieties about continuity and the future by a Muslim writer, Qanta Ahmed - Adventures of an Accidental Zionist: Encounters with the Anxiety of Jewish ExtinctionReplyDelete
Thanks for pointing it out - it's well worth reading.
New from J-Wire:ReplyDelete
Anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists in Australia have begun an email campaign targeting union leaders and trade union supporters of Palestine.
Hundreds of unsolicited emails were sent out last week across Australia to union in-boxes introducing their new group, called Australian Unionists Supporting Palestine (AUSPalestine).
The emails say they want the ACTU and Australian unions to promote ‘pro-Palestinian policies’, and they want to see an end to what they call ‘ partisan one-sided support for Israel.’
If that’s the case they are probably not going to be happy with the result of elections for the ACTU this week.
Almost at the same time that AUSPalestine has set out to increase their influence in Australian unions, a new pro-Israel ACTU Assistant Secretary, Michael Borowick, has just been elected.
Borowick joined the top elected leadership of the Australian national trade union centre, at this week’s ACTU Executive meeting.
Earlier this year Michael Borowick – formerly the Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Workers’ Union - organised and led a tour by eight Australian unionists to Israel and Palestine.
The Australian delegation was part of a British Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI) organised tour, and then stayed on for a few extra days.
Borowick is a well-known long time Melbourne pro-Israel activist, a modern orthodox Jew, who began life as a political activist during his student days as part of the Australian Union of Jewish Students.
Pro-Palestine union activists have no time for Israeli workers
The AUSPalestine website says it advocates for Palestinian workers – but makes no mention on its website of Israeli workers, and their workplace rights.
Nor does the AUSPalestine website statement of principles seem to envisage support for an end to the Middle East crisis through a peace outcome involving a two-state solution.
Aus Palestine? Aus! Aus! Hmm. Somewhat unpleasant connotations here?ReplyDelete
I hadn't spotted that, Ian...ReplyDelete
Ian.... Peter Faris in NOT a Muslim.ReplyDelete
I have his reply to the email.Which I hope he doesn't mind my posting
""As for the definition of 'Islam' , I describe it as (literally) a totalitarian belief. It exercises total control over the thoughts and conduct of its believers, much the same as Stalin's Russia or Mao's China.
Victoria has had a Socialist government for the last 11 years. The introduced the Charter which, fortunately, is being ignored.
I have only a small knowledge of the Egyptian Copts – mainly that they are the Christians who have been at the forefront of the struggle against Islam."
Daphne, can you please post or send me the link to the article.ReplyDelete
I am a "follower" of Australians for Palestine.!!
They are a despicable, hatefilled bunch of rabble.
You may not be aware of this, but (drum roll please)
Israel is behind the leaks from Wikileaks !!!!
There's a bit of infighting at the moment between the Unions and AFP, Brisbane
Islamic suppression and Humiliation of Egypt’s Coptic community Continues (by Assad Elepty)ReplyDelete
In a sinister, provocative and vile act that further highlights the bigotry of the lawless land of Egypt under the rule of Mubarak, the Islamists swine converted a four storey dwelling into a mosque directly opposite the Church of St. Mary and St. Michaels in Talbiya. This is the same church that the Egyptian security force attacked in a military style offensive on 24 November resulting in the murder of four Copts by the Egyptian security force. A licence to Kill and murder Copts.The Giza Governorate in their pathetic discriminatory fashion did not raise an eye brow when the Islamists converted “overnight” a house facing the church into a mosque. If you are wondering, no the local governor did not send an army to treat the Islamists the same way they treated the Christians of Egypt. This new Mosque, proves beyond any doubt that the church was attacked because islamic neighbours do NOT want a church in that area, despite there been 1 million Copts with no place of worship.The new so-called “Ekhlass” mosque was converted secretly Thursday evening when a cloth sign was hastily hung outside a 4 story house. It was then used on Friday morning, when over 3000 Muslims prayed there, despite the presence of a large mosque on the other side of the bridge, not far from the new mosque. Apparently the owner of the house, which is still under construction, donated it.
For the rest see www.faithfreedom.org/.../islamic-suppression-and-humiliation-of-egypts- coptic-community-continues/
Shirlee, I have emailed you the J-Wire article.ReplyDelete