Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Islam in Australia: myths and common media positions

Anthony Cox

Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them ( Karl Popper).

The media coverage of Islam in Australia with a few exceptions defends Islam by defaulting to a number of stock positions such as:
  1. Terrorism is not part of Islam
  2. Terrorists are not part of Islam
  3. Islam is a religion of peace
  4. Most Muslims are peaceful, moderate and support Western values
  5. Halal certification is not a problem
  6. Islam is not taking over
  7. The birth rate in Islam is not more than non-Muslims.
  8. Criticising Islam will make things worse
  9. The West has caused terrorism
  10. Women wear the burqa willingly
  11.  Islam does not need to change

And so on.

I have written a number of essays on Islam and I plan to look at some of the common myths or excuses given by the media and politicians to explain Islam to the wider community.

A common myth is that Islamic women willingly wear the burqa and other Islamic clothing. On general principles it makes no sense to assume a rational person would willingly subscribe to and subject themselves to such restrictions as imposed by Islamic dress.

While it is true many Muslim women not only wear such restrictive and defining clothing but advocate it, does this make it right or even an act of free will?

Islam is defined by its oppression of women. In many Islamic nations women have no status at all. The psychological effect of this lack of rights is profound. Many studies have found that when humans are subject to oppression they often take on and support their oppressors. This effect is known as the Stockholm Syndrome.

The Stockholm Syndrome is related to the Milgram and Stanford prison experiments where an analysis of responses to authority was made. The conclusions these studies provided is that people conform to authority even when it is against their and other person’s interests and even unethical. This can explain why Muslim women not only accept their lack of status and power within Islam but also why Islamic women cooperate in that oppression against other women in such barbaric practises as female genital mutilation and honour killings which are frequent in Islamic societies.

It also explains why women willingly accept the restriction of Islamic clothing. The Muslim clothing is a separating and defining aspect of Islam. It works as a uniform, distinguishing the Islamic woman, marking her as a possession of Islam and separate from Western values.

France has banned the burqa as have other nations. Apart from the practical aspect of security and identification the banning of the burqa has great symbolic value. The presence of a burqa on a Western street echoes what Turkish leader Erdoğan said about Mosques:

That is a burqa asserts that Islam is present along with Islamic values. Just as Sharia, halal and other Islamic values are an intrusion by Islam into Western society so is the burqa.

Regardless of whether Muslim women willingly wear the burqa, which seems both unlikely and irrational, it remains an assault on Western values. For this reason the burqa and other Islamic dress should be banned in Western society.
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All items in this series:

Part 2 goo.gl/x6ohsM


  1. How many reports to you read that go something like:

    "A knife weilding man yelling Allahu AKbar...

    and the report comes out, a madman wielding a knife....


  2. If you really want to know what groups like ISIS think simply look up their magazine, Dabiq, and you'll find that their overwhelming reason for hating us (the West) and committing atrocities is because we are "infidels", the other reasons trotted out by apologists are essentially unimportant to them.


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