Friday, 25 September 2015

A Letter to the Editor

Having endured for many months the self-righteousness of the local Left who have assumed the present writer to be among their number in their Mahometon multicultural love-a-thon, he finally penned the following missive to the editors of the regional rag. They declined to publish it. Re-posting in social media, however, produced a suitably diverse response, including several very hostile rants via inbox, each of them most gratifying. 

In fact, it is a letter in which the writer is merely beating his own drum and does not nearly reflect just how unreasonable and out of phase is his actual position. All the same, the letter is true enough as far as it goes. In particular, the assertion that Islamic/West animosity runs very deep and is not easily mended is perfectly true. These matters are much more complex than multicultural social engineers suppose. Their naively superficial love-and-rainbow-balloons view of the world is really very scary. 

Dear Sir/Madam,

I taught a subject of study called Islam and the West at La Trobe University for over fifteen years. It explored Islamic/West tensions in historical and contemporary contexts. In general, I presented a sympathetic view of the cultural, spiritual and scientific riches of Islamic civilisation and emphasised the Islamic contribution to Western ideas.

During that time I often encountered students who had hostile views of Islam. Some were opposed to Muslim immigration altogether and believed that Muslims have no place in Australian society. These are not views that I share. Nevertheless, never once did I belittle such students or mark them down, or denounce their views as ‘Islamophobic’, or call them bigots or racists. I read their essays and marked them fairly and even proposed essay topics that accommodated anti-Islamic critiques. I did not even try to persuade them that they were wrong. Instead, I regarded it as the touchstone of academic professionalism to listen to their views and to guide them to a deeper and more nuanced critique of Islam. If they made a valid point - say about the plight of women in Saudi Arabia - I would concede it and amend my otherwise sympathetic portrayal of Islam. I took the view that they are entitled to their opinions. My job was merely to ensure their opinions are well-informed and based in a well-rounded appreciation of the facts.

That is the difference between education and activism. Regrettably, it is a distinction that is lost today. The Rainbow Left seek to silence, delegitimise and even criminalise all dissenting opinions and to reduce complex social questions to sentimental slogans, name-calling and propaganda. I think it is inevitable, and even desirable, for Islam to be part of the Australian social fabric, but it is also inevitable, and even healthy, that an unreconstructed Islam will meet resistance and rejection.

Islamic/West animosity runs very deep. It cannot be soothed away with a few bumper stickers and coloured balloons. Mindless multiculturalism is as dangerous as boof-headed patriotism. It is a pity that our educational institutions - and our newspapers - are now devoted to political correctness instead of informed and impartial debate in which the divergent views and legitimate concerns of our fellow citizens are treated with proper respect.



Harper McAlpine Black

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