In the Times of London, Gerard Henderson, former chief of staff for Australian Prime Minister John Howard explains why Australia takes such a hard-nosed approach to Islamist extremism.
According to Henderson, this is because:
- Most radical Muslims in Australia are second or even third generation Lebanese- or North African-Australians
- Some are Anglo-Australians who converted to Islam
- Almost none are asylum seekers or illegal immigrants
This means, says Henderson, that Australia cannot afford to be other than “direct, event blunt” when it comes to dealing with Islamic radicals down under.
Muslim leaders are advised, says Henderson, to keep their communities free of radicals as they are a threat to moderate Muslims as well.
Community leaders who adopt extremist viewpoints - deny the Holocaust or glorify those aspects of Islamic law that are inconsistent with Australian values- are advised to do themselves and Australia a favor by emigrating to a country that would be more supportive of theirs. The Australian government takes the position that any Australian citizen or resident ought to embrace Australian values and culture and hence, imams are advised to address their congregations in English.
And, as noted here earlier, Australia is no longer keen to allow more Saudi-funded mosques to be built.