Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Opinion

Canberra’s Leading
Relationship Lawyers

A threat to our culture?

By John Hargreaves - 9 November 2015 118

iStock_000048724962_Small

Tonight, I’m going to a Divali function. This is one of the Indian festivals which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is called the Festival of Lights because this is where when we atone for wrongdoings, the light emerges showing the way forward to a bright future. This is only one of the multicultural festivals I enjoy.

Loy Kratong is the Buddhist version and happens later in the year where candles are placed in paper lotus flowers, lit and set adrift, sending our sins away.

The Mosque Open Days are ways the Muslims share their faith with others by way of transparency. They open their doors and their hearts to people who want to understand what makes Islam tick.

I’ve been to Hanukkah celebrations at the Jewish Memorial Centre and been honoured to be allowed into their holist of places.

The other week I attended a book launch by my good friend Kabu Okai-Davies. Kabu is a Ghanaian from West Africa and he tells stories about his journey from Africa to his new home via Canada and the joys he has now found here.

Next week, I think, is an East African celebration which is rich in music, food and colour.

These are some of the ways people from other cultures are sharing their uniqueness as Aussies by choice, not by birth.

The most obvious way Canberrans show off their multiculturalism is of course the National Multicultural Festival in February each year. The acclaim that the festival has acquired over the years is demonstrated by the curiosity shown to me by the Vice-Mayor of Beijing when I visited there as Minister for Multicultural Affairs. This most senior of officials sought my advice on how we embraced our minority groups and how we regarded these new citizens as equals.

I was talking to my good friends Deepak-Raj Gupta, who is one of our most senior and influential Indian-Canberrans, and Mark Kulasingham, a Canberran who was born in Malaysia of Indian culture but who has grown up here, about the notion of multiculturalism here and interstate.

One of the most consistent negative comments we agreed that we hear was that these boat people are a threat to our culture. I asked the question – what culture would that be and how is threatened? The answers were far from satisfactory.

“This is a Christian country and these boat people will Islamise our country.” Really? And how is that going to happen? I think that the majority Christian religions might have a view on that. If they are threatened that the theology of Islam is threatening them, what are they doing about spreading their own theology? The Buddhists and Hindus here don’t see Islam as the threat. Only the Christians do. Shame that.

I remember the same negativity when the Vietnamese came by boats. All a lot of rubbish. The Italians, Greeks, Spanish, etc were also threatening our culture in the 1950s yet it was okay for them to provide fruit and vegetables and hydroelectric schemes, doing work that “Aussies” wouldn’t do. I can go on and on and relate many of the nonsensical accusations of threats to our culture and I’m sure that you readers can add your own.

But let’s look at what culture we are protecting by sending these people back.

We speak English. This is not indigenous to Australia. So we are actually protecting a British culture. Right.

What about literature? When was the last time Australian authors more keenly sought after than say, American or English authors? Not in my time. How about cinema? What was the last film you watched? Was it an Australian film or an American or British one? Did you watch the Oscars or the Australian Film and Television Awards? What is the cultural content of our TV programs? Even the magazines we read are in overseas format, usually American.

Where do our fashions come from? Europe and America. Not here.

So the culture we are protecting is predominantly the US culture, with some British influence. Little of it is truly Aussie.

When was the last time the Tamworth Country Music Festival was given the same prominence as the Eurovision Song Contest?

So… the culture we are protecting is that of a bible bashing, gun-toting, murderously violence society which has an appalling human rights record. A society which has taken us to wars we can’t win, wars that have displaced people so that they need to come here as refugees, and one which uses TV programs to spread its propaganda of how society should behave. Well, that works for me! Not.

I haven’t heard those wanting to exclude Muslims, Asians, Africans say that they are protecting the culture of the first peoples. I haven’t heard any explanation from them on why it is that we are happy to keep the first peoples in abject poverty yet say that we want to protect our way of life.

I want to keep the Aussie way of life too, but recognise that it is not American, it is not British but rather it is an amalgam of many cultures. The mixture is what makes Australia what it is.

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
118 Responses to
A threat to our culture?
TFarquahar 6:27 am 10 Nov 15

And yet again another misguided individual confusing Islam with race. Islam is not a nationality John. It is a religious ideology. A religious ideology that has many arms. Some of these arms are more radical than others. Some are happy to co-exist peacefully alongside other religious ideologies such as Buddhism and Christianity. Others are not. Some of the arms are happy kill not only believers of alternate religious ideologies but members of their own faith who do not subscribe to their view of the Koran.

I have lived in peaceful communities that are mainly followers of Islam. Inclusive, loving communities were all religious ideologies co-existed and even celebrated each others religious festivals. But one common thread existed in that we were all members of that community regardless of religion or our ethnic background. The children who were of the Islamic faith even sang the National Anthem at school.

By defining Muslims as a race John you are playing straight into the hands of the Islamic extremists groups such as IS and Hizb ut Tahrir . These are the extreme groups who do not want to assimilate but desire to impose their view of the world – social, legal, financial and religious upon all “non-believers”. Please note the term “non-believers” also includes other Muslims of other less extreme arms.

It clear that you are a good man John, simple of rhetoric but nonetheless good. You correctly point out the value of multiculturalism in our society albeit awkwardly with some cheap shots at the British and Americans. But I caution you against identifying a religious ideology as a race. They are not and when you do you are helping to destroy the very fabric of our community.

dungfungus 12:19 am 10 Nov 15

No_Nose said :

dungfungus said :

I don’t deliberately want to curtail your euphoria John but you really should see a feature movie called Timbuktu which is showing as part of the Canberra International Film Festival.

I’m not really sure how a film which clearly shows that nut job jihadis are 1. A dangerous minority ( but clearly in the minority by a long way) , 2. More A threat to Muslims than anyone else, 3. A bunch of hypocrites and 4. Thought of with contempt by the majority of Muslims, is really relevant to multiculturalism in Australia.

It is a good film worthy of seeing just to prove the points above that show that the majority of Muslims do not support radical Islam and have the most to fear from it.

It is definately a very good film in its own right but I’m not sure what it really adds to this discussion.

The OP talks about the Muslims showing “transparency” by opening the doors of their mosques. My point to him was that in countries like Mali there is no transparency with Islam and he would perhaps get a different slant on how it serves the people of Mali.
I don’t agree with your summation of what the film was about though. After all, it was a feature film and not a documentary. The makers of the film wanted to put across a message and that’s their prerogative. They are businessmen first and social commentators second.
Politicians in western democratic countries are a bit like movie directors as when a social experiment fails (like trying to integrate a culture that it a totalitarian theocracy in a country) they highlight what they think are the positive things (diversity etc.). In other words, they tell you what they want you to hear.
John is like a lot of progressive politicians in Australia who trash our history and culture by suggesting it embraces the worst of what the USA has while ignoring the faults of other who celebrate “triumph over evil”. Give me a break!
Next thing he will be saying is that Britain invaded Australia in 1788.

wildturkeycanoe 10:27 pm 09 Nov 15

““This is a Christian country and these boat people will Islamise our country.” Really? And how is that going to happen?”
It will happen very slowly and subtly. By the time Christmas displays are made illegal because they are offensive to non-Christians, it will be too late to make any kind of stand against it.
It won’t be the boat people that cause it though, it’ll be the legal, minority groups who quietly do their own thing and lift not one finger to fit into Australian culture. The kind of groups who still believe in oppression of females, that anyone not a Muslim is against them and that their own laws are above Australian law.

Blen_Carmichael 8:34 pm 09 Nov 15

John Hargreaves said :

So… the culture we are protecting is that of a bible bashing, gun-toting, murderously violence society which has an appalling human rights record.

Charming. I’ve just returned from a five week holiday in the USA. Can’t say enough about the place, really. Can’t say we met any “bible bashing, gun-toting” types. Lovely people. Perhaps we were just lucky. But hey, let’s just cherry pick the worst aspects of their society and use them as their defining traits.

John Hargreaves said :

Next week, I think, is an East African celebration which is rich in music, food and colour.

East Africa? My geo-political knowledge of that part of the world isn’t that great. Perhaps you’d like to give us a run down on what we should be benchmarking against. You could start with Somalia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

chewy14 5:37 pm 09 Nov 15

John Hargreaves said :

chewy14 said :

This seems to be some sort of circular rant against unknown people with strange motives all in order for the author to praise some vague notion of Multiculturalism?

I don’t know who you’re regularly conversing with but perhaps you should lay off listening to the talkback radio?

This is not a circular rant, as you say ,but a continuation of the position I have been putting in the public arena for decades. I would hope that sensible rioters would not be supporters of that US franchise the CCC – read Concerned Citizens of Canberra, brought from the CC [Bendigo], which was imported from the US.

it is an anti-Muslim organisation of extremists, acting in the name of Christianity, who would oppose any place of worship by Muslims. It is spawned from a radical from Wee Waa who influenced Irwin Ross to oppose the mosques here. Remember that this is the second mosque the CCC (or should it be KKK) have opposed.

I don’t listen to talk back radio at all. Never have. I listen to 2CA because I love the old music. I don’t need to have my mind polluted by idiotic and racist propaganda spread by radical extremists under the guise of talk back hosts. Suffice to say, that I do read newspapers, I do watch the news, I do listen to Radio National for news and current affairs, but I don’t listen to Jones, Hadley or Bolt.

I’d rather pull my own fingernails out with a pair of pliers.

So its an argument against a tiny group of anti Muslim people who don’t want Mosques built in Canberra?

I’m not really sure what that has to do with boat people or multiculturalism in general but OK, carry on.

Masquara 5:26 pm 09 Nov 15

Don’t be too quick to knock Britain and America, John. I’m sure you’ve visited our copy of the Magna Carta at Parliament House. In fact, if anything we should be following the US more closely, where people are American first, and then keep their multicultural identity. So long as migrants embrace Western liberal values they are welcome here. This means things like not preventing your daughters from marrying whomever they choose, and not allowing religious leaders to call for Jews to be knifed. People who do not agree with our values should not be here.

rubaiyat 5:02 pm 09 Nov 15

John Hargreaves said :

I would hope that sensible rioters…

4pt note at bottom of promo:

“Please Riot responsibly.” 😉

John Hargreaves 4:23 pm 09 Nov 15

chewy14 said :

This seems to be some sort of circular rant against unknown people with strange motives all in order for the author to praise some vague notion of Multiculturalism?

I don’t know who you’re regularly conversing with but perhaps you should lay off listening to the talkback radio?

This is not a circular rant, as you say ,but a continuation of the position I have been putting in the public arena for decades. I would hope that sensible rioters would not be supporters of that US franchise the CCC – read Concerned Citizens of Canberra, brought from the CC [Bendigo], which was imported from the US.

it is an anti-Muslim organisation of extremists, acting in the name of Christianity, who would oppose any place of worship by Muslims. It is spawned from a radical from Wee Waa who influenced Irwin Ross to oppose the mosques here. Remember that this is the second mosque the CCC (or should it be KKK) have opposed.

I don’t listen to talk back radio at all. Never have. I listen to 2CA because I love the old music. I don’t need to have my mind polluted by idiotic and racist propaganda spread by radical extremists under the guise of talk back hosts. Suffice to say, that I do read newspapers, I do watch the news, I do listen to Radio National for news and current affairs, but I don’t listen to Jones, Hadley or Bolt.

I’d rather pull my own fingernails out with a pair of pliers.

No_Nose 2:39 pm 09 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

“We speak English. This is not indigenous to Australia. So we are actually protecting a British culture. ”
What is the language that is indigenous to Australia then?
Also, you would be aware of what British culture was as you migrated from that country. How has that culture changed as a result of it’s experiment with multi-multiculturalism?

It’s much easier to get a good biriyani, koresh, jerk chicken, taco, blini, wat or boerewors in London now.

No_Nose 2:32 pm 09 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

I don’t deliberately want to curtail your euphoria John but you really should see a feature movie called Timbuktu which is showing as part of the Canberra International Film Festival.

I’m not really sure how a film which clearly shows that nut job jihadis are 1. A dangerous minority ( but clearly in the minority by a long way) , 2. More A threat to Muslims than anyone else, 3. A bunch of hypocrites and 4. Thought of with contempt by the majority of Muslims, is really relevant to multiculturalism in Australia.

It is a good film worthy of seeing just to prove the points above that show that the majority of Muslims do not support radical Islam and have the most to fear from it.

It is definately a very good film in its own right but I’m not sure what it really adds to this discussion.

HenryBG 2:30 pm 09 Nov 15

“The Buddhists and Hindus here don’t see Islam as the threat. “

Srsly?
You clearly haven’t asked them. Both those groups know far better than we do what the reality of the situation is.

“So… the culture we are protecting is that of a bible bashing, gun-toting, murderously violence society which has an appalling human rights record.”

Er…no.
The culture we would like to preserve and continue to enhance is-
– the culture that gave us Human Rights
– the culture that gave us the Age of Reason and the Industrial Revolution

If you want “appalling human rights record”, maybe enquire into how Egypt and Turkey are going, and why those countries continue to be occupied by colonisation from Arabia.

Deref 2:11 pm 09 Nov 15

“This is one of the Indian festivals which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. “

What a fantastic idea! Wouldn’t that be great! 🙂

dungfungus 2:06 pm 09 Nov 15

“We speak English. This is not indigenous to Australia. So we are actually protecting a British culture. ”
What is the language that is indigenous to Australia then?
Also, you would be aware of what British culture was as you migrated from that country. How has that culture changed as a result of it’s experiment with multi-multiculturalism?

chewy14 1:24 pm 09 Nov 15

This seems to be some sort of circular rant against unknown people with strange motives all in order for the author to praise some vague notion of Multiculturalism?

I don’t know who you’re regularly conversing with but perhaps you should lay off listening to the talkback radio?

dungfungus 10:20 am 09 Nov 15

I don’t deliberately want to curtail your euphoria John but you really should see a feature movie called Timbuktu which is showing as part of the Canberra International Film Festival.

1 2 3 8

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site