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Multiculturalism and the dangers of some faith-based schools

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George Said reflects on multiculturalism is Australia, saying Australia has a problem with some private religious schools subsidised by taxpayers' money.

In 1956 my wife and I, together with our infant, were put under house arrest and expelled from Egypt. When I was expelled from the country I was born, I was at the ripe old age of 23. After spending six years in England we came to Australia in 1962. We were thoroughly checked to ensure we did not contravene the precious White Australia Policy. I regard our expulsion from Egypt as a blessing.

I have observed the transformation of Australian society from one which was insular to a cosmopolitan and vibrant society. I am very pleased that multiculturalism has speeded up the process.

In my 50 years in Australia I have seen the times when the Catholics were the ones to hate. Then I saw the Italians. They were not only Catholics but dark too, they were hated for a while but were soon replaced by the Greeks because they were dark but they were not even Catholics! Greeks were let off the hook when the Lebanese arrived. They were subsequently replaced by Vietnamese followed by the Africans, After all you could not get any blacker than the Sudanese. Oh, I forgot, while all this is happening let us not forget the Aborigines. They are always in the background in case we run out of people to put down. The latest scapegoats are the Muslims.

Undoubtedly, multiculturalism has benefited our society. I speak Arabic, French, Italian, Greek and English. I interact with a variety of ethnic people in Australia. I have travelled extensively and even studied Multiculturalism overseas under a Churchill Fellowship. I think I am qualified to speak on this topic.

Not all government policies are for the good of the country. We have a problem of private/religious schools and the policy of subsidising private/ethno/religious schools with taxpayer’s money. Thanks to the Government, what these schools are doing is teaching children to become different from the rest of society.

By way of just one example I am quoting from an Islamic perspective, the attitude towards our society:
The future of Islam in Australia

Islam is here to stay and Muslims are going to play a significant role in Australia’s future. The Muslims have already put religion back on the agenda with secularism versus religion the debating point.

The mosque remains the most vital social structure in Islam and our association with it must be increased. Secondly, we must ensure that the benefits that we as Muslims receive from Islam are also communicated to the wider non-Muslim community. We should be ambassadors of Islam and promote Islamically-based systems and alternatives as potential solutions to the problems faced by the wider community, such as: abstention to combat alcoholism; having a life-mission to prevent suicide, shared equity and rental instead of usury, etc.

Equipped with good will, hard work, increased faith, wisdom and dedication, Muslims in Australia will indeed ensure a brighter future for themselves and for Australia as a whole.

(Quoted from: http://www.muslimdirectory.com.au/directory/articles/islam-in-australia-from-1788-34/)

I find this statement arrogant and dangerous. It is a subtle way of saying “Sharia Law”. How on earth can those Muslims, who think the above statement to be true, integrate into the wider society when they believe that we are flawed and need fixing by them? How would a child in an Islamic school view the world if that is what is being taught at their school?

The basic tenet of multiculturalism is respect. I believe we should respect Muslims in Australia and expect it in return. I expect all Muslims to value their religion for themselves. It is not their role to rectify Australian society by promoting Islamically-based systems in a country which separates religion from the state.  
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