It doesn’t matter how much or how many times Muslims condemn extremism and apologize for terrorists – it never seems to be enough for some people.
And Tony Abbott is one of them.
On Monday, the Australian prime minister delivered a speech on national security, in which he implied that Muslims, especially their leaders, are not doing enough to promote peace.
Of course, the accusation is not just preposterously incorrect but it is also incredibly discriminatory and the Australian Muslim community is outraged.
Abbott made the controversial statement during a televised speech from Canberra while unveiling new counterterrorism plans in the wake of the Sydney siege last year.
He started off by saying how Australian-born citizens found involved in "terrorism" will be stripped of some of their citizenship rights and the government would take new measures to clamp down on hate speech.
However, things went a little downhill when the Aussie PM said that Muslims were not doing enough to show that their religion is a peaceful one.
“I’ve often heard western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace.’ I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it,” he stated.
Recommended: Here’s What Muslims Fear More Than Islamophobia
So who is correct - Tony Abbott or Julie Bishop? Because they can't both be right. pic.twitter.com/vZ0FGaci70— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) February 23, 2015
Randa Kattan, the head of the Arab Council of Australia, reacted to his remarks, saying they were “dog-whistling to the racists out there.”
“It’s not helpful, it’s divisive. It labels our community as being responsible for the actions of a few,” Kattan said. “It’s not helpful for anyone to make these statements … How much more can we condemn?”
Zaahir Edries, the president of the Muslim Legal Network, also voiced Kattan’s concerns:
“This clearly shows that the government has not engaged in sincere and genuine communication with the Muslim community. We have incessantly denounced violence and encouraged peace, not simply as a responsive measure but because those are our core religious beliefs,” he said. “Consequently, we are of the view that tonight will not be genuine consultation with our community and we will advise our community of our reasons for non-attendance.”
Ever since the Islamic State came into being or as they prefer to say, formed a “caliphate” in June, right-wing pundits in the mainstream media have criticized Muslims for not speaking out against the militant organization.
However, contrary to whatever these xenophobic analysts might want to assert, the fact remains that Muslims denounce – and have denounced – terrorists as much as the rest of the international community.
Be it Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the United States or Britain, Muslims – both clerics and politicians – have publicly condemned extremism over and over again. But it doesn’t seem that they're heard.
It is for people like Abbott The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart came up with this incredible segment where he shows how stupid it is to accuse Muslims of not being “condemn-y” enough.