HAS political correctness in Australia whitewashed us from speaking the truth about the ugly realities of Islamic teaching?
It’s a question that is being debated right now after numerous MPs, including one who has served in Afghanistan, have called for an ‘honest debate’ on the links between Islamic teaching and terrorism.
Andrew Hastie is a former SAS commander who did three tours of duty.
“Modern Islam needs to cohere with the Australian way of life, our values and institutions. In so far as it doesn’t, it needs reform,” Mr Hastie told Melbourne’s Herald Sun.
Victorian MP Michael Sukkar described a lack of a reformation within Islam – similar to the one undergone in Christianity – as contributing to “medieval teachings and practices”.
There are those who argue that Islam is a peaceful religion.
There are those who don’t buy that, especially after reading the Koran.
Victoria’s Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is one of them.
“I would say there is a problem within Islam,” he said yesterday.
Mr Hastie argues the debate about what is driving Islamist extremism is “clouded by political correctness”.
“We don’t have a problem with Muslim Australians but we do have a problem with a small part of the community which subscribes to radical extremism,” he says.
Many Christians do have a problem with Islam.
They do believe at the heart of its teachings are complete intolerance to those from other religions and they see Islamic State as an outpouring of the ‘purest’ form of Islam.
They worry that allowing mosques in their communities are just the beginning of worst things to come, as seen in Europe.
Of course, there are many Muslims who would argue that Isis has completely distorted their religion, just in the same way as those who believe the Old Testament ‘an eye for eye’ approach represents a modern Christian viewpoint.
Mr Hastie says he has watched more than 60 Islamic State videos of atrocities such as executions, and believed he had a “pretty good sense of what makes them tick”.
There are those that believe, quite rightly, that if Muslims are committed to a peaceful religion, as most of them would argue, that they should weed out those who deviate from that path.
As a nation, we must also accept that any branches of religion, whether Christian or Muslim, that encourage, sponsor or fund violence, should not enjoy the same protection offered to more acceptable expressions of faith.
But we should never encourage a culture in our country which espouses hatred towards people because of their beliefs. As an editor with a Christian faith, I am often appalled by the comments made by Christians towards Muslim people.
We can’t brand all Muslims as being the same as those who perpetuate violence under the black banner of Islamic State just as we others can’t brand all Catholic pedophiles because of the disgusting behaviour of a minority of priests.
Mark Furler is Australian Regional Media’s group digital editor. The views expressed are his own.