Saturday, September 02, 2006

Australian prime minister singles out Muslim immigrants. Good for him!

Australian Prime Minister John Howard isn't shy about demanding that immigrants become good citizens. His following comments on a recent radio interview have sparked threats of riots and other forms of violence from certain Muslim quarters in his country:

On the need to integrate into society and speak English

". . . what I want to do is to reinforce the need for everybody who comes to this country to fully integrate and fully integrating means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language, if you don’t already speak it, and it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women, the societies that some people have left were not as contemporary and as progressive as ours is."

On the need to treat women well

"And I think people who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia. That men and women do have equality and they’re each entitled to full respect. I think Australia has benefited enormously from immigration."

On phony discrimination claims

"Most of the Islamic people I know are as appalled by the attitude of a small minority as you are and I am. But there are some who see appeals for people to fully integrate into the Australian community, they try and turn that into some kind of act of discrimination against them and I think that’s the sort of thing that [the questioner] is reacting against and she’s quite right to do so."

Australian Muslim groups reacted predictably to Howard's comments.

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