John Pomfret's page-one story in the Washington Post tellingly entitled "Jail Riots Illustrate Racial Divide in California | Rising Latino Presence Seen as Sparking Rivalry With Blacks That Sometimes Turns Violent" (February 21) suggests a continuing future of de-assimilation for the hordes of illegal aliens participating in our increasingly large immigration invasion.
As new immigration reform legislation is being considered in Congress, our leaders would do well to listen to their counterparts in Australia.
Aussies have recently been confronted with assimilation problems and have made clear what they see as appropriate behavior for immigrants—especially those with sharply different cultural and religious backgrounds.
In 2005, there was a series of race riots in Australia which began with a mob confrontation near a beachfront at Cronulla, a southern coastal suburb of Sydney, Australia's largest city. On Sunday, December 11, after reported incidents of assault and intimidation, approximately 5000 people gathered in an ad-hoc protest to "reclaim the beach" from certain groups of non-locals, most of whom were identified in media reports as Lebanese Muslims.
The demonstration initially assembled without incident. But violence broke out after a large segment of the mostly white crowd chased a Middle Eastern man into a hotel. The ensuing mêlée soon became widespread. In the course of it, a number of police officers, ambulance officers and others perceived by the mob as Lebanese, were assaulted.
The following nights saw incidents of retaliatory violence and vandalism by Lebanese immigrants in Cronulla and other suburbs throughout the southern Sydney Metropolitan Area.
The result: an unprecedented police lock-down of the beaches in Sydney and surrounding areas, from Wollongong to Newcastle.
Since then, immigration has gotten extra coverage in the Australian press. In an email I recently received from Professor Katharine Betts, my correspondent in Melbourne and author of The Great Divide, I learned that The Australian (on p. 1) reported an Australian Cabinet Minister as saying that Muslim extremists are "not welcome in Australia." Professor Betts also referred me to a recent op-ed piece by Keith Windschuttle. [Howard, cultural warrior, The Australian, February 21, 2006]
(Windschuttle has written a detailed history of the Aborigines and settlers in Tasmania in the 19th century (published around 2002/3) which shows that mainstream historians have grossly exaggerated stories of white violence against Aborigines—and very much downplayed Aborigine violence. He has also written a history of the White Australia Policy which argues that it wasn't so much racist as protectionist; —ultimately based on the idea that no Australian should be ashamed to do manual work. Seems we have lost that concept here.)
Windschuttle argues that "by standing up to radical Muslims at home, the Prime Minister is a role model for other Western leaders".
Indeed. He then quotes Prime Minister John Howard, who observed that radical Islam is "utterly antagonistic to our kind of society".
Windschuttle's points are to be heeded:
He then notes something we must not overlook:
And what he goes on to opine sharply echoes in American debate:
Windschuttle notes that the Muslim spokesmen have this same perspective:
Windschuttle pointed to the following reaction throughout the Western world in response to the Danish cartoons:
He writes that Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock "urged newspaper editors to treat the cartoons with caution, asking them not to act "gratuitously with a view to try [to] provoke a response". In New Zealand, Prime Minister Helen Clark accused the newspapers who reproduced them of "bad manners".
Professor Betts asked me if the remarks by Australian leaders about not wanting immigrants in Australia who practice "sharia" are echoed in America. I had to tell her that few Americans even know what "sharia" means.
Most of the time, the term "sharia" is used to refer to pre-19th Century law based on Islamic legal theory, to the exclusion of reformed Islamic legal theory. In this context, it refers to the extremism preached by radical Moslem clerics.
In an issue of The Australian (8/23/05) Aussie Treasurer, Peter Costello, urges "radical Muslim clerics to leave Australia if they do not share the nation's values ahead of today's national terrorism summit organized by the Prime Minister."
At this same meeting in Canberra, Australia's federal capital, the PM added, "If you don't like those values, then don't come here. Australia is not for you". He went on to say, "The purpose of this meeting is to underline to the leadership of the Muslim community that it has responsibilities.".
He refused to budge on suggestions he should include extremists in the summit,(a meeting with 13 "moderate" Islamic leaders) and said they would flood the media with inappropriate remarks.
"It would undermine the good work of the leaders of 99 per cent of the Muslim community in Australia who are trying to do the right thing, are trying to work with their fellow Australians and don't want prominence given to extremists," he said."
Wonder if any of the top leadership in America has the guts to speak like that to Hispanic groups about the radical Reconquista rhetoric now commonly used in Southern California.
On the issue of cultural values and female equality, in an interview with The Australian, Mr. Costello said immigrants needed to understand and respect the "core values" of democracy, a secular society and the equality of women.
And he warned that Australians needs to understand that the county's core values will not change; "If you are looking for a country that practices theocracy, sharia law which is anti-Western, there are those countries in the world ... you will be happy there. But you won't be happy in Australia."
He stopped short of supporting the deportation of radical Muslim leaders as has happened in the wake of similar debates in Britain and France.
Costello may well regret that "no deportation" position—just as many in America regret our failure to deport many more illegal aliens than we presently do.
The Prime Minister reminded the Islamic leaders at the summit that "our common values as Australians transcend any other allegiances or commitments". Further, he said that these leaders had a "particular responsibility" to make clear that Islam totally rejects violence and terrorism . He wants them to take ownership of the process of dealing with extremists' views.
As for Aussie immigration policy, Mr. Costello still needs to be more specific about his position, although he is in favor of Australia maintaining a strong skilled migration policy. "Immigration overall helps our country in a security sense and an economic sense. I think there is an acceptance of immigration, more so than 10 years ago. I would like to see a strong immigration policy. I am not putting numbers on it."
After this exchange with Prof. Betts, I began to wonder how our leaders thought we could import—without cultural, environmental, and economic consequences—the 50 million legal and illegal immigrants who have entered the US since that disastrous 1965 legislation.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.