‘Is Islam the problem?’ Australian columnist asks

“Australia does not have a race relations problem. We have a clash of cultures and that’s a big difference – and maybe the problem is certain forms of Islam…. Any form of discrimination based on race or ethnicity – based on the colour of one’s skin or hair or eyes – is inherently immoral, illogical and evil. But culture and religion are behavioural. They involve values…. And if people freely embrace a culture that is antithetical to the prevailing social mores – in our case, I would hope, liberal, enlightenment values – then we are entitled to judge, object, censure and even discriminate…. I admit to feeling a little uneasy at the sight of a Muslim woman shrouded not simply in a headscarf but a face-concealing, head-to-toe chador, and wonder just how much choice she has had in deciding her lifestyle. I am not hugely sympathetic to a Muslim seeking asylum because he claims to have been discriminated against because of his support for sharia law. I cannot celebrate such culture…”

Andrew West in the Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2005