Islam maligned in veiled moderation

“A fortnight ago, John Howard commented on talkback radio that ‘a small section of the Islamic population’ was ‘very resistant to integration’. They failed to learn English quickly enough and didn’t accept Australian values such as gender equality. The comments were factual. But they were pointedly selective.

“If the test of integration is speaking English, Howard easily could have pointed to a ‘small section’ of almost any migrant community in Australia. If this is about gender inequality, he could have noted that Australia had worryingly high domestic-violence rates and that Australian Muslims didn’t contribute disproportionately to them. And if we’re talking about Australian values, one could easily point to a small section of white Australia with white supremacist views who clearly refuse to accept Australian values of tolerance.”

Waleed Aly in The Australian, 16 September 2006