Rupert Murdoch has backed comments from Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, who says multiculturalism has “had its day”, with the media mogul adding that “societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest.”
The News Corp chief took to Twitter to make his remarks, which have caused anger among diversity campaigners in Australia. He tweeted: “Good for UK Chief Rabbi Sacks! ‘Let’s put multiculturalism behind us’. Societies have to integrate. Muslims find it hardest.”
Ed Husic, the Labor MP and parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, described Murdoch’s remarks as “like listening to the noisy, argumentative uncle at a family reunion”. Husic was the first federal MP in Australia to swear on the Qur’an when moving to the front bench.
Nareen Young, chief executive of Diversity Council Australia, described the comments as “blanket statements”. “We have to move to a point of understanding that when people say these things, who are in powerful positions, it hurts people. It’s very non-productive,” she said. “There will be a whole lot of Muslim Australians sitting around in their offices sitting around in Sydney and Melbourne feeling hurt. It is not helpful.”
Mohamad Tabbaa, a spokesman for the Islamic Council of Victoria, the peak Islamic body in the state, said: “This whole discussion of integration is not very helpful. It decontextualises a whole bunch of issues. I find it even more ironic that Murdoch himself will be making such a claim when he is the one with his media empire that contributes to this issue … creating fear and hysteria. It’s a bit rich for him to be bringing up the issue of integration when he is contributing to the problem.”
He added: “It is quite serious when people with such power and influence make such irresponsible comments. We feel the full brunt of them.”