Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told recently to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.
A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir-apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by Parliament. ?If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you?, he said on national television.
?I?d be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can'tagree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that'sa better option?, Costello said.
Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said, those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should ?clear off. Basically people who don'twant to be Australians, and who don'twant to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off?, he said.
Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation'smosques. ?Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt. Take it or leave it. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.?
?However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. ?This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom?
?We speak mainly English, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!?
?We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don'tcare how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.
?This is our country, our land, and our lifestyle, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, ?the right to leave?.?
?If you aren'thappy here then leave. We didn'tforce you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country you accepted.?
(The writer is President and Managing Director MGM Forgings Pvt Ltd., #Plot No 80-84, 5th Mile, Mettagalli Post, KRS Road, Mysore 570016.)