a little east of reality

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

the adventures of little johnny

This week Prime Minister John Howard held a meeting with Muslim leaders in Australia to discuss how to combat terrorism and curb the spread of radical Muslim fundamentalism. Radical clerics were excluded from the meeting. Though I understand the reasoning, I'm not sure that marginalising and alienating those with more radical views is the way to handle the situation and bring about understanding or right action. If they were meeting to discuss advancing gun control, they would have invited gun owners and users, gun shop owners, etc. Pushing people out only reinforces the idea that they are part of a marginalised group that needs to fight for its rights.

The outcome of the meeting was that 'Australian values' are to be taught in Islamic schools in Australia in order to discourage radical fundmentalist thinking from spreading. I guess by Australian values they are talking about 'democracy', etc...the usual suspects. I wonder though, if this will eventuate into a scenario where Muslim teachers are expected to denounce Islamic law as second to the law of the land. While I agree that Muslims should subject themselves to the law of the land where they live, it's a different thing altogether to have to actively downgrade the laws of your religion. Handled well it could be a positive. Handled badly... Watch this space I guess.

Little Johnny Howard has also just been awarded with the Woodrow Wilson award for outstanding leadership in public life. The award will be recognised in a recorded message from the US President George W Bush, who will also deliver a message to Australians. (Good grief.) Howard said that the award 'belongs to all Australians'.

Not this Australian. I'm unhappy with the majority of his decisions (education, industrial relations, trade, etc) and very unhappy with the plans he's made since gaining control of the Senate.