the howard doctrine on religious freedom

  1. 13,013 Posts.
    lightbulb Created with Sketch. 99
    The Howard doctrine on religious freedom

    Charles Richardson writes:

    We've now heard John Howard's view of what Australia's Advertisement
    Muslims have to do to be allowed to continue practising their religion. It's no surprise, but it's not pretty. It doesn't involve the government actually dictating a theological line, but it's the next best thing: government approval of a set of friendly, "official" Muslims who in turn would be given the power to vet all Muslim teaching in Australia.

    Amir Butler in yesterday's Age pointed out that the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils "enters the meeting with the clear objective of being given power and funding to police Islamic thought in this country. This includes controlling the curriculums in Islamic schools ..., being involved in immigration decisions regarding visiting Islamic scholars, and holding the power to approve or decline the appointment of religious leaders in the community."

    Just imagine the outcry if it was proposed to regulate Christianity in the same way, if there were "official" churches that could be relied upon to do the government's bidding, and in return the government would bar or deport clerics who didn't conform to their line.

    Actually, we don't have to use our imagination: that's exactly how Christianity was controlled in the communist countries, and still is today in China. Christian activists object, quite rightly, that it makes a nonsense of freedom of religion. But Muslims apparently are fair game.

    Not that there's any shortage of critics in the media today pointing out the problems. "An Australian imam academy was laughable, flawed and would run the risk of creating an underground movement of clerics who would claim legitimacy through their independent stance, Islamic experts have warned." And this from The Age: "Islamic Friendship Association founder Keysar Trad, who was not at the summit, said he was concerned there could be licensing of Muslim imams, which did not apply to Christian priests or Jewish rabbis, and which would be discriminatory."

    Also in The Age, Michelle Grattan takes aim at the government's increasingly bizarre don't-mention-the-war attitude, which its hand-picked "moderates" are apparently willing to connive at: "But until the Government acknowledges [its foreign] policy heightens both resentment and the terrorism risk, it will be operating in an unreal world."
arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch. arrow-down-2 Created with Sketch.