September 16, 2012
At the 1945 conference in Yalta, Stalin apparently asked how many divisions the Pope had when Churchill raised the potential sensitivity of the Vatican to the post-war governance of Catholic Poland. I would like to ask a similar question in a quite different context. How many weapons (figuratively speaking) do moderate Muslims have and are willing to wield to deal with their fanatically unhinged fellow Muslims?
If the answer is, as I suspect, that they are weaponless, and passive bystanders to boot, they are peripheral as Stalin intimated of the Pope. In other words, we shouldn’t be the least bit influenced or comforted by the views of moderate Muslims because they don’t count. They have no force. Moreover, I suspect that that they will show much less resistance to the radical imams, as experience has so far demonstrated, than did the brave Poles to the Soviet takeover and yet that was pitilessly crushed.
It might well be that lots more people stayed at home across the Muslim world than stormed US embassies and wreaked havoc on the streets. So what?
We had in Sydney - in Sydney! - riots in the streets using the preposterous and puerile pretext of some obscure foreign movie on Youtube. All of those protesters, ostensibly peaceful or not, should be conscience-stricken, and condemned and ridiculed.
We are very fortunate to live in Australia, as I know as a migrant. We have the benefits of modern infrastructure and social services courtesy of the hard work of generations of Australians. We live in a country which has been kept free by the blood of many patriotic and brave Australians; and lest we forget many Americans. We live in the most pleasant of countries. We live in a tolerant country. We do not go rampaging over a Youtube video. That is not who we are. It is un-Australian and if they – the Muslim protestors and rioters - don’t know what that means then maybe they should seek to go and live in predominantly Muslim societies where childish and destructive temper tantrums among adults appear to be par for the course.
Let me speak personally. I am sick of it. I am sick of media apologists and pandering politicians. We had the unedifying spectacle of Hilary Clinton going on at length about how reprehensible the movie was and how the US government had nothing to do with it. Well duh?! I don’t care about the movie; what’s in it; who made it; and what their motives were.
The only question to be asked is whether we allow this precious and intolerant Muslim behaviour to go on and grow more powerful until we are cowed and our freedoms undermined; or whether we consider now, without delay, what action can be taken to stop it before it becomes unstoppable. Let me go back a little into history, into religious riots in the Punjab in the early 1950s and the report of a subsequent judicial inquiry:
If there is one thing that has been demonstrated in this inquiry it is that provided you can persuade the masses to believe that something they are asked to do is religiously right or enjoined by religion, you can set them to any course of action regardless of all considerations of discipline, loyalty, decency, morality or civic sense.
What exactly has changed? And why would we think the future will be any different in an Australia embracing a growing Muslim population? When religion becomes central to all things; when there is no separation of state from church; when everything is viewed through a religious prism, then Youtube videos, cartoons, books, articles, speeches are all put on a hard and fast religious scale. And, if it tips the wrong way, the Muslim masses can be set on “any course of action”, however despicable.
My goodness, we will have to tread carefully. Welcome to dhimmitude.
Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray