A large group of Islamic activists yesterday demonstrated in the main arteries of Sydney’s central business district, blocking traffic and marching towards the local Town Hall on George Street. The protest was reminiscent of a similar event which occurred almost a year ago to this date, during which violence broke out between protesters and the police.1 SydneyTrads was not aware of any violence breaking out on this occasion, however the presence of the protesters was no less intimidating to the public. Guttural wails and gibberish yelled over megaphones as well as angry and incomprehensible chants cast a Brueghelesque nightmare parade through the centre of the city.
The protest concerned the civil war in Syria, where its incumbent government backed by Iran and Russia is being challenged by a motley coalition of local factions themselves backed by various Western interests. The recent and provocative use of chemical weapons has understandably raised political tensions in the region as well as among some Western leaders who have warned that the use of such weaponry would not be accepted by the ‘international community’. Although it remains uncertain who or which side was responsible for the chemical attack, it appeared to be largely the cause of the protester’s grievance.
What the residents of Sydney witnessed yesterday was effectively the importation of a foreign conflict into the local scene and its political discourse. This is to be expected in any Western society whose social and immigration policies obey the most aggressive strictures of multiculturalism, and who therefore foster within its body politic a ‘diverse’ pastiche of autonomous ethno-cultural subgroups, each of which vie for political influence over state resources. Australia seems to be going down the path of Western Europe. Judging from the Federal election campaign slogans, promises and debates with which the electorate has been assaulted over the last month, there does not appear to be much by way of any robust opposition to this trend among the mainstream elites.
One correspondent from the Sydney Traditionalists was on the scene yesterday to witness the protest rally. Of particular concern were two flags which were evidently given prominent position at the head of the rally by its organisers. A white flag and black flag, both with idiosyncratic Arabic script, were seen flying alongside the flag of the Republic of Turkey and the banner of the Syrian ‘rebel’ forces presently involved in the Syrian civil war.
One Martin Kramer (no affiliation with SydneyTrads) has reported online that these flags and similar extremist paraphernalia have been frequently seen among the Syrian rebel forces.2 He suggests they are symbolic of a strong ideological current among the various militant factions struggling against the incumbent regime of Bashar al-Assad. Kramer reports that the flags have become rallying points for the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ and at least one other dominant armed jihadist faction. In a comment posted alongside one photo (shown here above right) he writes:
“From right to left are the flags of the Free Syrian Army (minimally present in Raqqa), Ahrar al-Sham (dominant), and the black-and-white variations of the jihadist flag flown by Jabhat al-Nusra (also a major force). The struggle that will elevate one of these symbols over the others has only just begun.”3
According to an anonymous writer on the Islamist website Al Khilafah, the “White flag with Black banner represents Islamic state, black flag with white banner represents Jihad.”4 Likewise, the editors of the (unrelated) Khilafah website clarify the history and origin of the flags in the context of a question asked by a correspondent regarding their use by rebel forces in the Syrian civil war. The strong Islamist symbolism is acknowledged.5 The script on these flags is known as the shahada and reads: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Let us be perfectly clear: there is absolutely no reason why the strange and exotic problems of an alien culture, with which Australia shares no affinity, should become a cause of immediate discomfort or concern to her citizens or government. Yet these flags, representing the iconography of an Islamic sharia state (which is run under the doctrines and edicts of strict Islamic law) as well as the call to militant jihad (presumably with a view to the imposition of such state) are now openly and brazenly displayed in the streets of Sydney, Australia. Let us repose for a moment and contemplate this milestone in the social evolution of our community.
Now let us consider that the mainstream press, not known for its warm embrace of religious sentiment when expressed by believing Christians, especially Christian politicians, has recently reported that the most common name given to young infants born in New South Wales is Muhammad. In what it describes as a “sign of the times,” the Daily Telegraph reports that the frequency of the name has double over the last decade.6 In light of the lessons that can and should be learned from the disastrous immigration policies of Western Europe, the social and political consequences of this trend will be deeply concerning to anyone with an interest in the future stability of this country. Unfortunately, those who are in the best position to take any action have proven themselves woefully inadequate to address this problem.
It has been the Sydney Traditionalists’ mission to encourage young local conservatives to eschew the political idolatry common among ‘establishment’ conservative organsiations such as the Young Liberals or the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation. An unfortunate phenomenon among young conservatives on university campuses in particular has been the uncritical, blind and near cult-like worship of official conservative politicians or commentators. This has retarded the development of conservative theory among the next generation of right-of-centre activists, and almost completely erased any sense of intellectual and moral accountability among the existing conservative political elite. The attitude of the mainstream conservative establishment to the conditions which have allowed Islamist and Jihadist symbols to proliferate within our society is a case in point.
Former Prime Minister John Howard, hardly the darling of the multicultural industry, has become something of a father-statesman for modern Australian conservatism. The current Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who, if recent poling is to be believed, will have no serious trouble in winning the upcoming Federal election, is likewise considered a strong-man of the ‘respectable right’ in Commonwealth politics. But if the consequence of radical demographic shifts though irresponsible immigration policies have proven to be caustic to the national psyche, what have been the roles of these two men in relation to the growth of religious and cultural ghettos in Australia?
When Howard was elected into office in 1996, the immigration intake was significantly reduced, initially. Nevertheless, that intake more than doubled within a decade of his accession to power.7 In his last term in office, over 123,000 migrants were settled into Australia in the period 2004 to 2005.8 This represented an increase of 11,000 on the previous yearly intake alone and was the second highest influx since the late 1980s when the federal Labor Party was in government. Although it is not easy to extract accurate statistics about the flow of Muslim immigrants into Australia (one wonders why a topic of such immediate and obvious significance to the zeitgeist has not been more diligently investigated by authorities) the Australian Bureau of Statistics does record that religious affiliation for Muslims has grown in the period of 1996 to 2001 by 40.2%.9
Thus, it is reasonable to suspect that the growth of religious affiliation to Islam in Australia at this time was enhanced by the immigration policies of the then ‘conservative’ Howard government. Under Howard’s stewardship, the Muslim demographic in Australia increased dramatically. John Stone, former head of Treasury in a Liberal government and formerly President of the constitutionalist Samuel Griffith Society, has written extensively about the problems associated with indiscriminate immigration policies of the last decade. In 2010 he wrote that:
“Despite the Howard government’s repeated bland statements that ‘the great majority of moderate Muslims’ should not be tarred with the brush of ‘a relatively few extremists’, the problem remains, and is growing. Its essence is that all Muslims — ‘moderate’ or not — owe their overriding allegiance not to Australia, but to Islam — a creed which, while presenting as a religion, is also (and increasingly, even predominantly) an international political movement bent on world domination.”10
Not everybody seems to agree with Mr. Stone. In a related report, SydneyTrads noted the comments of Tony Abbott during the Australian tour of Dutch politician Geert Wilders in February this year. Responding to Wilders’ calls for a moratorium on Muslim immigration, Abbott claimed that “[t]here are very few lessons that Holland has to teach Australia when it comes to the integration of newcomers” and that “the Muslims in this country see themselves rightly as fair dinkum dinki di Australians.”11 Evidently, not much has changed since then. Wooing the Islamic vote has now become a bi-partisan exercise for leaders of all major parties, and alleged ‘conservatives’ are following this trend as passionately as any of their political opponents. Abbott’s campaign trail has recently included an address to the ‘Iftar Dinner’, during which he claimed in the typically sickening rhetoric of the left that “[t]here is unity in our diversity.”12 In that same speech, he declared that:
“I want to say to you that I am the sworn enemy, the sworn enemy of anyone who seeks to divide Australian from Australian over things that can’t readily be changed, over class, over gender, over birthplace and particularly over faith. Our faith is special to us.”13
Abbot is right to say that “faith is special” to religious citizens. He is also correct is saying that the sincere faithful will find it difficult to change or renounce their beliefs. But he seems to expect all religious denominations to share the same Western secularist disposition required for a liberal democratic society to function. This failure in drawing qualitative distinctions between very different cultural groups has been the undoing of other Western societies whose mistakes he refuses to acknowledge or learn from, and that is deeply distressing. It does not appear to be of much concern to our official ‘conservative’ political class that sentiments which warm towards jihad and sharia are finding expression among Australia’s growing Islamic population. The experience in Holland can be enlightening and instructive, if only they took the care to learn from the mistakes of others, instead of repeating them in the hope that somehow we are the exception to the rule of demographic upheaval and its political consequences.
Not to be misunderstood, Abbott repeated his commitment to being the “sworn enemy” of anyone who ‘divides’ what has become the increasingly meaningless nominal entity of ‘Australian society’ under the official state cult of multiculturalism. It is of course doubtful that those waving the Islamist banners last Sunday consider themselves, in Abbott’s painfully jejune parlance, “fair dinkum dinki di Australians.” But such is the apparent bankruptcy of mainstream ‘conservative’ politics in modern Australia that a serious politician can utter such nonsense and seriously mean it. Sadly, this kind of idiocrat naiveté is by no means isolated. Senator Arthor Sinodinos, former chief of staff to John Howard, and another alleged ‘conservative,’ made his position clear in his maiden speech to Parliament in November of 2011 when he stated:
“I have no reservations about our capacity to settle immigrants harmoniously into this society. There have been stresses and strains but most immigrants are keen to settle peacefully in this country and appreciate the Australian way of live and let live. They know that they are free to celebrate their heritage but with an overriding loyalty to this country and its institutions. It is those very institutions that guarantee their freedoms. We do not need an act of parliament to enshrine what we experience every day on the streets of Australia. For me, the social dividend of a bigger Australia is more jobs, jobs and jobs.”14
Note the purely economic measure of successful policy: “jobs, jobs and jobs.” Let us put aside for the moment the spurious claim that population growth ipso facto results in increased employment. What happens when a large ethno-religious body one day refuses to play by your rules, Senator? Unperturbed by such annoying questions, he will of course eventually feel the need to indeed draft legislation about “what we experience every day on the streets” so that authorities can deal with exotic protests when they become more than just voiciferous, and when the “overriding loyalty to this country and its institutions” by “fair dinkum dinki di Australians” of more recent vintage is eclipsed by a loyalty to something Sinodios, Abbott et al have little to no apparent understanding or appreciation of. The portraits carried by the protesters in Sydney last Sunday did not depict the visage of any Australian politician, but the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. There’s your “overriding loyalty” Senator. Now where does it leave you? Politically irrelevant, that’s where.
Those who will suffer the stupidity of such hung-over-hippies masquerading as national leaders on the so-called political right will be the future citizens of this country (however it will be defined in coming decades). At present, the Muslim population of Australia is a mere 2.2%.15 That figure will undoubtedly rise, and rapidly. There is no reason why Australians should not expect to see more jihadist flags displayed in the streets as the community in which such sentiments are cherished continues to grow and receive patronage from the establishment’s left, while being met with feigned ignorance from its faux-conservative political classes. Now where does that leave us? Leaderless, that’s where.
– SydneyTrads Editors
- Photo Report, “Islamic Protest in Sydney, 15 September 2013″ SydneyTrads (15 September 2013) <sydneytrads.com> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Martin Kramer (gallery curator), “The Shiite Crescent Eclipsed” Flicker Gallery (16 April 2013) <www.flickr.com> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Anonymous, “Flag” Al Khilafah (undated) <alkhilafah.net> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Anonymous, “Q&A: Islamic Flags and Banners” Khilafah (9 August 2013 @ 10:53) <www.khilafah.com> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Alicia Wood, “Muhammads a sign of the times – varying spellings of it are some of NSW’s most popular baby names” Daily Telegraph online (26 August 2013 @ 12:00am) <www.dailytelegraph.com.au> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Ross Gittins, “Back Scratching at a National Level” Sydney Morning Herald online (13 June 2007) <www.smh.com.au> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- AAP, “Immigration numbers over 123,000” The Age online (31 December 2005) <www.theage.com.au> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Year Book Australia 2006 (1301.1); see specifically chapter 12, Culture and Recreation, Religious Affiliation, and in particular table 12.27 therein.
- John Stone, “Immigration Policy: Our Self-Inflicted Wounds” Quadrant 54:9 (September 2010) p 35.
- Editorial, “Geert Wilders in Sydney a Success, Despite Far Left and Mainstream ‘Right’ Mendacity” SydneyTrads (23 February 2013) <sydneyrads.com> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Tony Abbott, address to Iftar Dinner, Sydney, 5 August 2013, as reported in “Abbott the ‘Sworn Enemy’ of Divisiveness” The Australian online (5 August 2013) <www.theaustralian.com.au> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Daniel Franklin, “Election Campaign August 5”, ABC News (5 August 2013 @ 6:06pm) <livenews.abc.net.au/Event/Election_campaign_August_5/84139517> (accessed, 1 September 2013).
- Senator Arthur Sinodinos, Commonwealth Hansard (Wednesday, 23 November 2011) page 9409.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, 2012-2013 (2071.0); see in particular table titled ‘Religious Affiliation’.