In a rather amusing irony and testimony, perhaps, to the flexible nature of the capitalist marketplace, the reception centre which yesterday hosted Geert Wilders will next month host his nemesis.
How might this situation be read? Is it evidence of the strength of Australian multiculturalism that the same venue can host an anti-Muslim demagogue one day and a Muslim charity the next? Or — should
the Irish Republican Army Islamic Relief Australia cancel its booking at the phantastic business — an example of poor management practices?
Option A: Islam is a proselytising religion whose adherents will normally try to engage with and convert their adversaries rather than deny them a platform to speak, so from the point of view of expanding their presence in a “pluralistic” society kicking up a stink about Wilders visit would be akin to cutting of one’s nose to spite one’s face?
Option B: Islamic (also Islamist) activists know how to pick their battles, you’ll note that Islamic activists in this country don’t really get too excited over trivial issues like same sex marriage, they’re very much big picture people.
Option C: Islamic activists and perhaps a large element of the Muslim population feel secure enough in their own parallel society that they see no need to go out of their way to defend themselves against the likes of Wilders.
There is an option D which I find the more plausible, the fact that in Melbourne at least Muslims and Islamic activists do seem to respect the word of their Imams and community elders when it comes to avoiding conflict with the wider community. Furthermore since the “Left” as exemplified by the groups protesting last night have in the past explicitly expressed a desire to take up the cudgel against Islamophobia in order to spare Muslims the indignity of public confrontations we might assume that with the state, the various political actors and their own special interest groups on the case that Muslims feel confident that their views and their rights are currently adequately protected.
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