Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer on Islam.
There is often a tendency among Indonesian Muslims to view the attitude towards Islam of Anglophone countries such as Australia, United States, and United Kingdom as being fundamentally hostile, however this is rarely the case. In a speech on Nov. 27th to the Council of Australian Jewry Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer re-iterates the commonly heard view among western leaders that the enemy is not Islam itself, but terrorism and extremism which emanates from, according to Downer, a perversion of the tenets of Islam. ajn
The terrorists [such as al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah] pervert the tenets of Islam using extreme religious interpretations to justify tactics like killing innocent civilians and suicide bombing.
While their ideology is "dogmatic, intolerant and violent", and devoted to the creation of totalitarian regimes, it is drawn:
selectively from the writings of Islamists like the Egyptian militant Sayyid Qutb ignoring the authoritative mainstream views of the Islamic world.
I want to make absolutely clear that the fight against terrorism is not a fight against Islam.
Can't get much clearer than that, but Downer hammers home the point:
Islam is one of the world's great religions. .... and shares the same respect for human life [as other religions].
Muslim scholars tell us that the Koran elaborates a range of rights, including: the right to life, respect and equity, justice and liberty, the right to acquire knowledge, to work and the right to basic needs and to privacy.
He then jumps to mentioning terrorism, and how much it is hated, and how much Australia hates Muslim terrorists, without perhaps examining, or thinking too deeply, over why there is such a problem with it in the Muslim world, and not in the Sinic world, or the Hindu world, or wherever. He says:
This [terrorism] is happening in the Middle East, it is happening in South East Asia and is happening in Western societies.
Why is it happening, and why are the culprits usually Muslims? The answer, according to Downer, is because the terrorists have a number of grievances, - Palestine, Iraq, corrupt local leaders, etc, - and in their opposition to these things they are making use of perversions of the teachings of Islam.
He says there is no conflict between the West and Islam, or at least the form of Islam of which he approves.
...this is not a fight against Islam. We need to underline the shared common values and aspirations that Muslims and non-Muslims hold dear.
There is more that unites the world's great religions than sets them apart.
There is much else of interest in the full speech.