03 September 2006
"Moderate" Muslims Angrily Reject Call to Denounce Terrorism
Costello joins PM's Muslim call
By Nick Butterly
September 04, 2006 12:10am
Source: The Courier-Mail
TREASURER Peter Costello has stepped up the Government's bid to persuade a Muslim minority to endorse Australian values, learn English and renounce terrorism.
Yesterday, Mr Costello also backed comments by Prime Minister John Howard this week that a small section of Australia's Islamic community stubbornly refuse to integrate.
"I think the Prime Minister has a point that migrants who come to Australia are expected to speak English and endorse basic Australian values, and it's going to be a problem for future generations if they don't," Mr Costello told the Nine Network.
"We have very, very successfully integrated people from all over the world . . . because we have had the attitude that when you come to Australia, whatever arguments you might have had in the old country, we start again . . . with a common set of values and a common language."
Mr Howard outraged the Islamic community last week by saying Muslims needed to integrate properly by speaking English and showing respect to women.
The Opposition has not opposed his remarks, although it has called on the Government to provide better facilities for teaching migrants English.
But Mr Costello went further than Mr Howard, saying Australian Muslim leaders needed to denounce terrorism in all forms around the world: "We really need the Islamic leadership of this country to stand up and contend unequivocally that terrorism, no matter who it is perpetrated by . . . is never justified, under the cover of religion."
Australian Muslim leaders had to make it clear that terrorism had nothing to do with the real Islam, he said.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also said all migrants should speak English, to be able to integrate into Australian life.
Islamic Council of NSW chairman Ali Roude said the Government needed to drop its rhetoric. "It's difficult to promote harmony and social calm when our politicians and leaders are constantly targeting the Muslim community," Mr Roude said. "The conduct and behaviour and the viciousness of the language that they have used can only lead to bigotry and hatred - this is not in the best interests of our nation."
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JOHN VOIGHT ON OBAMA'S DISTAIN FOR ISRAEL
A message to the Jewish people and the entire world
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