For some reason, Ibrahim Abu Mohammed thought he was just the man to tell Australians they were wrong to think Muslims don’t integrate and should be banned from immigrating.
What nonsense, sighed the Mufti, our most senior Muslim cleric.
The answer was simple: “What we need is collaboration and proper communication.”
And here is the joke: the Mufti, who moved here from Egypt in 1997, said it in Arabic. Through an interpreter.
Yes, after living here for 19 years, the Mufti still hasn’t integrated enough to speak English in public. The many integrated Muslims here will despair.
That kind of thing explains why 49 per cent of Australians in last week’s Essential poll said Muslim immigration must be banned, fretting that Muslims don’t integrate and some even want to blow us up.
But the issue here is not just that the Mufti refuses to speak English.
Consider: who precisely does he think needs to step up with “proper communication”?
Not himself, I gather, given he issued this demand in the language of the Koran rather than the official language of Australia.
But here is the problem for this mufti and many other representatives of his faith. Even when they speak in Arabic, the problem isn’t that they fail to communicate, but that they communicate only too well.
The Mufti’s Arabic, for instance, clearly tells us he won’t integrate.
Indeed, he spoke even more clearly last year, when he issued a hectoring statement on the slaughter of 130 people in Paris by Islamic State terrorists.
The Mufti listed what he said were the five “causative factors” behind this massacre and every one was some alleged sin of non-Muslims against Muslims: “racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention”.
That was “proper communication” of what seems to me to be the Mufti’s position, despite his later backtracking: that the wicked West invites whatever Muslim terrorists do, even if he belatedly adds he wishes those terrorists wouldn’t kill.
Australians have heard this mufti quite clearly, just like they heard the two muftis before him, particularly the first, Sheik Hilali, who called suicide bombers “heroes” and the September 11 terrorist attacks “God’s work against oppressors”.
The other mufti, Sheik Fehmi, was almost as clear. Yes, he did talk charmingly of peace, but what spoke loudest was his support of Hezbollah, an Islamist group with an official terrorist arm.
“We are proud of the freedom fighters,” he declared.
This communication is so clear I am amazed that Labor and Greens politicians argue that the Essential poll shows Australians must listen more — especially to politicians who must speak more in Islam’s defence.
“We have got to see leadership from our government,” insisted Richard Marles, Labor’s defence spokesman.
Pardon? Who isn’t listening properly here — the public that’s now treating Islam as a hostile faith or the political leaders who keep preaching that “Islam means peace”?
In fact, until the election in July of Pauline Hanson, not a single political leader criticised Islam as a faith. Not a single politician called for Muslim immigration to be banned.
Instead, they snowed us with that “proper communication” the Mufti demands.
The Prime Minister, for instance, hosted a made-for-TV Muslim religious dinner during the election campaign (spoiled by the presence of anti-gay clerics), and Labor noisily selected Muslim candidates.
The Abbott Government even agreed to keep restrictions on our free speech to stifle criticism of Islam and win Muslim support.
Worse, the ACT parliament last month passed new blasphemy laws, citing the need to protect Muslims from offence-causing language — which would include legitimate criticism of Islam.
These censorious politicians have been helped by a media that has relentlessly communicated that Islam is nice. The ABC, for instance, lionises and defends celebrity Muslim Waleed Aly and gave presenter gigs to both him and his wife.
Similarly, not a month goes by without Q&A featuring a token Muslim on the panel, or the ABC’s Religion department publishing Muslim apologetics.
So determined is the ABC to communicate on Islam in the proper way that presenter Jon Faine this month mused on air whether the proper response to the anti-Islam Hanson was to “boycott” her — as if the nation’s state-funded broadcaster, obliged by law to be impartial, could properly deny access to the country’s fifth biggest political party.
So how much more “proper communication” could a mufti want?
The truth is that Australians have seen straight through this cover-up and — furious at this attempt to stifle debate — elected Hanson in protest.
The reason they also back a ban on Muslim immigration is not because there has been no “proper communication”.
It is because too many Muslims — including the Mufti — have communicated frighteningly well.
It is because every terrorist we have jailed is Muslim, almost all born overseas or to parents who were.
It is because the last three terrorist attacks here were all by Muslim refugees, and because a jihad-minded son of Bangladeshi migrants has now been charged with stabbing a grandfather walking down his street.
It is because two Australian journalists, including cartoonist Bill Leak, have been forced to move home after threats from jihadists.
It is because more Muslim Australians have signed up to Islamic State than serve in the Australian Army, and some have posed with severed heads.
It is because Australia’s Hizb ut Tahrir warns that “even if a thousand bombs go off in this country, all it will prove is that Muslims are angry and they have every right to be angry”.
It is because gun crime by Middle Eastern families in western Sydney and northern Melbourne is shockingly high, and NSW police need a unit to investigate Middle Eastern organised crime gangs.
It is because the president of the Australian National Imams Council has called on God to help “destroy the enemies of Islam”, declared the punishment for adulterers “is stoning to death” and accused gays of “spreading all these diseases” through “evil actions that bring evil outcomes to our society”.
It is because the Mufti defended him.
It is because hundreds of Muslim women here are dressed in identity-obliterating sacks and some girls are sexually mutilated to be “clean”.
Events, not sermons, communicates most to Australians.
A gunshot speaks louder than a lecture, and drowns out the protests of many well-meaning Muslims that most do indeed fit in.
That is why Australians worry about Muslims in a way they don’t about Buddhism, another imported faith and just as numerous.
This isn’t about some lack of “proper communication” but about fear of being killed or made too scared to even speak or draw a cartoon.
Or it’s simply because Australians don’t want to live in a nation of tribes, where we must negotiate with a rival chief through his interpreter.