If a nation expects to be ignorant and free
it expects what never was and never will be
– Thomas Jefferson
Melbourne – Q Society of Australia Inc notes with concern developments in the ACT surrounding a planned mosque-building project, which sparked an increasingly divisive debate amongst locals, the ACT media and now the Human Rights Commissioner and Attorney General.
ACT Human Rights Commissioner suggests to stifle public debate over a mosque building project, while the Attorney General Simon Corbell seeks to introduce laws to punish citizens who criticise religious ideologies; in practice establishing blasphemy laws in accordance with Islamic sharia law.
In a recent ruling dated 2nd August in relation to a leaflet circulated about the Gungahlin mosque proposal, the ACT Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Helen Watchirs, ruled the leaflets distributed by opponents to the mosque project were ‘undoubtedly offensive’, but did not qualify as vilification under the current Discrimination Act. She correctly points out, Muslims are members of a group based on a common belief and values system, and not a group based on common race or shared ethnicity. Consequently racially based laws do not apply.
However, instead of concluding her ruling by noting that freedom of speech is a basic human right to be upheld and defended, especially when contested matters are controversial, she moves on to say that the ACT Discrimination Act should be amended, so in future such leaflets could be considered vilification and dealt with under the law. She further provides a hypothetical claimant with advice on how to advance the case under Federal jurisdiction.
Q Society asks whether the ACT Human Rights Commissioner is not acting outside her brief and against the implied function of her role. Demands to curtail open debate and developing strategies how to suppress freedom of speech are usually the prerogative of theocratic sharia states, military juntas and communist regimes. Has the Commissioner forgotten that Freedom of Speech is recognised under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which Australia has always proudly adhered to?
Article 19 of the UDHR states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Clearly the ACT commissioner in her ruling suggests ACT politicians to interfere with this basic human right; she even takes it upon herself to convey to a hypothetical claimant how to more successfully interfere with freedom of speech under a different jurisdiction.
Q Society points out that the UDHR does not subject this fundamental human right to the personal views of unelected commissioners. We believe that Australians should expect from those employed to defend our human rights, to not lobby for the suppression of the same.
Opposition to a building project, even when the projected building is to be an Islamic mosque, remains an ordinary community matter and must be open for robust debate.
We would like to note that Australian Hindus and Buddhists combined are almost twice as numerous as Australian Muslims. However, Hindu and Buddhist temples combined count 112, compared to already more than 300 Islamic mosques and prayer halls.
The reason for this growing division is Islamic doctrine to oppose the separation of religion and state. Islam regards the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers as a defect of Western liberal democracy. The function a mosque has in the Islamic community is very different compared to churches and temples today. In the Islamic worldview, the mosque is the seat of government with civil jurisdiction, religious and socio-political council as well as military and propaganda centre for proselyting activities rolled into one.
It is no coincidence that the usual mass demonstrations and riots in Islamised countries usually begin after conclusion of the Friday sermons in the mosque. Australians have every reason to be critical of mosque proposals in their neighbourhood.
Q Society underlines that protagonists of religious and political ideologies must always be prepared for robust discussion, criticism and even satire or mocking. Neither Islam nor any other religion or political movement deserves special legal protection from criticism, debate and satire in a free and open society.
About Q Society of Australia Inc
Q Society of Australia Inc is a national grassroots organisation run by volunteers since 2010.
Our members are concerned about the socio-political problems associated with the rise of Islamic sharia law in Australia; as well as religiously-motivated human rights abuses against women and indigenous religious minorities in OIC countries. We seek to inform and lobby for a free and open discussion about the socio-political impact of political Islam in Australia. We oppose the Islamisation of our society as well as attempts to silence critical debate under the pretence of multicultural tolerance and political correctness. No tolerance for the intolerant.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information
and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers