The real reason we want to ban Muslim migration

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Last week a lot of us were talking about the Essential poll  which showed that 49% of Australians wanted a ban on Muslim immigration((http://www.essentialvision.com.au)).  Like many, I assumed that the reason was the  association of Islam with terrorism in popular thinking,  but a closer look at the data suggests another story.  Those who supported a ban on Muslim immigration were asked the  main reason. 27% referred to Muslims as a terrorist threat. 41% said it was because “they do not integrate into Australian society” and a further 22% that “they do not share our values”.  Combining those last two answers we have 63% who oppose Muslim immigration because they feel that Muslims don’t fit into Australian society.

This was backed up by a Deakin  university research project that found 60% of Australians would be concerned if a relative married a Muslim, which was twice  the level of any other religious group (33% had reservations about a Jew marrying into their family and 8% percent a Christian).((http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/new-national-snapshot-finds-60-per-cent-of-australians-would-be-concerned-if-a-relative-married-a-muslim-20160926-grp4x0.html))

It appears then that what we fear is not so much violence as difference. We like the idea of a nation where we  share enough in common that would feel comfortable sitting down having a beer together or sharing a cup of coffee.  We don’t mind the idea of diversity, as long as it doesn’t turn into a sense of estrangement.

So what’s the answer?  I think a ban is the last thing we need.  That will do nothing to help us out of our fear of otherness and will succeed only in the concern about otherness being visited upon a smaller group of people.  Nor will we be helped by those who welcome Muslim immigration  decrying those who favour a ban.  I suspect the answer lies in  the 98% of Australians who are not Muslim getting to know some who are. Sharing meals, sharing stories, laughing, crying, and connecting as human beings.  As we do this we will come to realise that our common humanity is far richer and more significant than our cultural difference, which will then enable us to celebrate cultural differences rather than fear them.

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scottjhiggins
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The real reason we want to ban Muslim migration | https://t.co/6loqoINYbU https://t.co/V1CY5NF510

DouginCanberra
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The real reason we want to ban Muslim migration & what we might do about it https://t.co/lvqFBHVpn7

Andris Heks
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Scott, I think that behind the difference factor lies the fear that the different will turn violent against us precisely because they do not fit in and do not like our values AND because Koran can be interpreted as authorising jihad against the non-Muslims. In reality there appears to be only a tiny minority of Muslims who are violently Jihadists but they have frightened the living daylight out of non-violent people including the vast majority of Muslims too. Hence we must be selective and scrutinise the value systems of all potential migrants and their potential for integration. But at the… Read more »
Andris Heks
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Scott, I think that behind the difference factor lies the fear that the different will turn violent against us precisely because they do not fit in and do not like our values AND because Koran can be interpreted as authorising jihad against the non-Muslims. In reality there appears to be only a tiny minority of Muslims who are violently Jihadists but they have frightened the living daylight out of non-violent people including the vast majority of Muslims too. Hence we must be selective and scrutinise the value systems of all potential migrants and their potential for integration. But at the… Read more »
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