As I mention in my previous post ‘Learning About Islam ~ My Questions’, my initial exploration into what Islam is all about left me with quite a few questions. Obviously I didn’t get these answered all at once! In fact, I didn’t even think of all these questions at the same time. Rather, they developed over several months, just spinning around in the back of my mind.
Seeking answers to these questions also didn’t occur all at once. Instead, I’d see something and want to know more. Below is a summation of some of the information I found that lead to ‘answers’ for my questions.
(NOTE: these answers may not be true or accurate. They are simply what I found and observed on my own during my time of information seeking)
It’s no secret that media and news is biased. They are biased towards ratings and profits. I’m not judging, that’s just the world we live in today.
It seems to me, that when the media is referring to ‘Muslims coming to this country in large numbers’ they tend to be talking about refugees, usually the ‘illegal’ or ‘boat’ people. (I personally ache for the ‘boat’ people. Seriously, you don’t risk your life doing that unless you don’t see any other way).
A useful article, filled with actual statistics and numbers, was found here http://www.businessinsider.com.au/heres-how-many-muslims-there-actually-are-in-australia-2016-9.
Of note, the 2011 Census noted that 2.2% of Australian’s were Muslim. the 2006 census had it at 1.6%. In 2011 Australia had 22.34 Million people, which means only 491,480 people identified as Muslim.
Ok, that’s how many were already here. What about migrants coming to Australia?
Well, same article provides the following. Now, I believe this shows migrants who sought permanent residency. Basically they became, or wish to become, Australians.
Out of the top 10, only 2 countries are predominantly Muslim countries. Pakistan and Malaysia.
Ok, finally lets look at the humanitarian program where refugees are settled in Australia.
In 2014-15, of the total of 13,756 humanitarian migrants:
- 2,335 were from Iraq
- 2,232 were from Syria
- 1,813 were from Afghanistan and
- 331 were from Iran.
These four majority Muslim countries made up 48.8% of the humanitarian intake. 100% of the humanitarian intake was only 6.7% of the total immigration number for that year.
Ok, next questions a bit tougher. Are Muslims coming to this country doing ‘bad things’.
I’m going to break this down into 3 categories:
1 ~ Living their life according to the Quran, which is not harming others but at odds with Australians cultural perspective of ‘normal’
2 ~ Committing acts, or engaging in activities, which the Australian laws deem criminal
3 ~ Engaging in acts of Terror based on Extremist Islamic beliefs.
So, 1… I am of the opinion that if you are living your life and you are not impacting upon my life and my lifestyle choices, I really don’t care. Whether you want to go to the beach in a G-string Bikini and tiny triangles for a swimsuit, or if you want to wear a Burkini, or anything in between. I DON’T CARE. Are you insisting I wear what you are wearing? No? Good. Then you do you and I’ll do me.
Look, I’ll admit, the full burqa or niqab makes me uncomfortable. It’s not because I think that person will do me harm, it is just so vastly different than my cultural norm. And that is on me, not the other person. They are not responsible for my feelings. I am.
Maybe I’d feel differently if someone in a burqa exploded a bomb somewhere. But that just isn’t happening and I’m not going to be afraid until there is something to fear and I am certainly not going to dehumanise an entire group of people because of it.
So, 2… Honestly? From what I have seen, no more or less than the average Australian. Is there thieving from Muslim people? Probably. But that’s common in non-Muslim people. Is domestic violence an issue? Yes, but it’s not confined to Muslim people. The following is an excerpt from DomesticViolence.com
The following basic statistics help demonstrate the prevalence and severity of violence against women:
– On average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.1
– One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.2
– One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence.2
– One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.2
– One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.3
Remembering that Muslims only make up 2.2% and only half are likely female. If roughly 33% of Australian women have experienced physical violence, I’d say Australia has much bigger problems.
The other ‘criminal act’ hitting the news is Polygamy, or multiple wives.
Well, newsflash, if they can’t legally get married in Australia then technically they are simply 1 man with 1 wife and multiple girlfriends or women that he is with. This may surprise you, but plenty of people have extra marital affairs, have girls on the side, or a different man every weekend. (You’ve heard of Tinder right? It’s pretty much designed for that).
By their religious values, they may consider themselves married. So? Gay and Lesbian couples have started referring to themselves as husband and husband, wife and wife. It’s not legally binding, but they do it. Problem? I don’t see it.
I hear from people that the wives are often abused or don’t have a say. I can’t really comment, I’ve not known any women who are in a plural relationship. But I’d love to. What an amazing way of life! It’s so different and I’d very much like to hear and learn more on their perspective. But back to the abuse, I refer you to the above regarding domestic violence. It is not a Muslim issue. It is an issue across the board for all people.
Along with multiple wives issue comes the public outcry of Centrelink supports or welfare payments. I heard Muslims were ‘rorting the system’. No, from what I can see they are using it correctly. If those who have multiple partners are not married, then the women are legally single. If they are single, they are entitled to single benefits.
Australia, you cannot have it both ways!? They are either single or married. Or are they?
Centrelink is genius. (sometimes, rarely.. ok this probably wasn’t a Centrelink idea)… but they have a relationship test. If you are not married, then you have to fit within a relationship test. It takes into account how involved is the child’s parent. Do you live together? Are you behaving in a ‘married like way’, do you share a bed, etc. If so, you are considered ‘partnered’. I love that word ‘partners’. You are obviously not single, but you are not married and are not entitled to the benefits and security of marriage.
But a ‘partnered’ payments is less than a single or married payment.
It is actually quite clever. Without it, legally the women are single and would actually cost the taxpayers MORE money.
And no, you can’t just not pay them because they are Muslim and you don’t like their personal values. That’s discriminatory and really petty.
Coming up soon, my discoveries on the 2nd section of my questions!!!