against the violence, not the people

Signs like this will only make things worse

I want to start this post by apologising for my long absence from musings. I’ve been flat out with full time work, writing for KiKi & Tea and have been distracted by a very special new man in my life. I’ve been meaning to write and then something (usually sleep) beckons and unfortunately musings has fallen by the wayside. My apologies and I’ll try my best to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

So what was it that brought me out of silence? I felt prompted to post something about the riots that happened in Sydney over the weekend. Before you click away, this post is not about condemning Islam and Muslims. It will condemn the actions of a few but the underlying message of what I am trying to say is that the actions of a few do not speak for the majority.

There are extremists in every religion. I hate it when Christians are compared to or lumped into the same category as the Westboro Baptist Church. They preach a message of hate when my God is a God of love. The Catholic priests who have been involved in assaulting and abusing young children do not represent the actions of all Catholic priests or practicing Catholics. So what I would hate to see following these riots is for everyone to assume that Muslims are violent, angry and against those who aren’t Muslim. This simply is not the case.

Politicians spoke out against the violence, according to the Herald Sun:

Julia Gillard singled out the chilling image of a young child photographed by a woman as he held aloft a poster preaching death.

“I absolutely condemn the violence that we saw yesterday on the streets of Sydney,” Ms Gillard said. “There is never any excuse for violent behaviour.

“I do not want to see in the hands of anyone, particularly children, offensive signs that call for the killing of others . This is not the Australian way.”

Meanwhile Barry O’Farrell told Sky News: “What we saw yesterday was the unacceptable face of multiculturalism,”

“I’m just horrified by what I saw.”

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday’s ugliness did not fairly reflect the Islamic people of Australia.

Mr Abbott said newcomers to Australia were not expected to surrender their heritage but were expected to surrender their hatreds.

“I think that’s the message that has got to go from every Australian to those people on the streets of Sydney yesterday.

“I don’t believe we saw an acceptable face of Islam yesterday.”

I’m sure you’ll find that no one will condemn these protests more than the vast majority of Muslims who are already seeing the ground work they have made start to slip away from them. But let me make this clear: there shouldn’t have been violence escalated to that level. There shouldn’t have been violence full stop. The people involved had every right to be annoyed at the YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims but violence is not the answer. What shocked me was the fact that many of the protestors hadn’t even seen the film they were so angry about and they would willingly admit this. So why the violence?

It has irritated me to see people posting messages of hate against Muslims on social media, but I was also appalled to see the actions of those involved in the protests. I hope this doesn’t shape your view of Islam for there is nothing in the Koran and its teachings about responding with violence. Let me make this clear: it is a cultural view, not a religious one. Seeing the signs calling for the beheading of all those who aren’t Muslim made me really uneasy. If they truly believe this, will they actually carry this out?

I am in two minds about this story – I don’t want people to be against Muslims as they aren’t all violent extremists, but it’s hard to tell people to do that, when those involved in the protests seem to be against all non-Muslims because of a film a few people made. They have done exactly what I don’t want us to do to them. The violence and the hate they have demonstrated makes me sick. It almost seems to be violence for the sake of violence and that is illegal here.

If you decide to come to Australia, whether to live or visit, you abide by our laws. It is the same in every country you go. It is the reason why Schapelle Corby is serving a far longer sentence than if she were caught in Australia instead of Indonesia. These messages of hate and demonstrations of violence are simply not OK and not acceptable in Australia (or anywhere for that matter).

I encourage you to head on over to Mamamia and read what Muslim woman Randa Abdel-Fattah, had to say about the rest of what she has to say about the situation. I don’t agree with everything she has to say but she makes valid points about how many of the Muslim community would feel about these attacks. By all means, be against the violence and the few who carried that out, but please don’t be against those who have done absolutely nothing.

I am all for multiculturalism, but it is events like this that make me question if it’s even possible.

How do you feel about the riots? NOTE: Any abusive comments will not be published, but discussion is welcome.

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