This post is in response to a comment posted on the Victorian Police Commissioner’s Blog in the last few days. The commenter addressed the person she was “speaking” to as “Darling”.

“Darling”, you are incorrect! Racism is the act of harbouring hatred towards others on the basis of ethnicity…ie. RACE. As Chrissy correctly states, Islam is a politico-religious institution whose members reside in nearly every country on earth and whose various ethnicities number in the dozens , if not more. Criticism of a religion does not equate with negative attitudes towards its followers, although some members may be criticised depending on individual behaviour. This fundamental logical error has given rise to the unfortunate outcome that “Islamophobia” has become a term constantly misused by Muslims who claim that it is racist to comment, analyse, debate and challenge the organised religion that they follow. No other religions refuse to discuss or even countenance healthy debate both amongst its members and those of other faiths or no faith at all. There are prominent Muslims across the world who have suggested reform and modernisation of Islam but strict adherents of Islam point out that Muhammad prohibited any substantive reform of Islam and even disallowed interpretation of Islam’s holy scriptures and his original regulations. The penalty for attempting the above, is death.

So, Commissioner Lay is sensible to demand civility towards Muslims and the use of the Law and the Police if Muslims appear to be breaking the Law or there is a likelihood that they will do so. He must not demand the muzzling of theological debate regarding Islam but should in fact, encourage Muslims to accept that discussion, debate, study and comparative research of Islam is NOT prohibited and can be very healthy. Muslims who protest violently against this normal aspect of Australian intellectual and social life, should have that fact made perfectly clear and must cease attempting to stifle all examination of a religious institution whose membership numbers 1.5Billion people worldwide and which has been wracked with bloody internal division and rivalry since Mohammad’s death. In the name of Islam, historians have calculated that approximately 275 Million people have lost their lives, the majority being rival Muslims. This figure is more than for all major world religions combined and has occurred in the relatively short period since Mohammad lived ( early to mid-7th Century).

I hope, Comm Lay acknowledges the potential harm in preventing normal freedom of speech and will ensure that the public, both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike, understand the important distinction that I have drawn.

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