Monday, 17 September 2012

Stop Muslim migration? Prepare for a boat people invasion

When you have a neighbouring country with 180 million or so Muslim inhabitants within small boat travelling distance it's common sense not to set out to deliberately antagonise that religion. When the government of Indonesia is struggling to contain the same kind of mindless religious extremism that inflamed the weekend troubles in Sydney then the argument for being careful with your language should be even greater.
But not, apparently, if you bill yourself as "Australia's most read columnist." In the Melbourne Herald Sun this morning Andrew Bolt was in there stirring up the idea that Australia should consider stopping Muslims to emigrate here.
Now if you think a group of extremist hot heads preaching hate in Sydney is something to worry about, consider what it would be like for Australia if we offended Indonesian Muslims, moderate and extreme alike, by restricting all Muslim migration as Bolt suggests.
For a start we could kiss goodbye all those efforts of our government to stop the arrival on our shores of unwanted boat people. Frozen relations with Jakarta would allow an open slather of the so-called "people smuggling" trade. Handling a hundred thousand or so Muslim refugees a year would really test the compassion and goodwill of the Australian people.
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