Last month, Greens Senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi spoke some of the most misguided and divisive words heard in parliament in recent times. She said: ‘We are subject to rules that white people never are’ and claimed that a ‘culture of online harassment, bullying and toxicity now targets everyone who is not a straight white man’.
As Carl Sagan put it, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Following his inaugural speech only days before hers, Senator Fraser Anning copped disproportionate amounts of flak from the media and from Liberal and Labor MPs with lengthy condemnation speeches in both houses of parliament followed by censure motions.
Being a ‘straight white man’ clearly didn’t help him. If anything, it worked against him. By contrast, Dr Faruqi, a self-proclaimed ‘brown, Muslim, migrant’ has copped nothing of the sort for her own divisive words. And that, of itself, is the proof that her portrayal of ‘white privilege’ is dubious at best.
Her speech begins with: ‘We are gathered here today on stolen land’. Wrong. Australia was lawfully conquered and settled by the British Empire in accordance with the international norms of the old world order. That was a ‘might makes right’ world. Whoever could raise an army and conquer land did so. Muslim Arabs and Turks have had their fair share of conquests, as have Christian Europeans. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 sowed the seeds for the modern concept of territorial sovereignty within demarcated borders. Though it wasn’t until 1928 under the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy that territorial acquisition by force was first attempted to be outlawed through consensus among international signatories.
Otherwise known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact (after its authors US Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand), this 1928 pact of course didn’t succeed in immediately putting an end to all war. In fact, World War II, the most destructive of all conflicts still managed to occur only a decade later. Yet the importance of the pact came in its aftermath.
Shortly after the emergence of the United Nations, its Charter went on to guaranteeing ‘territorial integrity’ to member states. In the process, any territory acquired before the 1928 pact was deemed lawfully conquered under a ‘right of conquest’. Borders essentially became frozen in place and future conquests were made unlawful.
This prohibition was not applied retroactively. Doing so would have thrown the entire world into turmoil since virtually every piece of land has, at some point, been conquered by outside forces – or to use Dr Faruqi’s rhetoric, ‘stolen’.
Since Australia was settled in 1788 – a century and four decades prior to the cut-off point for lawful conquests in 1928 – its territorial legitimacy has never been in doubt. Hence, there are no legal or historical grounds to think of Australia’s founding as land ‘theft’.
As someone who identifies as a Muslim, Dr Faruqi should know of Islamic civilisation’s own territorial conquests far beyond the outskirts of Mecca in the 7th century stretching all the way to Spain in the west and China in the east.
Does she believe the Arabic-speaking Islamic countries that today stretch across North Africa, having conquered and replaced the indigenous Egyptian, Carthaginian, Berber and Nubian civilisations are all ‘stolen lands’? Does she believe that Iran, once home to an indigenous Avestan-speaking Zoroastrian culture, is ‘stolen land’?
There was once an indigenous Hindu civilisation in Dr Faruqi’s own country of origin, Pakistan. Islam was first introduced in the region by Umayyad conqueror Muhammad Bin Qasim in 711. Does she believe that Pakistan is built on ‘stolen land’? One wonders, was Dr Faruqi not aware of Australia’s colonial history prior to her arrival? If so, why bother choosing to migrate to a country whose historical foundations fill you with such moral dread?
It is hypocritical to refer to something as ‘stolen’ while continuing to benefit from its use. It is literally the equivalent of driving around in a stolen Rolls Royce while simultaneously complaining that it is stolen. Since she has a problem with British colonialism, it defies logic why she would leave her country of origin, that was freed from British rule in 1947, to then end up in Australia which still carries the Union Jack on its flag and has Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State.
Worse yet, she goes on to declare: ‘I bring to this chamber my track record on shaking things up and shifting the agenda on issues as diverse as decriminalising abortion, drug law reform, LGBTQI rights, the right to die with dignity and protecting our environment.’
With the exception of protecting the environment, literally everything else on her list is at complete odds with Islam. There isn’t one credible scholar of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence from any one of the four Sunni (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali) and three Shi’ite (Ithna Ashari, Isma’ili and Zaidi) schools of thought that has ruled in favour of abortion, drugs, same-sex marriage, gender fluidity and euthanasia.
What Dr Faruqi seems to be following isn’t exactly ‘Islam’. It’s her own ideological fusion tinged with cultural Marxism, third-wave feminism and post-colonialism which she thinks is Islam when she boasts in her speech of being ‘unapologetically… a brown, Muslim, migrant’. This alliance between secular Muslim activists and the far-Left isn’t one based on strict theological, jurisprudential or moral consistency. They’re not united by common values so much as they’re united against a common enemy; that is, Anglo-Celtic, Judeo-Christian Western civilisation.
As long as secular Muslim activists are provided a platform by the far-Left to fight imaginary ‘racism’, ‘white privilege’ and ‘colonialism’, they will continue to appropriate the values of the far-Left into their political goals without shame even if that means deviating from established Islamic jurisprudence.
The radicals are easy enough to identify. It’s their secular counterparts that are often more dangerous in the long run, because they’re the ones who end up being elected to parliament and then use the institution as a vehicle to advance their goals. By her own admission, Dr Faruqi’s speech was precisely that.
Sherry Sufi is Chairman of the WA Liberal Party’s Policy Committee. The views expressed here are his own