Saturday, February 17, 2007

God-worship and flag-worship

There is a push among some members of the Australian Muslim community, chiefly former chair of the Prime Minister's Muslim reference group Ameer Ali, for the Australian flag to be flown outside mosques as a sign of Muslims' "loyalty" to Australia.

Given that god-worship and flag-worship are both manifestations of magical thinking, the proposal to fly the national flag outside mosques is hardly surprising. Indeed, it is probably more remarkable--given the obvious parallels between these two forms of irrationalism--that the practice of flying the Australian flag outside places of worship isn't replicated more regularly and more widely among other religions in this country.

So there is something a tad sinister about this flag-waving initiative . . . though perhaps "sad" would be a more appropriate description. I'm sure there are more than a few Christian churches with a flagpole installed at the front door, but nobody expects them to have one, and nobody would question the patriotism of Australian Christians if they didn't. And the same applies--I would suggest--to other religious communities (e.g. Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.) in Australia also.

So why is this necessary? Why does the mere fact of being Muslim automatically cast doubt upon one's "Australianness," such that certain Muslim leaders feel the need to overcompensate for this default assumption of Australian Muslims' "disloyalty" by sticking a flagpole--as if it were a bogan's car aerial--outside their place of worship?

At least Tom Zreika, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association which supports the iniative, and who has called upon the Federal Government to provide the flags and flagpoles, is being consistent when argues:
It's no use having a flag outside of the mosque and down the road outside the synagogue there's no flag.
UPDATE: BrokenLeftLeg makes an excellent point in the comments:
But of course Muslims flying the aussie flag takes away the symbol of those nasty cronulla folk.
it says, "hey whitey, we are muslims, and we are australians too".
kind of like the wogs from "wogs out of work" hijacking a term of abuse.
I think they should fly it, solely to piss hanson off.
I hadn't thought of it like that when I posted, but he's right.

Fight dem back! has run several stories recently highlighting why some Australian Muslims might feel obliged to "Aussi-fy" their places of worship:
Psycho racists abuse Perth woman
NSW-Pol email scandal takes a racist twist
Racism goes both ways