Australian Government Official Says Muslims Who Want to Live by Sharia Law Not Welcome There.-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: The eRumor appears to be an article that quotes the Australian Finance Minister as saying that immigrants who want to live in Australia need to live by Australian law, not the Sharia law of Islam. He is quoted as saying that Muslims to want to live by Sharia law are not welcome in Australia.
The Truth: The article quoted in the eRumor was written by Phil Mercer of the BBC and published in February, 2006. The remarks by the Australian Finance Minister Peter Costello were made in a speech on February 23, 2006 to the Sydney Institute. His speech was titled Worth Promoting, Worth Defending, Australian Citizenship, What it Means and How to Nurture it. In his speech he extolled the virtues of Australia and the necessity of adhering to Australian law. Then he added, "“But don't you think Australian Muslims – Muslims living in Australia – also have a responsibility to adhere to Australian law?” He went on to say "There is one law we are all expected to abide by. It is the law enacted by the Parliament under the Australian Constitution. If you can't accept that then you don't accept the fundamentals of what Australia is and what it stands for." He suggested that if someone wanted to live under Sharia law [law derived from the Koran], Saudia Arabia and Iran should be considered. Then he added, "Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objections to those values don't come to Australia.Updated 8/15/06
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
A senior member of Australia's government has said Muslims who want to live by Islamic Sharia law are not
welcome in the country. The comments have stoked Muslim anger against the Australian government.
Australian Finance Minister Peter Costello said in aspeech late Thursday that immigrants must respect thecountry's laws and traditions. Costello singled out Muslims who wanted to live under Sharia law as not welcome in Australia.
In his speech on Australian citizenship, the minister said his remarks were directed at what he called a"small radical minority." "You don't have to swear at the football and eat a pie to be an Australian," he said, "but you do have believe in democracy, the rule of law and the rights and liberties of others."
Earlier this week Prime Minister John Howard alsoaddressed Islamic extremism, saying it violated Australia's principles. He pointed to contentious issues such as relations with non-Muslims and therights of women.
Australian Muslims have reacted with anger to both sets of comments. They accuse the government of beingde liberately inflammatory and divisive.
Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, says Costello's comments are unnecessary. "He is singling out the Muslim communityagain," he said. "Rather than calling on all citizensto respect the law of the land and respect traditional values, he is making an inference in his comments that Muslims don't do that. Well, on the contrary, Muslims do respect the law of the land and do respect the values of this country."
There are around 300,000 Muslims in Australia.
Community leaders say racism toward this minority group has increased since the terrorist attacks in theUnited States in September 2001 and the bombings ont he Indonesian island of Bali a year later, in which Australian tourists were targeted.