LIFE can become untenable when the Muslim population of a non-Muslim country reaches about 10 per cent, as shown by France, a Jewish expert on Islam says.The Australian Jewish News yesterday quoted Raphael Israeli as saying Australia should cap Muslim immigration or risk being swamped by Indonesians.
Professor Israeli told the Herald that was a misunderstanding. But he said: “When the Muslim population gets to a critical mass you have problems. That is a general rule, so if it applies everywhere it applies in Australia.”
Professor Israeli, an expert on Islamic history from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has been brought to Australia by the Shalom Institute of the University of NSW. The Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council is co-hosting many of his activities.
He said Muslim immigrants had a reputation for manipulating the values of Western countries, taking advantage of their hospitality and tolerance.
“Greeks or Italians or Jews don’t use violence. There is no Italian or Jewish Hilaly [a reference to the controversial cleric Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly of Lakemba mosque]. Why?”
Professor Israeli said that when the Muslim population increased, so did the risk of violence.
“Where there are large Muslim populations who are prepared to use violence you are in trouble. If there is only 1 or 2 per cent they don’t dare to do it – they don’t have the backing of big communities. They know they are drowned in the environment of non-Muslims and are better behaved.”
In Australia, Muslims account for about 1.5 per cent of the population.
Professor Israeli said that in France, which has the highest proportion of Muslims in Europe at about 10 per cent, it was already too late. There were regions even the police were scared to enter, and militant Muslims were changing the country’s political, economic and cultural fabric, and demanding anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies.
“French people say they are strangers in their own country. This is a point of no return.
“If you are on a collision course, what can you do? You can’t put them all in prison, and anyway they are not all violent. You can’t send them all back. You are really in trouble. It’s irreversible.”
Professor Israeli said that in Australia a few imams had preached violence. “You should not let fundamentalist imams come here. Screen them 1000 times before they are admitted, and after they are admitted screen what they say in the mosque.”
He said some Muslims wanted to impose sharia (Islamic law) in their adopted countries, and when propaganda did not work they turned to intimidation.
Professor Israeli said his task was to describe, not prescribe. He also said his warning did not include immigrants, including Muslims, who simply wanted to improve their lot. As long as they respected the law and democracy, their numbers — Buddhist, Muslim or Jew — were immaterial. It became material when a group accepted violence.
“The trains in London and Madrid were not blown up by Christians or Buddhists but by Muslims, so it is them we have to beware,” he said.
Keysar Trad, of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said “Not only religious clerics need to be screened before entering Ausralia but also academics … this type of academic does nothing but create hatred, suspicion and division … We should review not only what the man has said but also those who have sponsored him, to see if they endorse those comments.”