The United Australian Lebanese Movement (UALM) is concerned by the comments made by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in reference to the immigration policies of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Mr Dutton stated that past policies of allowing Lebanese Muslim migrants into Australia were a mistake.

A person in Mr Dutton’s position should know that fanaticism is a scourge of any nation, society and religion. The people he referenced in relation to terror charges are a threat to Lebanon and its diversity as much as they are to Australia. If anything, they are a home-grown Australian threat to other nations.

We ask the Minister to clarify when the people in question were on the Australian Government’s radar? What steps did the Australian Government take in the first 3 years of the Syrian conflict to stem the flow of terrorists from Australia? Was it oversight or tacit approval? Finally, is the Australian Government trying to shirk its responsibilities and lay the blame for home grown terrorists on 40 year old immigration polices?

It must also be noted, that most of those he referenced were born and raised in Australia from migrant parents or grandparents; after two or three generations, looking at them as Lebanese as opposed to who they really are is not appropriate from anyone let alone a Federal Minister.

The role of fanaticism stems from nations who Australia and the West have no issue cosying up to for economic interests yet remain silent on when they propagate their disillusioned form of Islam to vulnerable young minds. Mr Dutton’s xenophobic statements have not only emboldened the racist elements in Australian society, but have ostracised the young men he singled out, making them easy targets for fanatic preachers. The UALM hopes Mr Dutton knows that he is playing right into the hands of the hate mongers from all sides of the spectrum.

Furthermore, the insinuation that Lebanon is of one colour or religion rather than a diverse mosaic of different religions and where religious freedom is practiced, is just plain ignorant on so many levels. It is written in Lebanon’s constitution that the President must be a Christian, Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, Speaker of the House a Shiite Muslim and Army Commander a Christian. The parliament has 128 seats: 64 Christian representatives (34 Maronite Catholics, 14 Orthodox, 8 Melkite Catholics, 5 Armenian Orthodox, 1 Armenian Catholic, 1 Anglican, and 1 Protestant) and 64 Muslim representatives (27 Sunnis, 27 Shiites, 8 Druze, and 2 Alawites). Lebanon’s Cabinet is also distributed along similar lines.

We remind Mr Dutton that this is not America and that he is a responsible minister not on the campaign trail, and taking a step to the far right will not get him or his party re-elected. Actual jobs and growth just might however.

The United Australian Lebanese Movement


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