Tony Abbott might be out of the top job, but for better or worse, he’s still got plenty to say.
The former Prime Minister has penned an opinion piece in today’s Daily Telegraph sure to stir up an enormous amount of controversy.
He called for a global religious revolution within Islam, akin to Christianity’s Reformation or Enlightenment, to avoid “a clash of civilisations”.
He said the West could no longer ignore the “problem within Islam”, and that while the overwhelming majority rejected terrorism, some were “all too ready to justify ‘death to the infidel’”.
“Islam needs to delegitimise the urge to ‘behead all those who insult the Prophet’ but only Muslims can do this”, he said.
“Demonising Islam generally or all Muslims could bring on the ‘clash of civilisations’ that academic Samuel Huntington feared two decades back and make ‘Islam’s bloody borders’ even more dangerous.
“But we can’t remain in denial about the massive problem within Islam.
“Everyone interested in a safer world should reach out to ‘live and let live’ Muslims and encourage them to reclaim their faith from the zealots”.
“In Australia, that means talking to decent people who happen to be Muslim as well as to ‘official’ Muslims inclined to see ‘Islamophobia’ in any criticism.
“Surveys of British and French Muslims typically show up to 30 per cent sympathising with the aims if not the methods of Islamic State.
“Fortunately, there are numerous Muslim leaders who think their faith needs to modernise from the kill-or-be-killed milieu of the Prophet Mohammed.”
He also suggested it was “not culturally insensitive” to demand loyalty to Australia, and that “we should be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.”
Are these controversial comments justified, or out of touch with the complexities of reality? Is Abbott helping Australia by sharing his thoughts, or only hurting it?