Renew, don’t reclaim 237



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Australia just won the World Cup in cricket; the footy season has literally kicked off; Neighbours just celebrated 30 years on television; Vegemite, Tim Tams and beer are still available in every supermarket. Easter is just past, and it’s almost ANZAC Day when we will venerate our diggers like we always do. Our politicians still shout at each other (in English!) in Canberra.

All’s well in Australia!

Yet, we just witnessed nationwide ‘reclaim Australia’ rallies. We heard that ‘our’ Australia is being taken away by those who would impose ‘their’ un-Australian way of life on all of us ‘true Aussies’.

Who is ‘them’? It’s migrants… no, let’s be honest: they say it’s Muslim migrants (New Zealanders, English, Irish – they’re OK!) with their veils and robes, who speak their foreign languages and who eat strange foods. Pretty soon, it’s claimed, our women will be forbidden from driving, our girls will be married off at nine and our boys will forsake footy for religious studies. We’ll have to follow their laws, eat their foods and…the list goes on. We need to act before Australia, the pure white Australia we love, vanishes before our very eyes, they say. So: ‘Reclaim Australia!’ 

I see a different picture. It is a picture I wish ‘reclaim’ supporters could see. If they did, they might reconsider their views.

Here’s the picture: I have been helping my friend prepare for his citizenship test. We have been reading the government’s website, reviewing the material in Our Common Bond, the study guide for the test. We have studied Australian politics, history, geography and even the components of the national emblem. (Do you know why one star on the flag has seven points? My friend does, and now I do, too!)

We recently went to Melbourne for him to take his citizenship test. I waited along with people from at least 10 different countries who were there for their test. 15 minutes after sitting the test he emerged with a smile: “100%!” he said. I shook his hand and we beamed. Eventually he will receive a letter from his local council inviting him to the next citizenship ceremony where he will be a fair dinkum Aussie, mate!

Why is this relevant to the reclaim phenomenon? It so happens my friend is a Muslim from Sudan, a refugee who fled persecution, along with his young wife, and eventually found a new home here. I am an American born Jew, an Australian citizen since 1996 and a retired teacher, who spends an hour or so a week with my Sudanese Muslim friend helping him with English and studying Our Common Bond for his citizenship test. 

An American Australian Jew and a Sudanese Muslim refugee: it may seem an unlikely combination, even the beginning of a joke, but our different origins, faiths and cultures have not prevented us from working together and becoming friends and, soon, fellow Australians. I don’t fear that one day Australia will be ruled by Sharia law, especially after getting to know my friend and his own views on the subject. He has no objections with welcoming me, a Jew, to his home during Ramadan and studying together. We have nothing to fear from each other, and Australia has nothing to fear from him, (nor from me for that matter!)

Perhaps Reclaim supporters fear that what once happened to the Indigenous following the arrival of white Europeans will happen again, but this time to them, when enough ‘newcomers’ have arrived. They fail to see that unlike 200 years ago, contemporary Australia has been enriched by the arrival of many different people and their faiths, languages and cultures. We thrive on diversity, not homogeneity. We have laws which protect the rights of all.

My Muslim friend, soon to be a citizen, and I are just two of the thousands of Aussies who respect their differences whilst able to strengthen their common bond. So, a request: don’t fear our new citizens, or those who wish to become citizens. Get to know them. Help our newcomers integrate into Australian society without demanding they abandon their connection to their faith and birthplaces. After all, we are all immigrants unless you happen to be an Indigenous Australian.

Rather than ‘reclaim’ some idealised vision of a homogenous, supposedly utopian Aussie society, let’s instead forge a common bond with others, regardless of their origins. A common bond: it’s not just the name of the citizenship study material, it is at the heart of citizenship and being Australian.

Share your thoughts below.

Zvi Civins

Zvi is a 62 year old retired educator who is now enjoying the time to read, garden, exercise, volunteer and travel. He is looking forward to sharing his stories with the Starts at Sixty community and all of the discussions around them.

  1. I can’t bring up the rest of the article so i may have it wrong. But my understanding of the ” Reclaim Australia ” rallies are in relation to the push for Islamic dominance here , as they are achieving in Germany, Belguim, France UK and many other countries. Sharia law is being brought in,, in many ways and there are a couple of organisations fighting for Australia to remain Australian, with ONE Austrlian Law for all.,

    3 REPLY
    • Absolutely correct. Anyone who is failing to see the big picture has their head in the sand. I support the Reclaim Agenda as my husband & I have done a lot of research about the Islamic Ideology & right now it is totally on track to dominate the world. Recently in the Dandenongs they wanted Aussie women to wear the burqa for 3 hours. Of course they were not going to go without theirs for a similar “culturally enlightening experience!!!!” Wearing a burqa represents submission which I am quite sure the majority of Australian women would be repulsed by. Next we should try out childbrides, rape, stoning & beheadings, to get a feel of what it is like to be a Muslim. Should our men all go out & rape & beat women to get a feel of what it is like to be Muslim?

    • They asked people to try not told them. Don’t try and promote hate and bigotry. You must be reading different materials to what I’ve been reading. Probably printed by the Reclaim Australia group. I can see the big picture quite well and it’s people who are fundamentalist in all religions that are the problem, along with the red necks

    • Maybe the muslim women should try shorts and no burka when the Aussie girls try the hijab?fair is fair…one is the Muslim way…they other the Aussie way!

  2. I agree with you and what you have said….. you have to also agree, there are good and bad in all races….. and there are also extremists…… there seems to be one rule for us and another for the muslims….. why are they allowed to cover up so you can only see the eyes..???….. when we can’t wear balaclavas or motorbike helmets ???….. why was there only a $500 fine….for performing a wedding ceremony between a 26 yr old and a 12 yr old….in my eyes …..the person who performed the marrieage ceremony and the judge are in this case aididng and abetting paedophilia…. that poor child should have been protected by australian law…. oh the list goes on ……. so I guess we agree to disafree here….. I wish your friend well….. if he is one of the good immigrants…

    3 REPLY
    • People involved in the 12-26yo marriage are either in prison or still before the courts as we speak, so what more do you want? They are being made an example of to deter any such action ever happening again.

    • There’s more than a small fine involved the Iman who performed the service has been deported, the so call husband got 12 years and the father will end up in jail as well. This is more than a token slap on the wrist

  3. I think the reclaim Australia movement is a load of crap, we have 23 million Australians, only 2 million of those people are Muslim. If it 50/50 or even 1 /3rd I might think this was legitimate. Abbott has given the far right the green light to be racist. As for Halal food, well I looked it up, it is just a blessing, nothing is added to the food nor does the money go terrorist organizations it goes to charity

    3 REPLY
    • Yes, Halal is just a blessing, but to have Halal certification on the food costs big bucks and every part of the process has to be certified, that includes delivery vans and the like who have nothing to do with the actual process and if delivery companies cannot afford the certification cost then they lose the contract. The money goes back to the Muslim community to be used how they see fit and is not monitored so people feel it is being sent to Isis. We have no way of knowing this. That is why there is so much outrage over Halal.

      1 REPLY
      • You could not be further from the truth if you tried.
        Companies get Halal certification because they want to sell MORE product than they already do, into a market that wants it.
        If they didn’t make money from it they wouldn’t do it.
        Going a little further- increased sales equals increased economies of scale, resulting in lower cost of production-basic economics, look it up.
        Therefore it could be argued that Halal purchasing Muslims are making products cheaper for the non Halal purchasers.
        That must hurt, lol

        1 REPLY
        • Drew & who gave you that dribble? The consumer pays more on all items covered by Halal. No business takes a hit unless passing it on, that’s the truth. Having been in business I’m confident of that. Muslims in Australia represent only 2% of the population so what they buy is zippo compared to what Aussies buy, ask Cadbury for a start.
          And Drew your arrogance is amazing, you thinking that anything you have to say is going to hurt anyone, boy.

    • Leanna, There is a current war on the west many are obvious too. You are correct in saying 2.9% Muslims live in this country. Centrelink has just loop hole in the system and detected fraud occurring because Muslim Men marry one woman under Births, deaths and marriages, then have 3 other wifes “if he can afford them” under Sharia Law performed at local Mosques. Then knocks up all 4 wifes, and BAM its centreink galore in housing commission. Check this on google. I read the story 3 days ago. So do the maths on the 2.9%. in 10 years. Now to the next point. Its not being rasist to be anti-Islam. Any skin colour can choose a religion. Have you read the QU’RAN? Youtube it. Youtube Sharia Law too, then i’ll see you at the next rally.

  4. Very well said we should be celebrating our multiculturalism not singling out a specific ethnic group. Whichever way you look at it we have a wonderful life here in Australia and it would be awful if that was threatened by radical and short sighted fanatics.

  5. They come here for OUR way of life and then want to make us change to what they are leaving behind? Assimilate or go back to where you came from. Too many are financial assylum seekers in my view. We should cut all welfare off for those coming to our shores illegally and that includes all legal aid too.

  6. Definately RECLAIM. Has anyone on this blog been driven out of their homes because you live near a mosque? I know of one elderly gentleman and his wife who had lived in their family home for over 45 years. Gradually, over the last 10 years or so, he has watched his neighbourhood be taken over by Muslims. They parked on his lawn and across his driveway, blocked off the street, wailing and chanting at all hours of the day and night. Muslims made it impossible for them to live there. Police would not help, and if Police did intervene, the man and his wife were victimised and verbally abused. They finally had to sell their home, to none other than another Muslim. These scenarios are being played all throughout Aussie towns and cities. Don’t bury your head in the sand. It’s happening.

    2 REPLY
    • I am not wanting to get into an argument here but I lived across the road from a Pentecostal Church, they wailed and screamed out in tongues, the street was full of parishioners cars, locals could not a get a car park. It was a nightmare, it is not only Muslim places of worship that can be annoying

    • Definately Libbi, I agree, living near any places of worship, sports fields, shopping centres etc. can be a strain on any neighbourhood. But I am trying to get the message across that our beautiful Australian way of life is gradually being eroded and changed. I feel it IS NOT for the better.

  7. While I agree in principal, I don’t think it works in practice. I don’t care who lives in this country BUT. We are so fond of telling Aussies we have to live by other countries’ rules while we are there, but we don’t enforce this here. Reclaim Australia in my opinion won’t work, because it gives radicals on all sides an excuse to cause angst. However, I believe that what Australians want is a country free of violence and terrorism. It is sad, but at present, most of that seems to be coming from radical muslims. A New Zealander or Irishman or Brit comes here to live, in general they don’t threaten Australians with their terriorism ways. They don’t demand we have their symbols on our food or we cease to teach our kids about Christmas in our kindergartens and schools. They don’t recruit our children to fight their causes overseas. It’s different, just that’s the way it is. As for us worrying that the same thing that happened to the indigenous people will happen to us, now we are clutching at straws I think. There is good and bad in every race and that includes ours. There are Australian born Aussies raping and killing, there are foreign born Aussies doing the same thing, but there are more migrants from muslim countries using religion to justify terrorism and expecting us to comply with their countries ways in OUR country and make no mistake, it is our country. It is a shame that the people who come here from ANY country are put in the same category as the ones who do the wrong thing, that is why Reclaim Australia won’t work. I am willing to share, but you need to live by our laws, not change our laws to suit other races. Not take away our children’s fun, not wear a burka in a bank or government house etc. We aren’t allowed to wear helmets and the like in these places for security reasons. They say the flee here for safety and because we are a better nation, but then they try to change us. Us meaning us all, all Aussies no matter where you were born. Come here, live by our country’s rules, use the right reasons for wanting to live in Australia, before it becomes a dumping ground for hatred and violence. My opinion.

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