5 Intriguing Things This American Observed on His Australia Trips
I just returned from Australia, where I was speaking at a conference sponsored by Australia’s superlative human rights group, the Q Society, along with Stop Islamisation of Nations (of which I am a board member). Also on the trip were Pamela Geller (SION’s president), Ashraf Ramelah of Voice of the Copts, Nonie Darwish of Former Muslims United, the Israeli scholar Mordechai Kedar, and numerous Australian human rights activists.
Australia is a beautiful country full of marvelously friendly people, as I saw both on this trip and on my speaking tour of six Australian cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, and Cairns) in late 2011. If you’ve never gone, book your trip now – and watch out for a few of the things I saw there...
5. Crocodiles and kangaroo crossings
Kangaroo crossing signs are not uncommon sights in this wild land, and occasionally I saw other signs warning that crocodiles frequented the area. On a visit to a crocodile farm, our guide stopped by a fence labeled “PSYCHO” and lobbed a pebble into a still, placid pond beyond the fence. In a split-second, a huge crocodile – apparently PSYCHO himself – leaped out of the water and straight toward us, his massive jaws gaping, stopped only by the fence from enjoying us for lunch. That must be a metaphor for something.
4. The Red Baron’s boot
At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra resides the fur-lined left flying overboot of World War I flying ace and Snoopy nemesis Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. It seems that when he was shot down in France on April 21, 1918, he was near Australian lines, and a party of Australian troops recovered his body – and the boot. The baron apparently not only had a keen eye (enabling him to shoot down a record 80 Allied aircraft before he met his own fate), but a flair for style.
3. A “multi-faith prayer room”
One of our events last week was held in function rooms at Victoria University in Melbourne (not that they were university events); nearby was the university’s interfaith prayer room, which is essentially a mosque. Prayer rugs were arrayed on the floor, the qibla (direction to Mecca) was marked on the wall, shelves were filled with Qur’ans and other Islamic literature, the bulletin board outside the room was full of announcements of Islamic events and material proselytizing for Islam, and no sign of any other faith was in sight.
This is not uncommon in other Western countries as well: at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, after the university made available a “meditation space” for all students, Muslim students swiftly transformed the room into a mosque, and soon made it clear that non-Muslim students were unwelcome to use it on an equal footing with Muslims. They put out Islamic prayer rugs and separated the sexes – which is their prerogative for Islamic prayer, to be sure. But then they began asking non-Muslim students to observe Islamic regulations by removing their shoes and maintaining sex segregation even during their own prayers.
A similar incident occurred at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. Not long after school officials converted the college’s racquetball court into an interfaith space for “meditation,” Muslim students began telling non-Muslims to leave the room. The college even built a barrier to separate the sexes, and posted a sign asking students to remove their shoes. The dean of student affairs, Ralph Anderson, explained that this was “basically a courtesy to Muslim students,” who “prefer that areas be divided into male and female. . . . Other students don’t care.” In defiance of reality, Anderson insisted that the “meditation room” was still “open to everyone.”
Reporter Katherine Kersten also noted that a schedule for Islam’s five daily prayers was posted at the entrance to the room, an arrow pointed the way to Mecca, and literature in the room said that Jews and Christians were “the enemies of Allaah’s religion” and that people should “enter into Islaam completely and accept all the rulings of Islaam.” Just as at Victoria University in Melbourne last week, there were no Jewish or Christian tracts or religious articles in the room.
2. The “Say No to Burqas” mural
I had the honor of meeting Sergio Redegalli, the fearless sculptor in Sydney who painted a mural proclaiming “Say No to Burqas” on the wall outside his studio. One might think that women’s rights activists in the West would love that, but as it turns out, the leftist alliance with Islamic supremacists has proved stronger than feminists’ concern for Muslim women. Leftists and Islamic supremacists deface the mural continually, but Redegalli is unbowed, and keeps repainting it, often with entertaining variations.
As Thomas More remarked centuries ago, the devil cannot endure to be mocked, and neither can the authoritarians who resort to vandalism to defend Sharia oppression of women. Sergio Redegalli is a unique and immensely important artist, who is really doing what leftist artists preen about but never actually do: shine a spotlight on injustice and call for human rights for all people.
The crocodiles aren’t Australia’s only feral predators. On our first night in Australia this trip, our gracious hosts held a cocktail reception for the speakers and some friends at a local restaurant in Melbourne. The happy and low-key crowd was taken aback when a gang of screaming, chanting, frothing-at-the-mouth fascist thugs suddenly appeared at the door, trying to get into the room. They were Antifa, the leftist thugs who have frequently menaced counter-jihad events in Europe, and who ironically style themselves as “anti-fascists,” even while engaging in the basest fascist thuggery. Our security detail held them back and the fascists retreated after dropping leaflets declaring that they would be disrupting all of our events throughout the weekend. (They didn’t; Q Society outfoxed them.)
This incident vividly illustrated the nature of our struggle in the West today: it is truly, as Pamela Geller has so indelibly put it, a struggle of the civilized man vs. the savage. One side was enjoying drinks and polite conversation, having gathered together in service of the cause of freedom and human rights. The other side, while it professes to be the true guardian of those things, came to the restaurant determined to harass, assault, and maybe even kill us. They are the true children and heirs of the Nazi brownshirts who menaced and assaulted people at rallies and speeches of the Nazis’ opponents in the early 1930s.
The struggle we are in is one that will determine whether our societies will remain civil and free, or fall prey to violence, thuggery, and authoritarianism – such as we saw in Australia’s beautiful Melbourne that night.