Sonia Kruger.
Sonia Kruger.

Don’t hate on Sonia Kruger for being honest

HATING on Sonia Kruger and debating over Waleed Aly is missing the point of the debate that has to happen globally on how to neuter Islamic State and more broadly, Islamic fundamentalism.

I don't begrudge Sonia Kruger for her opinion, as misguided as it was.

It was misguided because barring Muslims from entering Australia would do nothing to protect us from future terrorism, if that is the goal.

It would only pour fuel on the fire of the arguments of Islamic State and the like that the West hates all Muslims.

Certain groups of young Muslims in Australia would feel increasingly disenfranchised, ostracised, and the most vulnerable could fall prey to venting their rage through violence.

That's not a winning strategy on the war we are fighting - but don't attack a messenger, Kruger, for telling us that we have to do something.

It's a feeling that has clearly plenty of sympathisers in "middle Australia", despite the massive media backlash.

Because as most people with common sense recognise, we are at war.

Far more than a military war, it is a battle of hearts and minds.

It is a battle between the pull of civil society and democracy, on one hand, and the lure of fundamentalism and violence on the other.

And one of our biggest weaknesses is we take democracy and our plural society for granted.

Many of us are more interested checking out with the latest smartphone app, binge watching television shows, and engaging in narcissism on social media, than building the very real community around us.

This high level of distraction makes some feel disenfranchised by living in the modern world - it's the lack of deep meaning in our lives.

It's easy for people to lose appreciation for just how good our lives are and act like spoiled brats, instead of realising that often, helping others is the way to fulfilment.

Contrast that with Islamic State, which has a very black and white, dramatic and ascetic take on life built on hatred and rejection of the West and other Muslims who don't follow the same theocratic code.

It is successful because it feeds on the disenfranchisement already felt by some living in the West.

It captures this resentment and anger and channels it into violence.

The kind of "religion" being peddled about by ISIS followers is better seen as a political ideology which has set itself as the inverse of the West.

If we want to win this war, we need to start appreciating what we stand to lose if we follow the road of division and hatred.

We need to start realising that democracy, and secular society needs its warriors too.

We need to stop the in-fighting and outrage when someone makes a politically incorrect point, and instead hail it as part of a free debate, a debate we are able to have in this country.

Despite what Pauline Hanson claims, our multiculturalism has been, more often than not, a success, because we are a proudly secular country (not a Christian country which Hanson claims) which embraces both freedom of religion and also freedom of speech.

What happens in France is arguably not happening here to the same extent because we have also integrated our immigrants better, and they have generally had better economic opportunities.

The terrorism will continue, but we must play the long-game by celebrating our society's achievements and building on them.

Beating Islamo-fascism is not about the military victory - not amount of drone strikes will destroy the enemy within - it's about making sure those potential enemies never consider becoming so, because they value the life they've got and the free society they live in.

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