25 April 2013

Australian Muslims urged not to participate in Anzac Day celebrations

From The Daily Telegraph, April 24, 2013, by Alicia Wood:
 
A RADICAL Muslim group will likely stir the anger of Diggers and their families after urging Islamic Australians not to participate in Anzac Day celebrations.
Hizb ut-Tahrir published an opinion piece on its website on the eve of Anzac Day, titled "Anzac Day is not for muslims."
It suggests those who fought at Gallipoli were part of a military "failure".
"Further, the 'Anzac spirit' is more mythology than history. It ignores indiscretions by the ANZAC soldiers such burning the belongings of locals in Egypt, brawling, getting drunk and rioting, and contracting venereal diseases due to time spent in local brothels.
"It ignores the fact that Australian troops were merely used as fodder for British imperial designs. It sanitizes all the bad to surgically create a mythological legend worthy of celebration," it said.
Premier Barry O’Farrell has condemned the publication, saying it was "contemptible."
"I am appalled by the statement but, from past experience, know the call will be ignored by the vast majority of Australian Muslims," Mr O’Farrell said.
"Anzac Day is a day we commemorate those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy in Australia, including the right to practice the religion of our choice. Attempts to use the day to try and divide are contemptible."
NSW Opposition leader John Robertson said the comments were "disgraceful and offensive".
"This group is clearly out to try and hijack the true meaning of Anzac Day with these abhorrent views, but they will fail," Mr Robertson said.
"As Australians mark Anzac Day around the country with pride, they will be remembering the bravery, spirit and mateship of our diggers past and present."
"Anyone who seeks to undermine the true meaning of Anzac Day clearly has no understanding of who we are as a nation."
The Hizb ut-Tahrir piece goes on to say that Islamic Australians should not recognise Anzac day either "actively or passively".
"In sum, Anzac Day represents a nationalistic celebration, linked to the ideology of a disbelieving people, of events involving wars against the legitimate Muslim authority of the time. There is no justification whatsoever for Muslims to be actively or passively taking part in it."