Australian academic Dr Liza Hopkins finds exactly the wrong time to tell us that Australian Muslims of Turkish descent are a different breed, and need not be feared. You may get a headache from her verbosity ...
Her concern with the media Muslim stereotype:
"... media representations have contributed to the construction of a spurious link between a homogenised Islamic community and a cultural tendency to violence and crime ... Using Islam as a category to describe a singular social group within multicultural society is therefore problematic."And Australian Turkish Muslims should be exempt from this stereotype because:
"It has been argued that one of the longest-standing Muslim self-definitions is through belonging to a global community of believers. But for members of Australia’s Turkish community ... whose Muslim identity is subordinate to national, cultural and ethnic affiliations - networks of family and friends based around shared language, history, culture and descent override the importance of religion that is attributed to them by outsiders ...Dear Liza Hopkins,
Much of the recent public commentary on the nature of Muslims in Australia is debunked by comments made by young Turkish-Australians. They actively resist being categorised as Muslim-Australians, even while acknowledging their own Muslim beliefs ...
It is clear that for these young people, cultural or ethnic identity is much stronger than religious identity. Although they are articulate about preserving their heritage and language, these traditions are seen to be firmly Turkish, with cultural rather than religious significance.
Perhaps because of Turkey’s fierce historic commitment to national secularism young Turks have no difficulty in separating their religious beliefs or non-beliefs from their Turkish cultural traditions and in seeing the traditions that they value as being Turkish rather than Islamic. It is quite clear that these young people, while acknowledging their Muslim heritage, have no interest in, or commitment to, a larger national, supranational or global community of Muslims.
Research with Turkish Australians has shown that the discourse around Muslim-Australians which constructs a singular, hybrid category on the basis of residence and religion is actively resisted by at least some of those very people to which it has been ascribed."
All well and good, kudos to young Aussie Turks for having minds of their own. They perhaps don't deserve the stereotype for crime and violence that other Muslim groups have created for them.
However, as Turkey is in the process of throwing out Kemalism, it shows that Oz Turkish Muslims offer us no protection against creeping Islamisation. You have taken a small Muslim sample here in Australia, and extrapolated (I know you like big words) that their descendants will likewise be harmless. If Turkey can teach us anything, it is that moderate Muslims can be the forerunner for radicals, whether they intend it or not.
It is ironic that the moment you attribute Turkey’s "fierce historic commitment to national secularism" to Aussie Turks, is the moment it is being extinguished in Turkey. You failed to explain why this won't be repeated here in Australia.
Grade: F - tried hard, well intended, but misguided, please hand back your PhD after class.
More: Online Opinion, Aus Policy Online