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On reading about David Marr’s remarks at a literary event on campus (Volume 48, No. 2), I was appalled he was so free with his insinuations of racism on the part of Senator Pauline Hanson. Mr Marr scoffed at Senator Hanson as the ‘White Queen’ because she has been critical of Islam and wants its spread curtailed in this country. In doing so, he overlooked the facts that (a) Islam is not a race and (b) there are critics of Islam such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali whose ethnic (or ‘racial’) origins and skin colour are different from those of Senator Hanson. Playing the racist card is a tactic frequently used to shut down serious debate, in this case about an invasive and aggressive political ideology causing huge concern in communities worldwide. Senator Hanson’s views on Islam are widely supported in Australia, as the survey by the Australian Population Research Institute in Melbourne in October last year confirmed. The survey found 48 per cent of Australians favoured a partial ban on Muslim immigration. There is a respectable body of opinion alarmed at the incursions being made by the Islamic political ideology into western societies. For example, President of the European Council Donald Tusk last year urged that the European Union must do more to defend its borders and protect its cultural heritage. Some of the foremost intellectual figures of recent times, such as the late Christopher Hitchens whose views were broadcast widely in Australia on programs such as the ABC’s Q&A and Late Night Live, have been trenchant critics of Islam, using stronger language than Senator Hanson has ever used. Mr Marr’s dismissal of a politician with the childish ‘White Queen’ epithet betrays a lack of intellectual rigour. On the subject of Islam, Senator Hanson is intellectually light years ahead of Mr Marr. His ‘White Queen’ epithet is indeed reverse racism. Tom Gosling, BA ’68
Letter to the editor
I suggest as far as China is concerned, the Asian century thing has crashed and burned for the time being.
I read it all and that almost says it all: interesting, well-written, clear, concise, compact and well-presented.
I read with interest the piece by Jon Altman in the Autumn edition of ANU Reporter.