Saturday, September 02, 2006

Scales of Justice: A Weekend Rant


Scales of Justice
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
A mother loses her son, and his killer gets a suspended sentence. A friend commits murder when drunk. Youth culture often promotes drunkeness. Can't blame drink. Can't blame justice. Can't blame the victim and can't blame the drunk.

What constitutes an accident?

6 comments:

Weasel said...

Gotcha published a posting earlier this week on a court case involving a drunken fight between two mates that ended in the senseless death of one of them. Dan Henry Leatham, the young man who threw the punch that killed his mate, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and walked free from court after receiving a three year suspended sentence. The court was told that the mother of the dead teenager, Ben, believed her son’s killer should have been charged with murder and gone to jail. Now Ben’s mother has submitted her response to that posting and your comments on the case to Gotcha. It tells a different version of events to the one that emerged during the Victorian Supreme Court hearing. But more than that, it shows that behind the stuffy formality of a court hearing lies untold anguish and despair. Here is her story:

"I have read with interest, everyone’s interpretation of what allegedly happened on that night and the subsequent judgement of Justice Bongiorno of a wholly suspended sentence.

If anyone knows what occurred at the committal, the presentment and the sentencing, I do for I was there.

I am Ben Francis’ mother. Firstly let me set the record straight and say I am not a vengeful person. Far from it. I have shown the utmost compassion to Dan and his family from the very first moment. All I ever wanted was justice, the truth and equity in a system that let us down in the worst possible way. My son’s death is only one of hundreds which have gone through the halls of justice, with their families devastated and in disbelief at the results judges hand down.

What happened that night will never be fully known. Dan made little comment to police and then refused to say anything further on instructions from his lawyer Mr Richter.

I invited Dan to the hospital to say goodbye to Ben who was technically brain dead and on life support. Ben’s injuries consisted of a fractured skull, haematomas above his left and right eyes, fractured eye-sockets, fractured teeth, a severe deep gash to the corner of his mouth, jaw damage up to his ear and a subdural haemorrhage of the brain.

I asked Dan what had occurred - he shrugged his shoulders and didn’t say a word. He told my husband he caught him, my husband told him that was impossible. This so called remorseful friend was smiling and interacting with Ben’s other friends who had come to say goodbye, as if nothing had happen - and let me assure you his behaviour has nothing to do with shock. Fortunately I didn’t see this atrocious behaviour as I was by my son’s side washing him in preparation of anointment by our priest.

That was the first time I asked for an explanation and some remorse and sorrow. Later I also asked him to have the honour of being a pall bearer at Ben’s funeral. (500 people turned up to honour my son). Dan again showed no remorse and I was told by numerous friends of both Ben and Dan’s that they were disgusted by his behaviour as he was joking, laughing and asking them what he looked like in his ‘new suit’. These friends have distanced themselves from Dan.

Again no sign of remorse or sorrow. Not one tear.

Yet again stupidly, I asked him to my home where his mother also attended. Did he offer any explanation - NO! Nor did his mother who was allegedly home that night. This family have made our lives a living hell.

I have given this young man every opportunity to tell me the truth, to express some sort of sorrow, and all I have received is contempt and lies.

At this time I was in utter shock and disbelief that my only child had died. I could not comprehend it and I still don’t.

My husband, myself and the informant did not receive the autopsy report until five months later, where it detailed multiple injuries to my son’s head. This autopsy report should have been released in late October. It was a further unnecessary delay which caused us much pain and grief.

As Dan appeared not to have told the truth, I investigated the injuries myself, obtaining my son’s hospital records through freedom of information. I presented relevant evidence that had been missed by the pathologist relating to Ben’s head injuries. I presented that evidence to the police informant. The injuries I identified were above Ben’s eyebrow which indicated another punch and fractured teeth.

The pathologist failed to observe or record those injuries in the autopsy report. Another failing of the most severe kind - a pathologist failed to identify two major injuries and then when asked to report on those injuries did a big back flip.

Why did Ben go that night? Let me explain. Yes he was at Dan’s the past two nights where he studied and drank, (I did not know about the alcohol. It would not have occurred at my home). When he came home on Friday afternoon, he was ecstatic that he had passed his exams, said he was tired as he stayed up late and had been drinking. Ben then had something to eat and went to bed.

Whilst he was in bed Dan called asking Ben to come over again. Ben said he wasn’t coming over as he was too tired and hung up. Daniel called a further three times harassing Ben to come over. Ben hung up on two further occasions, but unfortunately on the last call he decided to go over to keep the peace. I remember very vividly saying to Ben ‘what doesn’t he get about the word no?’ Ben said it was okay, and he would see me in the morning. He said they weren’t going anywhere and they would be safe. I said to Ben you shouldn’t go, you should be in bed, you are too tired.

But my son was 19 years of age.

I was informed by police that both young men had consumed nearly two bottles of high percentile scotch. The drinking had allegedly started at 10:30pm or shortly thereafter. Be mindful that Dan’s mother went to bed at this time fully aware that they were going to consume this large amount of high percentile alcohol. I question what responsible mother would allow two young men to drink that type of alcohol in that quantity at that time of night. It would never have happened at my home in a million years. The word irresponsible comes to mind.

At around 12pm Ben decided he would go to bed. He got undressed and went to bed. A short time later Dan came into the room and again harassed him to get up and party. Ben didn’t want to and told him to go to bed. Dan kept going on - in his usual harassing way. Ben then decided he had had enough, got dressed and decided to walk home (which is about 1.5 k’s away).

NO he wasn’t driving home - he didn’t have his licence. He was walking home, he just wanted to come home. I wished he had called me to pick him up. But Ben was very independent.

Dan then followed him for half a kilometre, prodding him, pulling on his jacket, abusing him. Ben turned around and told him to #### off. It is then that Dan struck a fatal blow that knocked my 6 foot 3 inch son unconscious before he hit the ground.

Dan has said he punched Ben once. I have evidence I believe proves otherwise. Yet this evidence which was produced and presented to the prosecutors was disregarded as was other evidence that police had gathered. It was all too bloody hard to present, as the adversarial system in this country doesn’t incorporate equity. The justice system has nothing to do with justice, truth or evidence. All the evidence was quite literally suppressed, which is the norm.

The committal proceeding at court was a joke. The general public are not aware of the procedures of these courts. Let me enlighten you - defence counsel ramble on for hours about everything and nothing to do with the killing of my son. Badgering, confusing and belittling witnesses - whilst the prosecutors are not allowed to challenge witnesses nor put forward relevant evidence. You may find this unbelievable, but it is a fact. It is how the law works and has worked since the early 18th century.

Did the prosecutors put forward their case - NO. They assured us that they would take Dan to trial. They too were of the opinion that Ben had been struck more than once.

However they did a backflip and negotiated with defence counsel for a wholly suspended sentence with conviction. They made this decision whilst my husband and I were away remembering our son on his 21st birthday in June this year. I wrote a letter of objection to the DPP (prosecutors)- big waste of time and emotional energy.

I also failed to mention that it took the DPP almost six months to make a decision as to the charge of manslaughter. They left us hanging and treated us like dirt, not to mention my son.

At the sentencing, Justice Bongiorno based the so-called evidence on the committal, which I remind you was presented by the defence.

Again nothing from the prosecutors. They just sat there staring into space.

My son’s death was just another homicide among many others. Any conviction was a good conviction.

After the sentencing had been handed down, my husband and I left the Supreme Court in a daze - my son’s life was viewed as nothing. In fact all human life was viewed as insignificant. I have always believed that human life, any life is the most precious thing. One does not hurt anyone, nor do you kill each other. Self control stops us from doing that. For if all of failed to control ourselves, murders would be happening every second of every day.

I apologise, I digress. My husband and I had a cup of coffee in William Street and Dan and his lawyer happened to walk past us.

I then approached Dan, took his hand, he tried to pull away from me, I kept holding onto him, saying to him “you said you loved him, you said you loved him, why haven’t you seen us, spoken to us or even written a letter to say what happened. You said you loved him, you haven’t shown anything Dan”. Dan said to me “they told me not to say anything”, to which I replied “you have a mind, what you couldn’t do the right thing by your mate, you said you loved him”. His lawyer told me to bugger off. This is two years down the track. If Dan could not face me, why didn’t he write to me? Guilty minds work this way.

I spoke to him with warmth, whilst tears where streaming down my face. I implored him to show something, but he didn’t. I gave him yet another opportunity and I received absolutely nothing. Just another kick in the head.

Please don’t say he was in shock. He isn’t and he hasn’t been. Unfortunately I believe Dan is a sociopath who is unable to think of anyone but himself.

This was nothing less than self preservation. He didn’t want to go to jail and and I believe he ensured everything was done by hook or by crook to avoid that. You see, it is a criminal mentality.

Not only have we lost our beautiful son, who was funny, loving, loyal, a great friend to everyone, and a confidante he was also a writer, and a gifted musician. He loved people, he loved life and he didn’t deserve this.

There was nothing but lies told at court by defence. Those boys were not friends at primary school, they only played basketball occasionally on the same team. They were not baby buddies. They did not socialise with each other after school (primary). That is an utter lie.

My family lived in Cobram for a number of years. In 1999 we moved back to Berwick where Ben went to Berwick Secondary College - it was there that a friendship took place. From 1999 onwards.

I am angry that the truth has not come out and it never will. I want my son back and that will never happen. I do not seek vengeance. I only seek the truth and some sort of justice…where Dan is held accountable for the death of my son, his alleged best friend.

Lady Justice has been blindfolded, gagged and has earmuffs on. God help any of you, if you lose a friend or family member to violence and then expect justice - believe me you won’t get it.

Finally, friends do not hit each other. Ben knew the value of mateship and never hurt anyone. I taught my son morals, integrity, loyalty, love and decency. I taught him to be honourable, I taught him to be a gentleman, I taught him to be of excellent character at all times. I taught him to walk away from unsavoury incidents - which he always did. Ben walked away that night and was killed. His good commonsense was of no use to him. He didn’t even have a chance to protect himself. Leatham has no honour, no understanding of the word ‘mate’ and friendship.

Dan Leatham walked out of that court a free man, with a wholly suspended sentence, with parole set for 2 years. That means in layman terms, be a good boy for 2 years & we will forget the other 12 months.

No fine, no CBO’s nothing. Nothing!!!!

Decent people will question the sentencing. For surely human life is worth more than that?

Remember Dan was not protecting himself, my son did not pose a threat to him - as Mr Leatham has said himself. There is no excuse to assault another person causing their death unless you are in fear of your own life. Then and only then is there justification for such a heinous crime.

Dan Leatham can now only answer to Ben and God.

How do I feel about Dan - I don’t feel anything. I do not acknowledge that he exists. He is not apart of my life. My son is my life. For my own sanity I have come to that realisation. All I can do is love and honour my son and remember him.

My son just wanted to walk home. It is that simple and he wasn’t allowed to. It was his final walk on this mortal earth. His life was taken against his will. No human being has the right to take another life - except in self defence. End of story."

http://blogs.news.com.au/news/crime/index.php/news/comments/a_mothers_anguish/#commentsmore

I’m a teacher and I have lost students before, some not much younger than your son. I grieve for your loss. It is a terrible tragedy, not ordinary, for a parent to lose a child. The hard work had been done.

I don’t empathise with Dan. However, I don’t think the current situation is a failing of the court system.

Don’t live your life for Dan. He is too messed up to do what you want. Remember your son, not your loss. Memorialise your loss, not his killer.

What can you do that will allow you to share some of your son with others? He had music, have you recordings? The public school where I work exists because a childless couple gave their land .. and it makes half the school. I cannot lessen your grief. It is allright to grieve.

Weasel said...

With the introduction of tough new laws to combat gangs in NSW comes news from New Zealand that youth gangs there are modelling themselves on American street gangs, adopting their language and culture of violent behaviour. But has Australia got a gang problem and if so, if the solution longer prison sentences and wider police powers?

In NSW, gang members – even those joining “impromptu” gangs like those that came together during the Cronulla riots – who commit criminal offences will face up to five years in jail.

“This law recognises crimes committed by these gangs are a greater threat to safety and well-being of the community than most crimes committed by individuals acting alone,” NSW Police Minister Carl Scully says.

In New Zealand two recent murders have been attributed to “turf wars” between youth gangs that are also adopting American-style names like the “Bloodz “ and wearing gang “colours”.

The most up to date research done on Australian gangs was carried out by Professor Rob White from the University of Tasmania’s school of sociology and published by the Australian Institute of Crimonology. He warned of the dangers of taking a purely enforcement approach to the problem.

“Namely, intervention must not be exclusively coercive (through increased supervision and suppression of youth), but must also involve provision of services and opportunities (through education and job programs) that make attractive pro-social alternatives to gang membership and engagement in gang-related behaviour,” he said in the 2004 report.

“This is perhaps the key message of gang research—that police and community responses to gangs must combine several different kinds of measures, in ways that enhance the participation and social inclusion of young people generally.”

In earlier research Professor White also warned of the difficulties in trying to define who was a member of a gang – something that will be essential if NSW’s new laws, introduced into parliament this week, are to be effective.

“A young person may occasionally associate with a gang, but not be a member,” Professor White said in a 2002 research report. “A young person may participate in the activities of the gang once in a while, but not be a member.

“A young person may desire to be a part of the gang, but not actually become a member. A young person may say they are part of the same crowd or gang, but not actually be a member of the relevant core group. A young person may have all the external trappings of a gang member (street gang culture in the form of dress, posture, talking style) but not be a member of a gang.”

But Professor White says there’s definite links between gangs and increased criminal or anti-social behaviour.

“Significantly, research indicates that where young people themselves claim gang membership, they tend to engage in substantially more antisocial and criminal behaviour than those who do not profess to be gang members,” he said. “Who you say you are has implications for what you do and
with whom.”

A detailed study of youth gangs amongst anglo and ethnic communities in Melbourne in 1999 found that most members came from low-income households, in low-income areas with high levels of unemployment. The study found that “street fighting, and school-based fights, were a fairly common occurrence.”.

“The specific reasons for fighting between different groups are identified as being due to perceptions regarding what is acceptable or unacceptable ways to relate to particular groups and individuals. Racism and treating people with disrespect are crucial elements in the explanation. So too is the sense of ownership and belonging associated with particular local areas and membership of particular youth groups.”

The youths interviewed for the study said pro-active and developmental strategies were needed to deal with youth gangs, and gang-related behaviour. “They spoke of the need for more support services, youth employment programmes, greater dialogue between youth and authority figures, and positive strategies which provided young people with constructive ways in which to use their time and energy.”

http://blogs.news.com.au/news/crime/index.php/news/comments/ganging_up/desc/#commentsmore

I don’t wish to blame just the parents. There are community aspects to this issue. Parents heavily influence their child, but rarely through control.

My great concern is that there are so few fascilities with which young adults can have fun. Where I live, kids need to travel over an hour (on public transport, one hour is one rail stop) to see a movie. Sports rec aren’t close to public transport, and is substantially less than that available to wealthier suburbs.

There are two ends to the behaviour continuum. Well behaved kids are given nothing. Poorly behaved kids are struck as with a warm lettuce leaf.

Weasel said...

This sounds far too much like a threat, even if it’s not really meant to:

The chairman of the Government’s Islamic advisory committee has warned of more Cronulla-style riots unless the Prime Minister tones down his rhetoric on Muslim migrants.

It seems to me that this advisory committee, a third of which openly backs the Hezbollah terrorist group, has had its day. If the Howard Government keeps it going much longer I’d be surprised. And alarmed

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/muslim_leader_to_howard_shut_up_or_else/

It isn't a threat, he just doesn't speak English all that well. I understand what he meant to say was that the Vulcans were surrendering to the Andorian forces because Star Wars were silly.

Weasel said...

Now The Age tries to defend the missile-through-the-red-cross ambulance hoax.

It starts with a bold claim, announcing in the headline:

Ambulance attack evidence stands the test

It does?

But read on and you will find that reporter Sarah Smiles, who lived as a student in Beirut for four years, doesn’t confirm the evidence but change it:

• The missile through the Red Cross painted on the roof of one ambulance becomes a possible missile through the back of the other of the two that were attacked.

• The first ambulance that was hit by a missile is now hit instead by “small weapons”.

* A man who had his leg blasted off in the ambulance with the hole through the Red Cross now has it blasted off in the ambulance with the bigger hole in the back.

* A medic explains the strange absence of blood in that ambulance by saying the injured man’s leg was “cauterised”.

* An attack launched by Apache helicopters is now launched by drones.

* A driver who was first reported to have been knocked unconscious in the attack this time fails to mention that, claiming only that shrapnel-pocked helmet saved him.

• Curiously, all three Red Cross workers who were there and were interviewed after the alleged incident, claim they were saved by a shrapnel-pocked helmet. None were actually wounded with all this shrapnel flying about.

No explicit acknowledgement is made of what seems even from this story to be conceded: that The Age‘s initial claim that a missile was fired through the Red Cross symbol of ambulance was false.

Nor does it admit what it also seems to concede: That the ambulance first pictured as “proof” of that missile strike was not hit by a missile at all.

Nor is any explanation is offered for the following:

Why we are only now shown a picture of the alleged ambulance that Smiles says was damaged worst – and presumably this time by a missile? Why did the media ignore this more dramatic picture that would have better proved their claims of an Israeli atrocity?

Why is an ambulance hit by a missile still largely intact? Don’t Israeli missiles work?

Why did a missile attack on ambulances not only fail to destroy them, but fail to kill any of the people inside?

Why did The Age initially report both ambulances were in fact hit by missiles, when it now seems to concede that - at best (or really worst) just one was?

Why has an attack that one medic first said occurred as he was driving now changed to an attack as he was transferring patients?

Why was an ambulance hit by something that caused a huge “explosion” and “fire” show no scorch marks at all, and have a window caved inwards, not outwards?

Why did an ambulance allegedly attacked by Israel have the torn metal covered in rust in an initial Age picture take just one or two days later?

Why did a medic shown in hospital covered in bandages appear in pictures just days later with not a scar or scratch on his skin?

All strange questons needing answers which Smiles fails to provide. Nor does Smiles report that her main informant is an ambulance driver whose nickname, says the Boston Globe, is “Abou Harb” or “Father of War”.

But bottom line from The Age report: The famous hole through the Red Cross sign on the ambulance roof was NOT caused by a missile. The picture of the ambulance it gave as proof told an untruth.

As I noted last week: “You will, I’m sure, conclude that if Israel fired a missile through the roof of any ambulance, it wasn’t this one.”

Ambulance evidence stands the test?

How could The Age possibly write that? If it didn’t have an agenda, I mean.

(For a comparison of the attack as described by The Age today with the attack as it – and others - described it at first, click on the title)

Let’s now compare the story as first told with the story told today by The Age to see if indeed the “evidence stands the test”.

POINT 1 – A missile strike on the first ambulance today turns into mere “small weapons” fire.

The Age said then:

QASIM Chaalan thought he had died in the burning haze of the missile strike… Chaalan and the other medics were lucky: they survived a direct hit from an Israeli missile. One of the dazed medics fumbled slowly for the radio and began: “We have an accident …”

He failed to finish the sentence because a second missile smashed into the ambulance behind them.

The Age says now:

Mr Fawaz insist the hit was caused by small weapons fired from unmanned drones that they heard circling above after the attack

POINT 2 – A explosion in the first ambulance (with the hole through the Red Cross sign) at first is so powerful that it sends a medic flying 25 feet, but now it causes little damage.

NBC said then:

Kassem Chaalan, 28, who told me about being in an ambulance that was struck by a missile. When the armament struck the vehicle, he says, it hit the Red Cross symbol on the roof dead-on. The volunteer thought at first that had died — he said the blast blew him back 15 to 25 feet.

The Age said then, showing this very hole:

Under fire: missile damage on the clearly marked ambulances, hit while caring for injured in the town of Qana.

The Age says now:

Mr Fawaz insist the hit was caused by small weapons fired from unmanned drones that they heard circling above after the attack… (The) ambulance that had a smaller puncture through the top where there was a pre-existing vent in the centre of the vehicle.

POINT 3 – First it’s the missile straight through that Red Cross of one ambulance that took off a man’s leg, but then it was the missile that hit the back of the second.

The Boston Globe said then:

The three patients were settling into the back of the ambulance. Shaalan (or Chaalan) said he was swinging the back door shut when everything around him was engulfed in a flash of light…

A rocket or missile had made a direct hit through the roof, Shaalan said, severing one patient’s right leg.

NBC said then:

Kassem Chaalan, 28, who told me about being in an ambulance that was struck by a missile. When the armament struck the vehicle, he says, it hit the Red Cross symbol on the roof dead-on.

But The Age says now:

This reporter saw the ambulance that Mr Fawaz was in. It appeared to have been hit by a weapon that punctured a huge hole through the back

POINT 4 – The “small weapons” that hit the first ambulance through the red cross sign still managed to cause a fireball that scorched … nothing, as pictures of the ambulance show.
The Boston Globe said then:

"A big fire came toward me, like in a dream. I thought I was dying, at first,” Shaalan said.
The Age said then:

QASIM Chaalan thought he had died in the burning haze of the missile strike ...

The Age says now:

Well, nothing. But try finding evidence of this great fire in these pictures of the ambulance.

POINT 5 - All three medics clam to have the helmet with the pock marks, yet none of that shrapnel hurt them or killed anyone.

NBC said then:

Chaalan says he’s lucky to be alive.. His helmet is peppered with shrapnel

The Boston Globe said then:

(The second medic) Judeh’s helmet stopped a volley of shrapnel.

The Age says now:

(The third medic) Mr Hassan … said his helmet is pocked where shrapnel hit

POINT 6 – Mohammed Hassan, keen to prove there was a missile attack and he was hurt seems to forget an earlier story that he was knocked out.
Time magazine said then:

One of his colleagues, Nader Joudi, was standing, but the third member of the team, Mohammed Hassan, was unconscious.

The Age says now:

Mr Hassan … said he was saved by a helmet and bulletproof armour he was wearing that was strafed at the back. He said his helmet is pocked where shrapnel hit.

POINT 7 – A missile which blows off a man’s leg has, it now turns out, also caterised the wound, causing surprisingly little bleeding – or evidence.
The Boston Globe said then:

A rocket or missile had made a direct hit through the roof, Shaalan said, severing one patient’s right leg.

The Age says now:

A Red Cross volunteer who was in the same ambulance as Mr Fawaz said he did bleed onto his stretcher, but not excessively as his leg had been cauterised.

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/fake_but_true_the_age_defends_the_holey_ambulance_hoax/

A year ago, my work supervisor launched an extraordinary attack on my work, claiming several things that weren't true. It is very hard to defend one self against another who who questions truth. I believe the Age to be terribly wrongheaded in its support for Islamo-Fascist lies. I think the Age is committed to a leftist agenda that prizes Machiavellian truth twisting.

Weasel said...

Being Islamist and being Australian is not mutually exclusive. Many achieve it. However, being Australian is something to be proud, and some fail that.

Consider the Queensland Premier, Beattie, who recently held the islamo fascist flag, advising Howard to cave in to the ridiculous threats and demands of those IF spokespeople who won't raise their standards to embrace Australia.

Consider those peace activists who oppose an Australian power reactor, but are deathly silent on the issue of Iran or North Korea producing one.

It is not unAustralian to be ALP, left or a fan of leftist media, yet those people often complain of shame.

I made this
http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=44923
As a result of hearing some say that IF describes Islam. IF is only the fascist component of Islam, unrepresentative and hostile to all, including Islamic peoples.

I made this
http://www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=42269
because many have ignored the reason why there is Middle East conflict. It isn't religious. We are fighting fascists again. Just as many 'reasonable' people supported Hitler, many today are willing to endorse the terrorists who threaten Islam, as well as Jews and Americans.

Weasel said...

WITH increasing frequency, there are shrill cries of outrage from self-described leaders in Australia’s Islamic community about aspects of our culture or government policy with which they violently disagree.

Now the chairman of the Government’s Islamic advisory committee has threatened more Cronulla-style riots unless John Howard retracts some remarks he has made.

But the Prime Minister said only that some Muslim migrants needed to conform to Australian values by learning English and treating women with respect. What possible offence can be taken at that?

“We have already witnessed one incident recently in Cronulla. I don’t want these scenes to be repeated, because when you antagonise the younger generation ... they are bound to react,’’ Ameer Ali said.

Usually, those threatened by people like Dr Ali - community groups, schools and governments - buckle and extend mealy-mouthed apologies for their imaginary cultural insensitivity.

This usually provokes the opposite effect, increasing the volume of vituperation.

Why, then, do the protesting groups come here if they dislike so much about the West in general?

Here, as in Britain and the US, Muslim organisations have deliberately installed themselves as permanent aliens and adapted a culture of constant carping about the majority, from whom they maintain their isolation with such bitter determination.

Language, culture and secular values unite the English-speaking West. These values have been an attraction to millions.

But not since World War II have those values been under such sustained attack.

This time,it’s coming from the very migrants who might have been expected to show gratitude for being generously received in the nation of their choice - and finding solace in the protection of the system they say they despise.

John Howard was at his most diplomatic when he said: “There is a section, a small section of the Islamic population, and I say a small section ... which is very resistant to integration.

“Fully integrating means accepting Australian values. It means learning as rapidly as you can the English language if you don’t already speak it,’’ he said.

“And it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women ... people who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have to learn very quickly that this is not the case in Australia.’’

Ali’s threat followed an accusation by a young female Muslim leader, Iktimal Hage-Ali, another member of the Islamic advisory group. She claimed Howard had used “inflammatory and derogatory language’’ that fuelled hatred and distrust.

Hage-Ali pointed to other ethnic communities in which older migrants did not speak English, saying they were never singled out.

Well, pardon me, but since the heyday of non-Anglo migration in the mid-’50s, there has never been a grouping of migrants that has been so dismissive of the laws and culture of its host nation.
No other group has warranted a prime ministerial body to listen to its complaints.

Unfortunately, as the brave Islamic scholar Irshad Manji and the Islamic activist Dr Wafa Sultan have pointed out, the problem seems to be with Islam, not with the West - or Israel.

Manji, who wrote the book The Trouble With Islam Today, is an extraordinary young Asian woman now living in Canada.

She recently told me her life had been threatened many times for daring to question Islam and for challenging authorities to show where the Koran justified suicide bombings.

A feminist and lesbian, she founded Project Ijtihad to help a new generation of Muslims challenge authoritarianism and restore Islam’s tradition of critical thinking.

Dr Sultan, a Syrian psychologist now living in the US, earned the wrath of Islamicists for stating on al-Jazeera that Muslims began the clash of civilisations.

“The Prophet of Islam said he was ordered to fight the people until they believed in Allah and His messenger’,’’ he said.

“When the Muslims divided people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called (on them) tofight the others until they believed ... they started this clash, and began this war.

“In order to stop this war, they must re-examine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir (identifying people as non-believers and therefore legitimate targets) and fighting the infidels.’’

If Australia’s Islamic community truly believe a minority of Australian Muslims give the rest a bad name, they could do a lot worse than invite Manji and Sultan here to present their cases for a renewal of Islam.

This is the country that coined the phrase “fair go’’. It has given millions of migrants just that, and is endeavouring to bend over backwards to give the Islamic community the same deal.

Muslims are welcome to accept us as we are, as millions of others have, or, if their preference is for a society under the thumb of sharia law, where women are forced to hide, that’s their choice and they can take a hike.

http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/why_migrate_here/