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Fraser Anning's enemy twin

  • 17 August 2018


We see the occasional extreme Muslim cleric on the TV news railing against the west. We hear of the radicalisation of some Muslim youth via immersion in grievance, followed by anger and calls to revengeful jihad.

On 14 August we witnessed a similar incident in the Australian Parliament. A political senator called for a return to the White Australia policy, a ban on Muslim immigration, with all further Australian immigration to 'reflect the historic European Christian composition of Australian society'.

We experience similar attitudes being expressed on talk-back radio, by certain columnists and bloggers, and by some politicians. Fraser Anning descended a few more rungs of this racist ladder by introducing the harrowing phrase 'final solution'. Its use from either ignorance or design proves him unfit to serve. Despite this, the leader of his party praised the speech.

Speech after speech in both houses of the Australian Parliament was swift and appalled, condemning the senator's words. A Jewish MP and a Muslim MP embraced on the floor of the House of Representatives. A Muslim MP wept as she asked how many more times she had to stand up against hate and vilification. The Prime Minister and Opposition Leader shook hands after both speaking against the racism.

An illuminating insight of René Girard's assists in interpreting both this incident and the abscess of resentment and fear which lies beneath it. This insight can be summed up as 'Human beings fight not because they're different, but because they're the same, and in their accusations and reciprocal violence have made each other enemy twins.'

Whether he likes it or not, Anning's speech mirrors that of any extreme Muslim cleric. They are 'enemy twins' and their circumstances echo each other. Similar esteemed platforms are used to accuse and berate: the Mosque and the Parliament. Forced exclusion is the answer to the problem that each sees in the presence of the other. Muslim pressures and threats to conform in some countries are echoed by the Australian senator's call — and that of other fringe Australian politicians — for the exclusion of Muslims.

Extreme Muslim fanaticism has seen attempts to form Caliphates, imaginary nirvanas where everything would be utterly kosher in a Muslim sense. The senator's speech similarly harks back to a golden age where (it seems) everyone had a job, necessities were cheap, banks were controlled, speech was free and government was small. For aggrieved Muslims, everything is the fault of