As it happens, two thirds of those connected to terrorism in Australia are Lebanese Muslims; there has been a wave of crime gang related shootings amongst Lebanese Muslim communities in Sydney and Melbourne; 20% of Lebanese migrants still cannot speak English; many of those recruited to fight for ISIS have come from this community; and Lebanese Muslims are four times more likely to be on the disability pension than the general population.
So, although there have been some success stories as well, the department officials had a point.
What I'd like to focus on, though, is the bigger picture of what happens when you bring diverse groups of refugees to Western countries (i.e. refugees from very different backgrounds to the host country). For instance, one leader of the Muslim Lebanese community, Mostafa Rochwani, replied angrily to Dutton that it was Australians who pushed the Lebanese refugees into violence and crime:
These communities have faced cultural, political, economic and physical violence from a society that was hostile to any kind of encroachment on their grip on what it means to be Australian...Whether it is expressed in gang violence or in foreign fighters, these people are inherently just seeking what society was unwilling to provide them: their humanity, their worth being recognised.
Is the problem not obvious? Rochwani is saying that the price for integrating Lebanese Muslims is for the existing population to give up on their own sense of what it means to be an Australian. We have to give up our own identity, so that the refugees can then feel more included.
And, in a sense, he is right. It is human nature for people to want to feel a sense of identity and belonging in the society they live in. If you bring in people who are radically different ethnically, then you have an issue. Either the newcomers have to miss out in terms of identifying with the larger community, or else the existing population does. Someone has to lose out.
This is less of a problem for liberal whites, as they are committed ideologically to the idea of identifying only with themselves as individuals - although in practice they do seek out communities of white liberals to live amongst. But for most Westerners having to give up on their own identity, so that Lebanese Muslims are not radicalised, is not a great situation to be in.
That's why the whole project of flying refugees around the world to live in the suburbs of Western cities is a misguided one. It is part of a liberal denial of human nature.
One more example. Dutton was attacked in Parliament by Australia's first female Muslim MP, Anne Aly. Aly was self-conscious when she was a girl of not looking the same as others:
Australia's first Muslim woman elected to Parliament, the counter-terrorism expert said she had become aware of her own status as a minority at the age of six or seven.
Wondering why she didn't have a Barbie doll that looked like her, she was told by her mother thinking too much would make her go crazy
Anne Aly has been given every advantage in the Western world (a high flying career as an academic, employment as a government expert, a columnist for several leading newspapers, and now an MP) but she still does not identify with the Western tradition because she was self-conscious of looking different. And so she says things like "Let's disrupt, let's destroy the joint."
Again, the only way to make her feel better is for the traditional white Western populations to no longer exist in such numbers. Only then will those like Anne Aly no longer feel like a minority outsider. It is once again a terrible situation that Westerners have been put in by liberal immigration policies - go under, so that Muslim girls don't feel like they belong to a minority which looks different.
|Anne Aly responding to Peter Dutton|
One final point. In some ways, the politics of the left is forming around this dynamic. It was noticeable during the American elections that younger minority activists looked to white politicians like Hillary Clinton as their "allies" against the white majority. It puts the white leftists in an unusual situation. They are temporarily useful to those who see themselves as the new America, but they won't serve the same function in the longer term - they won't be needed anymore. If the white liberal left wins, and the demographic trends continue, then a tipping point will be reached at which the minority activists will feel confident that they can get the job done by themselves, without the need for the leadership of white liberals. Where then will the future Clintons of the world fit in on the left? In other words, if the point of leftist politics is to represent non-white activists against the white majority, then what will happen ultimately to the white left? They will not be natural leaders of this movement, not in the longer term. They are temporary stand-ins.