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Support for four-point plan on peaceful Islamic protest

September 21, 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and their respective delegations at the French Foreign ministry in Paris on Thursday, 20 September, 2012 (Photograph: Alastair Miller)

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed support from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for a four-point invitation to Islamic peoples to peacefully respond to things they considered disrespectful or blasphemous.

Senator Carr discussed the four-point invitation in a 90-minute meeting with Minister Fabius at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris.

The meeting took place on the same day that France ordered the temporary closure of 20 Middle East embassies following publication of anti-Islamic cartoons in a French satirical magazine.

Senator Carr said he could understand that many Muslims considered this material blasphemous but urged them to respond peacefully.

Senator Carr said they should be invited to do so by:

• funding explanations of Islam in western languages;
• producing formal online responses to anti-Islamic material;
• funding institutes which promote tolerant Islam through teaching publications and seminars; and
• using available legal avenues.

“All these responses would be more satisfactory than demonstrations which can be captured by extremists,” Senator Carr said.

“Demonstrations can bring out the worst, and as we saw in Australia they can produce understandable outrage from the rest of the community.

“The alternative is peaceful engagement.

“I welcome the support for our plan received today from my colleague Minister Fabius.”

  1. Ralf Kluin permalink
    September 21, 2012 10:47 am

    Hi Bob,

    Reading your Thoughtlines Report, I remember reading some thoughts published by John Raulston Saul in his book “The Unconscious Civilization” p34, “… human is thus reduced to a measurable value, like a machine or a piece of property. We can choose to achieve a high value and live comfortably or be dumped unceremoniously onto the heap of marginality.” I with your reported discussion with your French counterpart that peaceful objection is always far more preferable. I also agree that any disruption to that peaceful process as preferred by myself and I think most Australians, according to our values and constitutional laws, must be preserved. It is in this context, that I think that you may have opened up a new dialogue, and if the ALP in government can build on your ideas, and concepts, we will surely learn to be even more tolerant than has been the case so far with people who seek asylum from fear and want wishing to live their lives and contributing to good outcomes amongst any number of us.

  2. Gail Malone permalink
    September 22, 2012 3:16 pm

    It is very hard to preach peaceful solutions when heavily involved in an Imperialist war/s of aggression against Muslim countries. It is so hypercritical of the West to use such condescending platitudes and for crying out loud France has banned the birqa. Western hypocrisy knows no bounds. We destroy their Countries, kill them and refuse their requests for asylum then to add insult to injury beat up a protest into a riot. I will believe eye witness and livestream versions of events, not cynical politicians hell bent on dismantling democracy. Worst of all there was a cry in Parliament to censor a truthful account of a media outlet for daring to go against the metanarrative promoted by gormless Politicians and complaint mainstream media

    • Bob Carr permalink*
      September 23, 2012 6:47 am

      Does Syria fit your description of an imperialist Western war killing Muslims? The war Gaddafi waged on his own people? The Iran-Irak war? Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait? The civil war in Yemen? The Islamist assault on Mali? Think your analysis falls a bit short.

      • Tony permalink
        October 2, 2012 4:57 pm

        Not to mention Bahrains crackdown on protesters with Saudi troops, and the gaoling of medics who helped patch up the wounded. Or shouldn’t I mention that one. I could a give rebuttal to nearly all of the events you named, but I’m sure you are already aware of them.
        We’ve been pissing around in that part of the world pretty solidly now for atleast a hundred years, backing one group against another whenever it suits
        our interest.
        Our next target is Iran. May I remind Mr Carr that modern western intervention of significance in Iran goes back atleast to 1954 when during Operation Ajax we helped overthrow democratically elected Mohamed Mossadeq and reinstalled the Shah. Draw a direct line from that event to the hostage crisis. Then we supported Saddam Hussein in his war of aggression against Iran. Shot down a civilian airliner. And we’ve surrounded them militarily, while continuing to (along with nuclear armed Israel) threaten them. Why wouldn’t they want nuclear weapons atleast as a deterence.
        I hope Mr. Carr considers this when dealing with Iran.

  3. Ralf Kluin permalink
    September 24, 2012 10:11 am


    Like you, I’ve visited middle east countries, and based upon my own European – Australian heritage, I at times, unconsciously even, make comparisons comparing historical political events amongst European (Britain-Irish) /Russian/Scandinavian peoples differences and so on, in the previous century and now. We live in real time and as was the case then and as it is now, I often think (based upon my personal understanding of shared values in Australian life today) about the shared values and inexplicable differences amongst the great peoples you mention above. It’s a hard task for an ordinary man like myself to think about, but I suppose even harder for you as my representative in the role of Foreign Minister as you work to put our Australian case to nations. I welcome reading about your experiences as you diligently work on our behalf, looking for ways and means to seek pathways for human enlightenment, in an ever more complex social economic global environment.

  4. mark david permalink
    September 24, 2012 8:33 pm

    We owe so much to Muslim people. There was a time when Western Culture had fallen into such darkness that the best plan we could produce was an invasion of the Middle East. It’s for good reason this period of history is known as the Dark Ages. We were the terrorists in those days, driven by an ideology that gave us permission to invade and brutally treat peoples who were minding their own business. Mind you, we didn’t call ourselves terrorists in those days; we called our invaders “Crusaders”. It sounded so much nicer although the effect of their actions was exactly the same. Oddly enough, the Crusades saved the West because we found a Muslim culture whose science and scholarship was way ahead of the West. This superior learning was imported back to the West and our culture was revitalised because someone stopped long enough to notice that there was much to be learned. Our giants of science and theology would never have found oxygen except for the import of wisdom from the Muslim world.
    I saw the violence on the TV last week and my contribution into the cacophony of opinion is to remind you that our greatest enemy is “fear”. Sure, there are some bone heads among our Muslim brothers and sisters that would give a dumb sign for their children to hold but it wouldn’t take me long to find some Christian bone head who would put a sign in their child’s hand saying, “Believe the right stuff about Jesus or burn in hell”. Bone heads abound on all sides of every religious fence. The truth is that Muslim people are fine citizens making a wonderful contribution to this nation. Perhaps we need to stop long enough again to see that there is much to be learned. I would think that the Muslim community would have much to teach us about family cohesion, about modesty and about values that trump the material and the measurable. Perhaps the Muslim world could save us again. While I’m on a roll, I think the current outpouring of feeling has less to do with a stupid film and more to do with layers of misunderstanding that weigh Muslim people down with every news report. Our language labels acts of violence committed by the West as “freedom fighting” and acts of violence committed by Muslims as “terrorism”. American Foreign Policy that we Australians seem willing to die for, has caused no end of pain in the world. Have you stopped to ponder how the citizens of Iraq are enjoying the ‘freedom’ that we brought them? Our most urgent need today is to stop talking in the language of black and white. When I was a kid, cowboy movies had the good guys wearing white hats and the bad guys wearing black hats. If only the world was so simple! Until we are able to admit that the dividing line between good and evil runs through every community and through every human heart, we will visit only further damage to this world.
    Rev Graham Long
    Pastor and CEO
    The Wayside Chapel

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