Chronicle deputy editor Mat Nott
Chronicle deputy editor Mat Nott

Be careful how we hand out freedom

THE Muslims who rioted in Sydney and those who are trying to foment more violence this weekend are oblivious to what living in Australia is all about.

Religion has swamped their sense of belonging here. If you want to kill somebody over a movie you deem insulting to your Prophet, you do not deserve to live in Australia.

The movie that prompted the violent demonstrations, and other protests in countries around the world, was not made in Australia. It was not screened at any commercial venue anywhere in Australia.

You had to go hunting for it on the internet, find it and sit down and watch it. All these were voluntary undertakings but proved sufficient to incite an angry mob that went on the rampage. Give me a break.

To the joker who had his child hold up the sign "Behead all those who insult the Prophet" you need your head read, not cut off. Child protection services should be having a good hard look at you.

To those that preach messages of hatred in mosques around the country and seek to unpick the fabric of our society, should we jail you for your words, your literature, your values?

Jail appears to be the least of what you expect to inflict upon anybody who is deemed to have infringed the dignity of Islam. You aspire to use our freedoms to destroy the freedoms of others. It is hypocritical and fanatical behaviour.

Australia is as much a collection of shared ideals as it is an island haven. Values such as mateship and support for the underdog are ingrained.

Where else in the world have you ever seen an honesty box alongside a country road with produce there for the taking when you leave some coins?

One of our greatest traits as a nation is giving people a fair go. When you think about it, this is the principle that underpins our immigration policy. It has made Australia proudly multicultural.

Are we now to be consumed by the forces that our own generosity as a society has let loose? Is tolerance such a virtue that it should weaken us to the point where forces that would destroy our values gain ascendancy?

We just need to be careful we don't "freedom" ourselves to death.



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