PM Describes Some Muslims as "Utterly Antagonistic to Our Kind of Society"

February 20, 2006

Source: Star Tribune

Wire Service: AP

On February 20, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Australian Prime Minister John Howard said some segments of the country's Islamic community were 'utterly antagonistic' to Australian society in comments published Monday that immediately drew criticism from a Muslim group. Howard also denounced 'extreme attitudes' held by some Muslims, including their views on women and support of jihad, or holy war. He said some Muslim immigrants had not integrated into Australian society as well as previous waves of Europeans and Asians... Howard's comments were from an interview conducted in December for a book marking his 10th anniversary as prime minister. They were published for the first time Monday in The Australian newspaper. Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, said he was 'quite disappointed' with Howard's remarks. 'I think his comments will disappoint many mainstream Muslims because they come out of left field and they will not be seen just as criticism of a minority,' Trad said. Howard said, however, he stood by his remarks later Monday. 'I stand by those comments that there is a small section of the Islamic population in Australia that, because of its remarks about jihad, remarks which indicate an extremist view, that is a problem,' Howard told reporters in Sydney. 'It is not a problem that we have ever faced with other immigrant communities who become easily absorbed by Australia's mainstream.'"