Ameer Ali on Australia as a Muslim country

Ameer AliDr Ameer Ali said yesterday that he tells his friends overseas that he lives in a Muslim country – Australia. The Muslim leader who has just finished his term as head of John Howard’s Muslim Advisory board, said to the National Civil Society Dialogue in Canberra that he sees Australians practicing the values that his religion preaches, compassion, charity and respect for the rule of law, even if they are not confessed Muslims.

On ABC talkback radio in Brisbane this morning, Ali told Madonna King that he saw in Australia a common belief and worship of the one God, creator of all. He suggested that it’s time to move beyond the phrase “Judaeo-Christian values” to “Abrahamic values”.

Good on him, I say. Ameer Ali is challenging the Anglo-Saxon blindness so prevalent in Australia. The name “God” is derived from “Gott”, a German name from the region where the Angles and Saxons lived before many of them moved into Britain. The word “Allah”, is a Semitic name for the creator of the universe that was used by Christians in the Middle East long before Muhammad was born.

The French worship Dieu. The Italians worship Dio. The Greeks worship Theos. The Jews worship YHWH. Arabs worship Allah. Different names. Same God.

2 Replies to “Ameer Ali on Australia as a Muslim country”

  1. Duncan,

    Whilst I appreciate the Dr’s sentiments I don’t see his suggestion working.

    It should be noted that, not only are there more Buddhists in Australia than Muslims, but also that Buddhism is growing at a faster rate than Islam within our territory. And it’s through conversion as well as migration. Buddhism has been here longer and, conflicts aside, has had a greater impact on our culture if conversions, contributions to language and worldview shifts are a reasonable benchmark.

    So, strictly speaking, Buddhism is the greater contributor to the value system of our society – ‘Abramic’ values language doesn’t stretch nearly that far.

    On the ‘different names, same god’ issue. Whilst I agree with that to a point, I note that the Islamic undestanding of God is far more transcendant than ours, somewhat similar to the way that the Buddhist understanding is far more immanent. And to the extent that we Christians affirm that God is Christlike and Trinitarian, well, they’re never going to agree with us on that one. Its blaspheme for them to allow Christ into their concetion of divinity and its blaspheme for us not to. Even if its the same god deep down there somewhere (and I think there is) there’s still incompatable perceptions that go way beyond the name issue. I think the important thing is, not necessarily to minimise the differences, but to respect the right of the other to hold their differences.

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