Internationally renowned author and campaigner against radical Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, says Sydney’s Islamic schools should be shut down to stop the indoctrination of children.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph Hirsi Ali, who is under constant security protection and lives with the daily fear of being killed by terrorists, said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s weakness in calling out the threat of Islamic fundamentalism risked pushing Australians into the arm of fringe groups, like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
“I think the Australian government is not very different from other liberal governments. The Government just wants to be fair but in attempting to do so they end up ignoring the problem fermenting under the surface,” she said.
“They should stop insulting the intelligence of the public by going around saying Islam is a religion of peace.
“The population is thrown into the hands of the populists. It’s not so much that these populists say, it’s this negligence of the establishment parties to address the problem, to recognise there is a problem with Islam.”
Speaking about Islamic schools, where the science curriculum is censored and music and art classes are banned, Hirsi Ali said: “It is child abuse pure and simple. Muslim schools should not be allowed in liberal society.”
One of Sydney’s largest Islamic schools, Al-Faisal College in Auburn, has modified the official PDHPE textbook to remove material about reproduction, instead giving credit to Allah.
The Year 9 science teaching material extensively quotes the Koran while students in Years 8-12 are not taught music.
It is child abuse pure and simple. Muslim schools should not be allowed in liberal society — Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The school is named after Saudi Arabia’s former king Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Saudi Arabian ambassador has attended several school functions, but the school claims it does not receive funding from Saudi Arabia.
“Everyone says we allow Christian and Jewish schools but they are different. The Muslim schools are political ideology masquerading as a religion infiltrating the institution of learning, preying on really small children and filling their heads up with these extreme ideas,” Hirsi Ali said.
“These Muslim schools they take opportunity away from the children, they should be banned.”
Referring to issues of radicalisation arising at public schools, Hirsi Ali said the agents who promoted Islamic extremism need to be identified and stopped.
“They want to take over the curriculum. Sometimes they are individuals, sometimes they are organisations or governments like Saudi Arabia, Qatar could be financing these attempts,” she said.
Hirsi Ali grew up as a Muslim in Somalia, where she was forced to undergo a genital mutilation procedure, before seeking asylum in Holland to escape an arranged marriage.
Van Gogh was killed by an Islamic terrorist while cycling to work — his body had a death threat to Hirsi Ali pinned to it.
Hirsi Ali said she has become accustomed to being vigilant about her security and living with the constant fear of assassination.
“I think you kind of get used to it. Sometimes I forget there are things I would like to do that I can’t do because of security,” she said.
Hirsi Ali will visit Australia next week for a series of talks on radical Islam.
At this stage, she has no meetings set up with Australian politicians, although during Tony Abbott’s time as prime minister, she met with him.
At its core, Hirsi Ali thinks the political dimension of Islam is not, and will never be, compatible with democracy.
She said religious rituals, like visiting Mecca, not eating pork and fasting during Ramadan, were compatible with a democratic society because they caused others no harm.
“But if you’re talking about the political dimension, sharia and the quest to impose sharia law on society, that is not compatible with democracy, especially if you measure it by the metrics of human rights, freedom and economic prosperity,” she said.
“It’s (sharia law) presented by the radical Muslims as an alternative to democracy.”
Hirsi Ali endorses developing a counter message about freedom and equal opportunity in the face of a radical ideology that seeks to indoctrinate young, vulnerable people.
“Our message, or classical liberals, is about life before death,” she said.
“The message of the radical Muslims is all about death and the afterlife. Theirs is a message of death, oppression of women, vilification of jews, they preach intolerance to people of other faiths.”
Knowing what it is to live in fear, Hirsi Ali said Australians, along with Europeans — except the French — and Americans, take freedom for granted and it was a vulnerability.
“When I first came to Holland, for me all these freedoms were brand new. I was stunned and wanted to understand it,” she said.
“The people around me had never known anything else so I think people quickly take freedom for granted and that’s a vulnerability. It’s good to be free but it’s not good to take it for granted.”