The Siege in the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place a few weeks ago has bought to the surface in our community - questions - that have for the last few years been pushed down … questions that were being avoided.
There was a very interesting interview conducted by the ABC’s Chris Ullman with the Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the wake of the siege.
Even that Chris Ullman asked the question was as shift in the narrative.
A couple of questions that Chris Ullman asked Tony Abbott were,
Mr Abbott, You’re constantly saying the attack had nothing to do with Islam. But, surely they do? These people define themselves by that.
Or later in the interview Chris Ullman asked:
Returning to where we began, Prime Minister, don't Islamic leaders in the West have to have an honest conversation about what it means to their community that significant minorities within them support and sympathise with violent jihadism? Isn't that conversation one that has to be had?
And then later he asked:
And Prime Minister, in a truly tolerant Western society of course we would hope for a day when Islam is so integrated that it can be criticised in the way that Catholicism is criticised.
Mr Abbott didn’t link the violent acts of the siege and the recent events in Pakistan to Islam.
But scholars are starting to push in harder on these questions.
MILAD MILANI is a historian of religion and politics. He’s a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney. He is a historian of religion and political thought. He is working on the category of "cultural Muslims" in Australia, and has ongoing projects on Sufism in Australia.
He is interested in the juncture of religion and culture, religion and secularity and how this impacts on living traditions such as Islam in the West context and in reading Islamic history in modernity. And MILAD MILANI is on the line.