The Secular Party is very concerned about the increased polarisation now taking place in Australia. The Islamic State has certainly raised the terrorist threat to a new level.

The government’s reaction, however, has been draconian. The enforcement agencies’ actions have been ostentatious. While some reaction is obviously needed, these actions, and the overblown rhetoric attached to them, have made things worse. Passions have become more inflamed.

What is missing in this entire debacle is a basic understanding of the causes of terrorism. “The role of religion in terrorism needs to be acknowledged and addressed”, said Secular Party President, John Perkins. An essential ingredient of addressing the problem is therefore absent.

How are young Muslims to be deradicalised? Certainly not by referring them to Muslim leaders to instruct them in the ‘true’ Islam. We all need to face up to reality: the true Islam is a religion of war, not a religion of peace. “If Islam was a religion of peace, then Islamic extremists would be extremely peaceful”, Dr Perkins said.

Of course there are moderate Muslims, But we all, including Muslims, need to study the nature of Islam and its history. The conquest of Mecca by the Prophet Muhammad was central to the establishment of Islam. Everything in the Islamic religion is related to that conquest. There is no point in pretending otherwise.

We can sympathise with the radical Muslims. They are only trying to follow their beliefs. But why do people believe? According to Dr Perkins, “Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. But no one is entitled to have their beliefs go without question.”

This question is what is missing in the entire terrorism crisis and the reaction to it. Is it right to believe in things that cause harm and violence? Is it right to believe things that have been thoroughly discredited by modern science?

Could we properly debate the authenticity of religions, before they destroy our society? So far it appears not.

Secularism is the tried and true method of resolving historical religious conflicts. How often does history need to be farcically repeated before we are able to learn from it? We need secularism now more than ever.

Instead of using public funding to promote religions and indoctrinate children, we should be doing the exact opposite. Religions need to be thoroughly demythologised, because that is the only way that religious fanatics will be deradicalised.

“The situation is urgent. Society needs to re-evaluate its whole approach to religion”, Dr Perkins implored.

Reason and evidence should be our guide. Compassion, honesty, justice and freedom should be our moral principles.

Sep 25, 2014