Australian prime minister says that Muslims must integrate
JOHN Howard says he has no need to apologise for telling Muslims they need to embrace Australian values.
Mr Howard sparked controversy yesterday after singling out Muslim migrants for refusing to embrace Australian values and urged them to fully integrate by treating women as equals and learning to speak English.
The call for a shift in attitude among some Muslims infuriated community leaders and comes as The Australian revealed the Prime Minister's own Islamic advisers have already accused Mr Howard and senior ministers of fuelling hatred and mistrust by using "inflammatory and derogatory" language.
But Mr Howard today stood by his comments. "I don't apologise," he told reporters. "I think they are missing the point and the point is that I don't care and the Australian people don't care where people come from.
"There's a small section of the Islamic population which is unwilling to integrate and I have said generally all migrants ... they have to integrate."
Mr Howard said during a talkback radio discussion yesterday: "There is a section, a small section of the Islamic population, and I say a small section ... which is very resistant to integration.
"Fully integrating means accepting Australian values, it means learning as rapidly as you can the English language if you don't already speak it.
"And it means understanding that in certain areas, such as the equality of men and women ... people who come from societies where women are treated in an inferior fashion have got to learn very quickly that that is not the case in Australia."
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