Rise above hatred

The image of a seven-year-old Australian boy proudly holding the severed head of a Syrian solider has shocked the world.
The grotesque photo, taken and distributed by the boy’s father, complete with the words “that’s my boy”, is disturbing on so many levels that it may well become an iconic image of this conflict and reflect the horror war brings upon both the living (the boy) and the dead (the soldier).
The fact that a father exposed his son to such a situation is child abuse in the extreme.
Just across the border in Iraq the cold blooded killing of entire communities by a rampaging group attempting to establish a pro-Islamic state, just because the inhabitants do not share the same faith, is impossible to reconcile and further deepens the divide between people holding rational thought processes and those with a fundamentalist view of religion.
Here in Australia it is easy to arrive at the conclusion the Middle East has gone completely mad.
Add to the mix the never-ending problem that is Gaza and the region appears a total disaster.
Australians at home can do little to change the situation on the other side of the world but we can play a part and influence what level of hatred and intolerance finds its way into this community.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Australia are peace loving, family-oriented people.
They are welcome and form an important part of the rich tapestry that is modern Australia.
We as a nation must not let the tiny band of individuals who uphold the type of radical ideals that are being waged in Iraq tarnish our thinking.
It is important we are vigilant and ruthlessly root out anyone thinking of importing such extremist ideals to this country and it is reasonable to require all new citizens to uphold our laws and ideals.
However, to brand all Australian Muslims as dangerous is, well … dangerous.
It is easy to hate but rarely constructive.
This nation rose above the potential anti-Muslim sentiments which surfaced in 2012 with the outcry over the release of the short YouTube film Innocence of Muslims which caused anger across the world.
We must work hard to rise above this potential problem again.