A senior government minister today said Muslims who wanted to live under Islamic law had no place in Australia, and insisted all immigrants must embrace Australian values.
Treasurer Peter Costello’s comments came just days after Prime Minister John Howard said some segments of the Islamic community were antagonistic to Australian society and expressed concern about Muslim attitudes toward women.
“Before entering a mosque visitors are asked to take off their shoes. This is a sign of respect. If you have a strong objection to walking in your socks don’t enter the mosque,” said Costello in a speech to the conservative think-tank The Sydney Institute.
“Before becoming an Australian you will be asked to subscribe to certain values. If you have strong objections to those values don’t come to Australia,” he added.
His comments prompted an angry response from at least one Islamic group, which accused him of playing populist politics and stirring up Islamophobia.
“He has no reason to raise the issue of Islam,” said Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.