BOLT: Why Muslims’ No vote is no mystery
THE strangest thing about the gay marriage vote has been the Left's refusal to admit Muslim Australians were so strongly against it.
Take ABC newsreader Juanita Phillips on the day the Yes result was declared.
"Arguably one of the more surprising aspects of the survey was the support for the No vote in NSW," she announced.
What astonished her was that of the nine seats that voted most strongly against gay marriage, eight were in Sydney's west.
Let me spell it out for her. All those seats had lots of Muslim voters.
In Blaxland, for instance, 30 per cent of voters have Muslim backgrounds, and the vote against gay marriage was 74 per cent.
But when Phillips asked ABC reporter Nadia Daly to explain it, she, too, acted like this was a mystery.
"The reason why, that's hard to say," said Daly.
"But many of these electorates are very religiously, ethnically, culturally diverse areas and that makes it complicated to pinpoint why it was so strong."
True, Daly did interview some local women in headscarves who explained they opposed gay marriage because of their religion, but they did not identify which.
The only time her report named any religion was when a black immigrant said he'd voted No because "I've been brought up Roman Catholic".
And this evasion became a pattern last week.
"Why did western Sydney overwhelmingly vote No?" asked academic Andy Marks, assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University, but not once in his long piece in the Sydney Morning Herald did he mention the word "Muslim".
On the ABC's The Drum last Wednesday, no one on the panel discussion dared mention Muslims or Islam, either. It was the same no-show on the ABC's Lateline.
Labor shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus and reporter Matt Wordsworth on Thursday discussed the high No vote in western Sydney, but between them could name just one reason for it: some parents had been "worried about their kids' Catholic and private schools being forced to teach same-sex marriage".
Don't mention Muslims. Blame only Catholics. In fact, blame whites for preference.
And so Hannah McCann, a gender studies lecturer at Melbourne University, complained when a TV interviewer noted that electorates with many Muslims had the biggest No vote.
"There has been some very spurious analysis today around those No-majority areas that is suggesting that migrant communities are somehow associated more closely with (it)," McCann protested.
"No! When we look more closely at who has been leading the no campaign and that's the white men in parliament."
Pardon? In fact, the most prominent white men in parliament - including the Prime Minister, the Labor leader and the head of the Greens - led the Yes campaign.
Why would Muslim voters especially have been more influenced by backbencher Tony Abbott telling them to vote No than by Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and Richard Di Natale telling them to vote Yes?
It's nonsense, and also patronising to suggest Muslims have no will of their own.
So why this absurd dodging of the truth? Why this surprise about the Muslim vote, when Islam's sacred Hadith - and several Muslim countries - insist homosexuality is a capital crime, and when the president of the Australian National Council of Imams blames it for "spreading all these diseases" through its "evil actions"?
One reason is that the Left finds it shameful that anyone should vote No, and tends to hide unpleasant truths about a victim group it's adopted, allegedly to avoid stoking "racism". Many would no more want to link Muslims to the No vote than they would to terrorism.
Worse, many gay-marriage activists abused No voters during the campaign as "bigots", "homophobes" and "haters", which seemed fun when attacking Tony Abbott, but seems like Islamophobic hate speech when applied to Muslims.
But I suspect the Left is also hiding from a tough question often raised by conservatives. Will our colonies of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East really assimilate with our values, or will a significant minority insist on their jarring own?
What then of the Left's cult of multiculturalism? Is it smart to have a government policy to "celebrate our diversity" by encouraging migrants to preserve their own culture rather than merge with Australia's?
Some on the Left could even wonder now at the wisdom of importing thousands more people from the Middle East who are so set against gay marriage.
No wonder so many ABC broadcasters and academics are panicking, and now see no Muslims, hear no Muslims, mention no Muslims.