In February 2017, conservative Australian media began a sustained attack of a young feminist leader, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. That started a racist petition calling for her to be fired from ABC TV, Australia’s public broadcaster, simply for having participated in a TV panel show, Q&A, where she spoke articulately about her feminism as a Muslim-Australian woman (see the clip below). For weeks, the ABC refused to give into these racist demands.
At the same time, three One Nation candidates were running in the Western Australian election making openly racist, homophobic and sexist comments. These candidates had no political expertise, but somehow their bigotry is not offensive enough to warrant endless national debate. Yet the feminism of an educated and successful young feminist draws ire.
In late April, Abdel-Magied was subjected to further public condemnation over a brief social media post expressing her condemnation of war. One month later, a White male editor incited violence towards her employer, the ABC, and Abdel-Magied was caught in media turmoil once again. This is a case study on the deep-seated elements of Islamophobia (fear of Islam) in Australia, and its real life consequences on young women of religious and ethnic minority backgrounds.
For the past two weeks, the Australian media has sustained atrocious treatment of a young feminist leader. There is a racist petition calling for Yassmin Abdel-Magied to be fired from ABC simply for having participated in a TV panel show, where she spoke articulately about her feminism as a Muslim-Australian woman. ABC is refusing to give into these racist demands.
We have three One Nation candidates currently running in the Western Australian election who are openly racist, homophobic and sexist. Unlike Abdel-Magied, these candidates are all lacking in political expertise and they are poorly educated on Australian history, policy and society. Where are our national priorities?
Abdel-Magied is an electrical engineer and founder of Youth Without Borders, a not-for-profit organisation empowering young people to bring positive change into communities. She was the Young Queenslander of the Year in 2015.
For all the cries of wanting ‘moderate,’ as opposed to ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘radical,’ Muslims to speak up and dominate the presentation and definition of Islam in Australia, the situation of Yassmin has shown there are those in Australia who don’t actually want either type of Muslim, and never did. Their response to Yassmin – which isn’t just a rejection of her opinions, but a full-scale assault on her existence – is indicative of far more than just their feelings towards her. It finally puts into full technicolour display the truth of their feelings towards Muslims: that the only acceptable Muslim is a non-Muslim.
[Image: Drawing of Abdel-Magied with a quote to the right handside: “There is nothing brave, clever or Australian in trolling young women who speak their mind.” – Sam Dastyari, Senator for NSW.]
PLEASE SHARE: This coming Tuesday 7 February 2017, Australia is set to introduce a LIFETIME BAN on refugees who arrive by boat. This will affect all people seeking asylum who arrived after 19 July 2013. This law is cruel and inhumane. It contravenes Australia’s international responsibility under the United Nations Refugee Convention 1951. Australia’s treatment of refugees has been condemned by the United Nations and by the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014.
My regular readers would know that Australia has been imprisoning refugees indefinitely in offshore detention centres since 2001. This new law would mean all those still in detention and other people seeking asylum by boat will never be allowed their human right to find safety in Australia.
Why is the ban for “boat refugees” only? The biggest groups of refugees come by air. People arriving by boat make up the minority of asylum seekers! They are the poorest from our region. They are also predominantly from Muslim-majority nations. This law represents racial discrimination by the state.
How you can stop this!
It’s not too late to make a difference! Australians, call, email or use social media to appeal to the cross-benchers below. For readers outside of Australia – Australians stand up for injustices internationally, as I have done for many conflicts and unfair political decisions outside of my country. Please take action, even if it’s just a social media post!
If you call or post on Facebook, see the suggested script below by RISE.
If you tweet, you could use this text:
.@XXX the proposal of impose a lifetime ban on refugees goes against our humanity. Please vote NO to this proposal #blockthebill
Senator Derryn Hinch (02) 6277 3168 1300 498 035 Senator.Hinch@aph.gov.au
“Hi my name is …(name, if comfortable disclosing).. and I am calling from …(location)… I would like to express my concern and discontent with the proposal of imposing a lifetime ban on refugees. This goes against the Refugee Convention and International Law. It also goes against our humanity and morality as we should be assisting those in need of protection. Please vote NO to this proposal or you will lose my vote”
[Images: 1) two hands
the wrist, making the “x” or “no” sign, with text: Australia #BlockTheBill. Say no to lifetime ban of refugees. 2) Black background with text: Cross-bench senators. Their names, email and phone numbers are then listed as above.]
Images and other ways to help: RISE. Post: The Other Sociologist.