As a progressive, tolerant, Islamic feminist with a gay nephew in Nimbin, I have been speechless for the last week.
I. Just. Have. No. Words.
And I’m frightened too. What depths of bigotry has our nation sunk to when hate preachers can gather so freely? And how can there be hope when even progressives are casually racist?
I’m speaking about the Islamophobic, homophobic and racist Q Society gatherings last week. And I’m also referring to an unthoughtful marriage equality advertisement. Both were offensive: the former deliberately (showing the deep problems entrenched in this nation) and the latter carelessly (showing how far we still need to go).
Let’s start with the Q Society.
The fact that George Christensen and Cory Bernardi were even invited to speak at these dinners shows that they were hate events.
There should be laws to stop these so-called politicians from spruiking hate. And if Australians actually go out of their way to elect them it shows that we have a fundamental problem with racism in this country.
They are proof that some people (perhaps most people) should not be allowed to vote.
The only way to solve this problem is for a massive investment in government funding for educational programs to teach children about the benefits of diversity. Unless future generations are educated about things like the joy of homosexuality or the love of Islam, we will continue to have problems with those who embark on crusades to entrench the Christian patriarchy that has held Australia back.
And I want to make this very clear: it is not our diverse minorities who need to change. We are improving this nation and we should be accepted without question. It is those who think that Western values hold some intrinsic value that must change. This notion is simply an imperialistic crusading hangover and it threatens and intimidates anyone who wishes to open Australia’s doors to new ideas and cultures.
Diversity is impossible with this type of thinking. So it must be eradicated.
I am terribly disappointed that Bernard has written to support the Q Society. He even referred to the fact that the media covered the Islamophobic and homophobic hate speech at this event but failed to give the same coverage to the same day jailing of an allegedly Muslim man who shot a homosexual outside a gay nightclub in Sydney.
This is just irresponsible.
The truth is that the media showed great restraint. It was responsibly limited. Even though this man has links to terrorists, any educated person knows that there is absolutely no link between terrorism and Islam.
There is just no proof that this shooting had anything to do with Islam and jumping to unproven conclusions simply creates fear. More likely this incident was a result of mental illness, casual racism and the failure of ordinary Australians to welcome a stranger. It may even have been an act of self-defence.
However, as it seems many Australians unreasonably and obstinately fail to accept this, it’s better for society if the media simply does not report on these incidents at all.
But the media did rightly focus on the ignorance and prejudice of the Q Society. This is a good thing because it gives progressive Australians an opportunity to dispel a big myth: that the Islamic community does not support the homosexual community.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the truth is that the homosexual community is doing more than any other to welcome Islam into Australia.
Take marriage for instance. It is clear that legalising gay marriage will remove all legal, cultural and procedural barriers to acceptance of Sharia law polygamy in Australia as well. That is one reason why forward-thinking Muslims support the homosexual community’s push to redefine marriage and we applaud gay Liberal, Tim Wilson, for his advocacy to enshrine all forms of religious marriage in Australian law.
Unfortunately, there are some Muslims who focus on minor disagreements with the homosexual community. However, they are simply jumping the gun, so to speak. It would be much better for all if they showed restraint now to cement longer-term gains.
Another area of cooperation is immigration. Overwhelmingly, the homosexual community supports refugees, open borders and Islamic immigration.
There is no better example of this than Garry Burns, one of New South Wale’s most prominent homosexuals. His Facebook page devoted to removing all forms of discrimination has made it crystal clear that he opposes any curbs on Islamic immigration:
As a progressive Muslim, the Q Society hate-events were frightening and deeply hurtful. Muslims and homosexuals were both vilified by people who focus unreasonably and callously on truth over the feelings of others. But they are an opportunity to move Australia forward too. I want to use them to thank the homosexual community for its support of the Islamic community.
I just ask that the homosexual community continues its support with sensitivity. And this brings me to my second point: careless progressive advertising.
Recently, advertisements for marriage equality pictured a navy sailor with his medals. One of those medals was the Border Protection medal.
This medal is profoundly hurtful to the Islamic community. It represents an attack by the Australian government on innocent Muslims fleeing to Australia. As such, it reinforces the casual racism that oppresses Muslims every day. It is this casual racism that leads some, in frustration, to lash out.
I am sure that no offence was intended but it has been taken. This advertisement is an example that even the most progressive sections of Australian society still have much work to do before they can truly be described as open, tolerant and diverse.
Iffaiyah Waazah-Llefte is a guest writer for bernardgaynor.com.au. Iffaiyah believes that every conservative has a suppressed inner ‘lefty’. She does her best to help them free by fully explaining, in a logical and coherent manner, the reasoning of progressive, modern Australia.