Q&A on ABCTV: Mehdi Hasan, Matt Canavan, Terri Butler
A MUSLIM Australian man told the Q&A panel on Monday night of the rampant Islamophobia he deals with every day and he fears similar experiences could drive more people into radicalism.
The audience member said there was nothing more “alienating and makes me feel un-Australian” than being constantly judged by people who looked at him “through the prism of security”.
“Laws after laws are passed, we see further militarisation of the police force. As you guys mentioned, we’ll pretty soon see the Army on the streets. A lack of judicial oversight when it comes to terrorism-related charges… Every day, we see more and more infringements of our civil rights when it comes to minorities. Is it not possible this Islamophobe approach to terrorism will drive more young people to radicalism?”
Journalist Rachel Corbett said the majority of Australians “probably don’t have a great deal of Muslims in their lives” so were getting their information from social media and other sources.
“As a consequence of that, I think, absolutely… we need to be careful and we need to put things in place so we can be protected against terrorist attacks. But we don’t need to blow it up and say these things are happening all the time. We should be looking at the statistics. Unfortunately, the people that end up copping it are everyday Muslims who are trying to go about their
business in Australia who aren’t understood because people don’t have a personal experience with them…”
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said his experience with the vast bulk of Australians were they were welcoming “on the whole”.
“We’re not perfect. And there are some of us who are bigots and racists and we should condemn that behaviour. But it’s also, it cuts both ways. You shouldn’t be saying, ‘Oh, Australia is a bigoted place’ on the basis of a few people.”
The audience member responded that he experienced Islamophobia “pretty much every day”.
“Like, you wake up to it… You’re made to feel like you have to explain yourself. You have to explain to your colleagues, you have to explain to your family, you have to explain to your non-Muslim mates things that, you know, are not relevant to you.”
British journalist Mehdi Hasan said Islamophobia was happening around the world.
“It’s growing everywhere. In the United States, anti-bullying in schools is at a record high. In the UK, many people say Islamophobia drove Brexit, in many ways – the fear of Turkey joining, the fear of refugees… But a lot of it is also driven by the bigotry that Matt rightly highlighted – by the misinformation that certain people get from social media and media in general.”
Experts he’d spoken to had said the more a community was marginalised, especially young, angry males, “they’ll be driven into the arms of people who say, ‘See? The West hates you’. “ISIS thrives off of Islamophobia. It is the best recruiting sergeant for ISIS. The reason why Donald Trump is loved by ISIS – he pushes people into ISIS’s arms. He makes their job
Earlier, the question of Australia’s revolving leadership door was raised — and Mr Hasan had a withering assessment of the constant changes.
“It’s a pretty unique situation. As a foreigner, in your great country, I look at five prime ministers – five changes of prime ministers – in 10 years in one country? Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, Abbott, Turnbull, and now maybe Abbott again? Come on, Australia, there’s 24 million of you – can’t you find anyone new, or better people?
“I thought Italy was bad. But Australia is on a different level,” he added.
Host Tony Jones put it to Senator Canavan that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott should “simply shut up”.
He responded by saying it wasn’t his place to be telling a former leader what to do.
“Look, I’m not – again, I’m not in the business of giving, you know, career advice to my individual colleagues. That would be counter-productive. I mean, that kind of behaviour would help to propagate the very thing I think we should focus on.”
Originally published as ‘Donald Trump is loved by ISIS’