Sunday, September 02, 2007

CRIKEY: Pauline Hanson and the new $2 Jews


Malcolm Fraser claimed late last year that the next federal election would be about Muslims. And if Pauline Hanson has her way, the Queensland Senate ballot will certainly place Muslims in the box seat. Not bad for a group who make up around 0.175% of the Sunshine State’s population.

At 7:10am on 17 August 2007, Karl Stefanovic from Channel 9’s Today Show apologised to viewers for the manner in which he conducted an interview yesterday with Pauline Hanson.

His interview also sparked plenty of adverse comment on NineMSN’s website. Stefanovic’s co-host also suggested he had also copped flack from Channel 9 management over the interview.

So what did Hanson say that raised such emotion?

She said she felt "very discriminated against in my own country". She also spoke about how we can no longer sing Christmas carols in schools or play them in shopping centres. She called for a "moratorium" on Muslim immigration, and suggested that people who want to carry out female genital mutilation should "go back to Muslim countries."

(Like Ethiopia?)

Given that FGM is banned in many Muslim countries, I’m not sure where she expects people to go. Further, the practice is also common amongst sub-Saharan Africans of other faiths, including Christians and Jews. 1 in 4 Muslims are from the Indian sub-Continent, where the practise is unheard of. But who gives a cr-p about the facts?

I could go on and taking issue with Hanson’s claims. But is there any point? 21st century Australia seems to be programmed to dislike anyone with even the slightest relationship to Islam. Hanson’s new adviser, John Pasquarelli, put it more bluntly:

I think it's better than what it was before, with 9/11, Cronulla, Hilaly. Mainstream Australians are terrified that we're going down the European track, with problems with Muslims.
Hanson isn’t the first person to use such language. Fred Nile used similar language in the NSW State Election. His party will play host to Tony Abbott at its annual convention in Sydney tomorrow. So is she part of some sort of public movement, or is this candidacy just another attempt by Hanson to make money out of the electoral system?

The Herald Sun notes Hanson will make $2.05 per vote should she make the Senate quota of 4% of the Queensland vote. Whatever the real story, the fact remains that these days you can say anything you like about any group deemed Muslim and get away with it.

And if any Muslim dares ask even the slightest question, you can rabbit on about how they are trying to silence you and discriminate against you in your own country (which presumably isn’t theirs). Anti-Semitism has turned into anti-Muslimism. Same sh-t, different smell.

Jonathan Freedland wrote in The Guardian last year:

I've been trying to imagine what it must be like to be a Muslim in Britain. I guess there's a sense of dread about switching on the radio or television, even about walking into a newsagents. What will they be saying about us today? Will we be under assault for the way we dress? Or the schools we go to, or the mosques we build? Who will be on the front page: a terror suspect, a woman in a veil or, the best of both worlds, a veiled terror suspect ...

... Except other things are not equal. Each one of these perfectly rational subjects, taken together, has created a perfectly irrational mood: a kind of drumbeat of hysteria in which both politicians and media have turned again and again on a single, small minority, first prodding them, then pounding them as if they represented the single biggest problem in national life.

The result is turning ugly and has, predictably, spilled on to the streets. Muslim organisations report a surge in physical and verbal attacks on Muslims; women have had their head coverings removed by force.

I try to imagine how I would feel if this rainstorm of headlines substituted the word 'Jew' for 'Muslim': Jews creating apartheid, Jews whose strange customs and costume should be banned. I wouldn't just feel frightened. I would be looking for my passport.

It seems making a tiny group feel very marginalised isn’t too high a price to pay for $2.05 a vote.
(First published on the Crikey daily alert for Friday 17 August 2007.)

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you direct me to a Muslim forum where a majority of participants don't believe that a worldwide Caliphate (achieved by force if necessary) is an obligation for Muslims? No?

I agree that Muslims are unlikly to ever get it together to achieve this, but it's still a detestible mindset.

Irfan Yusuf said...

Anon, where do I start?

*Tabligh Jamaat

*The various Turkish and other groups associated with Said Nursi

*Nahdhatul Ulama

*Muhammadiyah

Shall I keep going?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, by "forums" I meant internet forums. Agreed this is not the way to see a fully rounded picture, but it IS the way to see what average people think. All the Muslim forums I've seen are dominated by violent and shockingly ignorant young men and women.

Anonymous said...

anon.

what a silly person you are. ruling the world is certainly not what the Muslims want. that is the domain of the likes of Bush & co.

anon also

Yahya said...

Assalamualaykum
First of all - brilliant post Irfan.
I have been reading up the virulent Ms Hanson from the UK - you folks sure breed some nasties out there in OZ - big spiders, poisonous snakes, and now sour faced, vile, Muslim hating toerags like Hanson.

Now, Anon: - bro, you gotta get out there on the net...there is loads of stuff.
If you want an excellent news and analysis website check out UmmahPulse (ummahpulse.co.uk) it is UK based but has lots of stuff from all over. Well written and original articles.
Go have a look (you to Irfan - maybe you should write for them instead of the increasingly dodgy alt.muslim).
Wa alaykum Assalam

Anonymous said...

Other anon - it's certainly what HT believes is demanded by Allah, and while many Muslims dispute HT's "methodology", I have yet to see a Muslim dispute that the Quran demands that a genuinely Islamic state is required to attrempt to convert the whoole world, by persuasion or force. Hence my request for a Muslim net forum where the participnts don't believe this. Apparently there isn't one,

Anonymous said...

Yahya, the site you recommend isn't a forum, but even if it was, articles such as "US Spreads its Tentacles to Muslim Youth" don't exactly bode well for its objectivity and level-headedness.

Irfan Yusuf said...

anon@1251, which "average people" are you thinking of? The ones wealthy enough to afford internet access?

The majority of people in the majority of Muslim countries live in a poorer rural setting, where they hardly have electricity let alone internet access.

Irfan Yusuf said...

yahya, why is altmuslim.com increasingly dodgy? I'd be interested to hear your reasons, especially given that I am an associate editor.

Anonymous said...

Who can I vote for in NSW for the Senate who is as good as Pauline?

I will even donate $2,050 to the campaign of an anti-muslim candidate.

Yahya said...

Assalamualaykum
Thanks for your response Irfan.
I will deal with your question first.
The main problem I have with alt.muslim is that it does occasionally stray into promoting the reformation of Islam. This is usually done by Ali Eteraz.
I could point out many, many times when he has strayed into ‘dodgy’ territory but I will limit myself to one particular article.
In his article on the ‘death of progressive Islam’ he describes Amina Wadud as a ‘Quran expert’ which is so far from the truth as to be completely ridiculous. She can’t even speak Arabic – which I would have thought to be rather important for a ‘Quran expert’. She also passes herself off as Al Azhar trained but in reality she attended a weekly circle there for a few months.
He also says that “Progressive Muslims were declared to be sexually loose, excessively critical of Muslim scholars from the past, and unconcerned with Islamic ritual. My personal belief is that there was, in fact, a sustained campaign of demonization by many conservative Muslims to paint Progressive Muslims as illicit, lewd, and insulting of Islam”.
A brief glance at MuslimWakeUp which Br Ali himself describes as progressive Islam’s ‘primary organ of the movement’ will confirm that Progressive Muslims are in fact ‘…sexually loose, excessively critical of Muslim scholars from the past, and unconcerned with Islamic ritual…’ (to use Br Ali’s own words). This is not some smear campaign carried out by shadowy figures from ‘conservative Islam’ this is just a fact – just look at their website, included the revolting ‘Sex and the Umma’ section.
It is correct to say that the whole article is a critique of Progressive Islam but he criticises it for the wrong reasons – namely, that ‘progressive’ scholars were unwilling to be involved in the evolution of its jurisprudence due to the alleged smear campaign carried out by traditional Muslims.

I could go on and include other examples from other articles he has written but my wife is giving me dark looks for being on the computer for so long.

Now, Brother Anon – you really gotta get a name bro! I agree that UmmahPulse isn’t a forum. Point taken. But I disagree with your criticism that because you think a title of one of the articles was a bit lurid it by default the whole site won’t demonstrate objectivity and level-headedness. I have a feeling that you really want to be disappointed by everything you see on the net written by Muslims. Give a bro a break, akhi!

Wa alaykum assalam

Anonymous said...

Yaha - I did choose the most lurid headline, but I also skimmed most of thearticles on the front pge. They're all pretty partisan, which is reasonable, but they don't suggest that a worldwide Caliphate isn't (too many double negatives here!) something they want. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. I'm looking for a site which suggests that most Muslims DON'T want a worldwide Caliphate created by persuasion or force if necessary. If I can't convince myself that most Muslims don't want it, how can I be anything but anti Muslim? I would be crazy not to be.

Irfan Yusuf said...

Anon, that's like saying Muslims are guilty until proven innocent.

I think you should see a shrink before you do any further web surfing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Sutcliffe said...

Wow that's cool, anonymous. I'm polishing my armour and mounting up my trusty white stallion and you and I can go on a crusade to kill the unbelievers so they'll all go straight to hell! Yay!