We must not ignore Mahathir, the bigot
Journalists take this seriously? “Malaysia’s prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, … raised concern … about the prospect of Australia recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” Not mentioned is that Mohamad has accused Jews of controlling the world, claimed the Holocaust was exaggerated and banned Schindler’s List.
THE EMBASSY BRAWL: A CALL TO LIBERAL MPS
MORE LIBS STAND UP
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg backs moving our Israel embassy to Jerusalem. Good: it respects a democratic ally and confounds Islamists who want Israel destroyed. But Frydenberg risks being dismissed as a Jew defending Jews. I ask other Liberals to stand with him, and will note here those who do. So far: Abbott, Paterson, Hastie, Abetz, Stoker, Wilson.
WE NOW KNOW WHERE WE STAND WITH RANDA
Before you torture yourself with the condensed hatred by Randa Abdel-Fattah, this Islamic psycho-tard, I shall insert a quote from the great Oriana Fallaci, just to restore sanity:
The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture-it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization. Oriana Fallaci
Randa Abdel-Fattah: “I, an Australian Muslim, refuse to condemn the violence that took place on Bourke Street.” But in her Age article she does condemn “the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan”, “state-sponsored terrorism”, “Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of Palestinians”, our “patriarchal, racist, capitalist social order” and more.
BOB CARR, AN ANTI-SEMITE’S USEFUL IDIOT
Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr demands we not offend a notorious anti-Semite by moving our Israel embassy to Jerusalem: “Can’t believe @JoshFrydenberg has taken it on himself to attack Malaysian PM.” That PM is Mahathir, who Frydenberg pointed out has said “hook-nose” Jews ruled the world and exaggerated the Holocaust.
Today’s offerings from the Religion of Peace:
I am feeling nothing less than rage, alienation and despair at the moment. Muslims have been on trial for 17 years now. Seventeen years in the dock, in community detention, on parole, out on bail. Seventeen years of punishment and accountability, of collective culpability that turns inwards into confusion, anger, helplessness, shame. Seventeen years ago I was a university student in Melbourne when I was pronounced guilty for the crimes that took place in another country. Seventeen years on and my children now inherit my sentence.
I am expected to “combat radicalism”, take “special responsibility’” for national security, predict random acts of violence by random people whose only connection to me is that they identify as Muslim. On any given day, I have a long to-do list. According to the Prime Minister of this country, on Friday it looked like this: drop kids to school, write book chapter, edit film script, defrost chicken for dinner, help my grandmother with grocery shopping, combat terrorism.
Enough is enough.
From the beginning we have been told we, Australian Muslims, must “take the lead”, “assume primary responsibility”, ensure “social cohesion”. We must avoid others stigmatising us by proving we are not terrorist, not radical, not threat. We are permitted to speak, but only as a disclaimer. We must condemn terrorism. Denounce it, loudly and clearly. You have a voice, they tell us. But there are strict rules on what we can say.
We must provide reassurances that we are loyal, not stealth jihadists, not shariah-takeover. Prove you are integrated; moderate, not extreme. If you do not want to be rejected, you must be extraordinary. An over-achiever, iconic, a role model of our neo-liberal capitalist economy. We must enjoy freedom of religion but not be too Muslim-looking, too Muslim-acting, even too Muslim-thinking. We must accept government money and use it among Muslim youth in a mass social engineering project of producing a generation of apolitical consumers. We must dream big, be ambitious, buy into the neo-liberal capitalist dream, but remember our place.
There are some Muslims today, most of them self-appointed “leaders”, who are rushing again to condemn and reassure. No doubt they issue their press releases and statements in good faith, with a hope that the reassurance they offer will ameliorate any backlash against Muslims by reaffirming Muslims as a community not to be feared. The overall posture of these condemnations is about soothing the anxieties of a wider community whose position as judge and jury is acknowledged, and whose power to afford safety and indeed human worth to Muslims is clearly conceded.
Other Muslims, including some peak bodies, have expressed how fed up they are with these condemnations and assumptions of collective responsibility and guilt. This has been a welcome change. I, an Australian Muslim, refuse to condemn the violence that took place on Bourke Street. To ask me to condemn is to strip me of my basic humanity. It asks me to disprove an assumption that I inherently support such actions; it denies me the right to mourn the loss of life. The act of condemnation immediately binds me to a person – to their life, their history, their motivations, hopes, dreams, fears and troubles – who was one among the 24 million other strangers to me in this country.
Asking Muslims to assume some kind of pastoral responsibility over a mythical homogenous “community” not only relies on a racist framing of every Muslim as a potential terrorist, but it locates the “problem” in Islam and “culture”, not politics. The script we are given for talking about the war on terror is censored and redacted.
We are expected to talk about the Koran, but not the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. We must interrogate what is said in mosques and prayer rooms, but not what this nation says and does to support state-sponsored terrorism. We must condemn violence, but ignore ourdefence deals with Saudi Arabia and our complicity in the destruction of Yemen, our defence forces training Myanmar’s genocidal armed forces, our explicit support for Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of Palestinians.
I also refuse to comment and pontificate about the Bourke Street incident itself. Terrorism, mental illness, counter-terrorism operational strategies: everybody is suddenly an expert. Unqualified opinions bloat our public discourse. And perhaps that is the goal. Confusion and obfuscation mean that the debates we actually need to have, the policies and actions we have the right to demand, can be avoided.
After all “national security” has always been a politically expedient agenda that serves only to reinforce a patriarchal, racist, capitalist social order. Terrorism is what happens outside, on our streets, in public, randomly, unpredictably. If our leaders were really horrified by violence, they would pay attention to what is happening in domestic spaces, to women, by their partners and ex-partners. They would treat male violence as a national emergency. They would invest adequate resources into mental health and women’s support services. They would, dare I say it, examine our foreign policy, the role we play in the destruction and oppression of entire populations in the name of the “war on terror”, in the name of “civilisation” and “Australian values”.
Seventeen years on and there is a new generation including activists, people of colour and white allies. Some have grown up and learned the hard way, others have known all along, still others have been born into this paradigm, only ever knowing a world ‘at war on terror’. This new generation will not be played and exploited for political gain.
Randa Abdel-Fattah is a novelist and post-doctoral research fellow at Macquarie University.