Vol 12, Issue 5
Well, where shall I start? So much happening in Australia and the world right now that I actually find solace in law cases and funny old judgments when the world gets tough.
I have to say it is tough times. It is tough growing up a minority, especially a Muslim in a Western country. The state of world affairs is not looking good. Just when we thought that things were getting better for our generation, it is becoming worse; we are seeing more hate, more wars and more famine.
Last week, the leader of the One Nation party, Pauline Hanson, thought she was kick-starting a great debate about banning the Burqa. She did. I personally was shocked as a Muslim. She was making fun of Muslims and that behavior only encourages hate in this country. Isn’t the Muslim community already dealing with so much? Why can’t she say ‘ban the Burqa’ and argue with substantial reasons in parliament rather than showcasing a garment? Why do we have to mock other people’s culture or religion? Cory Bernardi explicitly stated that he believes ‘our culture is superior to others’ in an interview with Andrew Bolt, another fellow who never finished his Arts degree and a denier of the stolen generation. This is bogus!
I certainly am not in favor of women wearing the Burqa. But when they want to, who are we to stop them? Are we all not free to wear as much or as little as we want. But I guess the argument is elsewhere. It is typical bogan logic to see our country as a land of the British Empire and read our history as something of a superior nature than all the histories of the world. This is Cultural Supremacism. That is you do what we order you to do. I don’t think the taste of beer compared to the taste of Indian curry can be described as superior or inferior. The burqa, hijab or any other dress is more cultural than religious. Any human, male or female, would cover themselves in sandstorms such as those typical in Middle Eastern countries. You might have seen Arab men covering their head as well. Islam is a religion not a culture, although some may view it otherwise. Pakistanis are more culturally close to India than Arab countries. Indonesia and Malaysia are more culturally close to other Asian countries than to Arab countries.
We have to accept that there are other cultures and religions. That respect should be for all human beings not just those with whom we have more things in common. The leaked telephone call between the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and President Trump is another sickening event that shows the lack of respect for asylum seekers especially of Muslim background. My father came to this country by boat during the good old Howard era. I am sure you are aware of the 11 huge ships (full of minor offenders not refugees and asylum seekers) that came to this great country on January 26th 1788 which we proudly call Australia Day. The policies by the Turnbull government have definitely criminalized those seeking refuge from wars. Comments by the Immigration Minister regarding refugees definitely made me realize that I am viewed as an illegal in this country. It is absolutely shocking, the lies and dirty politics being played in this country, especially towards Muslims.
When Europe was in the dark ages stoning people to death, buying paradise keys from priests, or viewing divorce as adultery (still so in the Catholic Church); Muslims were setting the foundation stones of the sciences and translating Latin works into Arabic, which the Europeans took back after the crusades. This led to the enlightenment and separation of church and state. Those who are arguing that an enlightenment or reformation needs to happen in Islam fail to realize that Islam was a revolutionary idea for the Arabs and the world. Let’s not forget that the greatest massacres or clashes between religions happened during World War Two in Europe in a Christian majority Germany. The Jews are having a great time in their current homeland of Israel which was Palestinian land and Muslims are fine with co-existing.
The two things keeping Islam alive today are firstly its idea of Oneness of God (God is the Abrahamic God; some english translations deliberately have it as Allah to signify it as an Arab God, it’s the oneness of Abrahamic God) and secondly the media’s favorite word Jihad as a way of keeping their land. BUT, the media never bother to tell you the full meaning of the term Jihad. It is an Islamic legal term which basically can be translated to ‘Struggle’. There are two forms of struggle quoted from the Prophet Mohammad, the lessor struggle and the greater struggle. The lessor struggle is defensive war. That is defending yourself in self-defence, so when America invades Iraq and stays there too long it is permitted under Islamic law to defend your lands. So that’s why you get the Taliban and Iraqi Insurgent groups. They are considered terrorist groups by us in the West, but they are viewed as local heroes protecting local communities from aggressors. Groups killing innocent people such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS and any other thugs and criminals are not performing defensive war Jihad because that is not acting in self-defense. Any aggressor is not a Muslim under Islamic Law. The greater Jihad which the media won’t tell you, is maintaining peace and being spiritual, which most Muslims practice.
Hardline nationalists making fun of religious minorities only create more hatred and fast track radicalisation. If the goal is to improve women’s rights then there are far more important issues facing the nation than the few hundreds who choose to wear or may be forced to wear the Burqa. Issues like domestic violence, sexual assault of mostly female students at universities and elsewhere, and the general culture of how women are viewed in popular media (whether it's Fifty Shades of Gray or the Adult Industry). The fact that hookup culture is emerging as young as those in Years 7 and 8 of school is as much worrying as teen brides and child marriages (marriages between children) in poorer countries. And the surprising fact that most women voted for Donald Trump even after his abusive and sexist comments towards women when they had a choice of voting for a female president.
Qodratullah Sultani is a second-year JD student
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