Australian Muslim ban proposal receives enormous backlash

28th Sep 2018

Fathiya Abdillahi

Queensland Senator, Fraser Anning, was heavily criticised for delivering a highly Islamophobic and racist maiden speech to Parliament. He vocalised his plan for a Muslim ban in Australia, claiming that the majority of the Australian population shared his views.

In his speech on August 14, Anning used the phrase “final solution” in proposing a Muslim ban, and an elimination of immigration from developing countries. These words hauntingly echo its previous use by the Nazis on Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Anning’s speech also included restoration of the ‘White Australia Policy’ also known as the Immigration Restriction Act in 1901, which ceased all non-European immigration. This law was passed after the fear of the ‘Asianisation’ of Australia.

“We as a nation are entitled to insist that those who are allowed to come here predominantly reflect the historic European-Christian composition of Australian society,” the Katter’s Australian Party Upper House MP said.

Much of the evidence used by Anning to slander Muslims is inaccurate. He claimed that there were “black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne,” when in fact these people are Australian-born and South Sudanese. The predominant religions of South Sudan is Christianity and African Traditional Religion.

On a live television interview following his speech, Anning defended his comments about Muslims, saying that “we can’t take the risk of bringing people into this country that commit crimes like the Bourke Street massacre.” However, this remark is not factually correct as the man convicted for that incident is Australian-born and of Greek descent. He is neither Muslim nor has any connection to terrorism.

It has been made extremely clear that the Senator’s views are not reflective of the Australian public. Several politicians have spoken out, publicly condemning Senator Anning’s words.

Australian Cricketer and Queensland Bulls Captain, Usman Khawaja, tweeted, ‘Technically Aboriginals were here first. There’s so much wrong with this statement. I’d have to write 20 tweets.’

Even the leader of the anti-Islam ‘One Nation’ Party, Paula Hanson, was shocked by Anning’s speech, saying that it was “straight from Goebbels’ handbook from Nazi Germany”.

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, rejected Anning’s “racist, hate speech” and emphasised Australia’s reputation for being the “most successful multicultural society in the world”.

Muslim Members of Parliament also spoke out on this issue. Anne Aly, the first Muslim MP, gave an emotional speech about her own experience, saying, “I’m tired of having to stand up against hate, against vilification, time and time and time again.” The image of Parliament uniting over this matter moved her to tears.

Mehreen Faruqi, the first female Muslim Senator, spoke out about racism in politics in her maiden speech. She revealed how institutionalised racism has made it difficult for people of colour and Muslims to climb up the social ladder.

“We are subject to rules white people will never be. We don’t have the luxury of mistakes out of slipping up, because as soon as we do we become a case study to validate existing stereotypes,” Faruqi said.
“Some politicians call us cockroaches. Some say we are a disease for which Australia needs vaccination. Some, if they had their way, would ban us from making Australia our home,” she said, perhaps in response to Anning.s proposed Muslim ban.

Faruqi said that Senator Anning “has spat in the face of our successful multicultural society”, but she maintains her belief that this situation has allowed the nation to become even more united and culturally aware.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census Data: since 1945 more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia and 49 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Also, apart from English, the most common languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi.

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