Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Upper House Greens Party MP, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, an environmentalist who holds strong values of social justice has been subject to “vile” abuse on the basis of being a Muslim woman, saying that this came from “certain people who don’t believe I belong to this country, maybe because of my colour or the religion that I belong to,”
Faruqi escaped from Pakistan in 1992 with her husband and their young son, finding their way to Australia, a safe haven away from an “oppressive regime” in her birth country.
According to The Insider, the official New Matilda blog, Faruqi highlighted the effects of such hateful messages and what it could result in, saying that “on the one hand, it’s quite distressing for myself and my staff to see all these really violent messages. On the other hand, I think there’s also a real danger of us becoming normalised to it.”
“I think it’s good to take back some control as well as expose it for what it is. I know so many other people – especially a lot of Muslim women – who are in the public eye who receive similar messages, so we can’t really ignore it.”
This led her to initiate Love Letters to Mehreen, with the very bullies leaving racist and sexist messages on social media as her muse. “So every few weeks we pick a particularly hate-filled message and I respond to it in a humorous way, and that has really taken off. I think people do appreciate that we are exposing these issues and, of course, it is quite cathartic for myself and my staff as well,” Faruqi revealed according to the BBC in Sydney.
She captioned the assortment of photos in her Facebook album as ‘A curated collection of the racist and sexist filth I receive here in the office, with just a touch of sass.’
One of the love letters read, “You should be racially profiled. People who look like you are responsible for terror worldwide. Why are you not in a kitchen making sandwiches anyway?” to which she entertainingly responded “Sandwiches!? Have you even seen my cooking videos?”
With this post, she attached a link of her cooking video, the third in her Cooking with Mehreen series, whereby she cooked a traditional South Asian dessert served on Eid. The responses on her video were positive with only one person commenting on the level of sugar used saying ‘That is a lot of sugar. Definitely not-sugar-to-taste. Should come with a warning. Happy Eid.’
Faruqi came out with a collection of mugs with some of her Love Letters printed on them. All of the proceeds went towards an NSW organisation called Seekers Centre, who according to their Facebook page, ‘provides practical and personal support for people seeking asylum living in the community’.
On a recent arrival to Los Angeles International Airport, Faruqi believes to have been racially profiled. The Pakistani-born who was granted citizenship in Australia 22 years ago tweeted ‘After fingerprinting etc, we were asked how we ‘got’ Aussie passports & marched off to the interview room for grilling. Welcome to America.’