This weekend, Reclaim Australia held rallies across Australia (read the round up on ABC). Although the numbers for the ‘No Room for Racism’ counter-protesters far surpassed numbers of actual protesters, it was still as surreal as ever to see people draped in my countries flag telling me that my existence in my country as not welcome. This weekend’s events brought back all the feelings I had in my younger years – the feeling that I’m not allowed to call myself an Australia, that I don’t belong, that I need to watch my back and the feeling that I’ll just be better off if I was invisible. I’m not going to tell people – Muslim and non-Muslim – that they don’t have a right to be upset and appalled. The protesters spewed hatred and intolerance. They made awful jabs at the Islamic faith and all those who follow it. They made unfounded claims and argued that we, the Muslims of Australia, are not welcome here. It’s difficult not to take that into your heart and soul and let it eat away at you. But I am going to tell you not to react in retaliation. React to your own benefit.
Forget them. Forget the noise they make. Forget their stupid, misguided, contradictory trash. I’m not telling you to lay down and let these people walk all over you. This isn’t about turning the other cheek. It’s about recognising that these people are a bunch of trash that just need to be ignored. They are not worth the time of day or the energy in trying to bring them around to the reasonable, sensible plane of thinking. I mean, look at what their ’10 point plan’ for Australia is: And you don’t even want to look at their websites. These guys want a brand new Constitution written on their terms that can be amended just, like… whenever. (You can read more about how silly they are on my Halal Choices post). They have no idea what they’re talking about. They are a group of bigots who want to throw their bigotry our way. It’s times like these where it’s important for us, Muslims especially, to remember that there is only one real option moving forward. There is only one way for us to retaliate to these sort of hatred and bigotry. Ready? It’s magical. Be the best people that you can be. That’s it, that’s all we need to do. When I was younger, I was made to believe that most Australians just didn’t want us in this country. Watching the ways that keynote speakers (including Australian politicians!) and protesters act, you would be forgiven for thinking that. It’s just not true. To see the truth, all you need to do is take a deep breath and take a step back. Have a look at the world around us and you will find that groups like Reclaim Australia are a joke. This radicalised minority is to Australia what ISIS is to Islam.* It’s not representative of wider society. Most people aren’t out to threaten the safety and mental health of minority groups. They are open and welcoming to difference. At times like this, the Islamic community has a duty to provide a constant, positive presence in the community. We absolutely must continue to strive for excellence in every way. We should aim to continue to work hard, study hard and contribute hard. It is our job to continue to go about our day-to-day lives, being flags for Islam in ways that can drown out noise from the likes of ISIS and groups like Reclaim Australia. There is little-to-no benefit in proclaiming loudly and adamantly that we are not terrorists; that our religion does not call for us to be terrorists. There’s no major benefits in insisting that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I will continue to do just that – it’s what Unveiled Thought is all about. But it’s not what we need to focus our energy on and it’s not what I want to focus my energies on. Right now, it’s important that we build our resilience and ability to be functioning, fabulous members of society. We need to show people that we are good. I know that’s easier said than done; I know that my words are empty because I know that no one could have convinced me that there was any hope until I found it for myself. I think I’ll write a few posts of my experiences after I started throwing myself out into the community. For now, just know that your efforts will not go unnoticed. People will gravitate towards those who are good and do good. You don’t need to convince anyone that Islam is good – words can fall on deaf ears. Words need to be contextualised and justified. Just show them that you are good, in and of yourself, and the rest will follow. There is nothing that they can say or do that will take away from the impact you leave on people with your good actions. ‘O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.’ That’s it. In the wake of all this hatred, do good. Be just – to yourself and to the community around us.
*Clarification: I’ve received a lot of messages about this. My comparison of Reclaim Australia to ISIS wasn’t at all to say that they’re doing the same things. If you read it in the context of the article, where I said that Reclaim Australia are not representative of wider views of society; you’ll find what I’m saying. ISIS is about as Islamic as Reclaim Australia is Australian. That is, ISIS is not representative of Islam and we do not accept what they say as Islamic at all. Most Australians look at Reclaim Australia with disgust and do not accept their views as representative of wider society.
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Most of them are racist, bigoted, or just plain foolish but I was surprised to find I agree with a couple points on that 10 point plan. #3, for petty criminals, save money and instead of sending them to jail kick them out. I’m an expat and if I were to break a law serious enough to be imprisoned for, I would expect them to give me the boot. It is both practical and reasonable. Also anyone who is not a refugee should not be receiving welfare benefits.
I also agree on #5 except I would add Christian and Jewish schools, churches and synagogues. (and Buddhist and Hindi…) All such have every right to exist but they should be privately funded.
Besides that I thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with everything you said right up to… “This radicalised minority is to Australia what ISIS is to Islam.” No. That comparison is sickening and degrading. How many people has Reclaim Australia beheaded? How many burned alive? How many cities and villages have they forcibly occupied creating how many thousands of refugees? How many slaves are they trafficking? Unless one is talking about Boko Haram or perhaps TTP in Pakistan there is no comparisons to ISIS. They are a special kind of evil not even possible in Australia.
Hello! Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts and opinions 🙂
I don’t think it’s reasonable to expel people from a country for committing a crime if they are citizens or even permanent residents of a country. We would have, at that point, made a decision to allow the person into our country and welcome them. Their crimes are our responsibility too.
I have no problem with refugees receiving benefits. If we’re going to be happy to spend billions of dollars on a war in the countries from which refugees flee, then we should be willing to spend money to help them settle in. Most refugees are hard-working and appreciative of all the opportunities that they have here. If they need a leg up to settle in – great. They’ve lost everything.
My comparison of Reclaim Australia to ISIS wasn’t at all to say that they’re doing the same things. If you read it in the context of the article, where I said that Reclaim Australia are not representative of wider views of society; you’ll find what I’m saying. ISIS is about as Islamic as Reclaim Australia is Australian. That is, ISIS is not representative of Islam and we do not accept what they say as Islamic at all. Most Australians look at Reclaim Australia with disgust and do not accept their views as representative of wider society.
I saw nothing in point 3 referring to citizens or long term residents.
I understand your initial assertion and your clarification but simply by making the comparison to begin with is inflammatory and completely uncalled for. To give an example. I could say that the LBGT community has managed public opinion in a way no group has since the NAZI’s in 1930’s Germany. I could then make all sorts of legitimate comparisons of both strategy and effectiveness between the two groups. Nobody would read that. They would only see me comparing the LGBT community to NAZI’s. The comparison would be counterproductive. As is yours *if* you were not simply trying for a low blow slander against a group you disagree with.
Great Article. Reading their 10 point plan, made me realise that they were making extremely absurd and contradictory demands, most of them which had no basis and reasoning and there was no way that the majority of Australians would actually agree to it. They are just doing this for the sake of it. May Allah help us.
I don’t think that even they are sure about what they believe. It reminds me of Bruno’s interviews with fashion designers – every new question brings about totally contradictory answers.
Like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1P-ixFhr2A
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