Pauline Hanson may be the face of Islamophobia in Australia. But, the question she faced on Monday was targeted toward everyone who supported her.
Khaled Elomar was among the audience who witnessed the debate. He, being a practicing Muslim, had a question to ask Hanson. The senator wants to do a Donald Trump Down Under and ban Muslims from coming to the country.
Elomar referred to his 11-year-old son who wondered what Islamophobia was all about. Rather than explaining it to him with his own words, Elomar sat him down to watch some of Hanson’s videos.
When he asked his son if he understood what Islamophobia was, the son replied it was hatred against the Muslims. On a night when Hanson was shocked to discover Senator Sam Dastyari’s Muslim faith, she was asked a critical question.
“I said, ‘Islamophobia is one or a combination of three things: Hate, fear or ignorance’. I promised him that I would ask you this question so he can hear the answer from yourself,” Elomar told Hanson. “So with all due respect, Ms Hanson, what is the basis of your Islamophobic feelings? Hate, fear or ignorance?”
Hanson decided not to analyze her feelings and straightaway replied “none of the above.” However, it was not about the answer she gave. It was the burning question that marked the session of discussion.
According to Cindy Rahal, Hanson and her supporters do not listen when they are told terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. She accused the senator of having “very selective hearing.” She said Islamophobia in Australia and its supporters like Hanson were creating a divided nation.
Hanson has a “one-track mind,” and it is dangerous for Australia, Rahal said. She added that Australia would require to include everybody to create “one nation.”
You may wonder if Hanson was affected by any of such arguments. She was still quite overwhelmed to find out Dastyari was a Muslim, that too a practicing one. She repeatedly asked him if it was true that he was a Muslim.
Dastyari talked about his Iranian origin and said he had never tried to hide his faith. Hanson found it “quite interesting” that the Australian senator sitting beside her on was a Muslim.
People like Hanson encourage Islamophobia in Australia and try to sell a different version of Australia to its people. Whether the people of the country accepts it or not will be “quite interesting” to see.
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