Thongs, Hijabs and kebabs: A character assassination.

By: The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC

In recent times there has been a further increase in attacks on people of the Islamic faith. Such attacks have come in variety of forms and shapes and from different levels of society and states. The most prominent element of this attack has been on the alleged cultural practices of Muslims around the western world. Such attacks focus on dress, food and habits. At first glance this may seem trivial. But in reality they are loaded and sinister, conveying sometimes blatant and at times subliminal messages dehumanizing the other. Muslims are associated with thongs, Kebabs and Hijabs. Imagine it like an advert. It has an image and behind that image a message. It’s the message that the messenger wants people to repeat. Unfortunately recipients do repeat and in turn generate their own narrative which they then perpetuate.
This is how they have sought to character assassinate the Islamic faith. This is the subject of my brief contribution today which I have entitled Thongs, Kebabs and Hijabs: a character assassination. 
Rather than convey the richness of Islamic culture when covering Islamic celebrations, TV stations almost always commence with sweeping views of the piles of thongs outside of mosques. 
This subliminal message of denigration of Islam is replicated by right wing political parties who thrive and survive on messages of division and hate. This is seen in Belgium, Canada, unfortunately in Australia as well as in France. Campaigning for local elections, National Front candidates across France criticized kebab shops, coining the phrase that France was undergoing a process of "kebabisation" and that this is proof of cultural "Islamisation". 

The message in this did not escape, Damien Schmitz, who runs a kebab shop in Paris, in which he says, "You can speak ill of Muslims without speaking ill of Muslims." 

Today the 2.2 BILLION Muslims worldwide are about to take over the world with not only kebabs but in Australia with identity sealing Hijabs move in for the kill. 'I don’t oppose Islam as a country' - one wannabe Australian politician declared. Others in the same suitcase follow.
 “I find it a fairly confronting form of attire. Frankly, I wish it was not worn,”  says Liberal leader and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The Burka is “rather medieval” says Liberal frontbencher Kevin Andrews. It’s a "shroud of oppression" and a "flag of fundamentalism", says Liberal senator Cory Bernardi. It’s a ''sign of oppression'', claimed Ray King, a former Liverpool police commander standing in the seat of McMahon. It’s a "national security" risk, and "identity concealing religious garments", says Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie.  Liberal MP Brett Whiteley declares his support for a ban on the burka in schools, universities, government buildings and on public transport.  National MP George Christensen says “Team Australia needs to make this decision to ban the burqa." Even bureaucrat, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, declared that burkas are confronting, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott's most senior adviser, Peta Credlin, expressed her sympathies to a burqa ban in Parliament House on security grounds which was later followed by Speaker Bronwyn Bishop who sought but then withdrew her push for Burka segregation in our federal Parliament.
Another Liberal Backbencher Luke Simpkins MP this time in WA, claimed Australians are unknowingly being converted to Islam by eating Halal meat. I will stop here as I need not itemize more of those cases.
Those who present the debate in this frame are really expressing an underlying ideologically driven desire to manufacture a religious divide. The attack on dress and food albeit at first appearance is trivial, it is sinister as the average citizen absorbs and through which define their behaviour and beliefs. The trivial process becomes the core process. It becomes the norm. It becomes the way to demonize Islam and the people who’s a way of life and religion it is. 
Islam has made significant contribution to human civilization from mid-7th century to Mid-13th century otherwise known as the Golden age of Islam.  Marked by a flurry of scientific inventions and innumerable discoveries in science, physics, medicine, surgery, chemistry, philosophy, astrology mathematics, geometry and the list is endless. While this was going on Europe was in its dark ages plundering and crusading in a state of constant war of barbarity with stagnant cultural growth for over 500 years. 
Let’s not give those who want to play the culture war or the clash of civilisation any breathing space, for if you do, lose, we all will. 

The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC

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