Thursday, September 15, 2016

MY OPEN LETTER TO PAULINE HANSON

For overseas readers who may not know, Ms Hanson leads an Australian political party called One Nation and she now sits in the Australian Senate. It's a bit of a cheeky name for her party for, as far as I can see, it serves to divide rather than unite the country. 

In her inaugural speech to the senate here are a few of the sillier things she said:
"We are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own." 
(My comment: With your own, perhaps, but most of us aren't nearly as rigid in our thinking.)

"indiscriminate immigration and aggressive multiculturalism" have "caused crime to escalate and social cohesion to decline"  
(My comment: Really? I've never seen any figures to back that up. And who says immigration has been 'indiscriminate' and multiculturalism has been 'aggressive'?)

"Australia had a national identity before Federation, and it had nothing to do with diversity and everything to do with belonging. " (My comment: I think you need to talk to Aboriginals about the latter part of that statement.)

"Muslims want to see sharia law introduced in Australia"
(My comment: see below.)

And here is what I have to say: 

Dear Ms Hanson,

I am a 71 year-old-Australian, born and bred, but who lived most of my adult life in two Muslim countries. In fact I married a Muslim and we are about to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary here where we now live, in Western Australia. Yeah, my husband is one of those dreaded Muslim immigrants. And you know what? I don't wear a burqa. Or a niqab. Or a hijab. Or a chador. Or even a head scarf. (Oh, although sometimes in the cold weather I do wear a furry hat and a woollen wrap that resembles an abaya... )

The trouble with your inaugural speech is that so much of it is inaccurate or downright rubbish. 

Let me take this blithe, all-encompassing statement as just one example of your complete inanity: "Muslims want to see sharia law introduced to Australia."

When I read that, I turned to my Muslim husband and asked: "Do you personally know anyone at all, here or abroad, who wants sharia law?" He thought for a while, then said, "No, I don't think I do." 

But according to you, Ms Hanson, this is what Muslims want? Really? Wow. I personally don't know anyone who wants sharia law either. And yet my husband and I have lived for 40 years along Muslims in Asia and North Africa. Where on earth have you been that you can say that Muslims want to have sharia law imposed anywhere, let alone in Australia?? These Muslims can't possibly be very numerous if other Muslims never meet them!

My husband -- Professor Emeritus, Ph.D., scientist, recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Western Australia and their Distinguished Alumni Award (and another two honorary degrees from universities in other countries), once a Deputy-Director General of a U.N. agency working for the peaceful uses of scientific knowledge, known for his work to raise the standard of education in developing nations -- This fine Muslim moved to Australia with me a few years back. (Oh, and sorry to disappoint you, but he's only ever had one wife -- and I think his two daughters are fairly liberated females with their advanced degrees from universities like Oxford, Glasgow and Cornell.)

So, much of what you said in your speech were lies, or distortions, designed to strike fear into people. Unfortunately, this kind of manipulation worked and some 5% of voters, prior to the election, listened. (95% knew better and realised that taking anecdotes and turning them into "facts" is the mark of the uninformed.)

My personal opinion? My Muslim husband is a finer resident of this country than you are a citizen of it.