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Love answers Punish a Muslim hate campaign



Punish A Muslim Day on 3 April 2018 has come and gone. The campaign was promoted by an anonymous pamphlet that appeared last month, which included a list of violent acts (such as throwing acid at a Muslim, or blowing up a mosque) with each act deemed to be worth a certain number of points.

Love a Muslim Day artworkWhile we won't know for a few months if there was a statistical increase in the number of reported attacks on Muslims (or those who look suspiciously like Muslims — Sikhs, Arab Christians, bearded Greek Orthodox priests, random Brown people) on or around the day, that is beside the point.

After all, nuclear bombs are a little tricky for the average Islamophobe to acquire; no-one seriously expected Mecca to disappear in a mushroom cloud, earning whoever pushed the big red button a granddaddy prize of 2500 points.

I'm sure the authors of the Punish A Muslim Day list, who first circulated it around major UK cities with large Muslim populations, hoped some idiots might attempt to rip off a few hijabs here and there, thus giving substance to the myth of a silent — and silenced — majority of Muslim-haters.

But the real purpose of the anonymous leaflet was to reiterate a message of stigma and exclusion.

Such hatred is simply the pointy end of the same message being pushed by Murdoch media (without the ostensible call to actual acts of individual violence) when they run headline after headline about Sydney University students being taught shari?a, Yassmin Abdel-Magied's latest apparently unAustralian statement, or no-go zones where Islam runs rampant.

It is the same message spouted by Pauline Hanson declaring that Islam is a disease that Australians need to vaccinate themselves against while praying for a Muslim-ban.


"We need to hear voices that say following Islam is not a disease; that modest fashion can be as Australian as bikinis and thongs; and that our religious, cultural and ethnic diversity is a beautiful strength."


Or Tony Abbott, dog-whistling about Islam's violence problem and Muslims' failure to denounce it, and decrying the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for supporting an Australian Muslim modest-fashion exhibition, as not in keeping with modern Australian values.

It is the same message of lobby groups like the UK's influential LeaveEU who, on the very day nominated as Punish A Muslim Day, tweeted a picture of London's first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, superimposed on top of the East London mosque and worshippers at prayer, with the headline: 'Londonistan: 423 new mosques; 500 closed churches; 100 sharia courts.'

The accompanying tweet bemoaned: 'British multiculturalists feed Islamic fundamentalism. Londonistan, built on the sad ruins of English Christianity.'

Khan recently described the level of vitriol and hatred — including death threats — he endures as a Muslim public figure, in a speech pointing out the toxic effect such constant Islamophobia has on young Muslims.

And that is precisely the point. Islamophobia works by stigmatising Muslims both in the minds of the general public and as it is internalised by its direct victims.

It is for this reason that counter-campaigns like the Love A Muslim Day are important. The campaign was started by Shahab Adris, a Muslim from Leeds in the UK, in response to Punish A Muslim Day.

Adris developed an alternate list in which points could be gained by acts of kindness and generosity: from smiling at a Muslim, to fundraising for the needy, all the way up to buying a hajj package for a Muslim family.

On Twitter, concerned non-Muslims offered to accompany women who felt unsafe to travel on 3 April, and the hashtag #ProtectAMuslimDay trended.

Although there are naysayers who argue this is still objectifying Muslims — marking them out as a group that requires special treatment — given that we live in a world where Islamophobia is rampant, we need to hear public messages of acceptance.

We need to hear voices that say following Islam is not a disease; that modest fashion can be as Australian as bikinis and thongs; and that our religious, cultural and ethnic diversity is a beautiful strength that can delight and astound us with its fascinating variety as much as we are united on the common purpose of sustaining wellbeing for all our citizens.



Rachel WoodlockDr Rachel Woodlock is an expat Australian academic and writer living in Ireland.

Topic tags: Rachel Woodlock, Islam, Murdoch press, Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott



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Existing comments

I've been oblivious to this document and its atrocious campaign. But on looking at it, it's equally likely to be either a genuine document by anti-Islamic creeps or a forgery by equally creepy leftists designed to stir up trouble. There's something very odd about its language, style and provenance that strongly whiffs of a forgery. Whatever the case, let me say as someone who very happily teaches exclusively Muslim children that for the author to link her plaint with a suggestion that "no go" zones somehow aren't a reality in Europe right now is as manipulative and dishonest as any forgery.

HH | 04 April 2018  

"We need to hear voices that say following Islam is not a disease”………….Extracts taken from my post in the link below: In the early sixties I worked for several months in Brussels, assisting a relative who worked as a plumber/decorator. On one occasion, while working on a large country house, on the outskirts of the city I encountered other workers (Staff), working as gardeners/ odd job men, amongst them were a few Asians. To my surprise at lunch time three Asians rolled out small coloured mats in the same direction, knelt on them and began chanting and bowing I didn’t know what to make of it. Later that week an outside contractor arrived with around a dozen extra workers mainly Asians, you could not help but notice that there was a genuine fraternity of brotherly love between them, as some of the new group acknowledged each other; others introduced themselves to each other with such happiness and generosity. To my surprise at lunch time, the whole group in harmony (Unity of Purpose) all appeared together with small mats and rolled them out, knelt upon them and began bowing and chanting and the same at our mid-afternoon break, their actions left a deep imprint on my mind. Of course I now know that they were Muslims, their pray ritual (Belief) held them together in Unity of Purpose. I worked there for just over a week and I was unable to ascertain who was in charge, as they all showed such genuine respect for one and other…………Then like our Muslim brothers, we too, can also show the same commitment and support to each other and pronounce our faith by Example to all of mankind. Male and female in equality of purpose showing true reverence for each other and once again we will hear these words “Look how those Christians love one and other”. Then the Church will have a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything rather than for her self-preservation (her enclosed self-serving all male institutionalized priesthood) Link to my full POST @ 23. http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2014/03/fr-john-shea-repeats-call-for-explanation-of-churchs-opposition-to-womens-ordination/

Kevin Walters | 06 April 2018  

HH, conspiracy theories aside, wouldn't it just be good to extend a hand of Christian solidairtity to our Muslin brethren regardless of this issue which I'm not even aware of either? When is NOT a good time to love a Muslim?

AURELIUS | 06 April 2018  

Maybe Dr Woodlock, "messages of acceptance" would be more forthcoming if persecution of non-Muslims in Muslim countries and, worse, in non-Muslim countries as we have seen throughout Europe in the past two years, came to an end.

john frawley | 08 April 2018  

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