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Fear and loathing in One Nation's Australia

  • 11 August 2016


Recently I was discussing the election of Pauline Hanson and One nation senators with some Hazara clients, let's call them Ali and Hussein. These clients are Pakistani Hazaras, who speak good English.

They told me they are worried about what Hanson says. 'She seems very angry,' said Ali. 'She does not understand Muslims,' added Hussein.

Hussein was recently getting his car fixed and was asked if he was a Muslim. He replied that he was. 'I could see the man's face change,' Hussein told me. The man had become angry and fearful.

However Hussein was not afraid to explain how there are many different groups in Islam, and that most Muslims do not agree with the extremists. Few really support the extremist positions of the Taliban, Al Qaida or Daesh. 'After I explained this to him, he seemed to relax.' If only Hussein could have the same effect on the One Nation senators.

Ali and Hussein's father was killed by the terrorist group Lashkar e Jhangavi in Pakistan because he was building a Shia mosque. Lashkar e Jhangavi is an extremist Sunni group which has killed many Hazaras just because they are Shia. They are even alleged to be behind other attacks, such as on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

It is one of several extremist groups in Pakistan, whose raison d'étre is killing Shia because they are perceived as being 'unIslamic'.

Only this week a bomb blast in Quetta in western Pakistan killed over 70 at a hospital. Many Hazaras live in the Quetta area. The attack was claimed by two other extremist groups, including Daesh (so called Islamic State) and a group linked to the Pakistani Taliban. It targeted lawyers mourning the killing of the leader of a local bar association.

Other attacks target Hazaras, Shia or anti-Taliban Pashtu groups, and are claimed by the Taliban. Similar irrational motivations appear in other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, especially Daesh, which loudly publicises atrocities and war crimes on the internet.

The deliberate targeting of Shia is matched by deliberate targeting of Sunni Muslims by extremist Shia groups. One reason some Iraqi Sunni turn to Daesh is for protection from extremist Shia militias, only then to suffer at the hands of the extremists of Daesh.


"Maybe Hanson should take up the offer of a Halal lunch with her fellow Senator Dastyari and learn something which will help her realise that her fear is irrational and promotes harm of