Author: Rachel Woodlock

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  • RELIGION

    What religions really say about suicide

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 14 June 2018
    13 Comments

    Amid the shock and grief for Anthony Bourdain's death, one blue-tick Twitterer attempted to capture five minutes of shameful fame, declaring that religious people believe hell or purgatory is his afterworld destination. While all the great religious traditions generally proscribe suicide, they also contain nuanced views of the suicide's fate.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Love answers Punish a Muslim hate campaign

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 04 April 2018
    4 Comments

    Punish A Muslim Day has come and gone. While we won't know for a few months if there was a statistical increase in the number of reported attacks on Muslims, the campaign's real purpose was simply to reiterate a message of stigma and exclusion. This is what makes the various counter-campaigns so important.

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  • RELIGION

    Australia's gay Muslims face a double bind

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 17 January 2018
    9 Comments

    Nur Warsame hopes to open a gay-friendly mosque, quite a feat, in a country where mosque applications often face fierce resistance from non-Muslim locals. Gay Muslims are mostly rejected by the Muslim community for being gay and stigmatised by the wider community for being Muslim. Many cannot reconcile the two identities.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    They're not lone wolves, they're canaries

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 13 November 2017
    7 Comments

    These lone-wolf terrorists are more like miners' canaries. Whether it is a paranoid loner, an enraged ideologue, a jihadist or a white supremacist, they are screaming out at the top of their lungs that something is terribly wrong.

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  • RELIGION

    Raising girls in an unjust world

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 14 September 2017
    9 Comments

    As the mum of a 13 year old daughter, I'm trying to prepare her for adulthood in a world that will, at times, judge her for being female. She's at the beginning of her adolescent journey, when the future seems to hold so much promise but also new dangers. The one that gives me pause, in the odd moment when I allow myself to think about it, is what I can tell her about protecting herself from bad men who might want to harm her, without scaring her into believing all men are potential rapists.

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  • RELIGION

    The government should stop marrying people

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 06 September 2017
    32 Comments

    The state doesn't have an opinion on whether God approves of the union because theocracy went out of fashion in the West, along with the Divine Right of Kings. These days in Australia, the state doesn't even care to enforce sexual exclusivity of partners, although once upon a time that was a major element of marital law. Divorce is all about distribution of assets and establishing proper care of the kids. So why the brouhaha over marriage for gay people?

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  • RELIGION

    Do we ban the nun's veil next?

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 23 August 2017
    29 Comments

    For an item of clothing that virtually no Australian Muslims wear, the burqa sure gets plenty of airtime. I've never seen the (usually blue) all-enveloping cloak with the small material grill for sale in any of the bricks-and-mortar Islamic clothing stores I've visited. Short of travelling to Afghanistan, the only place I can think where an anti-Islam protester might get one is by searching Halloween costume listings on eBay or Etsy.

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  • RELIGION

    Respecting Australian law is key to religious freedom

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 20 July 2017
    12 Comments

    Because we are a multicultural and multi-religious society, we do not impose a singular moral or religious code on everyone. Believers can follow their faith’s code of living voluntarily. But if they choose to enter public debate about legislation on questions that affect everybody, they must construct their arguments based on reasoning acceptable to non-believers.

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  • RELIGION

    Muslim feminists have their work cut out for them

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 28 May 2017
    9 Comments

    I used to have a t-shirt that read 'this is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like' and I got my fair share of raised eyebrows and challenging questions. The most obvious group that thinks Muslim feminism is oxymoronic are those who we've started to call the 'alt-right'. This group salivates over images of burqa-clad Muslim women scuttling in fear from their bearded oppressors. It is not that they want to free Muslim women so much as it is they don't want the Brown Man ruling.

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  • MEDIA

    Gambling on the fat dollar

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 22 March 2017
    3 Comments

    Elite athletes wear Nike. Celebrities wear Nike. Beautiful people. People who take their sports seriously. Well, that's what decades of advertising around the little swooshy tick and 'Just Do It' trademark told us. Fat girls don't deserve to wear Nike because they are supposed to feel ashamed of their ample girths. They should exercise, of course, but in sackcloth and ashes, with downcast faces, signalling they understand their moral depravity. Some people, it seems, still feel that's the way it should be.

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  • RELIGION

    What the sharia is all the fuss about?

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 23 February 2017
    29 Comments

    Once upon a time, a proud dad in Dandenong could name his son Jihad, with its ancient meaning of 'striving' in the path of God. Now he might choose a different name to avoid future discrimination. 'Shari'a' has come to mean the forced imposition of medieval punishments on cowering populations, while 'halal' is the torture of sheep and cows. These words have been stolen from ordinary Muslims, the vast majority of the world's second largest religion. I blame three groups for this.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Australian bureaucratic Mean Virus is epidemic

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 26 January 2017
    23 Comments

    'Take that out of your mouth, I have to touch that,' barked the Border Protection officer, glaring at me. I'd been juggling bags, boarding tickets, and a passenger exit card, so my passport was positioned precariously between my lips. I wondered if there was a class for teaching them how to be that special mix of forcefully domineering and nasty. It's not just at airports that ordinary people are increasingly feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of bureaucratic antagonism.

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