The Revenant of Oz was on TV last night…

On #QandA, along with four sane senators. Quite interesting. Do go and look, especially in a day or two when the transcript is up. Meanwhile News.com has a fair summary: ‘It is the politics of fear and division and, Ms Hanson, you’re incredibly good at it’. Among many juicy moments:

SENATOR-elect Pauline Hanson had few friends on the Q & A panel on Monday night, but she did not back down on any of her controversial views with everything from the issues of Muslims and climate being thrown at her.

As protesters gathered outside the ABC studios in Sydney — alarming at least one Muslim woman in the audience who feared for her safety — inside, the One Nation leader wrongly claimed terrorism was a new concept to Australia and appeared to suggest Indonesia wasn’t a democracy.

She also slammed Islam as a “so-called religion” and was eventually slapped down by Labor Senator Sam Dastyari who branded her attack as the “politics of fear and hate”.

“I understand Islam does not believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly or freedom of the press,” she said…

Ms Hanson said Australians were too terrified to walk the streets.

“They’re in fear of terrorism which is happening around the world. Why? Because of Islam. Because you have the radicalisation — radicalisation is actually happening in Australia. Who is it under? What religion? So-called religion? So we actually have to find the right answers to this so we can all live in peace and harmony.”

She wouldn’t be moved when told by an audience member she was “pushing fear into the community” and was creating “not one nation, you are creating a divided nation”.

Hanson said: “To bury your head in the sand is not the answer to it. Radicalisation is not just happening by fearmongering, you know…”

Senator Dastyari said he was “flabbergasted” by her comments…

Ms Hanson appeared stunned at one point during the ABC panel show when Senator Dastyari said he was a Muslim.

“Are you a Muslim?” she asked him. “Really?”

“Yeah and I have never hidden it away,” he answered her.

“I was born in an Islamic nation and by being born…in an Islamic nation and under Iranian law, under Islamic law and in places like Iran, my parents fled to be able to come to this country.

Ms Hanson: “You’re a practising Muslim? This is quite interesting.”

Senator Dastyari accused her of making a joke about a serious matter to which she said, “I’m surprised. I did not know that about you.”

At that point Greens Senator Larissa Waters interjected: “Because he doesn’t have three heads?”

When discussion swung to her ban on Muslims coming to Australia — “I think we need a moratorium” — she would not directly say whether she would have liked to see Senator Dastyari’s family, who came from Iran in the 1980s, blocked….

OK, you get what we saw last night – and by the way I wish those demonstrators outside the studio had gone to the footie and supported the Sharks instead! The Revenant sucks up demos like zombies suck brains.

However, let’s all get a grip. Here is Australia’s most notorious terror attack in the last fifty years:

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You recognise that? Centre of Sydney CBD – in 1978. See Startling book unpicks story behind Australia’s first major terrorist attack.

On February 13, 1978, a bomb was planted in a rubbish bin outside the Sydney Hilton, which was hosting a Commonwealth meeting of Asia Pacific heads of government.

The device exploded when it was loaded into a garbage truck, blowing the vehicle to pieces, along with two rubbish collectors, Alec Carter and William Favell. A police officer guarding the entrance to the hotel lounge, Paul Burmistriw, died later. Eleven more were injured.

It was a day that left people physically and mentally scarred, tore families apart and was a devastating blow to the happy-go-lucky Australian psyche. It triggered years of finger-pointing, conspiracy theories and saw several innocent men locked away…

No Muslims involved. For more food for thought see Fact file: Five facts about terrorism in Australia and even Wikipedia’s Terrorism in Australia. The Revenant may have read that already as apparently (like many of us) Wikipedia is among her faves.

Like stats? Have you ever visited Statista? Looks good. These two are relevant:

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chartoftheday_5121_the_state_of_global_peace_n

Hardly needs to be said – as I already have – that I was profoundly moved by recent events in Nice, but even there I commend thoughtful responses such as I lived in France — here’s why the country is being targeted by terrorists.

It would be foolish to imply the perpetrator of these attacks speaks for even disaffected groups in France. It would be simple to suggest that France’s North African communities are involved in this attack in Nice. It is also not appropriate to commence a witch-hunt on Muslims in France.

Or in Australia. Let us root and branch reject the politics of fear. Here was one question directed to the Revenant last night.

PAULINE – COME TO DINNER — MOHAMMED ATTAI asked: My name is Mohammed. I love my religion Islam and have been to more mosques than I have the supermarket. Perhaps the greatest influence for our family members to becoming hard working and focusing on education and hoping to be good citizens was the emphasis placed on it by Islam.

I believe the best way to increase understanding and mutual respect, is through interaction. Would you be willing to take my offer to inviting you for lunch or dinner, whichever suits you, with me and my Muslim family? And in respect to you and your beliefs, while we have something halal, we will ensure your food is not halal.

Would you accept this invitation now?

The Revenant seemed almost to accept. I wonder how that will go…

Update

A picture worth a thousand words: Still, that look. That bloody look.

Update 2: an example for all of us.

Waleed Aly’s plea for public calm

In a moving plea, Aly calls for Australians to empathise with one another during what he calls these ‘dark times’. …

The issue polarised Australians, with Kruger both roundly applauded as a voice for the “silent majority” and vigorously attacked for her “racist” stance.

But Aly said he would stand in neither camp, saying the continual controversies over the latest outrageous statement by a public figure were only pushing Australians further apart…

“You know, I get it. I get that this stuff is concerning and it’s dangerous and the stakes are high and I’m right in the middle of those stakes. And we’re afraid. Sonia, Pauline, Malcolm and me. We’re all afraid.

“But it’s how you deal with that fear. You don’t have to be calling for the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of innocent people to be acting destructively. You might just be angrily tweeting at someone who said something outrageous. But what I’m suggesting is, while it feels good to choose destruction, right now I think we need to try construction.”

Aly said people should not be silent in the face of bigotry, but when engaging with someone you disagreed with, “show generosity in the face of their hostility”….

And here is an example of the careful thinking so needed now: Not All Islamists Are Out to Kill Us.

Let’s concede it’s probably too much to expect politicians to convey a sophisticated understanding of the global religious landscape in a tweet or 10-second campaign soundbite. But perhaps we could move the bar right down to the lowest notch and agree that “Islamic,” “Islamist,” and “sharia” are not actually dirty words.

Something is “Islamic” if it has to do with Islam. Pretty straightforward.

An “Islamist” is someone who believes Islam is both a religion and a political movement that strives for the incorporation of Islamic teachings in national governance. That does not automatically equate to militancy. Plenty of American allies across the Muslim world fit that description. Relatively few American Muslims would consider themselves Islamists (much less extremists). A recent poll found that, like their Christian countrymen, the majority do not believe their religion should influence U.S. law.

And sharia, which roughly means “the Path,” isn’t a license to cut off heads.

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