How Women Overcoming Islamophobia in Australia
When women from the city of Lismore in northern New South Wales, Australia, to hear their eggs and throwing cigarette butts to local Muslims, they immediately decided to hold a meeting to combat Islamophobia in society.
About 100 participants attended the event titled “Mariam’s Day: Both Muslims and non-Muslims to speak, building traditions and living together”. They share stories and ask questions in an effort to gain a better understanding of each other.
Guest speaker and former Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said she personally witnessed the growing anti-Muslim sentiment among the public in the last two years.
“The worst incident experienced by a woman carrying her baby outside their homes, take off the departure of a person. The baby was suddenly crying and the mother realized there was a raw egg soiling his clothes,” Dowell said.
“The baby was hit in the head by an egg toss someone from the passing cars while shouting something,” added the former mayor of Lismore.
“This happens in a rising Islamophobia. It made me sick,” he said.
“I want to reassure people: ‘please do not judge Lismore from this incident,'” Dowel said, adding, “This is not surprising because I think that happens everywhere.”
Muslim women and non-Muslims to meet diLismore to mengatasiIslamophobia. From left: ZuleyhaKeskin, JennyDowell danRashidaJoseph. (ABCNorthCoast: SamanthaTurnbull)
Speakers in the event, Dr. Zuleyha Keskin who is also professor of Islamic studies at Charles Sturt University, said there was a strange feeling when arriving in Lismore by wearing a headscarf.
“Very different from when he was in Sydney or Melbourne are more multicultural,” he said.
“Here, I strongly feel it. I go to the store and no one else who wear the hijab. I think everyone Anglo-Saxon backgrounds,” he said.
“Really feels like minorities and people looked at me. I do not think they view it racist but ‘oh, there’s something different’,” added Dr. Keskin.
Meanwhile residents of Lismore who is also a Muslim woman Rashida Joseph said the worst discrimination they experienced came shortly after the World Trade Centre attacks in 2001.
“A few days after 9/11 I was taking money from an ATM and an ATM guy pushed my head. My head hurt,” he said.
“I also had thrown a lit cigarette into my car at a red light,” he said.
“I arrived at work one day – I work with refugees are Muslims – and found feces smeared on the front door,” said Rashida Joseph.
WargaLismore, RashidaJoseph, claimed to have suffered discrimination after the events of 11 September 2001, but in umumNorthernRivers known as an area that is inclusive.
“However, I also get tremendous support from non-Muslims, so we did have to put in proportion. We are together in it,” he added.
Although never experienced discrimination, but the speakers of the meeting were optimistic when citizens like in Lismore together hold events like Mariam’s Day.
Dr. Keskin hoping to ward off a number of myths about Muslim women.
“So many myths, for example that women in Islam is oppressed,” he said.
“For me, Islam actually empowering women. Islam encourages me to get an education and express my mind,” he added.
“Wearing the hijab is not oppression, empowering precisely because it is something I decided to do for the sake of my religion,” he said.
“This is an effort to move away from physical focus to focus on spiritual, internal and character,” said Dr. Keskin again.
At 10:30 AEST Published March 14, 2017 by Farid M. Ibrahim