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February 15th 2017 print

Roger Franklin

The Fishwives’ Summit

The screaming match between Jacqui Lambie and Yassmin Abdel-Magied on Q&A was great television, but the same could be said of train-wreck footage. Its real value came later, when 49 Muslim organisations and sympathisers spelled out a presumptive right not merely to respect but deference

niqabMulticultural amity was in short supply on Monday night’s Q&A, which saw Tasmania’s Senator Jacqui Lambie doing the one thing at which she always excels, making herself deeply unpleasant. For starters there’s that voice, which rises at times to the guttural shriek of the last water going down an old bathtub’s plughole. When it drops an octave, there is the needless belligerence of a public bar blowhard. In terms of general comportment, you wouldn’t have her at your daughter’s wedding, not if it could be helped.

Sometimes, though, even the most wretched amongst us serve the cause of the common good, and such was the case when this small and loud explosive device detonated in the face of fellow guest Yassmin Abdel-Magied. For once Senator Lambie was being rude to the right person in the right place and for the right reason.

Briefly, Ms Abdel-Magied, who already has her own ABC cable show and was sent off on a recent taxpayer-funded junket to hijabber in some of the world’s worst despotisms about the joy of being Muslim in Australia, spent much of Q&A talking loudly and to little point about any number of topics about which she either knows nothing or chooses not to acquaint herself. From baseload power to the tenets of her religion and, of course, the imminence of catastrophic climate change, Ms Abdel-Magied streamed random cliches and pseudo-factoids rooted only in her imagination. When she suggested sharia law implied nothing more than praying five times a day and, further, that women are happy as Larry under Islam, what little in the way of good manners Senator Lambie had embraced on the night were flung aside. The exchange is segmented and analysed here by video blogger Progressing Backwards, whose clip would have been embedded for display on this page but for the narrator’s vulgarity in punctuating his thoughts with the procreative verb.

As a consequence of the women’s encounter, gripes the Australian Islamic Mission and 49 groups and individual signatories to an online petition, multiculturalism’s gorgeous mosaic is being pulverised, not merely by Senator Lambie but — and this bit is delicious — the ABC as well! According to the petition, compere Tony Jones should have gagged the garrulous Taswegian because, well, Muslims must not face, not ever, pointed questions about their creed and its compatability with hard-won Western norms like, for instance, the equality of women. More than that, the petition’s text all but demands that Islam be treated now and forever with a conspicuous and courteous deference. The petition is reproduced in full below, but this paragraph is especially worthy of note (emphasis added):

If Q&A wants to invite Muslim individuals to its forum, it should be able to guarantee a safe environment for them based on trustworthiness and comfort to speak in a platform that is rarely afforded to them, especially on issues concerning them.

muslim theologiantasmania intellectual IIThe irony is that the ABC has been doing just that since the Prophet was a lad, leading one to suspect — and please pardon the cynicism –  that Ms Abdel-Magied owed her place on the panel as much to a winning smile and the glib giddiness of her manner than any wisdom she might then or previously have poured into the wells of human insight. Opinions may differ, and the applause of the typically unbalanced Q&A audience for Abdel-Magied’s defence of sharia’s alleged innocence suggests they very much do. But the inanity of her theological pronouncements might well lead others to conclude she is no better than an airhead whose prime credential is, you know, a photogenic otherness. Were she to team up with Waleed Aly and do the Leagues Clubs, they could be the Islamic George Burns & Gracie Allen. She’s the fun face of Islam, the girl with the lampshade on her head, the life of what the ABC in its habitual celebration of tokenism imagines to be the perfect multi-culti party.

Had the excitable senator not been at hand, Ms Abdel-Magied might have burbled her way through 60 minutes of vacuities without encountering a harsh word. Thankfully peace was not to reign and, as a result, viewers were treated to what President Obama might have called “a learning moment” –  the petition of the aggrieved that is reproduced below. While that document expresses the signatories’ predictable outrage that a spokesdill was placed in a position to confirm her   nitwittery, it also serves the more useful purpose of reminding us that Islam deems itself deserving of a respect, nay, a reverence, to which no other faith would ever dream of laying claim.

Below is the petition, which can also be viewed, along with reader comments, at the change.org website. As of Thursday morning, it had garnered some 1900 signatures, not all of them supportive.

Interestingly, another change. org petition also cites the fishwives’ summit on Monday’s Q&A, demanding that Ms Abdel-Magied be fired by the ABC for “blatantly lying to the public about the merits of Sharia Law and the oppressive impact it has on non-Muslim groups, homosexuals and women.”

That petition has so far attracted almost 5,900 signatures.

Don’t expect a petition critical of the ABC’s error-prone Islamic evangelist to receive anywhere near the same sort of attention awarded to its less-subscribed rival. Going by many comments on the pro-sharia thread, to mke mention of problematic matters such as arranged child marriages, genital mutilation, consanguineous marriages, taqiyah, a policemen stabbed, a coffee shop held hostage or an innocent computer worker gunned down on a Parramatta street would be to indulge and endorse racist xenophobia.

The Petition

Dear Q&A and ABC,

We, Muslim community leaders, activists, academics, community members, and, organisations and leaders against fascism and racism would like to submit a formal complaint against last night’s Q&A episode featuring Jacqui Lambie.

We believe this episode was in significant breach of the ABC values of “Respect We treat our audiences and each other with consideration and dignity.”, and “Integrity We act with trustworthiness, honesty and fairness”, that your organisation prides itself on. 

Q&A also was in breach of its own aim to “provides a safe environment where people can respectfully discuss their differences”.

Lambie made a number of comments which are considered, by any measure, racist, Islamophobic and crude, and constitute racial abuse and bullying that would not be allowed at your workplace, the ABC, and would not be allowed at any of our workplaces, educational institutions or public spaces.

To illustrate this with examples, Lambie used undignifying, demeaning slurs that were personal attacks against Abdel-Magied and her integrity as a Muslim woman, such as when she said:

“So you can be a sharia law supporter and be half-pregnant at the same time, C’mon”,

“Stop playing the victim, stop playing the victim, we’ve had enough”,

“Your ban got lifted, get over it”,

“It hasn’t hurt you at all”.

Another example is when asked if her speech is hateful she admitted:

“To a minority, well if that’s a minority, but this is for the majority, this is what the majority want”. Here, there was an opportunity to stand for ABC’s values, yet the moderator, Jones did not interject to uphold the values of respect and fairness and remind her that hateful speech is not allowed on the TV network, or is it? Something we trust ABC to be clear about.

Upon re-watching the episode, we have not found any instance where Abdel-Magied attacked Jackie Lambie as a person, maintaining the values and purpose of the show to debate the ideas and answer the questions around the topic, and yet it would have been justified for her to defend herself and call Lambie outright for the racism she was espousing.

The moderator, Jones, instead, requested Yassmin to stop shouting as it is ‘unhelpful’, (later clarifying that he is asking both to stop) but made no attempt to acknowledge the reasons behind Abdel-Magied’s frustration and legitimate concern at the bigotry she was forced to respond to.

We want to point out the power asymmetry between Yassmin, a 25 year old activist, and Lambie, a senior senator occupying a position of power and authority. It is not Abdel-Magied or any one Muslim’s responsibility to stand up to abuse alone.

If Q&A wants to invite Muslim individuals to its forum, it should be able to guarantee a safe environment for them based on trustworthiness and comfort to speak in a platform that is rarely afforded to them, especially on issues concerning them.

Lambie has the Parliament House, news outlets and press conferences as platforms to express her irresponsible and harmful views, whereas Muslim youth are largely underrepresented and their voice often absent from conversations about Muslims in this country.  

We wish to remind Q&A that Yassmin’s appearance in itself is brave as it puts her in danger of being a target to online fascists who are relentless in attacking public Muslim Australian figures, and particularly Muslim females (who are at the forefront of “debate”).

Whilst you may view last night as an opportunity to boost ratings at the expense of fairness and respect to panelists, and members of minority communities, we view the bullying that occurred on last night’s TV show as a clear example of further deterrence for Muslim youth to engage in public platforms, given that their rights to feel safe, be respected and have a fair chance to express themselves is continually undermined and undefended by the ABC in instances like this.

We demand an apology from Q&A for its poor handling of the debate and for its failure to uphold its values of respect and integrity, as giving unchallenged airtime to racial and ethno-religious abuse fills individuals with hate to commit serious crimes against Muslims.

Islamophobia should not be tolerated, not in any workplace, and not in any forum.

Thank you,

Signed:

Australian Islamic Mission (AIM)

(plus 48 other sharia defenders or their useful idiots)

 

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online

 

Comments [28]

  1. Simon2808 says:

    Delightful contribution Roger – I’ve been reading your back catalogue on this issue all day.

  2. Doc S says:

    An accurate, thought-provoking and considered analysis! The explanation and analysis far more entertaining and edifying than the TV incident itself which, at the time of viewing, came dangerously close to having a blunt object launched which, while relieving of the stressor, would have seen the completely unnecessary demise of one perfectly good television. And compare this incident if you will to the media coverage of the Q Society fundraiser in Melbourne the previous weekend where we saw film of the rabid unwashed, radical Left and other Useful Idiots assault those attempting to board a bus to the venue, with not an intervening policeman in sight (where are they when you need them?) On the following news report the Q Society were dismissed as ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘far-right’ implying that although you just witnessed people attempting the exercise their right to free speech being attacked, no opprobrium should be attached to the attackers because, well, if they were attempting to attend such an assembly of deplorables they deserved it! Made the little tiff on Q&A pale in comparison but notably caused a similar scale of slanted hoo-ha in the media afterwards – and none of it anywhere as edifying as Roger Franklin’s write-up!

  3. Doc S says:

    Oh, and thanks for attaching the full text of the AIM petition. They know where they can stick that!

  4. Lacebug says:

    Does anyone else find stories such as this by Roger F, just too damn frustrating to read? I plow through and just feel sheer exasperation that we live in a country like this. If anyone knows of a country where I could move to that doesn’t tolerate this kind of bullshit (sorry, but that’s exactly what it is) then please let me know. (Japan?)

  5. Mark Smith says:

    “Sharia is prayer? No, prayer is religious in nature” might have been an apt response from Lambie. And, oh look at that, the smell of a can of worms: should law be religious? If so, Islamic? Sure, if the people want it. Unfortunately for Magied, most of us here in Oz don’t want it. And sorry, sell it with all the lies and obfuscating rhetoric someone like Magied tend to blurt, as so poignantly described by Franklin, but I’ll certainly be using prayer to stay sharia in any form infecting our own laws.

  6. Bill Martin says:

    The very verbosity of the petition and its language clearly indicate a mindset which knows that its stance is anything but firm and fair, which the authors sense. When the case being supported is unquestionably correct and fair, it takes very few words to make the case.

    As to the screaming match, it’s difficult to decided which protagonist is more blameworthy, if for entirely different reasons. While Lambie’s heart is in the right place, her intellect is highly questionable. However well she might mean, she repeatedly “goes off half-cocked”, usually with an extremely superficial understanding of the subject she rants on about, using a very poorly developed ability to express herself. You can forget all about dignity and sophistication. Abdel-Magied, on the other hand, is better able to make a more acceptable impression, at least on people equally as ignorant and misguided as herself. In this event she deserves any and all condemnation for telling a string of bare faced lies about Islam. Perhaps the most obvious of those was when she said that Sharia commands to obey the law of the country where you live. No Ms Abdel-Magied, Sharia is Allah’s law and it is above all man-made law. You can obey the local law only as long as it does not contradict Sharia. Surely, she must know that. The useful idiots of the audience enthusiastically clapping every one of her false and mostly inane remarks are just as reprehensible as the two protagonists in this unholy farce.

  7. Elle says:

    An excellent piece! Shared on Facebook for all to view.

  8. Salome says:

    As I write, 2056 plays 7058, and a lot of the ‘signatories’ to the Muslim petition (at least the three that were visible), so it would appear, are only ‘signing’ it in order to give themselves an opportunity to articulate their disapproval of it. I have hope for the world after all!

  9. I signed the second petition because I greatly resent the ABC using my taxes to promote yet another anti-capitalist/anti-western civilisation totalitarian entity. Islam is even worse/more dangerous than the communists, Nazis or environmentalists because Islamists don’t value even their own lives let somebody else’s. They are prepared to die and kill themselves just to inconvenience non-believers. Most Nazis and communists can be reasoned with even if only to a small extent because they value their own life just a little, even if they don’t have much regard for your life. An Islamic terrorist cannot be reasoned with, only killed.

  10. gardner.peter.d says:

    I often find myself searching the papers and the web for sane opinions on the state of the world. Sometimes I despair. But then I remember Quadrant, a haven of sanity and common sense, a rarity that should really be officially classified as endangered, verging on extinction.

  11. bts says:

    Spurred on by this thread, I looked this evening at the particular Q&A. May I offer the following comments?

    First, the stand out performance was, for me, that of Senator Patterson. Whenever he spoke he was clear, cogent and civil.

    Secondly, the most surprising contribution came from Senator Lambie. It is easy to criticise aspects of the Senator’s language and demeanour, but what she had to say about the primacy of the ordinary law of Australia over Sharia Law was, in my opinion, spot on.

    Thirdly, the most frightening contribution came, in my opinion, from Mr Belgiorno-Nettis.

    It is easy to criticise trenchantly and in the form of seductive abstractions, the current state of representative Parliamentary democracy at both the Commonwealth and States levels. But to premiss those abstractions upon an appeal to the political practice and procedure of Ancient Greece, or to be exact, of Ancient Athens, strikes me as being wholly misconceived in that it invites a comparison between, so to speak, apples and tomatoes.

    The key to the improvement of Parliamentary democracy in this country is, surely, to reform drastically the way in which candidates for any established political Party are pre-selected. That reform needs to be grounded on two propositions:

    A candidate for pre-selection should be required to show that he has achieved something of substance in some field of lawful activity having nothing to do with intra-party jockeying for preferment; and
    The ultimate pre-selection should be made by the secret balloting of all financial members of the relevant Party, “financial” meaning paid-up for, say, three consecutive years and recorded in official Minutes as having been present at more than half of the Branch meetings held during that same period.

    Reforms of that character are, of course, not magic formulae; but they would reduce appreciably the current tendency for pre-selections, especially in blue-ribbon seats, to be won by people who have not distinguished themselves in any obvious way other than as persistent and ambitious Party apparatchiks.

    It is trite that Q&A is as much contrived entertainment of the ancient gladiatorial kind, as of serious and civil political debate. It is, I believe, fair to say that on this particular occasion some really serious questions were raised. Any thinking citizen should look past the coarseness and the sledging and reflect seriously and responsibly about how we, as a democratic society, resolve those questions in ways that reinvigorate representative Parliamentary government rather than hasten its demise.

    • Jody says:

      Sledging is what Q&A does so well and why I’m totally allergic to the program and never watch. Senator Lambie is about as crude, unattractive and coarse as you’re ever likely to find in the parliament – but there would be plenty out there like her who voted for her.

  12. Patrick McCauley says:

    Ms Abdel-Magied should be given her own program on the ABC … to clearly explain ‘Sharia Law’ and how it is practised … who enforces it … how it relates to the laws of the land … how those who break it are tried …. and what the sentences are for those found guilty. This may only require one episode … or two or three. She should take Questions from a fair representative group of rural Australians in each episode. In this manner … we could exercise the ‘contest of ideas’ … and the ‘free speech’ which has been the burning heart of the utter success of western liberal democracies.

  13. IainC of The Ponds says:

    Additionally, it’s a bit rich for the petitioners to characterize their critics as fascists when Islam is one of the world’s most widespread (mow that Communism is in retreat) fascistic ideologies.

  14. Ian MacDougall says:

    Lambie is no parliamentary dissembler. She tells it the way it is from her point of view, bluntly and to the point. Ms Abdel-Magied was decked out like a coral reef, and voiced the interesting viewpoint that Sharia Law is the answer to any feminist’s prayer, though unfortunately Jacqui Lambie missed a golden opportunity. She could have challenged Abdel-Magied to prove it by removing that elaborate turban she was wearing.
    AIM says “Islamophobia should not be tolerated, not in any workplace, and not in any forum.” I wonder if that includes the streets, because if it does, then I will have no option as a liberal-democratic islamophobe but to make up a sandwich board saying “Down with Islam!” and wear it as conspicuously conspicuously as possible round the town; pointing out to all and sundry that it could get me beheaded, chopped up and fed to the vultures in Pakistan, and in every other Islamistan I can think of.
    Those words: “Islamophobia should not be tolerated, not in any workplace, and not in any forum” are as good a reason as any for severely restricting Muslim immigration from here on.
    Islam is a disease of the head, and people infected with it should arguably be kept out of contact with the citizenry, lest they spread it.

    • Jimbob says:

      “Islam is a disease of the head, and people infected with it should arguably be kept out of contact with the citizenry, lest they spread it.”

      Ian,

      I couldn’t agree more and I would go further and say it’s also a disease of the heart and soul. A worldview that glories in violence and inhuman barbarism (like stoning the FEMALE victims of rape)would arguably, be inspired by the devil rather than any kind of benevolent deity. Be that as it may, I worry that by seeking to keep it out of public debate and as you say “out of contact with the citizenry”, then we only drive it underground. It becomes something “naughty” which then attracts all the criminally inclined, morally bent and mentally unbalanced citizens to its’ standard. It should come as no surprise that prisons as we now can see, are the breeding grounds of Islamic terrorists.

      In my humble opinion, the only way to combat this evil is to ensure that we defend liberal democracy with all our might and allow all ideas to be expressed in public debate. Freedom of expression is like antiseptic sunlight; it helps to kill the bacteria that can cause a destructive epidemic.

      Like cockroaches under the sink, Islamists breed most prolifically wherever there is moral and intellectual darkness. They do best when no one criticises them, highlights their inanities or calls to account their inhumane barbarism. They do best when all other voices are silenced so it comes as no surprise that the AIM should call for the non toleration of “Islamophobia…not in ANY workplace and not in ANY forum” (emphasis added). The only way to scatter the vermin is to shine a very bright torch in their direction.

      • Jody says:

        I think that slimey Kaysar Trad needs to be called to account, publicly stating in front of his wife and family that it’s good for a man to have several wives. I’m reminded of that TV satirical program where the woman moans to her fellow TV news anchor, “Oh, Victor, Victor…you are a very unattractive man”!

      • Lacebug says:

        There’s little doubt, Australia has a really big cockroach problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately our Flick Men are all impotent.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Jimbob:

        You are quite right there. Islam is nothing short of entry level fascism. (Hitler thought it was great.)
        The best way to counter this pernicious religion with its goal of world-conquest is to expose both its priests and its followers to open competition in the realm of ideas. The Islamic clergy want their inductees kept out of earshot of the teachers of other religions and philosophies: even of other schools of Islam. So, following the dictum of that great guerrilla strategist Mao, we should support what the enemy opposes and oppose what the enemy supports.
        So that means no Islamic schools, which in turn means no religious schools of any kind.
        Two excellent anti-Islamic websites IMHO are http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ and http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/ . See in particular http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6697/sweden-collapse ; that is, if you want an idea of what they see as the future of this country.

    • Your line – ‘Islam is a disease of the head, and people infected with it should arguably be kept out of contact with the citizenry, lest they spread it.’ – is very apt, no, brilliant. Your/this post is one of the rare occasions when I agree with you without reservation.

  15. Homer Sapien says:

    “Black humor”

  16. Alistair says:

    It is no coincidence that Islam means “submission”. All are required to submit. In the end even Yassmin will submit.

    Incidentally, if pro-choice is the gold standard of feminism, one should remember that the “most feminist of religions” – under Sharia Law – has a mandatory death penalty for those who have abortions and the abortionists who carry out the procedure.