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Sep 14, 2016

The Guardian | World | Australia | Paulin Hanson: Politicians and Muslim Leaders Condemn Hanson: " She Doesn't Know What She's Talking About" - September 15, 2016 (00:30 BST)

theguardian.com
 
Paul Karp
 
Pauline Hanson’s comments about the impact of Islam and migration on Australia have received condemnation from Muslim leaders and politicians across the spectrum.

Keysar Trad, the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, said the speech displayed ignorance about Islam and that Hanson needed to conform to Australian values like a “fair go for all”.
In her inaugural Senate speech on Wednesday Hanson warned Australia was “at risk of being swamped by Muslims” and claimed, without evidence, organised crime rates were higher among Muslim populations.
She called for a “halt to further migration” and told people who did not assimilate to “go back where you came from”.
Trad said Hanson “doesn’t know what she’s talking about – she doesn’t seem to have anything but the most basic rhetoric about Islam, she doesn’t know about Islam itself”.
He warned the comments would justify the “ill-informed views” of those who have Islamophobic opinions, making harassment of Muslims more likely. They would also “give credence” to people that were unreasonably afraid of Muslims.
“Hanson should be the first to conform to Australian values – she should conform to a fair go for all.
“I’d like her to conform to the Australian values of honesty and integrity towards your neighbours and fellow citizens. Clearly she has betrayed her lack of understanding of what Australian values really are.”
Ali Kadri, spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland, told ABC’s AM that Hanson was “so ignorant about my culture and my faith that it is shocking”.
“Unfortunately this will make discrimination and racism mainstream,” he said.
Kadri said Hanson’s comments were “wrong and illegal”, because the constitution guaranteed freedom of religion.
He said her comments could lead to violence and Muslim women were afraid to go out.
“We’ve already seen the rise of rightwing hate crimes in Europe and America. But what will define our country is not Pauline Hanson but what the rest of us do.”
Joe Caputo, the chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Joe Caputo, told Guardian Australia the speech was offensive, unfair, and unfactual. He cited the low proportion of the population who are Muslim to rebut Hanson’s claim other Australians are “swamped by Muslims”.
Caputo said migrants and others made a huge contribution to Australia’s economic wellbeing, including international students consuming billions of dollars of education services.
“The speech was populist, it was designed to rally people that are fearful, people that haven’t got the [economic] means.
“They feel that they have been left out of the changes that have come so far. The challenge for the mainstream is to ensure that nobody is left out of social policies and economic policies.”
In comments to the Australian newspaper, the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said: “Senator Hanson knows I do not agree with her views on ­migration. Australia is the world’s most successful multicultural ­society and the foundation of that success is mutual respect.”
Labor’s Penny Wong told Radio National she chose not to attend the speech because Hanson “peddles prejudice and fear”.
“There is no community which has been made stronger by prejudice and fear ... by targeting people based on their religion or ethnicity. Her comments don’t make Australia stronger or safer, or Australia a more cohesive society.”
Wong argued if Hanson had been around in the 1950s or 60s she would have targeted Greeks and Italians, then in later decades eastern Europeans, then Asians in the 1990s, and today Muslims.
“I think diversity is a strength,” she said.
Wong argued Hanson’s policy prescriptions were “no answer” to economic ills and would make Australians poorer, citing a Productivity Commission that migration will boost Australia’s GDP per capita by $7,000 by 2060.
On ABC’s 7:30 on Wednesday, the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said some issues Hanson had raised including the risk of terrorism and access to services were “matters of concern”.
“I don’t agree with her views about Muslims and an attack on multiculturalism,” she said. “I think that’s been the basis of our success as a nation, we’ve welcomed migrants from every corner of the globe for generations and I hope we continue to do so.”
Peter Dutton, the immigration minister, told 2GB Radio had met One Nation parliamentarians and could work with them on border protection.
But he said he did not agree with Hanson’s views that “every person from a Muslim background is going to do the wrong thing, or that we’re going to be swamped, or [that there is] the prospect of Sharia law being introduced here”.
Senator Nick Xenophon told Sky News the way Hanson had “vilified” Islamic Australians was “heartbreaking”.
“This is not what Australia is about – we are an open, inclusive country. Pauline Hanson is wrong.”
Richard Di Natale, the leader of the Greens, said Hanson’s was an “overtly racist, bigoted, divisive speech”. He explained Greens senators had walked out of her speech because “we didn’t want to dignify it with an audience”.
“She’s been elected as a member of parliament, she’s got a platform, it doesn’t mean we have to stay in there and listen to that garbage.
“It just got worse and worse, then I think she tried to conflate refugees with terrorists – and at that point there, our team had had enough.”