Pauline Hanson is an Australian politician who was recently elected to control the Australian senate after running on an anti-Islam ticket. On political advertisements, Hanson advocated,”No More Mosques, Sharia Law, Halal certification, Muslim refugees. With a history of xenophobia, she has given speeches titled,”Stop multiculturalism“, where she bitterly complains of Australia being “swamped with Asians.” Like Donald J Trump, Hanson believes that Muslim immigration is detrimental to the well-being and fabric of Australian society. ”
Stirring up fear of Muslims to her audience, Hanson asks”Do you want to see terrorism on our streets here? Do you want to see our Australians murdered?” What Hanson is oblivious to is that Muslims have been peacefully interacting with the indigenous people of Australians for centuries. Janak Rogers, an Australian journalist writes that:
Few Australians are aware that the country’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had regular contact with foreign Muslims long before the arrival of Christian colonisers.
Not only did Australian aboriginals trade with Muslims but the influence was so deep that anthropologists have discovered Islamic motifs utilized in Aboriginal worship rituals. Historian John Bardley states that the trade between Muslims and Australian Aboriginal people,”was fair – there was no racial judgement, no race policy. ” Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of European interactions with Australian Aboriginals.
Settler-Colonialism in Australia
When Pauline Hanson states that,””I should have a right to have a say in who comes into my country,” she reinforces the white settler-colonial structure that has historically oppressed Australian Aboriginals. Unwanted by their own country, the British Empire sent its criminal underclass to usurp Australia. Instantaneously, the British engaged in numerous acts of terrorism against the indigenous people of Australia.
Scientific racism supported the grotesque violence perpetuated against Australian Aboriginals. Aboriginals were displayed as the ‘evolutionary missing link’ who were closer to apes with some even placed in zoos. White settlers treated Aboriginals as a ‘dying race’ who deserved to be annihilated. Discussing the rapid rate of this violence, Aboriginal Historian Allen Madden states,”Our Tank Stream of freshwater here was polluted in the first six months that they arrive.”In order secure borders around territory they were seeking to steal, Aboriginals would be wholesale murdered for going into their everyday hunting sites for livestock. Aboriginals were treated as “enemies of the state” who had to be annihilated to make room for white settlers.
The Impact of Malcolm X in Australia.
Aboriginals were subjected to a plethora of racist discrimination that sought to segregate them away from mainstream society. As a direct result of this legacy, Australian Aboriginals disproportionately live in poverty, have lower life expectancy, and a lower standard of living than the descendants of the white settler populations.
Likely to Hanson’s dismay, as a product of the oppression that Aboriginals were subjected to, many Aboriginals became inspired by the politics of an African-American Muslim: Malcolm X!
Gary Foley, an Australian Aboriginal activist expressed that,”As a young black Koori kid in a tough ghetto like Redfern at the time, the words of Malcolm X made a lot of sense to me. In fact, I was able to relate to almost everything he was saying.”
Justin Agale an Australian Aboriginal convert to Islam wrote of the impact that Malcolm X had upon him,”Here was a man who was interested in social justice and in furthering the cause of his people but he was also interested in his own spiritual journey to truth. “
Shaheed Malik an Australian Aboriginal who converted to Islam after reading the autobiography of Malcolm X expressed his belief that,“Islam offers a faith untainted by colonialism and racism. It is a liberating religion.”
Pauline Hanson’s anti-islam discourse systematically effaces the experiences of indigenous Australian Aboriginals who have been inspired by Malcolm X’s islamic legacy of working to uplift the oppressed.
A Message to Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson: the future of Australia does not belong to you. It belongs to Justin Agale, Shaheed Malik, Gary Foley and the rest of the Australian Aboriginal population. You have absolutely no right to determine who comes into “your” country because the land of Australia does not belong to you. It belongs to Australian Aboriginals who have been the victims of continued terrorism inflicted by European settlers. Instead of promoting xenophobic fears, you should instead be looking to rectify the legacy of the multiple social injustices against the Australian Aboriginal people.