That Muslim Poll: If You’re Shocked, History Suggests You Shouldn’t Be


Last week, an Essential Poll revealed that half the population want to ban Muslims from migrating to Australia. Junaid Cheema is alert, but not alarmed.

Muslims making headlines for the wrong reasons is nothing new, it seems like that’s all we do. If it’s not the latest Terrorist attack or ISIL beheading, it’s the reminder of a shadowy law system slowly slithering into our society.

The headlines constantly tell us the Muslim is hell-bent on forcing our freedoms into submission and can’t be reasoned with. So can we blame every day Australian’s for wanting to keep their families safe from such a threat? Perhaps not, because the Muslim is the very picture of every thing we are not and never want to be; but a closer look at this picture will reveal, that this picture is a caricature.

A caricature like the Jewish caricature of the mid 1900s. A visit to the national Immigration Museum of Australia, reminds us of a past that we rather forget, where we can see these old caricatures of Jewish immigrants, with unattractive features promoted as undesirables wanting to come to Australia for all the wrong reasons.

Back then 58 per cent of the Australian public was averse to Jewish immigration. We think we have left that behind because we have grown up much since then as a nation, but have we? Perhaps I don’t blame 49 pert cent of the Australian public for feeling how they do – after all they only have a caricature, an unauthentic picture.

We live in a world of fast food and fast truth, neither of which is healthy. We are happy to gobble down a hormone-filled, deep-fried caged chicken, but we don’t want to know how the chicken ended up before us, nor what it will do to our bodies. All that matters is that it is quick, hot and tasty, and that is precisely how we like our information regardless of what it might do to our minds.

Our fact consumption is as unhealthy as our fat consumption. Legitimate facts around Muslims and terrorism are irrelevant because they tell us the majority of Terrorist are not Muslims, but the reporting makes us believe that Muslims are the only terrorists.

The facts tell us alcohol has killed over 80,000 Aussies since 911 (15 per day) in comparison to the three Aussies who have been killed on Australian soil by deranged lunatics claiming to be Muslim.

new matilda, beer, alcohol, australia
(IMAGE: Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr)

Nonetheless we want to open up champagne bottles and close down borders. While the next headline screams Islamic misogyny, male consumers of those headlines will abuse women on the street for being Muslim.

The actual threat of our own domestic violence epidemic (80 to 100 murders per year) is pushed to the fringe while a fringe Muslim is pulled into centre stage and presented as the biggest threat.

A media and political circus will ensue based on vague notions of what the Grand Mufti didn’t say, picturing him as a Monkey and leading us to believe he supports terrorism; but when he stands in church and explicitly says on record ‘If you don’t love, you can’t believe and you can’t love if you don’t spread peace between people’, his words become un-newsworthy. There is little hope of getting even the basic facts right, for facts seem to be the first casualty in a world of fast truth; instead we are fed another so called ‘honest’ debate around Islam in which a Muslim panelist is rarely present.

The victims of this fast truth are not just the half a million Australian Muslims who are unfairly told that they are not welcome in this country; the victims are also half the Australian public who are deliberately being misled into supporting what the extremists want – that is, cleaving our nation in half and normalising hatred.

As I hear the ghost of Goethe calling “none are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free”; I also hear something else…

I hear the calls of hope from at least 51 per cent of Australians who reject a ban based on hysteria and fear. These are the upright individuals who know what it means to be Aussie, who know what it means to be the underdog. They know that being human means protecting human rights unequivocally, and standing up for what is right even if it means standing alone.

I don’t blame those who support a ban on Muslims, but I ask them to understand the implications of such thinking, which doesn’t make any of us safer, stronger or this great nation any greater.

I ask them to reflect on the past and the evils of caricaturing an entire people, and ask them to consider whether we are creating an Australia that future generations will be proud of, or ashamed.

Junaid Cheema is an IT executive, writer and activist. In addition to his career, Junaid volunteers management consultancy services to help not-for-profits, including foster care agencies, and philanthropy startups.