Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Melbourne Electorate: Muslim Schoolchildren
So much of the debate about Pauline Hanson and hate speech has been in the abstract but the impact of words is real. I want to read to the parliament some of the letters that I have received from students at a primary school in my electorate.
I am 12 years old. I live in Carlton with my 2 brothers, mother, and father. I am writing to you to express my feelings and worries about Pauline Hanson's opinion on Islam.
I find it hard to hear because my family and I follow the religion of Islam. And we are kind to people. Unlike Pauline Hanson's public statements, we are people who should not be feared. I don't like what she's saying about my religion because it goes to the media and the media shows to the world.
It's also affecting me because I am being called a terrorist. I don't like being called a terrorist because it puts me down and makes me upset. It upsets me because most of the time I am a normal grade 6 boy who lives in Australia. I love that Australia has freedom, I get a great education, I don't live in fear, I can play with my friends. I go for Carlton footy club, and I go for Real Madrid and Chelsea in football.
Adam, I would like to thank you and the Greens for not listening to Pauline Hanson's unkind words. If I could ask one more thing of you, it would be: ask Pauline to read this letter and when she's done tell her—is she still afraid of me? Hope she isn't.
In peace, Jibreel.
And 11-year-old Sondos wrote:
First Pauline Hanson targeted Asians, now Muslims. I mean, really? She hasn't even met us.
Now when I walk on the streets with my mum people stop and stare with us. They make me feel like I should be ashamed of wearing a hijab and being a Muslim.
Also when I went to a sports carnival I got called a terrorist and during the 800m race I stopped. This makes me feel so sad and scared.
And Ashwak wrote:
I'm an ordinary 10-year-old girl from a Muslim family in Carlton. I'm not a terrorist, drug dealer, or ISIS member. I'm the same as everyone and I believe everyone should be treated equally as a person. I think people should have a voice.
I have seen on the street where a woman's hijab was pulled off her head. I ask why? Why did they do that? When Pauline Hanson says Muslims should be banned from Australia I am not scared. This is my place, this is my country, I call Australia home. But I am afraid for my future. Will I not be allowed a job or a home to live in?
I look after my family and friends. I mostly try hard at school. I like living in Australia. I want to tell Pauline Hanson that Muslims mean peace.
And Hadya wrote:
Why do so many people hate us?
This is why it is so important that political leaders stand up to racism. It is why we should not be changing our laws to make it easier to say racist things. People who have not even become teenagers yet should not be asking why people hate them and should not have to stop in the middle of their sports carnivals. If we do not stand up to the likes of Pauline Hanson, it hurts children and their families.