In an opinion piece for The Saturday Paper, Carland described the “Salem-esque furore” that descended upon Australia and surrounded Abdel-Magied over the past two weeks since her heated debate with Senator Jacqui Lambie on ABC-TV’s Q&A.
Carland wrote: “In The Australian alone, there have been 26 editorials and opinion pieces, and four front pages and exclusives.”
“Every major news site in the country, and some internationally, has run at least one piece on the unfolding drama – 184 at last count.”
Carland went on to explain that the media has taken screenshots of Yassmin’s Facebook exchanges and written scathing stories about them. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has weighed in. Our politicians have discussed the controversy during parliamentary question time. A former prime minister has voiced his opinion on the issue. Petitions with thousands of signatures have circulated both in support and condemnation of Abdel-Magied. The trolls on Twitter have come out in force. And even Solange Knowles has chimed in.
Carland believes this kind of viscous, excessive response would be more fitting if Abdel-Magied had “outed herself on the program as a paedophile or a North Korean spy”.
“Yassmin’s crime was to say that she found Islam feminist,” Carland wrote in The Saturday Paper “She also said she believed sharia taught adherence to the laws of the land, that culture and faith were often conflated, that killing gay people was against her religion, and that she’d travelled the world telling people how much she loved Australia.”
Carland believes that the media, especially the Murdoch empire, set out to annihilate Yassmin.
“During a time of wars, famines, terror attacks and the most controversial United States president in history, Yassmin is being treated by the media here as Public Enemy No. 1.”
As Carland explains, these attacks on Yassmin were initially confusing. Isn’t Abdel-Magied the kind of Muslim people across the political spectrum want in Australia? Moderate, feminist, patriotic, tolerant and liberal?
She’s a mechanical engineer who won Queensland Young Australian of the Year. She’s the gender ambassador for a bank and she sits on the board of an anti-family violence organisation. In fact, she fits so well into the description of a ‘moderate Muslim’ that politicians and the media have been demanding, that Carland says it would be ‘laughable if she weren’t so authentic”.
Susan Carland on the Nitty Gritty Committee.
Carland believes that Yassmin’s claim of a personal coherence between Islam and feminism was the tipping point for many media outlets.
“Women’s rights are theirs, and the subject has no place being bandied about by uppity Muslim women. Feminism is something the West beneficently imposes on Muslims, never something that can be indigenously theirs, and certainly never in a form that isn’t Western, liberal and secular.”
“To them, the only way a Muslim can be a feminist is to view Islam with the same unwavering misogyny-goggles they do.”
Carland says that the disproportionate treatment of Yassmin was a warning to other Muslims – keep your head down or we will destroy you.
“So often we hear the same bleating refrain, “Where are the moderate Muslims?” After the past fortnight, the answer is apparent,” she writes.
“You just threw her, and every other Australian Muslim, in the water. Moderate or fundamentalist, sink or float, the outcome is the same. And that was always the plan.”
You can read the full story here.