Guest Post – Can they blame us for being Islamophobic?

Being branded an Islamophobic today is equal to being branded a homophobic or chauvinistic a few years ago. Any of the latter three will see you ostracised quicker than you can hit the undo button. Unless you have huge balls like Pauline Hanson, Andrew Bolt, Winston Peters or Whale Oil, you ought to tread lightly carefully.

So much so for freedom of speech. You can preach hatred or an anti-government sentiment in the name of Allah but do not talk bad about the Muslims. This is called Islamophobic or crossing the boundaries into hate speech. Muslims are clearly deemed the victims in all of this.  

The Muslim brand is not faring too well at the moment. We are mature enough to accept that all Muslims are not terrorists, but we are also weary that most terrorists are Muslim. But when is enough….enough?

I remember catching a bus from the North Shore to town. It was about 6.45am in heavy traffic. There was a guy sitting directly in front of me that looked just like your typical stereotype terrorist – about 28 years old, middle eastern, long beard, no moustache with a heavily packed rucksack. Adding to the image he was softly praying in Arabic. I could literally hear him. I was further aware that New Zealand had troops in Afghanistan and Iraq so we were not the flavour of the day.

My imagination went rife – I was having a mild panic attack and honestly believed he was psyching himself up to detonate a bomb once we got to the top of the Auckland Harbour bridge. I too was preparing myself to die and texting my partner for comfort the entire trip.

My anxiety almost got the better of me and I had to control myself from running to the front of the bus to have the driver throw him off. Imagine the media hype if that did happen – ‘Peaceful Muslim thrown off public transport by racist driver.’

To me this guy looked like a terrorist fresh out of Mosel or Raqqa.

“If it looks like a terrorist, prays like one and carries a rucksack what else can it be?

Unwillingly this guy ruined my trip. My anger was directed at him – why was he in our country, can’t he frigging pray at home, a bus is not a Mosque, why can’t they act normal.

Was I guilty of Islamophobia…. to be honest I don’t care?

Our reluctance to embrace these people is their own fault and highly proportionate to what’s happening all over the world today.

Don’t be ashamed if you are slightly islamophobic of late – you are not alone and in fact justified in your thinking. For us to change they need to change as well. As Winston Peters so eloquently put it; Muslims need to get involved, get a voice and show us we are wrong, which is not happening right now. We are human and will formulate an opinion based on what we see and experience such as my bus trip from hell.

 

by Ash Heap


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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