She’s Australia’s first ever, and currently only Muslim Senator, and yet Mehreen Faruqi’s opinion on the Christchurch massacre is merely “attention seeking”, suggested Liberal MP Peter Dutton on ABC Radio National this morning.
In fact, he went so far as to lump Faruqi’s sentiments in with Fraser Anning’s when he said: “One of the regrets I have is we give attention or a spotlight onto people like Fraser Anning, or like this Senator (Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi) as well.”
By all accounts, Mehreen Faruqi’s message has been one of overwhelming unity. She stood in solidarity with Muslim Australians and all Australians over the weekend following Friday’s tragedy.
However, Dutton might be feeling a bit peeved that she specifically called out right-wing, conservative politicians like himself, for fuelling the fires of division and volatility.
“Some politicians in Australia have for years been whipping up anti-muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment,” Faruqi told ABC Breakfast News this morning. “And for years, Muslims have also been warning; we’ve been speaking out and saying this is damaging and hurting the community, and that this does have consequences– this doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”
“And when I talk about politicians, I have to say I’m not only talking about the usual suspects like One Nation’s Pauline Hanson, or Fraser Anning,” she said. “I am talking about other politicians as well who have been dog whistling and who have been race-painting for years.”
Faruqi said the tragedy in Christchurch where Australian man, Brenton Tarrant murdered 50 worshippers in two of the city’s mosques should be the catalyst for deep reflection for several Australian politicians.
“We should always be unified in moments like this, but it shouldn’t have to take fifty people to die for this unity,” she said.”So, I think there’s a lot of reflection to be done by many in the highest office of Australia.”
Faruqi also condemned certain media outlets for stoking the flames of Islamophobia.
“I have to say, that some media has played the role in those messages of hate; not scrutinising those politicians which is their job. I do hope that every single one of those is reflecting on what is going on.”
“And I think, one one other thing I could add as well is: I think we have to question at this point in time, how much focus government and government agencies have put into monitoring and addressing right wing extremism and right wing terrorism. We need to really look into that and make sure that we now start listening to those people bearing the brunt of this division and Islamophobia in Australia, and for once, tackle it.”
It’s hard to fathom how Dutton could disagree with that.