By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney
Why does Pauline Hanson want to divide the Australian nation on the name of one nation? Why does she want to create a line between Muslims and Non-Muslims, White and Black or Asian and non-Asian? Why has she been trying, time and again, to promote a vetoed campaign of white supremacy that has already been rejected by the majority of whites in this world as well in Australia? Why does she want to drag Australia into an era of White Australia Policy of Nineteenth Century when non-European migration was banned and Australia was known as the land of European prisoners?
One simple answer to all of the above is to look into her personal life from the start to the end. I am not sure should I even call Pauline Hanson a politician or a raw material for media houses, anyway, some people say, one should not look into a politician’s personal life rather than his/her agenda whereas I believe politician’s personal life is well connected to his/her public life.
How one has grown up from childhood, how much education one has formally received, how much knowledge and vision one has acquired on his/her subjects of interest, and how much one has been of optimistic rather than pessimistic in nature.
When hatred, disunion, victimisation and criminalities occur in an individual’s life then the person reacts in two ways; either feeling the same pain for others, take them as challenges and become a messenger of humanity, fairness, and equality or they endure for the sake of others whatever is happening in his/her life. I believe, those are God’s blessed human beings who have the wisdom and positive attitude for every fellow human being without any discrimination on the name of race, religion, culture or language.
According to the available information Pauline Hanson left school when she was only 15 years old which means she may not have completed even the higher secondary certificate. She married first time, in 1970 when she was 16 with Walter Zagorski – a Polish Refugee – and became Pauline Zagorski. Walter left Pauline when she was pregnant with her second child in 1975. Then Pauline met Mark Hanson in 1978 but married in 1980 and became Pauline Hanson and gave birth to 2 more children from Mark Hanson. It is very interesting and conflicting that a person who hates Asian and Muslims went with her second husband on honeymoon in South-East Asia and that obviously reflects that she loved Asian beaches. Pauline and Mark established a plumbing and roofing business in Brisbane until they divorced, later Pauline opened a fish and chips shop in Ipswich. It is to be noted that once Mark claimed that Pauline individually made racist and derogatory remarks about their Aboriginal clients. So again it is assumed that her loathing and agitating attitude would have been the reason of her ending of marriage again.
In August 2008, a story was published in the Daily Telegraph where it was revealed that Pauline’s lover, country singer Chris Callaghan, suddenly packed-up and left her six weeks after he asked her to marry him, again one can understand the obvious reason from her past marital record.
In August 2003, a jury in the District Court of Queensland convicted Pauline and his One Nation’s partner David Ettridge of electoral fraud for 3 years in imprisonment on the charges of falsely claiming of 500 members in order to register an organisation in Queensland as a political party (One Nation). She was also convicted for receipt of electoral fund worth $498,637.
There was another story published in The Telegraph in 2010, according to this story Pauline Hanson declared that she would leave Australia later that year and move indefinitely to Britain – probably her ancestor’s place. However, she never moved. I still think that was her right decision of going back to her routes and spending good time finding out what made her forefathers come to Australia and accept this land of Native Australians (aborigines) as their permanent home. On the other hand, unlike her forefather, Pauline Hanson despite of the fact that she was born in the multicultural society where every second person has an immigrant background, she could not accept the realities of Australia.
It is not only that Pauline Hanson doesn’t like Muslims or Asians, she also hates the thousands of years old son of the soil of this land – Native Australians (Aborigines). Pauline Hanson doesn’t believe that Indigenous Australians suffer from racism instead she claims that they are a privileged community. She thinks that Australian government is throwing undue opportunities, land, financial funds and facilities to Aborigines.
The fact of the matter is that Australia started to receive respect from the international community and the people of different parts of the world and the world started to see Australia as a peaceful home for their children when White Australia Policy was demolished in 1973. The opening of immigration policy for non-Europeans from Asia to Africa acknowledged Australia as a home for everyone indiscriminately. The migration of professionals, business community, skilled and non-skilled people not only changed the image of Australia but Australia started to become a powerful country economically, socially, and democratically.
Today, Australia is a home to over ½ million Muslims who are proud Australians. These Muslims are from different ethnic backgrounds same like other Australians. Islam is the 3rd largest and fastest growing religion in Australia. Therefore, Australian Muslims are the integral part of Australian multicultural society. Majority of Australians indiscriminately have no issue with Muslims. They are neighbour to each other, they are professional colleagues, business partners and friends in schools, colleges and universities. Muslims and non-Muslims celebrates Christmas and Eid together. They visit Easter Show and Eid Festivals together. Muslims invite non-Muslims for breakfast (Iftaar) in the holy month of Ramadan. Hence Australians have no problem if they are living together being Muslims or non-Muslims. If anyone has any problem, then that is only Pauline Hanson and her racist’s agenda to divide Australians.
Common Australian Muslims are found very constructive and affirmative in building a unified and harmonious Australia. Australian Muslims have, evidently proved that whatsoever the situation may be against the Muslims internationally – they have to deal the situation according to the demand as one Australian nation. In public comments and interviews, it has hardly been noticed that any Australian Muslim has ever abused or condemned Australian society. On the other hand, the personalities like Pauline Hanson without realizing the impact of their statements and without having adequate knowledge on the subject articulate public matters for the sake of their own vested interest especially targeting Muslims.
In Australia, as the Muslims came from different parts of the world they brought with them their own living-style, culture, social trends and political thoughts. Nevertheless, this is not something unexpected with the Muslim community alone; it may be the same situation with the other communities and the people of other faiths. When the people of a particular community live in multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious society their representatives have to be very open-minded, diplomatic, tolerable, forbearing and communal. They must know how to live with others and how to respect the others’ culture, faith and thoughts. And this what Pauline Hanson has to learn in this stage of her life.
Islam also teaches to respect the faith and beliefs of others. Prophet Mohammad denounced racism and sectarianism at the most. Pauline Hanson doesn’t like Muslims neither she likes Muslims’ need of their life-style that is Halal life-style. She either never realises or she doesn’t care about the fact & figures that globally Islam is the fastest growing religion. In the next 30 to 40 years, the statistics of global religions will change significantly, population of the followers of the global religions will remain the same except Islam and the reason is that Muslims have the highest rate of fertility and the youngest average age, the Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion or 23% of the world population, to 2.76 billion or 30% of all people in 2050. If we talk about Australia, Islam with 4.9 percent of the population will be from third largest religion to the second largest religion with almost one million more Muslims by 2050.
Pauline Hanson hates the world ‘HALAL’, and the way she expresses her views about Halal a person of ordinary intelligence will quickly realise that she knows nothing about Halal.
We pass our lives with different faiths, traditions and food. In a civilised society people are free to pass their lives with their own choice of faith, traditions and food as long as these practices do not harm others. And, certainly, eating halal meat or using halal products does not harm those who don’t use halal meat or products. Yet, Pauline Hanson along with some other radical minds need to raise matters with certain issues to fulfil their own vested interest. Islam defines every act of life from eating, drinking, washing, dressing to the activities of businesses and professions that is banking, financing, loan, insurance, and superannuation as must be according to the Islamic codes of conduct that it must be ‘Halal’ which means in English ‘Permissible’.
Moreover, Islam is not the only religion that prohibits certain types of foods and practices. Almost every religion has its own defined rules and principles for passing life. Halal Food, Products & Services are the needs of 2.5 billion Muslims in the world including over ½ million Australian Muslims. It is also to be noted that Australia is the largest meat supplier to the Muslim countries including entire Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia and that is playing a key role in Australian Export Industry. If Pauline Hanson is agitated on Halal food, products & services, she is basically running a frantic campaign against Australian exporters and animal farmers. That is why, I would provide a friendly advice to Pauline Hanson is that she should take some classes on multiculturalism and Islam so that she may survive with her un-implementable political agenda.
The writer is Editor-in-Chief of Tribune Internation and a Sydney-based Journalist, Media Analyst.