On Monday night this week a shouting match erupted on Australian TV, between an Australian Senator, Jacqui Lambie and a Muslim activist, Yassmin Abdel-Magied.
The media site Junkee followed up by releasing a video by Abdel-Magied titled “WTF is Sharia anyway?” where a complete whitewashing of sharia law was presented to a young Australian audience.
Now, what’s interesting about this episode is that Jacqui Lambie has been roundly attacked for being “racist”, while the Abdel-Magied’s nonsensical claims that Sharia is not a system of law, and that Islam is the most feminist religion have been taken seriously.
And there has been little feminist response.
Feminism is huge in Australia. Our former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was ridiculed for winking about a woman during a radio interview a couple of years ago. There were thousands of outraged tweets in response to this wink. So you would think that there might be some feminist response to the claim that Islam is a feminist religion.
A recent report was released on the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in Australia. It showed that the practice was more common than previously thought. And girls suffering from it require complex medical care in our hospitals.
There were no marches in streets. There weren’t any feminist columns or op-eds about it in our media.
However we did have a Women’s March in Sydney in response to Donald Trump’s election.
This double standard is rarely acknowledged but it has insidious consequences, particularly when the safety of girls and women is ignored.
We obviously saw this in Rothertham, UK. And we saw it in Cologne, Germany. And we are likely to see it again if privileged Westerners continue to bury their heads in the sand.