With politicians and the media stoking Islamophobia, extremist fringe groups regular rallying against Muslims, some women restricting their movements from fear and sophisticated new anti-Muslim party the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) recently launched, it’s time for ordinary Australians to get organised against bigotry.
Voices against bigotry is building a network of Muslims and non-Muslims across the country that aims to raise an opposing voice against growing Islamophobia. We encourage ordinary people and community leaders, particularly politicians, to take a stand on this issue. Words have consequences. When politicians, the media or anti-Muslim groups encourage a public discourse that depicts Muslim women as victims and Muslim men as terrorists or sexual predators, it hurts real people by encouraging discrimination and verbal and physical attacks on Muslims. We need to replace this discourse with one that affirms our diversity, common humanity and shared wish for peace.
The Voices against Bigotry network writes articles for the media and academic journals, makes public comment and acts as a clearing house on anti-Muslim bigotry, advertising events and centralising research and information. With anti-Muslim parties gaining ground in Europe and the US, where Donald Trump recently proposed barring Muslims from America, the need to speak up is more urgent than ever.
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Voices against Bigotry condemns the vilification of Muslims. Australian society has greatly benefitted from a diversity of cultures and religions. We oppose bigotry directed against one part of our community for political ends.
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