“A CONCERTED EFFORT” – It was a vast, right-wing conspiracy, explains Yassmin Abdel-Magied:
“I don’t know how to explain how traumatic 2017 was,” she told SBS’ The Feed. “There’s nothing fun about it. It’s just like, people are mean for a whole year.”
On Anzac Day last year, Abdel-Magied posted a private Facebook post that read: “Lest We Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)”
The post sparked a furious backlash, and the author received a seemingly endless barrage of abuse and death threats on social media in response.
Today Abdel-Magied says her friends in London are unable to understand why she takes security so seriously these days. She has a 12-digit passcode on her phone, tapes over her laptop camera and will never use digital fingerprints as a form of ID.
“I’m like, ‘You don’t understand. There was a concerted effort to ruin my life, and nobody stopped them. Not the government, not advocacy groups, no one. I was out there alone.’”
Except for everyone who jumped to Yassmin’s defence. Alas, it wasn’t enough, and we clearly need laws to protect people from criticism. After all, it’s the essence of the freedom of speech that you are able to say anything you want unchallenged.
Asked to explain her views on “moderate Islam” and fundamentalism, she said: “When I grew up, the idea of fundamentalism was I adhered to the fundamentals of the faith. That’s like, praying and being kind and those sorts of things.
“The question is, who gets to define these terms about Muslims? Muslims do not define these terms by themselves. You’ve just had years and years of particularly framing Muslim people.
“I get that people are scared of the word ‘fundamentalism’, I’m just scared that the word is no longer what it means. It’s been hijacked. I have to somehow accept that to be an OK Muslim I have to be moderate? Moderate is such a weak word. I don’t want to be moderately good at anything.”
Why be moderately good at anything when you can be fundamentally bad at it? Coincidentally, Abdel-Magied seems to echo those critics of Islam who assert that the religion is unreformable – and therefore incompatible with modernity and the Western society – because to be a good Muslim one has to be a “fundamentalist”, while “moderation” is a sign of unseriousness, secularism and apostasy.