ABC: host a debate between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Yassmin Abdul-Magied regarding Islam
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On February 13th, during an episode of the taxpayer-funded ABC's flagship current affairs program Q&A, invited guest and ABC contributor Yassmin Abdul-Magied became involved in a heated exchange with Tasmanian Senator, Jacqui Lambie.
During the discussion, Ms Abdul-Magied argued that Islam is a feminist religion while defending the implementation of Sharia in Australia.
After widespread condemnation of her comments, Ms Abdel-Magied sought advice from anti-LGBT and anti-woman Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman, Wassim Doureihi on his private Facebook page.
Mr Doureihi criticised Ms Abdel-Magied for her inability to argue Islamic doctrine forcefully and stated that her defence of Sharia was problematic.
In response, Ms Abdel-Magied replied: "What specifically was problematic and how can I do better in the future inshallah? I am young, (sic) and willing to learn, inshallah. Trying to do the best with the platform I can, Allah willing.”
Mr Doureihi continued that Ms Abdel-Magied had “ended up framing Islam through a secular lens, aimed at a secular people and conscious of the presence of a secular government.” Mr Doureighi then suggested that they continue their conversation in a private message thread.
Following the broadcast of the original episode of Q&A, ABC has been targeted with a petition on Change.org by Muslim leaders.
"Whilst you may view last night as an opportunity to boost ratings at the expense of fairness and respect to panelists, and members of minority communities, we view the bullying that occurred on last night's TV show as a clear example of further deterrence for Muslim youth to engage in public platforms,” the petition reads.
"We demand an apology from Q&A for its poor handling of the debate and for its failure to uphold its values of respect and integrity."
In response, a counter petition was started calling on the ABC to condemn and sack Ms Abdel-Magied.
We don’t believe that anyone should be fired for exercising their freedom of speech, but we do believe that in a free and open society, ideas should be challenged in as large a forum as possible.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken critic of Islam, and in particular, the treatment of women, children and sexual minorities under Sharia.
Born in Somalia to devoutly Muslim parents, Hirsi Ali was subjected to female genital mutilation as a child and escaped an arranged marriage in 1992 when she was granted asylum in the Netherlands. Fleeing Europe after the execution-style murder of her friend and colleague Theo van Gogh and explicit threats made against her by Muslim extremists, Hirsi Ali has nevertheless continued her work advocating for the rights of minority groups threatened by the implementation of Sharia around the world.
Ms Abdul-Magied is entirely free to express her own opinion about feminism and Islam. We feel it is appropriate, however, that these views are challenged in a public forum by someone more knowledgable, and whose understanding of these issues more nuanced than those of Senator Lambie.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be visiting Australia during the first two weeks of April as part of her speaking tour. We ask that the ABC host a debate between Yassmin Abdul-Magied and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on the specific merits or not of Sharia and Islamic doctrine in relation to women’s rights.
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