Sue Arnold, Ocean Shores
At the United Nations last week, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban, urged education for all children. Malala is a passionate campaigner for the rights of female children to be educated. She presented the UN with three million signatures in support of her call.
The evidence of repression of women and female children in Muslim nations is in our media every day. Saudi women are not allowed to drive cars. Many Muslim women are not allowed to go out of their houses without a male chaperone. Afghan women are enduring harsh times with 12-year-old children being married off to old men. Cases of torture, rape and honour killing are not unusual. In Lebanese refugee camps, girls as young as 11 and 12 are being married off, some giving birth to babies at 14 years of age.
The majority of asylum seekers being brought to our shores by people smugglers are from Muslim countries. It must be abundantly obvious that there are huge ravines between our cultures and that western women who have, in many cases, fought for equal rights are shocked by the veiling and oppression which is the lot of many Muslim women now living in Australia.
To see a woman completely swathed from head to toe in black with a mask covering the face is the complete antithesis of women’s equality. Many women find this oppression revolting, and we have an inalienable right to our beliefs and opinions. The battle for women’s equality in this country was hard fought and critical to establishing a sane and responsible future that encompassed both sexes and their gifts.
Australians are entitled to be concerned about the exponentially growing people-smugglers’ trade. And entitled to note that in other countries where there has been a major Muslim immigration, trouble soon follows. Australians are amazingly tolerant people; we expect that same respect from others.