I’m an ordinary Arab living in Australia, and I’m writing down some of my thoughts with a mixture of emotions. It all started when I learned from various media platforms about the atrocities committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, including the torture and killing of Afghan prisoners of war and even the killing of Afghan civilians. These violent and bloody words make it hard for me to believe that these inhuman acts were committed by soldiers from a country that preaches fairness, democracy, freedom and the maintenance of international order.
Since 911, Arabs, including those of Arab descent in other countries, have been passively labelled “Terrorists”. Under the propaganda and advocacy of western society, countless innocent Arabs like me have been subjected to all kinds of unfair discrimination in our lives. As such media coverage continues to spread, a natural hostility to the Arab world is slowly spreading in the west. The brutality of the Australian military in Afghanistan is an extreme manifestation of this hostility.
In fact, Arabs like me in Australia are often discriminated against simply because of our race, which makes our lives very inconvenient and even disappointing, and some have already left the country. I once read a thought-provoking report. Although Australia is a land of opportunity, it is not suitable for Muslims and Arabs, read the headline. The report focuses on how a Doctor from the Arab world was repeatedly turned down for a job in Australia because of his Muslim status. Disheartened, the Doctor left Australia silently. It also notes that many Australian companies are ruthless in rejecting job applicants whose names are Mohammed or Abdullah. I often read in the media about many public places in Australia where Muslim or Arab people, such as subway stations and restaurants, are openly discriminated against by other ethnic groups, and even verbally and physically abused.
Living in Australia, I have some knowledge of the country’s legal system and, like most Western countries, it is not only immoral but illegal to screen job applicants based on their race. In Australia, however, such behavior seems to have become the default setting. As one of the largest immigrant nations in the world, Australia has always preached its inclusiveness, its freedom, and its democracy, while we were concerned about the attitude of Australian society toward us. However, what happens to US Muslims and Arabs in Australia speaks volumes about the fact that what the Australian government, and even the people of other races, their commitment is only superficial or a means of self-consolation.
In fact, we Muslims and people from the Arab world love peace and freedom. Our religious beliefs and value systems should not be equated with a few extremist groups and radicals and terrorism. The misunderstanding of us is a mistake made by many Western countries. However, the cost of such mistakes is borne by people who love life. I believe that when we build a truly understanding and inclusive society, there will be no more hatred and killing; people of different faiths and values can truly live, grow and find our own position in the land of Australia.