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As a westernised woman, I am absolutely appalled about what I have learned today.
I attended a workshop addressing the "Increased violence towards Muslim women". I thought that this had occurred due to the crazy happenings since 9/11. Boy was I wrong!
I met several women in hijab today, who described stories of being spat on, pushed, threatened with rape, having their hijabs violently ripped off their heads in public. They said that it was a "normal daily occurrence" and simply accepted it.
One woman described being heavily pregnant, approached by a stranger and pushed backwards onto a trestle table on the side of a busy street. When she gave birth to her first child, she described her hospital experience as being "3 days of hell" and being mistreated my nurses and midwives. She said that because of her experience, she became heavily depressed and will never forget the emotional trauma of her experience in hospital as a new Muslim mother.
Children in hijab are also being abused in the same way and are often fearful for leaving the house and experiencing nightmares.
And all this - for what? Having a religious faith and wearing a scarf on your head?
Now I know when I smile to Muslim passers by in the shopping centre - why they look down. It is because they are frightened. They fear hate and expect to be abused and find it hard to trust.
Many have fled their home countries as refugees and have come here for the want of a better life. Many have been born in Australia and converted to Islam when they have met their husbands.
Never ever, have I been treated poorly by families of the Islamic faith. I have always been welcomed with pure kindness, beautiful food and sent off with peaceful blessings. If anything, if I were to compare, I have been treated more disrespectfully by non-Muslims.
Honestly - this rant is not about turning one against the other. It's about highlighting awareness about this and the need for unity. We are one and all the same - strip the skin off our bodies and we all look the same inside, no matter our beliefs.
Could you imagine what would happen if a little Anglo girl were spat on, hot, pushed, shoved and vilified, just because she had a pair of "Dora the explorer" shoes?
What makes violence against others right? Absolutely NOTHING, makes violence towards others right.