As someone who 100% disagrees with everything Sonia Kruger said this week, I’m glad that she made those controversial statements about banning Muslims.
The reason why? Because it’s started a very public conversation about race, religion, rights and kindness – and it’s the conversation we all really need to have.
Because, you see, the really scary part of the whole shebang to me wasn’t Sonia’s words.
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What Sonia Kruger said was atrocious, but Sonia Kruger isn’t an atrocious person. I think she’s misguided in her views, and very naïve if she thinks ‘banning Muslims’ is really the answer to such a complex global issue – but she’s not a heartless racist, as some would have you believe.
That said, what has really bothered me since Monday has been the reactions from Australian people and the Australian media.
Here’s the thing: I’m sick of seeing all Muslims lumped in with the extremists.
One Muslim crazy person does NOT represent an entire faith of more than 1.5 million people.
Just as all Christians are not intolerant insensitive homophobes, like the Westboro Baptist Church.
And just as all white people are not flag-flying racists, like the Ku Klux Klan.
I have a number of Muslim friends who are wonderful, kind people who are mortified at what is happening.
These ‘extremists’ are psychopaths, regardless of religion – and anything that serves to further divide people rather than brining everyone together to work against these killers is harmful.
That’s why Sonia’s comments were so harmful: they feed into a dangerous “us vs them” mentality.
This is what people don’t get – people like Chelsea, who wrote (in response to a very thoughtful summary of the whole affair): “Sonia never said a thing wrong, she only voiced what most of us are already thinking, and she sure as hell should not have had to apologise. Everyone has a right to their own opinion.”
(Sidenote: No, Chelsea, she wasn’t voicing what we’re all thinking, she spoke on behalf of a very scared, ignorant and uninformed few).
I agree that everyone has a right to an opinion. But they don’t have a right to be shielded from the backlash to their opinion.
While we’re talking about rights, here’s one that everyone seems to forget. Who in this world has the right to be “safe”?
In my view the answer to that is: we all do.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the incredible, safe, healthy, progressive first-world country that is Australia. Does that mean I have more of a ‘right’ to safety than those who are born in the poorest, least safe parts of the world?
Hardly. The terrified people of Syria who are desperate to get out of the destructive path of ISIS? They want to be safe too – and they deserve that right just as much as you or I do.