We need to hear voices that say following Islam is not a disease; that modest fashion can be as Australian as bikinis and thongs; and that our religious, cultural and ethnic diversity is an amazing strength that can delight and astound us with its fascinating variety as much as we are united on the common purpose of sustaining well-being, inclusion, access and equity for all citizens.
To counter Islamophobia at its roots, we need a grounded and honest national conversation about the extent of the problem. We also need a prime minister and government that will lead by example and make it crystal clear that structural barriers impacting Muslims’ lives and the racism Muslim communities face will be tackled robustly.
We also need a strong and diverse anti-racism movement willing to tackle the politics of bigotry and division head-on. Love a Muslim Day is a worthy gesture but most Muslims I know are not bothered about being loved – they just want to feel safe and secure. They would like the right to live with dignity, to be seen and valued as full human beings and citizens without having to prove how good or how Australian they are.