Understanding Discrimination and the Indigenous Australian Struggle for Social Justice – In Conversation with Senator Patrick Dudgeon

Share This Post

Sadly, discrimination and prejudice continue to exist. 

People are discriminatory, biased and all sorts of phobics. And while it is important to understand this reality, the issue should not be one that dampens a narrative around reform. The latest 2021 Australian Census highlights that Australia is a nation of migrants, with 51.5 percent of all people either born overseas or having a parent born in another country. But, although we tend to think of Australia as being multicultural, we actually rank relatively low in terms of diversity and tolerance for people from different cultures, races, or backgrounds. The national survey series Is Australia Racist?, confronting highlights Australia’s attitudes and experiences with racism, with alarming statistics headlining the continued impact of discrimination in our country. 

A social virus?

Discrimination occurs in many different shapes and forms. An interesting article describes discrimination based on race as a social virus, analogous to the infectious coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The authors explain that structural racism is embedded within our societal structures and unfairly advantages certain racial or ethnic groups over others. They explain that discrimination is a common lived experience of many minoritised groups, and its impacts spread like a blind virus through harmful, uneducated practices that negatively impact society. 

Confronting our prejudices

Understanding the nuances of discrimination to improve the society we live in, can make a difference. A first step is recognising that discrimination exists. Because biases often penetrate into the deep structural and systematic nature of societies we live in, the next step is to realise that this issue won’t be fixed overnight. Understanding that there are differences between assimilation and integration is another. The assumption that society cannot flourish unless a common way of life is adopted is often the root cause of prejudice.

“We are only as blind as we want to be.” – Maya Angelou 

When information is so readily available, our attention often nosedives into the negative. We become overly exposed to extreme perceptions and negative aspects of the very few. Our perspectives become skewed and our understanding of the people around us is ignorantly influenced. We start to demonise each other. We start to judge each other. And, we start to take refuge in an understanding that is disconnected from reality. We become blind to the wonders of the world, and the beauty that exists within its people.

Making diversity work

Science explains that most of our actions occur without our conscious thoughts. This results in thoughts and actions that occur without our conscious awareness. Within the context of discrimination, implicit biases can take place without us even realising. These stereotypes become automatic, unintentional, deeply engrained in our beliefs, and have the ability to affect our actions and behavior. Unconscious bias fosters attitudes that form the basis of our impressions of others. Accepting diversity within our communities becomes a challenge and sentiments that promote hostility become prevalent.

To address unconscious biases requires acknowledgment that everyone has them. It requires that we challenge our beliefs and reflect on our thoughts, actions, and behaviour. Creating a more inclusive and equitable environment around us can become a reality. But, we must make time and take action to educate ourselves. However, action without education may do more harm than good. 

Proactively pursuing interactions with people different from us can transform societies. However taking steps to reform ourselves, without an informed understanding of our diverse identities can be problematic. A fundamental rule of thumb is to learn about different people, from those people themselves. Rather than relying on perceptions or assumptions, why not just interact directly? 

NAIDOC Week – An example of solidarity that enables reform     

Within the Australian context, issues of discrimination can be traced as far back as history permits. Aboriginal Australians have faced a long history of painful colonisation and face intergenerational disadvantages across many spectrums. Despite this, values of respect and traditions, as well as tolerance of differences and practices, profoundly exist among Aboriginal people and communities. Like Islam, which emphasises the need for equality among all of mankind irrespective of race, skin colour, culture or faith, Aboriginal Australians place great importance and the need for a peaceful co-existence. 

Interestingly, in Australia, it is commonly unknown that both Aboriginal Australians and Muslims lived side by side without conflict or discord, for more than three centuries, and that this coexistence still prevails today. Even before contact with the early Christian settlers, Aboriginal communities interacted and lived in harmony with Muslims. From as early as the 16th century, when Muslim cameleers, labourers and industrialists were living in regions such as Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, to Broome, and Central Australia, where the Muslim cameleers prevailed, both communities had built strong links and developed sound coherence. Relationships of Muslims with local Aboriginal people were developed over time, and a great sense of respect and mutual understanding existed.

IN the present day, every year, just like in the past, Aboriginal Australians provide an opportunity to further strengthen and develop community connections. NAIDOC Week celebrates and recognises the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This event is a chance for all Australians to learn about Indigenous cultures and histories and participate in celebrating the oldest, continuous living culture on Earth.

Evidence-based practical reform

In the current era, many nations across the world implement unjust policies inciting racial discrimination. History is also a witness to forced invasions and the occupation of land in Australia. The Holy Quran explains that God Almighty has created different races and tribes across the world for the benefit of mankind: “O Mankind… and we have made you tribes and sub-tribes that you may know one another…”

Education can eliminate ‘labelling’ and stereotyping, and restrict us from categorising people to determine their worth. As we navigate our world, we must check our biases at the door, conscious or unconscious. We can do that by learning from each other and expanding our knowledge. We can intentionally navigate our interactions with others based on kindness, respect,  tolerance, and understanding

It is obligatory upon everyone to respect and get to know each other’s cultures and traditions. No one has the right to discriminate against another.  And today, an increasing number of Australians are living a way of life that can provide them with the religious freedom to practice their culture and keep their traditions alive. It is up to us to acknowledge each other, sit back, and listen to those different from us.

More To Explore

How can someone convert to Islam?

Muslims follow the religion of Islam. Becoming a Muslim has no prerequisites other than one’s commitment to act upon the teachings of Islam. Islam literally

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy (“Policy”) describes how the Website Operator (“Website Operator”, “we”, “us” or “our”) collects, protects and uses personally identifiable information (“Personal Information”) you (“User”, “you” or “your”) may provide on the muslimsdownunder1.10web.me website in the course of accessing and using our services (collectively, “Website” or “Services”).

It also describes the choices available to you regarding our use of your Personal Information and how you can access and update this information. This Policy does not apply to the practices of companies/partnerships or otherwise that we do not own or control, or to individuals that we do not employ or manage. The website is directed to users in Australia only.

About the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Assocation (“the Management Association”) promotes social, moral and spiritual well-being. The Management Association is committed to the propogation of the true teachings of Islam through peace and harmony. To promote ‘Love For All and Hatred For None’ and to establish open and honest communication, the Management Association manages and oversees the Muslims Down Under platform (“Muslims Down Under”). Muslims Down Under is an online platform aimed at tackling extremist ideologies and removing misconceptions related to Islam and Muslims.

Automatic collection of information

Our top priority is user data security and, as such, we exercise the no logs policy. We process only minimal user data, only as much as is absolutely necessary to maintain the Website or Services. Information collected automatically is used only to identify potential cases of abuse and establish statistical information regarding Website usage. This statistical information is not otherwise aggregated in such a way that would identify any particular user of the system.

Collection of personal information

You can visit the Website without telling us who you are or revealing any information by which someone could identify you as a specific, identifiable individual. If, however, you wish to use some of the Website’s features, you will be asked to provide certain Personal Information (for example, but not limited to, your name and electronic mail address). We receive and store any information you knowingly provide to us, for example through a blog submission, comment or when you fill in any online forms on the Website. The information collected may include the following:

  • Personal details such as name and country of residence.
  • Contact information such as email address, residential address, and phone numbers.
  • Any other materials you willingly submit to us such as articles, blogs, images, feedback, etc.

You can refuse to provide us with your Personal Information but then you may not be able to take advantage of some of the Website’s features. Users who are uncertain about what information is mandatory are welcome to contact us.

Personal Information and User Comments

The Website offers opportunities to comment and engage in content published. These comments are any actions taken by you that are designed to be visible to other public users. Any information you disclose in comments or other like engagement, along with your screen name and electronic email address, becomes public and may be used by the Website for online or offline promotional use. Should you choose to engage in the comments of the Website you should be aware that any Personal Information you submit can be read, collected and stored by the Website.

The comments that are expressed on blog pages or otherwise, are in no way associated with, or endorsed by, the Website and are held to be the views of the user alone. We are not responsible for the Personal Information you choose to submit in a comment, or otherwise on the Website, and we have no responsibility to publish, take down, remove or edit any of the submissions.

Storing personal information

We will retain and use your Personal Information for the period necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, and enforce our agreements (“retention period”) unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law. We may use any aggregated data derived from or incorporating your Personal Information after you update or delete it, but not in a manner that would identify you personally. Therefore, the right to access, the right to erasure, the right to rectification and the right to data portability cannot be enforced after the expiration of the retention period.

Use and processing of collected information

In order to make our Website and Services available to you, or to meet a legal obligation, we need to collect and use certain Personal Information. If you do not provide the information that we request, we may not be able to provide you with the requested services. Some of the information we collect is directly from you via our Website. Any of the information we collect from you may be used for the following purposes:

  • Send administrative information
  • Request user feedback
  • Improve user experience
  • Enforce terms and conditions and policies
  • Protect from abuse and malicious users
  • Respond to legal requests and prevent harm
  • Run and operate our Website and Services

Any information collected through webforms will be provided to the Management Association. This information is stored for the purposes as mentioned above and is used only to facilitate further correspondence between you and our platform. As a user you may object to this use but doing so may result in your webform request not being processed.

Processing your Personal Information depends on how you interact with our Website, where you are located in the world and if one of the following applies: (i) You have given your consent for one or more specific purposes; (ii) Provision of information is necessary for the performance of an agreement with you and/or for any pre-contractual obligations thereof; (iii) Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which you are subject; (iv) Processing is related to a task that is carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in us; (v) Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us or by a third party.

We will not sell or rent any Personal Information provided to us. Personal Information collected through consent or otherwise will remain in data storage related to this Website only.
Note that legally there is some information we are allowed to process until you object to such processing (by opting out), without having to rely on consent or any other of the following legal bases below. In any case, we will be happy to clarify the specific legal basis that applies to the processing, and in particular whether the provision of Personal Information is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract.

Information transfer and storage

Depending on your location, data transfers may involve transferring and storing your information in a country other than your own. You are entitled to learn about the legal basis of information transfers to a country outside your own, and about the security measures taken by us to safeguard your information. If any such transfer takes place, you can find out more by checking the relevant sections of this website or inquire with us using the information provided in the contact section.

The rights of users

You may exercise certain rights regarding your information processed by us. In particular, you have the right to do the following: (i) withdraw consent where you have previously given your consent to the processing of your information; (ii) object to the processing of your information if the processing is carried out on a legal basis other than consent; (iii) learn if information is being processed by us, obtain disclosure regarding certain aspects of the processing and obtain a copy of the information undergoing processing; (iv) verify the accuracy of your information and ask for it to be updated or corrected; (v) under certain circumstances, to restrict the processing of your information, in which case, we will not process your information for any purpose other than storing it; (vi) in certain circumstances, to obtain the erasure of your Personal Information from us; (vii) receive your information in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format and, if technically feasible, to have it transmitted to another controller without any hindrance. This provision is applicable provided that your information is processed by automated means and that the processing is based on your consent, on a contract which you are part of or on pre-contractual obligations thereof.

The right to object to processing

Where Personal Information is processed for the public interest, in the exercise of an official authority vested in us or for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by us, you may object to such processing by providing a ground related to your particular situation to justify the objection. You must know that, however, should your Personal Information be processed for direct marketing purposes, you can object to that processing at any time without providing any justification. To learn whether we are processing Personal Information for direct marketing purposes, you may refer to the relevant sections of this document.

How to exercise these rights

Any requests to exercise User rights can be directed to the Owner through the contact details provided on this website. These requests can be exercised free of charge and will be addressed by the Owner as early as possible.

Privacy of children

We do not knowingly collect any Personal Information from children under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, please do not submit any Personal Information through our Website or Service. We encourage parents and legal guardians to monitor their children’s Internet usage and to help enforce this Policy by instructing their children never to provide Personal Information through our Website or Service without their permission.
If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 13 has provided Personal Information to us through our Website or Service, please contact us. You must also be at least 18 years of age to consent to the processing of your Personal Information in Australia.

Newsletters

We offer electronic newsletters to which you may voluntarily subscribe at any time. We are committed to keeping your electronic mail address confidential and will not disclose your electronic mail address to any third parties except as allowed in the information use and processing section or for the purposes of utilising a third-party provider to send such emails. We will maintain the information sent via electronic mail in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
You may choose to stop receiving our newsletter or marketing emails by following the unsubscribe instructions included in these emails or by contacting us.

Cookies

The Website uses “cookies” to help personalise your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.
We may use cookies to collect, store, and track information for statistical purposes to operate our Website and Services. You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit internetcookies.org

Do Not Track signals

Some browsers incorporate a Do Not Track feature that signals to websites you visit that you do not want to have your online activity tracked. Tracking is not the same as using or collecting information in connection with a website. For these purposes, tracking refers to collecting personally identifiable information from consumers who use or visit a website or online service as they move across different websites over time. How browsers communicate the Do Not Track signal is not yet uniform. As a result, this Website is not yet set up to interpret or respond to Do Not Track signals communicated by your browser. Even so, as described in more detail throughout this Policy, we limit our use and collection of your personal information.

Links to other websites

Our Website contains links to other websites that are not owned or controlled by us. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other websites or third-parties. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our Website and to read the privacy statements of each and every website that may collect Personal Information.

Information security

We secure information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorised access, use, or disclosure. We maintain reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards in an effort to protect against unauthorised access, use, modification, and disclosure of Personal Information in its control and custody. However, no data transmission over the Internet or wireless network can be guaranteed. Therefore, while we strive to protect your Personal Information, you acknowledge that (i) there are security and privacy limitations of the Internet which are beyond our control; (ii) the security, integrity, and privacy of any and all information and data exchanged between you and our Website cannot be guaranteed; and (iii) any such information and data may be viewed or tampered with in transit by a third-party, despite best efforts.

Data breach

In the event we become aware that there has been unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, any Personal Information collected by the Website. We reserve the right to take reasonably appropriate measures, including, but not limited to, investigation and reporting, as well as notification to and cooperation with law enforcement authorities. In the event of a data breach, we will make reasonable efforts to notify affected individuals if we believe that the unauthorised access to, or unauthorised disclosure of, or loss of, any of the Personal Information is likely to result in serious harm to the user to whom the Personal Information relates to, or if notice is otherwise required by law. When we do, we will post a notice on the Website and send you an electronic mail.

Legal disclosure

We will disclose any information we collect, use or receive if required or permitted by law, such as to comply with a subpoena, or similar legal processes, and when we believe in good faith that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights, protect your safety or the safety of others, investigate fraud, or to respond to a government request.

Changes and amendments

It is at our discretion to update this Privacy Policy from time to time and will notify you of any material changes to the way in which we treat Personal Information. When changes are made, we will revise the updated date at the bottom of this page. We may also provide notice to you in other ways at our discretion, such as through contact information you have provided. Any updated version of this Privacy Policy will be effective immediately upon the posting of the revised Privacy Policy unless otherwise specified. Your continued use of the Website or Services after the effective date of the revised Privacy Policy (or such other act specified at that time) will constitute your consent to those changes. However, we will not, without your consent, use your Personal Data in a manner materially different than what was stated at the time your Personal Data was collected. Policy was created with WebsitePolicies.

Acceptance of this policy

You acknowledge that you have read this Policy and agree to all its terms and conditions. By using the Website or its Services you agree to be bound by this Policy. If you do not agree to abide by the terms of this Policy, you are not authorised to use or access the Website and its Services.

Contacting us

If you would like further information about this Policy or wish to contact us concerning any matter relating to individual rights and your Personal Information, you may send an email to managing.editor@muslimsdownunder.com