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You can't ban Muslims - who would bat three?

16th August, 2018
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Usman Khawaja. (AAP Image/David Moir)
Expert
16th August, 2018
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Fraser Anning wants a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia and a return to the White Australia Policy. And I wish a virulent pox upon him.

Anning, the Senator from Bob Katter’s party the ‘Katter’s [White] Australians [Only] Party’ (my brackets, same diff), believes Muslims and not-white people, do not “assimilate” with “Australians”, or at least his version of Australians, that being people who look like him.

Leaving aside the vacuous, sheltered idiocy, the flat-out rank bigotry and racism of such views, let’s debunk the funk out of it.

Let’s show old mate Anning how Muslims and various brown people from the Middle East and elsewhere have assimilated into Australian culture.

Because Australia is a sporting culture.

And Muslims and not-white people have achieved as much as anyone within it.

Indeed, Muslims and various not–white people have:

• Won AFL premierships;
• Won NRL premierships;
• Won world title fights;
• Won the Rugby World Cup;
• Captained NSW in State of Origin;
• Scored more points than anyone in rugby league;
• Batted three for Australia in Test cricket.

How much more Australian can you get than a bloke bats three for Australia? Don Bradman batted three for Australia. And so does Usman Khawaja. Who is a Muslim.

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Bradman and Khawaja are equally Australian.

Because all of us come from somewhere.

Because Australia, mate – we bring ‘em in from everywhere.

Robbie Farah’s mum and dad came out from Lebanon in the early ‘70s. And they worked their ring out.

The old man worked in a factory, drove cabs, seven days a week. He’d come home to eat lunch. And that’s all he did. That’s Robbie’s memory of his old man – eating lunch and going to work.

Within 20 years of arriving in Sydney from Lebanon – with no English, no education and no money, as people Peter Dutton called ‘mistakes’ – five of their six kids had university degrees.

One captained NSW in rugby league, played for Australia, and owns an NRL premiership ring.

Robbie Farah’s story is a story of Australia. That is Australia. Not some gibbering bloke, all hat no cattle.

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Farrah-Smith

Robbie Farah (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

A pox on him. Anning’s desire for a White Australia Policy was brushed fifty years ago by Harold Holt. If it still existed today, Robbie Farah as we know him would not.

The irony would be lost on Anning and Katter – but Bob wouldn’t exist either. His grandad’s from Lebanon.

Damn these people are dumb.

Anyway.

Usman! How good does he go, Usman? Beautiful to watch: Silky, left-handed. The David Gower of our time. Hasn’t he scored some cracking Test hundreds? For Australia.

His mob came out from Pakistan in the ‘80s. Worked hard, brought up a family. Played cricket. Old man was mad for it.

And despite a few tangles early – mum struggled with ‘sandwiches’, she’d soak their white bread sandwiches with fish curry – they’ve assimilated, you’d suggest, right?

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Hm? He bats at three for Australia!

Yet because Usman practices a faith – quietly, in his way, in his time, without shouting or preaching about it – apparently he’s one of Them: a brown person with a scary religion to whom we should bar entry to the country.

I had a coffee with him, Usman. Great bloke. You talk to him, couldn’t find a better bloke.

And he smiled when he was talking about his mates at Queensland, giving him stick about being Muslim. He’d give them grief back about being Christians, or whatever they were.

And that, Anning, is the Australian Way. You put shit on your mates.

Australia's Usman Khawaja celebrates making 100 runs

Australia’s Usman Khawaja (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

Every generation has its bigotry. Wasn’t long ago Catholics were being persecuted. Don Bradman had a thing for Catholics – he didn’t like ‘em.

Bradman was a Mason, whatever that is. And Bill O’Reilly, Stan McCabe and Jack Fingleton were Catholics. And there was a sectarian schism in the Aussie dressing room, which is hard to believe, just as it’s hard to believe there were signs in guest houses: “No dogs or Irish.”

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Matt Hayden would make Test hundreds, do a big sign of the cross on this chest. And Australians were mostly like, Haydos is a Catholic? Who cares? Long as he doesn’t get preachy; his business.

But Muslims – who believe in the same god as Bradman and Hayden and, presumably, Anning and Katter – should be banned? Just because they’re a frightening ‘other’?

In 2018 it’s hard to believe we’re still having these conversations. But here we go: They’re Australians! For sweet Dennis Lillee’s sake! That’s what Australians are!

Doesn’t matter what colour or what deity you think will or won’t grant you everlasting life, or how many runs you’ve scored batting three.

This is what Australians are. And some are bloody good at sport. And old mate Anning and dopey bloody Bob Katter and dear sweet knuckle-nut Pauline – who didn’t disown Anning because she disagreed with him but because he brushed her party soon as he got in, with nineteen (19) votes – they flat out don’t like brown people.

Which is ironic, again, given Bob Katter’s grandad was from Lebanon.

Hazem el Masri was born in Lebanon in 1976. He’s the greatest point-scorer in the history of Australian rugby league. He played 317 games. And you won’t find a better bloke than Hazem el Masri.

So what? So this: Hazem’s missus gets around in a head-scarf and still cops it from half-wits riled up by the likes of Anning and Katter and Pauline, who don’t know or don’t care their bigotry stems from fear of the different.

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There’s a Muslim bloke plays for Richmond Tigers, Bachar Houli. And every now and again, however many times a day, he gets out a little mat and prays to his god. There’s a month each year he doesn’t eat when the sun’s out.

Bachar Houli shoots for goal for the Richmond Tigers

(AAP Image/Julian Smith)

His business! Don’t make it my business, I don’t give a stuff what you do.

If it makes you feel better, go for your life. It’s a nice sentiment – I don’t think there’s a magical man in the sky who invented human beings and will grant them eternal life if they follow a set of moral guidelines.

Be good if there was.

Don’t think there is.

But it’s Bachar’s business, just as it’s Usman’s and Hazem’s and Robbie’s to believe whatever they like. It’s a free country. Believe what you want.

Just be nice.

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Sonny Bill Williams! He’s nice! He’s also one of the greatest rugby players of the modern generation. He’s excelled in the two hardest arenas of two sports – the weekly grind of the NRL (two premierships), and playing No.12 for the All Blacks (two World Cups).

Sonny Bill converted to Islam after he arrived in Australia, which would presumably make him outside old mate Anning’s ‘No Muslims’ edict.

Unless, I dunno, Fraser would retrospectively ban Muslims as part of his ‘Final Solution’. Put ‘em in camps, all that.

Who knows – maybe he hates Polynesians, too. Maybe he hates the Maori half of Sonny Bill, and likes the white half? There’s people hate Barrack Obama like that. Hate him for having a Kenyan dad and a white mum from Hawaii.

Whatevs! A veritable pox on these people, truly, the staggering stupidity.

Because in a free society – Fraser? That means Australia – Sonny Bill and dear old gibbering Anthony Mundine and little old atheist me can do whatever we like within the laws of our society.

And if we obey the laws of the land, and try to be nice, and don’t foist too much of our shit upon other people, we’ll be sweet.

And we can wear a turban. Or a cowboy hat. Or a big black bucket on our heads. It’s a free country for sweet baby Jesus and all the arch-angels’ sake.

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Ned Kelly wore a black bucket on his head. He’s a hero to some, a cop-killer and thief to others. They hung him in Melbourne Gaol. And I’m not one thousand per cent sure of the tangential path of my point.

Point is whether you’re batting three at the SCG or kicking goals at Belmore or charging about for Tigers of both stripes – or going into Parliament on the back of 19 votes – as long as you’re being a nice person, that’s it, you’re an Australian.

You, dear reader, are of course free to think otherwise.

And I, of course, am free to wish a pox upon you.