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  • Australians are asking how did we get here? Well, Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy | Jason Wilson | Opinion

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See the news Australians are asking how did we get here? Well, Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy | Jason Wilson | Opinion from Source Guardian on 17/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

Australians are asking how did we get here? Well, Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy | Jason Wilson | Opinion

The worst terror attack in New Zealand’s modern history took place on Friday, and the alleged perpetrator is an Australian.Appropriately, this calamity has started a process of deep reflection in the man’s home country. Everywhere, decent Australians are asking, how did we get here? Do we own him? There has been extensive, international discussion about the role of the online subculture of the far right in these events – the codes, memes, and signals of internet-mediated white supremacy.There’s been less reflection on the fact that any 28 year old in Australia has grown up in a period when racism, xenophobia, and a hostility to Muslims in particular, were quickly ratcheting up in the country’s public culture.In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised.Australian racism did not of course begin in 2001. The country was settled by means of a genocidal frontier war, and commenced its independent existence with the exclusion of non-white migrants. White nationalism was practically Australia’s founding doctrine. Read more But a succession of events in the first year of the millennium led to Islamophobia being practically enshrined as public policy.First, the so-called Tampa Affair saw a conservative government refuse to admit refugees who had been rescued at sea. It was a naked bid to win an election by whipping up xenophobia and border panic. It worked.In the years since, despite its obvious brutality, and despite repeated condemnations from international bodies, the mandatory offshore detention of boat-borne refugees in third countries has become bipartisan policy. (The centre-left Labor Party sacrificed principle in order to neutralise an issue that they thought was costing them elections).The majority of the refugees thus imprisoned have been Muslim. It has often been suggested by politicians that detaining them is a matter of safety – some of them might be terrorists.Second, the 9/11 attacks drew Australia into the War on Terror in support of its closest ally, and geopolitical sponsor, the United States.Australian troops spent long periods in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting and killing Muslims in their own countries. The consequences of this endless war have included the targeting of Australians in Jihadi terror attacks and plots, both at home and abroad.The wars began with a deluge of propaganda. Later, the terror threat was leveraged to massively enhance surveillance by Australia’s national security state. Muslim Australians have frequently been defined by arms of their own government as a source of danger.Two years after the war in Iraq commenced, the campaign of Islamophobia culminated in the country’s most serious modern race riots, on Cronulla Beach in December 2015, when young white men spent a summer afternoon beating and throwing bottles at whichever brown people they could find.Cronulla was a milestone in the development of a more forthright, ugly public nationalism in Australia. Now, young men wear flags as capes on Australia Day, a date which is seen as a calculated insult by many Indigenous people. Anzac Day, which commemorates a failed invasion of Turkey, was once a far more ambivalent occasion. In recent years it has moved closer to becoming an open celebration of militarism and imperialism.Every step of the way, this process has not been hindered by outlets owned by News Corporation, which dominates Australia’s media market in a way which citizens of other Anglophone democracies can find difficult to comprehend.News has the biggest selling newspapers in the majority of metropolitan media markets, monopolies in many regional markets, the only general-readership national daily, and the only cable news channel. Its influence on the national news agenda remains decisive. And too often it has used this influence to demonise Muslims.On Anzac Day 2017,...

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See the news Australians are asking how did we get here? Well, Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy | Jason Wilson | Opinion from Source Guardian on 17/03/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.