The Hypocrisies of our Societies

Harris Sultan

A week ago, the world witnessed a new kind of terrorism, white-supremacist terrorism. Until this event, we have been seeing an increase in hate crimes like punching an innocent Muslim woman down the alleyway, throwing pig heads in front of mosques but this was different. This was a well organised, calculated attack on a mosque to kill as many Muslims as possible by a white supremacist in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch. As expected, there was worldwide condemnation from all walks of life. Right or left wing, for a moment they all united and said we have to draw a line at violence and this kind of violence has no justification. There were some miscreants who tried to take advantage of this situation to push their agenda like Australian Senator Fraser Anning but I won’t waste my time on him. By and large, our humanity stood together for a while that is.

Jacinta Arden, the charismatic New Zealand Prime Minister, who up until this point was not known much outside of Australia and New Zealand, emerged as a global symbol of tolerance, acceptance and solidarity. Apart from the scarf-wearing moment, she acted gracefully and appropriately. Prime Minister Arden is being hailed as a hero and admired across the Muslim world even my own country of birth, Pakistan. Pakistanis are applauding this woman because she showed her humanity towards Muslims. Is this the only standard to be regarded as a hero in the Muslim world? PM Jacinta Arden is an agnostic, probably an atheist too, a pro-LGBTQ, a feminist (the #AuratMarch2019 kind of feminists that Pakistanis hate) and yet they still love her? Of course, she is a role model for everyone and if we can get 10 women like her in every country, a world would be a much better place but if those 10 women are in Pakistan or in some other conservative Muslim country, they won’t survive long.

Recently on women’s day, a march called Aurat March was organised by some feminists in Pakistan. They were holding placards albeit confronting but there was absolutely nothing on those placards that a modern 21st-century woman like Jacinta Arden would disagree with. These women are now under attack by not only right-wing religious parties but also from the left-leaning parties like that of late PM Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan People’s Party and my own favourite, Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf. This is the hypocrisy of Pakistan we are dealing with. Conditions are much worse in other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran where feminist activists get arrested and tortured and we never hear about them ever again. Women get publicly flogged in Indonesia, once a bastion of modern democratic Muslim majority country.

Now, those were the ills of my birth society, let’s come to the hypocrisy of my adopted society, Australia, a classic western country. We have far right-wing white supremacists. These extremists don’t waste any opportunity to use the victims of Islam like pro LGBTQ and feminist activists in the Muslim world to push their agenda of white Australia. The biggest hypocritical factor is the fact that these far right-wingers actually also despise the feminists and pro LGBTQ activists of the western world themselves. They waste no opportunity to show a Muslim woman beaten up by her husband to demonise all Muslims and push for only white immigration policy. This is where my ways separate from these right-wingers. They paint Muslims as a monolithic community and equate people like Senator Mehreen Faruqi with an ISIS extremist. Muslims come in all different types, Senator Faruqi calls herself a Muslim, a feminist, a pro-LGBTQ, an animal rights activist, none of the things that are compatible with classical Islam or with conservative Muslim populace but she is, after all a Muslim. This is exactly why anyone who uses the examples of ISIS or Taliban to claim this is what Muslims are, we should ban them are not only just factually wrong but also hypocritical. I have no doubt in my mind, these right-wingers who point out the victims of Islam, are not doing it out of love for these people, they are doing it to push for their own white supremacy agenda. After all, you can expect these victims to become atheists and abandon Islam, but you can’t make them change their skin colour, who by definition, are inferior life forms in the eyes of these white supremacists.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end here, we also have far-left wingers in the west who waste no opportunity to show their “humanity” whenever an external culture is criticised. They are the ardent supporters of the term “Islamophobia” a bogus term invented by some people to discourage any criticism of Islam. These far-left wingers demonstrate their inclusiveness and tolerance by wearing hijabs but ignore the thousands of women activists being jailed, beaten up and abused for protesting against wearing hijabs. We are being told by these far left-wingers that hijab is a symbol of women empowerment when it is the exact opposite. Hijab was invented by men to make sure other men don’t look at their women with lustful eyes. Sure, anyone who wants to wear a hijab is free to do so but you as a person who doesn’t wear hijab in her day-2-day life, don’t legitimise it especially when there is a huge number of women fighting for freedom from it. There is nothing wrong to show solidarity with a community that is grieving a loss of fifty lives but why pick a symbol that is viewed by hundreds of thousands if not millions of women as a symbol of oppression? Why not pick “Zakat”, one of the five pillars of Islam, otherwise known as a charity in contemporary Islam? There are problems with Zakat as well in classical Islam but since it has no problems in contemporary Islam, why not use that? There are many other problems with the Muslim society, right-wingers and left-wingers of the west but I'll stop here. I hope you got my point.

Westerners have already had the Kants, the Humes and the Voltaires nearly two centuries ago, we haven’t had them in our Muslim society. We are trying to enlighten our society where a woman can come out and take off her hijab and not get abused or imprisoned, a society where a homosexual can come and hold his partner’s hand without getting spat at or killed, a society where animal rights activist can come and campaign against the brutal practice of slitting the throats of helpless animals called “halal” and lastly, people like me who can’t go their birth countries to come out and be able to say that they don’t believe in any God and still be able to live as normal citizens.

I am mostly a very optimistic person, not only hoping but expecting a better world tomorrow but my heart is bleeding today. When people who are supposed to be on my side, the liberals, humanists and progressive thinkers, attack me, I feel like giving up, go away in the sunset with my beautiful partner and our little dog never to come back to be a part of this hypocrite society.

But don’t worry, I don’t give up easy!

Comments (6)

Very well written, i have different thoughts on islam than yours but i understand what you are saying, its touchy... we all deserve to live a secure & safe life. I am brown & muslim. I cant change my colour & even if i could i would have never done that.

Umr at-Tawil
Umr at-Tawil

Ardern's wearing of the hijab is an apt response to the superficial and temporal respect the Muslims are showering upon her now. She knows what the scarf stands for. After this moment has passed, she'll move on, sans hijab of course, championing liberal humanist causes, and the Muslims would have forgotten who she ever was.


Well written Harris. And special congratulations on your petition which attracted the most signatures ever. I am attracting abuse myself. Mainly from Pakistanis. Here is an example: " Christine B. Osborne you are just a jealous lost woman. You need to live your own life. Which i highly doubt you ever been able" This because I wrote that the wearing of a hijab by non-Muslim women in New Zealand is taking things too far. A lack of understanding when so many Muslim women, notably in Iran and Saudi consider being obliged to wear the veil/chador/abaya/dupatta is against the right of an individual to wear what she chooses. Provided she dresses modestly. ps. I am author of six books on Muslim countries.