Feeling alienated

Betul Tuna – who was born and raised in Shepparton – said she and other Muslims in the community had become targets for discrimination and, at times, verbal abuse each time a terror attack occurred in a western country.


Betul Tuna encourages the community to get to know muslims

A Shepparton woman has described her dismay at an increase in discrimination towards Muslims in the community in the direct aftermath of world terror attacks.

Betul Tuna – who was born and raised in Shepparton – said she and other Muslims in the community had become targets for discrimination and, at times, verbal abuse each time a terror attack occurred in a western country.

The discrimination, which she has most frequently witnessed online and broadcast through social and mainstream media, has left her feeling alienated within her own country.

Women are talking about how they no longer feel comfortable in traffic or at the supermarket and outside of Centrelink,” Ms Tuna said. “The most common discrimination (they’ve spoken about) is glaring, people staring and some people verbally attacking them. “While this does happen in person, social media is definitely at the forefront of this, where people feel comfortable spreading nasty comments.

“It’s really interesting how, I am Australian born, and I to have to justify my existence in a society that I was born into, almost every day, and that takes a toll on you.”

Following on from terror attacks last year in France, the Islamic Council of South Australia president Ahmed Zreika told the ABC hijabwearing Muslim women had become easy targets for discrimination, which some faced on a daily basis. He said online attacks had increased significantly and the constant discrimination was ‘feeding directly’ into the cultural divides which terrorists encouraged between Muslims and nonMuslims.

The issue has been further enhanced by politicians such as Pauline Hanson, who recently labelled Muslims a disease, using last week’s London terrorist attack to push her Muslim ban policy. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned Hanson’s comments as ‘dangerous’ and accused the One Nation leader of increasing the terrorist threat in Australia.

Ms Betul, who is of Turkish descent, said Hanson’s air time was inflaming the issue, and gave individuals a greater opportunity to spread hate against a peaceful religion. “Someone who has had a firm upbringing in Islam, has a right cultural upbringing, is not going to join ISIS. People who have been through family violence, impacted by drugs, had a bad upbringing without opportunity, these are the people who are more vulnerable to extremism,” Ms Tuna said.

“People need to start questioning what they’re reading, question what they’re seeing in the media or what the politicians are saying,” Ms Tuna said. “It’s about sitting down with someone who is different to you, sharing a meal, having a coffee, having a simple conversation. I’m more than just Islamic, and I’d love to share it with you.”

 

Dismayed: Shepparton Muslim woman Betul Tuna said Muslims experienced increased discrimination in the aftermath of terror attacks. Picture: Holly Curtis

Article and image courtesy Shepparton News

 

 

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