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‘Australia has betrayed me’: Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Yassmin Abdel-Magied says she feels 'a little bit betrayed by Australia' in an interview with Buzzfeed UK. Picture: Buzzfeed UK/Facebook Source:Facebook
Yassmin Abdel-Magied says she feels 'a little bit betrayed by Australia' in an interview with Buzzfeed UK. Picture: Buzzfeed UK/Facebook Source:Facebook

YASSMIN Abdel-Magied - "Australia's most publicly hated Muslim" has declared on the eve of her departure to live in London that the country has "betrayed" her.

The Sudanese-born Muslim activist - who earlier this year sparked controversy with comments about Anzac Day and Islam being feminist - is angry about her treatment in Australia.

"I love Australia, I'm super patriotic. Yet I feel like I've been duped, like I've been sold this false sense of belonging," she told Good Weekend.

It's not the first time Ms Abdel-Magied has admitted she feels "betrayed by Australia", but the 26-year-old recently saw a psychologist because she felt "kind of like a national outrage".

This followed death threats including videos of beheadings and rapes sent to her via email and Twitter.

Abdel-Magied, who has lived in Australia since her parents fled the strict Islamic Sudanese regime in 1992, is leaving for London next month.

The committed Muslim reveals she has been wearing a hijab since the age of 10, when she announced to her family she would start wearing Arabic headdress.

She became a Muslim youth activist while still a schoolgirl at John Paul Christian College, and was Young Muslim of the Year in 2007.

In 2015, she became Queensland Young Australian of the Year.

Abdel-Magied's self-described status as "Australia's most publicly hated Muslim" began after she engaged in a fiery debate with Senator Jackie Lambie on the ABC's Q&A in February.

A member of the Q&A audience asked if it was time to define new rules about migration and Muslims.

Senator Lambie said that anyone who supported sharia law should be deported from Australia.

Abdel-Magied interjected by saying she was frustrated by people who spoke about Islam without knowing anything about it".

She also said Islam was "the most feminist religion". The comment caused a storm of social media.

Then on Anzac Day, Abdel-Magied posted on Facebook "Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)".

She took the post down, but the backlash was intense, and not just on Facebook and Twitter.

Senior government politicians including Peter Dutton, Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott publicly condemned her.
Calls were made to sack her from the Council for Australian-Arab Relations and for Abdel-Magied to deport herself from the country she had lived in since she was 18 months old.

Abdel-Magied, a trained mechanical engineer who had been crafting a career as a public advocate with appearances on Q&A since 2013, was suddenly unemployed.

She withdrew from public life for several months, and remained quiet on social media.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaking at the National Library, Canberra, in June says ‘deeply racist’ attacks have been made against her. Picture Kym Smith.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaking at the National Library, Canberra, in June says ‘deeply racist’ attacks have been made against her. Picture Kym Smith.

The ABC cut her role as a presenter on Australia Wide in May and companies cancelled lucrative speaking engagements.

"Before Anzac Day I was knocking back corporate gigs left, right and centre," she told GW, "but now the only ones that are coming in are from overseas."

After working for Shell, she had hoped to be posted to the company's new energy division in London.

But following the re-release of her 2016 memoir Yassmin's Story and a request for leave to pursue ABC filming commitments, the job was no longer available.

In June, Abdel-Magied announced on Facebook that she was moving to London anyway, and that she had been traumatised by "deeply racist" criticism of her.

"Being deemed the face of all that is evil for extended period of time does take its toll," she posted.

"However, reality is that being a small target has not served me well at all. Choosing not to defend myself and 'let it blow over' backfired," she wrote in another post.

"Because it hasn't blown over. Staying silent left a vacuum that other voices gleefully filled with hate and vitriol that was deeply racist."

Abdel-Magied's departure for London in September won't mean she will be silent in the future about the last six months in Australia.

She told Fairfax that she may be writing another book, and although she had felt "very isolated, frightened and ... hounded" she was feeling strong about the future, and would return home.

She also revealed that despite the fact she would probably end up marrying a Muslim man, she loves "the Australian male. The more neck tattoos, the more utes ... the more I am into it".

Topics:  editors picks yassmin abdel-magied

News Corp Australia

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