News National ‘Deeply hurt’: NSW politician Jihad Dib tells of racist slur on teen daughter

‘Deeply hurt’: NSW politician Jihad Dib tells of racist slur on teen daughter

NSW Labor MP Jihad Dib. Photo: Getty
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A New South Wales politician says his teenage daughter was the victim of an anti-Muslim slur in front of children and parents – in an action he fears demonstrates the proliferation and normalisation of hate speech.

The state’s shadow education minister Jihad Dib alleges his daughter was called a “dirty Muslim” in Sydney during a suburban soccer match at the weekend.

Mr Dib said it was a micro-example of a bigger issue at play in Australia.

“Australia is such a successful multicultural nation but still there is this thing that persists, this idea that some are more ‘Aussie’ than others,” Mr Dib told The New Daily.

“And that ‘other’ is seen with suspicion and distrust. That’s division and I just don’t believe that’s who we are as a nation, we’re better than that.”

He said an opposition player had refused to shake his daughter’s hand and told her she didn’t belong.

Mr Dib said he was not present at the soccer match, but the incident was reported to him and spoke to his 15-year-old daughter, who he said had been left “shocked” and “deeply hurt”.

“She said “Dad, I just couldn’t believe she would say that,'” he said.

Mr Dib said he plans to take the issue up with his daughter’s soccer league, adding that she was not the only one to be on the receiving end of racism from other young players.

“There was a teammate, a Chinese-Australian who also got it,” he said.

The racism allegations come days after a number of federal candidates were ousted over shocking racist, sexist and homophobic comments during a week of political scandal.

Mr Dib said he was concerned that the bad example set by leaders normalised hate speech at the most grassroots level – in supermarkets, on sports fields and on public transport.

“The things that are coming out of candidates mouths we used to call extreme – look at Fraser Anning,” Mr Dib said.

Senator Anning made headlines in March when he linked the deadly Christchurch mosque terror attacks to Muslim immigration.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison led a swift repudiation of the Queensland senator for his comments – something he again had to do several times in the past week as Liberals were among candidates being called out over disturbing online rants.

“I think we need to ask ourselves how can we stop this from happening all the time? Free speech is free speech, but when it becomes an opportunity to just say everything or anything then I think we need to reassess,” Mr Dib said.

“For our kids sake – because our kids don’t just have this, this is a learnt thing – from parents, online, the media and politicians.”

Mr Dib said policy makers should consider looking into speech laws, but to start even more simply by thinking of their own words.

After making his point on Twitter, Mr Dib says he received many comments and people sharing their anecdotes of similar hate speech.

“It’s a scary moment here in Australia when 15-year-old girls say to one another they don’t belong,” Mr Dib said.

“I think we need to ask ourselves if we are OK with this? And if we’re not, then we need to start acting.”

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