Nearly a year after her Anzac Day post lead to her receiving death threats, Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied has risked further outrage by endorsing another Anzac Day tweet about asylum seekers.
On Friday Ms Abdel-Magied shared a tweet from Sally Rugg, a former GetUp! campaign director and incoming Change.org national director, that read: “What if thousands of us all tweeted ‘lest we forget (Manus)’ next week on April 25th…”
Ms Abdel-Magied retweeted Ms Rugg’s words and added: “Do it.”
Do it. https://t.co/Zbydp4LkwT
— Yassmin Abdel-Magied (@yassmin_a) April 19, 2018
Last year, the Sudanese-Australian engineer and ABC then-commentator apologised after she was accused of disrespecting Australian soldiers for writing, “LEST. WE. FORGET. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)” on her Facebook page on Anzac Day.
In the since-deleted tweet, Ms Abdel-Magied intended to highlight the troubling plight of refugees in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, as well as victims of ongoing wars in Syria and Palestine.
“It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly,” she said at the time.
On Thursday, Ms Rugg followed up her original tweet by writing: “Anyone who thinks this tweet is about refugees and ANZAC Day is missing the point.”
She then shared an Australian article about Ms Abdel-Magied’s endorsement with the words: “This has been a truly extraordinary experiment.”
This has been a truly extraordinary experiment… https://t.co/RFQs7658O7
— Sally Rugg 🏳️🌈 (@sallyrugg) April 20, 2018
Both women were immediately inundated with angry tweets accusing them of “disrespect” and “disgraceful” behaviour.
Twitter user Brad Dunn made an appeal to Ms Rugg to withdraw her comments, tweeting: “As a veteran can I please ask you to consider not doing that on Anzac Day. Any other day but not the 25th. The veterans and families that supported your community for equality would truly appreciate it.”
But many were in support of Ms Rugg and Ms Abdel-Magied, suggesting they get the phrase trending on April 25 and sharing the words of author Richard Flanagan, who wrote about Ms Abdel-Magied’s original tweet for The Guardian this month.
“I read this [Ms Abdel-Magied’s original Anzac tweet] as a plea for compassion drawing on the memory of a national trauma,” Mr Flanagan wrote.
“Most refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are fleeing war, Syria has half a million dead and more than 11 million people exiled internally and externally because of war, and Palestinians, whatever position one takes, suffer greatly from ongoing conflict.
“And yet as the attacks on Abdel-Magied showed, some were seeking to transform Anzac Day into a stalking horse for racism, misogyny and anti-Islamic sentiment. For hate, intolerance and bigotry. For all those very forces that create war.”
Ms Rugg’s tweet follows news this week that 50 refugees living on both Manus Island and Nauru have been approved to resettle in the United States.
They are expected to leave in the coming weeks and will join roughly 230 others who have already relocated to the US.