Links, Links, Links! 13th October 2014

There is a lot of interesting stuff on the internet.  Here are a few of the articles that caught my eye this week...


1. A completely different perspective to one that is usually told: The niqab makes me feel liberated, and no law will stop me from wearing it

"I’ve always been the sort of person who loved to experiment, but I never expected that wearing the niqab would be something I’d try."


2. How ignorant commentary on Sharia law increases discrimination


3. Is it fair to blame the West for trouble in the Middle East?

"In his book A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the emergence of Islamism, Dr S. Sayyid describes five arguments that explain the spread of what is commonly called Islamic fundamentalism, Islamism or militant Islamism."

4. The Myth of Religious Violence


5. An alternative perspective on the Emma - Wassim interview on #Lateline that even the PM lauded...

But Alberici’s own responses to Doureihi’s questions reinforced Doureihi’s claims that some kind of underlying narrative was at play. She was becoming flustered by a phenomenon — an interviewee answering her question in a manner he wished — that she should be well used to. Heck, politicians do this all the time. HT is a political party. Doureihi is a Muslim politician wannabe.

6. Is Islam a Violent Text?

This is SO good. Read it.


Channel Ten's new show. What do you think?


Oh and in case you missed it, have a listen to Ian Hanke, Jane Gilmore and I on Outsiders for Radio National with Jonathan Green.  On the Sunday morning show we are talking the Lateline Interview (Emma-Wassim) and the current state of play in Australia...


Airing of the IQ Squared debate on ABC!

intelligence squared

The Intelligence Squared debate which was shown on BBC, "God and His Prophets Should be Protected from Insult" is now online!

You can also catch it next week on ABC TV Big Ideas on Friday 7th February on ABC1 at 11 am.

This program will REPEAT on Sunday 9th February on ABCNEWS24 at 6.00am.

If you aren't near a TV, the the full web version of the session it is available here.

It will also be available on ABC Online (iview) after the program has aired :)

Looking forward to hearing your feedback!

An advert deserving of a Gruen Planet appearance

Now here is an advertisement that is a little different.

Brands - particularly cosmetic brands - for their tendency to play on and reinforce gender stereotypes.

This ad for Pantene in the Philippines throws this right back at us, displaying various behaviours and highlighting the differences in the labeling of men and women in the different situations.

'Boss' versus 'Bossy'

'Smooth' versus 'Show-off'

...and so on.

This disparity in labeling is well documented and is often reported to be a challenge for female leaders, and honestly, probably women in general.

[box] “If women’s behavior confirms the gender stereotype, it lacks credibility and is deemed incongruous with the leader prototype; and if it matches the leader prototype, it lacks authenticity and they are not thought to be acting as proper women. It is a lose-lose situation.”[/box]

It is an interesting dilemma, and one without an easy answer.

What is interesting is that Pantene has decided to profit from highlighting this double standard.  In a way, I am skeptical of capitalist, for-profit corporation use of advertising to send a positive message because at the end of the day, their bottom line is what is most important - they simply want to move product, right?


Perhaps .

What this also indicates though, is that advertising gurus up in Pantene Philippine's head office decided that women would want to buy something from a brand that realised there was a double standard at work and seemingly wanted them to do well regardless.

It implies that although you, as a woman, may be labelled 'bossy', or 'selfish', your actions were actually that of a 'boss' and someone 'dedicated'.

An interesting tactic.

I wonder if Pantene Australia would ever go for something like this, or whether women in places such as the Philippines connect more strongly with this sort of message?

What do you think of the ad?


Photos from around the net.  Click for source.

Airing of the IQ Squared debate on BBC World!


You may remember a little while ago my mentioning the debate whether "God and His Prophets should be protected against insult" that I was being a part of.

I got an email a few days ago informing me that it will be shown four times globally on BBC World News this weekend (OMG!) at the following times (GMT).

Times in GMT are as follows:

30th November   09.10, 20.10 1st December    02.10, 15.10

The estimated audience will be 70-80 million.

Slap it in your diaries yo and tell me what you think!

I will be posting the video and transcript of my speech shortly after it is broadcast.

Khair inshallah!!!


Yassmin Abdel-Magied



Guest Tweeter on Ten!!!

TGIF all! Good morning, and I have some exciting news for you all!

Network Ten is launching a new breakfast show next Monday, called "Wake Up".  It's hoping to be something a little different for your mornings...


...I am super honoured to be on of the regular guest tweeters on the show!!

It's going to be quite exciting inshallah. They've given me pretty much free reign to tweet as I like during the show, commenting on all sorts of issues (even if the coffee they give me isn't up to scratch, and let's face it, nothing's quite as good as Brisbane coffee).  I'll be appearing on set with the hosts three times during the morning for some talk about what's trending on twitter and the news of the day (including, as I will ensure, socially conscious topics!!).

This is a little bit awesome, right?!

So your job is to watch the show (it starts at 6.30am on Monday morning), and I will be the guest tweeter on next Thursday the 7th!!!

Tweet/FB/Instagram with me about all the issues that are important to you on that day and I will make sure they get some airtime (as best as I can!).


My handles: @yassmin_a - - - and I suppose I will have to get on that instagram bandwagon ;)

Their handles:

@WakeUpOnTEN - - :)


This is going to be really fun inshallah, and I am honestly pretty proud of a commercial platform interesting in having a 'visibly different' voice on the show. Now, just to make sure that isn't a token voice and doing something with it (and hopefully, having this as only the start of a whole new wave of voices!).

Khair inshallah!!

Are you going to be watching? Pft, that's not even a question. You most definitely are inshallah ;)

Wake up

Should God and His Prophets be protected against insult?


Well, in three weeks time in front of a live audience and a BBC viewership of 70 million, I will be arguing against the hypothesis that God and His Prophets should be protected against insult at the Intelligence Sqaured Debate in Sydney on the 7th of November.

To be honest, it is a slighty scary prospect, mostly because...

1. This is a pretty nuanced issue, and can be pretty well misconstrued;

2. I imagine many in the Muslim community feel that in fact God and His Prophets should be protected against insult and will see my taking this position as an insult to Islam (!)

3. It is probably the largest audience I have had the humbling honour of speaking to!!!

At the end of the day, I am no Islamic scholar and speak about this issue as purely an interested individual and a Muslim woman who feels a sense of shame every time there are riots and people are killed because of a set of cartoons or an amateur video.  We should be better than this!

I feel I should mention that my taking this position does not mean I do not feel that Allah and his beloved Prophet Mohammed (SAW) are not sacred and revered.  This is about our actions in this world rather than debating the sanctity of who we worship per se...

Alas! I am getting ahead of myself.  I am working on my angle at the moment, and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter... what do YOU think?

Maybe you can watch it?

Behind the Scenes at #QandA

IMAG0166 When I answered my ringing phone in early May, I had no idea that I was about to be offered the opportunity that every young politically-engaged Australian dreams of.

‘Hello Yassmin, I am so-and-so, one of the producers from QandA on the ABC…”

Almost had a heart attack!


The opportunity came up to be a part of the panel in mid-May, but a late confirmation from a well known politician (Queensland's own, Bob Katter) meant that I was briefly bumped from the line up. My rig job meant that the next two or three opportunities were also impossible. I didn't know if I should begin to despair: after all, one can only say 'no' so many times...

Eventually, we found a date that worked. August the 5th.

It was only confirmed a little over a week before the announcement: given the responsive nature of the show, panel members are drafted in quite close to the air date. The producers do an amazing job in this sense; sourcing and organising a new panel of people at such short notice week in, week out, must be exhausting.

So it was, on July 29th, the announcement of the 'next week's panel' that my name was announced...Ah! Let the games begin.

The ads were up and the news was out, but I still had no idea what to expect. I frantically began to read and research all manner of topics. I met with migration agents and department officials to learn about the true facts behind our asylum seeker and refugee policy, conducted little surveys via twitter and Facebook. Reading, reading, reading...

We were never given the questions that would be asked, but on the Friday before the show the producers send out an email with a variety of topic suggestions to the audience participants (related to the areas of interest for the panellists). This is to prompt questions from the audience. The topics were extremely varied - from the 'youth vote' (mine) to Fairfax to the umpiring decisions in cricket. My favourite topic of the moment, the PNG policy - not in sight!

At this point, I was simply holding my breath...

By some twist of luck, the election was announced on the Sunday afternoon. Just my luck :)

Monday rolled around and I hopped on the plane to Sydney (with 5 different outfit options to boot!). I dallied around a little, had a chat to the producers on the phone and began to get dressed. Admittedly, it took a few goes to settle on the option I did, but my op-shop-red-jacket is a favourite. The white dove brooch? Totes the statement piece!

So. Dressed. Break my fast (it was still Ramadan). Pray, ask for forgiveness and a little bit of on-screen luck.

Next stop, ABC Studios.

8pm - I head into the make up room. I say hello to fellow panel member Greg Hunt on the way in. 'He seems like a nice enough chap', I think. 'I wonder what he'll be like on the panel!'


The make up lady - Maureen - was fabulous. She was actually married to a race car driver who raced against the likes of Martin Brundle and so on in the UK.   Naturally, we talked cars and got on like a house on fire! It was ironic that two ladies in a makeup room were waxing lyrical about Chevvy Stingrays and Fastbacks. She highlighted my cheekbones, left my lipstick as it was and sent me on my way...

8.30pm - Green Room, meeting the fellow panellists.

I was clearly the new kid on the block - each politician had their handler ('media advisor'), and Pamela and Grahame had history with everyone else. I introduced myself to everyone ('shaking hands, hello hello), and they were all lovely.  I suspect Morris spent the time wondering when my parents (or babysitter) were going to arrive...


They all had a good yarn. I interjected every so often with not-so-wise pearls of wisdom ('Oh yeh! I know right?!') and wondered what lay ahead. Doug Cameron and Grahame Morris seemed to get on pretty well for ideologically diametrically opposed individuals. The scene reminded me of the idea 'enemies in the house, drinking mates once the business is done'. Ah, Australia! They laughed together and agreed on their roles. 'I need someone to fight with' Morris had said. Cameron was more than happy to acquiesce to be his on-screen-enemy.

(I am not sure everyone is that good natured about it all. Wong vs Pyne - I would like to see their Green Room interaction indeed!).

We were told we had 90 seconds to go. I left my bag, phone (!!) and got in line to head to the studio...


We got into our seating order and were individually introduced to the crowd as we took our seats. I was right next to Tony. This was it!

(Right next to Tony is a button. It's red, and has the label, 'The God Button'. Oh, I wish I got a photo. I wonder if he's ever had to use it? Probably at the shoe throwing incident...)

There were only a few minutes between us being seated and going on air. Maureen and the makeup army came back on stage and 'powdered our noses'... then 5, 4, 3...

Tony Jones' introduction began!

Oh wow. Can I be perfectly honest and say that my heart has never beat as fast as it did during that first question? I don't even remember what it was about or who asked it.

All I could think of was 'right now Yassmina, you're on TV!! Don't do anything stupid! Don't fidget! Stay coooooool!'. I am pretty sure Tony could hear the Da-dunk, da-dunk... In fact, I'm actually surprised it doesn't come up as background noise in the filming.

Off it went. I wasn't asked any direct questions off the bat (thank goodness!) but by the time Hunt had finished his answer to the first question, my pulse had settled down slightly and I had forgotten about the cameras. 'This is just like any other random panel', I told myself 'Except I am surrounded by people that are talking and not making ANY sense! Let me have a word to them about this...'

It was a fair bit of electioneering, as one would expect. Being pretty disillusioned at the moment at the disgusting amount of partisan politics that is going, I had no agenda other than to say - 'no, stop! We (the people!) want wholesome, meaningful answers! Stop treating us without respect!'

A good friend/mentor/amazing woman in general, Anne Summers, who has been on the panel before, had given me the advice not to stay quiet. 'Just jump in if you have something to say, otherwise you won't get any airtime at all'. Another friend had said 'just smile', and my mother cautioned 'don't try be anyone you're not - just be yourself and be genuine, otherwise people will see right through it.'

Those are the three bits of advice I remembered and channeled - and boy, I was so happy to be there I had no problem keeping a smile on the dile Alhamdulilah! (I would actually call it a grin. A smile is much more demure...I was just flashing the pearls with pure abandon!). I jumped in whenever I thought they were talking rubbish (often) and tried to talk to the panel members in the same way that I would argue with the boys on the rig (perhaps with less invective though).

I haven't rewatched the episode or even remember what I said, but I remember feeling more comfortable as the night went on.  It only felt like 20 minutes had passed when Tony wrapped it up. 'That's all for tonight...'

It was all over!!

We shook hands and meandered back to the Green Room for liquid and solid refreshment...


The feedback from the panel members was lovely, and Tony Jones welcomed me to the 'QandA family'. It's a family I am darn well excited and honoured to be a part of!

So thank you Allah! Also to Tony Jones and the producers who were so kind - Amanda and Christine. To the fellow panelists, the make up ladies, my parents, mates (Richard from Richard's F1 who came along and supported!) and every single one of my mates - even those on the rigs! - who watched and wished me luck and supported :) I couldn't have done it without you all! Let's see where this crazzzy journey takes us next aye?!


If you missed the episode, you can read the transcript or download it here! :D

It's #QandA Time! (and the Burka Avenger)


We sit in front of the television every most Monday evenings, cursing and celebrating in equal measure, the opinions stated by the panellists sitting on either side of Tony Jones.

"Oh what!" we yell, out aloud and on twitter.

We all think we would have the perfect answer to the questions being asked too ;)

Well on Monday, I have the scary honour of being one of those very panellists on the firing line and by gosh, with the election just called, it's going to be a fun evening indeed!

I'll also be heading into the studio early to be talking to the Australia Network on the new animation, the Burka Avenger...

I think the idea of the Burka Avenger is fantastic, but it is a little too early to call.

Burka Avenger is a Pakistani animated television series airing on Geo Tez. Created and directed by pop star Haroon and produced at Unicorn Black production studios, the show features Jiya, a mild-mannered teacher with secret martial arts skills who uses a flowing black burka to hide her identity as she fights local thugs. The Urdu language series first aired on July 28, 2013. [wiki]

The program seems to tick the initial acceptability boxes; written by a member of the community, it is clearly coming from within and is relatable.  Programs that cultivate and encourage creativity and artistry are in dire need as well, so that is a plus.

Furthermore, the aim of the program seems to be to encourage education as the superhero uses only books and pens as her weapons.  Encouraging education, particularly in the areas this Urdu-language program is targeted to laudable and required.

What will be important is whether or not this actually works in the community.  Will it be watched by young people and change their perceptions? More importantly, will their parents allow them to watch and be educated by it?  It will most definitely create controversy: given the attire of the 'villains' (very 'traditional', even 'Taliban' looking...) and the use of the Burka as a disguise rather than as a traditional religious garment used for modesty (and in some cases, for oppression, but that's another kettle of fish).  I think the fact that this program will create conversation though is a boon in of itself...

So let's wait and see on this one. I think it is a positive, but the jury is still out on the effectiveness on the outcome - and we judge by the outcome in this world, do we not?


So what about you? Ever wanted to be on the panel? What would you like to talk about?  What are your thoughts on le Burka Avenger?