An Open Letter to Elise Chapman – Bendigo Councillor

open letter

Dear Ms. Chapman,

I was greatly disturbed by your comments as quoted in The Age on June 20, 2014:

  1.  “Every day in the media there are cases of people being raped by Muslims … and there is no doubt a mosque would see more Muslims move to Bendigo.”
  2.  “Islam is not a race though and I am not racist.”

These comments should not only be cause for concern for Muslims, but any reasonable fair-minded Australian. You claim that there are cases of people being raped by Muslims in the media on a daily basis; such a childish generalization becomes all the more disturbing when made by a person of your position.

As well as noting that rape is categorically forbidden in Islam (having members of the Islamic centre in Bendigo to clarify such a matter yourself and your colleagues might be a good idea), please understand that generalisations may work both ways. As of writing this letter, the search for Nahid Almanea’s (a Saudi student studying Britain) murderer continues. It is supposed by Police that her Muslim dress made her a target, so much so that she was stabbed an alarming sixteen times. Based on your troubled reasoning, is it acceptable for members of the Muslim community to claim that all British people are hate-mongering murderers? I pray that you understand how imbalanced such an assertion is.

According to the same article, you further claimed that Islamic practices taught that any non-believers were “not worthy and should be killed”. Given your poorly researched readings of Islam, it may perhaps come as a surprise that the Qur’an permits men to marry Jewish or Christian women. If we were assume your comment to be valid, why would you then suppose that Islam permits such a practice? Islam is very much more nuanced than the uncivilized caricature which you presumably have in mind.

It displeases me to know that your readings of Islam do not extend towards what the religion offers with regards to kindness, charity and benevolent conduct. I am sure that your derisive comments and highly-selective readings of Islam will further contribute to anti-Islamic behavior in the community such as the recent incidents of vandalism which we saw at the Canberra Islamic Centre (CIC). Although you have mentioned that unemployment rates are four to five times higher than “Australian men.” This phenomenon has more to do with discrimination than it does with ability.

Finally, although you rightfully explain that such statements do not make you a racist, it does however make you a loud-mouthed bigot.


Suleiman Ali Baig