I was invited to appear as a panellist on the ABC’s political talk show Q&A this month.
This week, Q&A featured a self-described Muslim activist who tweeted about gang-raping female columnists in January and pleaded guilty to threatening to kill an ASIO officer.
Why would I want to appear on Q&A following such an outrage against women and our nation’s protective forces?
The man who tweeted the idea of gang-raping female journalists also has expressed support for an Islamic caliphate. I consider him such an inferior example of manhood that I would prefer not to stain the page with his name, but here it is for the record: Zaky Mallah.
After hearing the standard Islamist narrative on the ABC — that is, Islamists charged with threatening violence are victims of government action to stop terrorism — Q&A’s audience applauded Mallah. That tells us a lot about the state of left-wing politics today.
In the 21st century, the hard Left goes soft on men who attack liberal democracy and promote violence against women as long as such men belong to a Left-anointed minority.
Q&A host Tony Jones upbraided Mallah, but only after he had blamed the government for jihadism. And Tuesday’s limp corrective by the ABC falls well short of the explanation we need and the apology Australians deserve.
The terms of reference for the investigation into the ABC’s indulgence of Mallah must include why a man who threatened to kill an ASIO official was cast as a victim while criticising our liberal democratic government’s anti-terrorism policy.
The omission that Mallah threatened lethal violence against a member our security forces and sexual violence against female intellectuals demonstrates more than mere oversight by the ABC. Australia’s public broadcaster has put Australian citizens in harm’s way.
What might have happened, for example, if either of the two female columnists Mallah proposed should be gang-raped in January were on the Q&A panel this week?
Unlike those female columnists, I was actually invited to be on a Q&A panel this month. I have written extensively on Islamist terrorism and have been threatened for doing so.
The thought that a man such as Mallah might have been sitting a few feet away from me on Q&A is, quite frankly, horrifying.
No woman should have to fear for her bodily safety in Australia when she exercises her democratic right to free speech — especially on our public broadcaster. And yet, that is precisely what I now feel about the prospect of appearing on Q&A.
There are serious questions which must be answered about the modern Left and its indulgence of Islamist terrorism and misogyny. We might begin by asking why the taxpayer-funded ABC indulged a man who promoted the idea of gang-raping female columnists.
Is it because the targeted columnists, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi, are viewed as politically conservative and therefore deserved victims by Islamists and their left-wing allies in the West? Does the Left believe dissident women are asking for it?
We are bearing witness this week to a new form of political correctness — politically correct misogyny — where leftists and Islamists converge to shut dissident women out of public debate.
Author and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suffered the brunt of PC misogyny during the past decade following her trenchant criticism of Islamist violence against women and girls.
In his book The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman chronicled the rise of the new sexism crafted by left-wing men against Hirsi Ali.
Using sleazy sophistry to conceal their contempt for the woman who dared to refuse victim status and became instead a champion of the free world, PC misogynists claimed she only made it because she was attractive.
In the US as in Australia, the sneering disdain some left-wing men reserve for dissident women is becoming more overtly misogynistic and it seems to increase in direct proportion to dissidents’ public success.
After Hirsi Ali received a standing ovation at the American Atheists convention, left-wing activist journalist Sam Hamad described her as: “a perfect little brown-skinned conduit” for the views of “white males”.
One would have thought that describing a woman with African descent as a “little brown-skinned conduit” should provoke public furore. But there was no cry of hate speech from the progressivist media, no call of sexism from the ivory towers.
Instead, the girl who survived female genital mutilation in Africa, assassination attempts in Europe and jihadist threats in America has grown to become a trending target of hard Left hate because by daring to live and tell the tale, Hirsi Ali has exposed their PC misogyny.
While Mallah might lack the hard Left’s talent for sophistry, his effect is just as devastating. On social media, he described columnists Panahi and Devine as “whores” and proposed that they be gang-raped on television. That is hard to write. No woman should have to read it.
It is little surprise to find support for misogyny among men who enthuse about an Islamist caliphate, where the unequal status of women and girls is enshrined as a rule of law and a cultural right.
But it should be a surprise to find self-declared progressives of the Western Left endorsing Islamist misogyny against any woman, let alone parading its advocates as paragons of sound citizenship.
In its response to the public furore about Mallah on Q&A, the ABC acknowledged his tweet about female columnists — in a single sentence of the last line of the final paragraph. The message could not be clearer.
As a female political commentator who leans conservative, my right to free speech and bodily safety may not mean much to the ABC. But I did not spend my formative years fighting for women’s rights in the 20th century only to submit to an Islamist-Left alliance of misogyny in the 21st.
I expect a public apology from the ABC for its outrage against women, female columnists and the basic security of Australians.
Until such an apology is given, I will not consent to appear on Q&A.
Jennifer Oriel is a political scientist and commentator.