Guardian: Given that I am now the most publicly hated Muslim in Australia, people have been asking me how I am. What do I say? That life has been great and I can’t wait to start my new adventure in London? That I’ve been overwhelmed with messages of support? Or do I tell them that it’s been thoroughly rubbish? That it is humiliating to have almost 90,000 twisted words written about me in the three months since Anzac Day, words that are largely laced with hate.
Do I reveal that it’s infuriatingly frustrating to have worked for years as an engineer, only to have that erased from my public narrative? That it is surreal to be discussed in parliamentary question time and Senate estimates for volunteering to promote Australia through public diplomacy programs? That I get death threats on a daily basis, and I have to reassure my parents that I will be fine, when maybe I won’t be? That I’ve resorted to moving house, changing my phone number, deleting my social media apps. That journalists sneak into my events with schoolchildren to sensationally report on what I share. That I’ve been sent videos of beheadings, slayings and rapes from people suggesting the same should happen to me.
Do I reassure my parents or do I tell them the truth? I have yet to decide.
I wrote the essay below at the beginning of the year, post Q&A but pre-Anzac. Even that statement is a reflection of the sad reality that my life seems to simply exist in reference to the various outrages my voice has caused.
Whether or not one agrees with me isn’t really the point. The reality is the visceral nature of the fury – almost every time I share a perspective or make a statement in any forum – is more about who I am than about what is said. We should be beyond that but we are not. Many, post-Anzac, said the response wasn’t about me but about what I represent. Whether or not that is true, it has affected my life, deeply and personally.