Abu Dhabi And Sydney – A Tale Of Two Cities

July 16, 2015 by David Singer
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An Australian woman – Jodi Magi – has been arrested, jailed and deported from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates after being found guilty of “writing bad words on social media about a person” – reportedly a cyber-crime in the United Arab Emirates…writes David Singer.

Her crime?

Photographing a car in her apartment block that was parked across two disabled parking spaces without any disability stickers, blacking out the number plate, putting the photo on Facebook without any other identifiable detail and drawing attention to the seemingly selfish act.

Someone in the apartment block apparently complained to police and the case went to an Abu Dhabi court in June.

Ms Magi – who has lived in Abu Dhabi with her husband since 2012 – said she was forced to sign multiple documents in Arabic without any translation.

Two weeks after her conviction she was told she would be deported.

Last week Ms Magi tried to voluntarily deport herself and pay the approximately $3,600 fine – but Abu Dhabi authorities would not allow her to leave without presenting herself to the court.

When she did she was jailed – spending 53 hours in custody, shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, sleeping on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow, without toilet paper or eating utensils – before being deported.

Meanwhile in Sydney an on-line petition signed by hundreds of members of the Muslim community has successfully resulted in the cancellation of an Eid Dinner organised by the Australian Federal Police marking the end of Ramadan – whilst another similar dinner organised in Melbourne will proceed.

The petition – urging invited Muslim community leaders, Imams, representatives and prominent personalities to boycott the Eid Dinners – made the following charges (among others):

  1. The Australian Government has over the last 12 months executed a concerted and prolonged campaign of anti-Muslim hysteria, pulling out all stops to demonise, marginalise and victimise the Muslim community. Under the pretext of international developments and a supposed impending domestic threat, many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation have been passed that ostensibly target Muslims specifically.
  2. Federal and State Government bodies such as their police forces (including the Australian Federal Police) and intelligence agencies (such as ASIO) have been a key strategic component in the Australian Government’s deliberate targeting of the Muslim community, used to execute phoney raids that have often amounted to nothing.
  3. An Islamopbobic atmosphere is directly resulting from the actions of police and government agencies.

Regrettably the petition failed to note that the “many tranches of counter-terrorism legislation” were adopted with the support of the Opposition and after extensive consideration of amendments proposed by the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

Making this petition an attempted political “cause celebre” against the Australian Government will elicit no sympathy from the alternative Government.

The Muslim community in Australia has the perfect right to express any concerns it has with its alleged treatment. It however needs to document and substantiate the generalised allegations made in the petition if they are to have any credibility whatsoever.

That such a petition can appear on-line and its authors and signatories not be subjected to the kind of treatment visited on Ms Magi in Abu Dhabi is something they should seriously reflect on. So too should those Muslim community representatives who spurned the Australian Federal Police invitation – rather than attending the function and repudiating the statements expressed in the petition as representing the views of the Muslim community..

They should all dwell on Dicken’s words in his “Tale of Two Cities”:

“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International. 

 

 

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