Sudanese-Australian Youth Leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied Defends Islam in Heated Debate with Senator


A heated debate took place on Australia’s Monday Q & A program earlier this week between Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie and the host of ABC’s show Australia Wide, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Abdel-Magied, who was born in Sudan but has lived in Australia nearly all her life, came to Islam’s defense when Lambie suggested that anyone supporting sharia law should be deported from the country for being part of an oppressive religion.

“My frustration is that people talk about Islam without knowing anything about it,” Abdel-Magied responded. “And they are willing to complete negate any of my rights as a human being, as a woman, as a person with agency, simply because they have an idea about what my faith is about.”

Lambie continued, asserting that Donald Trump was right in placing a ban on Muslims which prompted Abdel-Magied to say that she felt deeply hurt when elected representatives say she is not welcome in her own country. “You talk about protecting Australians? Well I’m Australian.”

Abdel-Magied went on to defend Islam, calling it “the most feminist religion.”

“We got equal rights well before the Europeans. We were given the right to own land,” she pointed out. “The fact is what is culture is separate from what is faith, and the fact [is] that people go around dissin’ my faith without knowing anything about it.”

Abdel-Magied is known for a Ted talk she gave in 2015, entitled “What Does My Headscarf Mean to You?” She also helped found Youth Without Borders, a group that empowers young people to be community leaders and that seeks to provide youth from around the world with the opportunities they need to find their potential.

Edited by Naaz Modan