I received an email this morning, asking for volunteers to help out at election booths for the upcoming local elections:

Yasmin Khan need your help with her campaign on Saturday 28th April from 7am to 7pm – She has 14 booths across the Ward that will need manning and will need to have them all covered.

It is important that we are represented at government across all levels and this will certainly be a first for Qld – the first Muslim representative.

I would imagine it would be very difficult to be a Muslim politician, especially one who aligns themselves to the Liberal National Party.

It *is* great to be represented by a Muslim in government. However, once elected Yasmin Khan will be a spokesperson for the Liberal National Party, a representative of the Party that John Howard and Tony Abbott belong. The same party that Sophie Mirabella (of the hijab ban) belongs. If Yasmin Khan ever spoke for the Muslim community before, she will likely have to change and toe the party line.  Probably not too much of a conflict maybe, since local council don’t directly deal with immigration, racial discrimination laws and the like.

And even then, although Yasmin Khan promotes herself on the radio as a “Spokesperson for the Muslim community” nobody put her in that position. Does she speak for most of us? I don’t know. Who told her to speak for the Muslim community? Who told her that her to tell others that she is representative of the Muslim community. Clearly on the segment for Steve Austin’s show she speaks for herself, not necessarily the Muslims.

And you know what? The sad thing is that we could say the same for pretty much any Muslim standing for election. If I ever had some sort of brain freeze and I decided to contest elections, I would be a Greenie.  But the Greens party have many policies that most Muslims would not agree with (gay marriage being the obvious one)

It’s not to say that we should discourage Muslims from running in elections and becoming members of government, only that we kid ourselves thinking that just because someone is Muslim, they speak for us at all. Whether someone is a self proclaimed spokesperson for the Muslim community or an elected member of council, state or federal government, they cannot speak for us on all matters and all the time. It’s more true to say they speak for the political party to which they belong.

I don’t think I will be voting for someone just because they’re Muslim.

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