SYDNEY – A gift of two headscarves to Pauline Hanson, the leader of the far-right One Nation party, has been rejected, and is to be returned back to the Muslim fashion designer, as the politician swiftly turned down the Muslims’ message of multicultural solidarity.
“I sent the scarves after Pauline Hanson publicly endorsed Donald Trump’s victory and said he was always welcome at her One Nation party,” Azahn Munas, director of Melbourne fashion label MOGA, told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, January 3.
The 23-year-old designer said he was prompted to send Hanson two headscarves in November after he felt a “rise in inflammatory rhetoric (bordering on hate speech) made against minorities” by right wing political parties.
The scarves, which can be worn by Muslim or non-Muslim women as a hijab or accessory, were sent to Hanson as a symbol of multicultural solidarity.
He also sent a letter asking her to consider the impact her comments about Muslims and minorities are having on young Australians.
“Using your political platform to publicly call for a ban on Muslim immigration into Australia sends a powerful message of inferiority to the women of this faith… it can’t be denied that this language is not just divisive, but incredibly demeaning,” he wrote.
The outreach initiative was turned down in January after a staff member from Hanson’s electoral office in Brisbane emailed MOGA asking for an address so they could “return” the gift.
Munas replied to the email suggesting Hanson could wear the scarf as shawls around her neck instead of over her head.
Yet, he expects to receive them back soon.
“Whilst it is a little disappointing, we aren’t offended or disheartened at all,” Azahn Munas told BuzzFeed News.
“We knew it was a long shot, but are glad we were able to speak openly about an issue that is important to us,” Munas said.
He wants young people in Australia to know the loudest voices “aren’t always the most correct”, and he plans to continue to push for a more inclusive society.
The returned scarves will be given to non-profit Bravery Co for cancer patients.