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Hijabi Muslim Officer Rises Above Hate

Hijabi Muslim Officer Rises Above Hate

VICTORIA – A Muslim officer, in reaction to the hateful comments she has received on an online message granting her state’s “Honor Roll of Women”, has decided not to give in, but rather planned to work more on engagement with the society.

“I believe in freedom of speech but there’s a line to draw when it comes to calling me a terrorist or encouraging people to physically attack me,” Leading Senior Constable Maha Sukkar told The Age on Thursday.

“It was an odd occurrence,” she said.

Sukkar said the online abuse had crossed a line, but only spurred her to work harder.

“I think the fact I was wearing hijab on my head triggered the whole thing,” she said.

“If you don’t know it and don’t understand it, let me explain it. Get to know me before you judge me.”

Sukkar has made history during her 14 years on the force as the first police officer to wear hijab on duty. The Victorian Honour Roll commended her trailblazing work as a Multicultural Liaison Officer and her leadership within Victoria’s immigrant communities.

Victorian women’s minister Natalie Hutchins said the offensive comments were “awful things”.

“This sort of prejudice is totally unacceptable,” she said.

“It has no place in Victoria.”

For Sukkar, the messages made her more decisive on reaching out to the other and bridging interfaith relations.

“You read the negative comments but you always turn around and say yes that’s negative but I will work harder to change their minds.”

“I always look at the positive stuff.”

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