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Australia Day campaign featuring girls in hijab sparks backlash

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, January 20, 2017  /  05:52 pm
Australia Day campaign featuring girls in hijab sparks backlash

Australia Day celebrates the arrival of the first English settlers more than 200 years ago. (Shutterstock/File)

An Australia Day campaign showcasing two girls wearing hijab has sparked backlash and debate over the meaning of the national holiday that takes place on Jan. 26. 

As reported by AFP, the Victoria state government-backed firm had received threats and was forced to take down the poster from a billboard in Melbourne this week. Right-wing groups shared the advertisement on social media and believed it was a false depiction of Australia Day, criticizing the government for being too diplomatic. 

The incident sparked a crowdfunding campaign to collect A$20,000 (US$15,132) on Wednesday with the aim of getting the advertisement restored. By late Thursday, it had accumulated more than A$140,000. 

"The people who found it offensive are the same ones that complain 'the Muslims don't assimilate', and yet here we have two lovely girls celebrating Australia Day," said campaign organizer Dee Madigan. 

(Read also: Controversy in Russia over Holocaust ice dance)

According to the campaign’s page on the GoFundMe site, the money collected will be used to publish the same ad on billboards and newspapers across Australia on Friday. 

Regarding the issue, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton stated, "I think it's great that we've got young girls, young boys from whatever background who are embracing Australian values, flying the Australian flag, proud to be Australian, proud to be part of our society.” 

Australia Day celebrates the arrival of the first English settlers more than 200 years ago. It is a day where national achievements are acknowledged as more and more citizens are inaugurated.  But for the disadvantaged Aboriginal community, it is known as “Invasion Day” whereby colonizers started to conquer land and lives from the indigenous populace. (nik/kes)

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