A Melbourne TAFE has suspended a number of teachers for sharing an ‘Islamophobic’ quote that left a Muslim student feeling “disempowered.”
The offending quote appeared on a lecture slide from a subject on diversity and was taken from American conservative author Brigitte Gabriel, who had suggested that while “most Muslims are peaceful”, up to “300-million people are radicals who want to destroy and murder us.”
Ms Gabriel was raised in Lebanon until, at the age of ten, radical Islamists blew up her house, burying her under the burning rubble. Miraculously, Ms Gabriel survived the attack but spent the next two-and-a-half months in the hospital due to her injuries.
Following the attack, Ms Gabriel and her family were forced to live underground in a small bomb shelter for seven years, with little food, no electricity or running water.
A few years after Ms Gabriel’s house was destroyed, the family were hit by another explosion which trapped her and her family in their shelter for two days, until they were rescued by three Christian militia fighters.
In 1989, Ms Gabriel emigrated to the United States, where she founded Act For America, an organisation that seeks to educate citizens to “ensure the safety and security of Americans against all threats foreign and domestic.”
It was during a 2017 panel discussion at The Heritage Foundation where Ms Gabriel made the “offending” remarks after she was asked a question about the “peaceful Muslim majority.”
Tayeba Quddus, a student at Holmeglen Insitute, told ABC News she felt “disempowered” by the inclusion of the quote, which she described as “sickening in its bigotry.”
“Given what happened in Christchurch, and a huge movement we have of far-right extremism and political campaigns that seek to vilify most Muslims, within that climate, it’s not very helpful to be discussing these things in a way that seems like it supports these ideas,” Ms Quddus said.
Shortly after complaining to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the Holmesglen Institute removed the material and “unreservedly apologised” to Ms Quddus for the offence caused.
In a statement, Holmeglen Insitute said the teachers involved are being “suspended until the investigation concludes.”