The former host of ABC’s Australia Wide and self-described “most publicly hated Muslim in Australia” is moving to London after saying she feels betrayed by her home country.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied told Buzzfeed UK that she felt Australians would only accept you “as long as you toe the line” and that freedom of speech didn’t seem to apply to her.
The 26-year-old attracted controversy earlier in the year after exchanging heated words with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A during which the two argued over sharia law.
She announced last week her move to London was her “Aussie rite of passage” but has yet to reveal her reasons behind it.
However she has said it was “exhausting” to be the ongoing subject of controversy in Australia.
The mechanical engineer and writer said: “In a country like Australia, people are very happy to accept you as long as you toe the line.
“I feel a little bit betrayed by Australia, because it’s my country and these are my country people and it’s my home, and to sort of fight for your right to exist in your home country — it’s exhausting.
“It’s funny that … freedom of speech doesn’t really apply to the truth.
“For me that was my truth, but I wasn’t really allowed to say it and people were very upset, so it’s taught me a lot.”
Abdel-Magied got herself into more hot water over a controversial Facebook post on Anzac Day a few months after her Q&A appearance.
The post which read: “Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)” sparked severe backlash on social media with conservative politicians criticising Abdel-Magied who later took it down and issued an apology.
However, she wrote in the Guardian last week that following the post, she now received death threats “on a daily basis” and that she was “now the most publicly hated Muslim in Australia”.
“I’ve resorted to moving house, changing my phone number, deleting my social media apps,” she wrote.
“The reality is the visceral nature of the fury — almost every time I share a perspective or make a statement in any forum — is more about who I am than about what is said.”
This article originally appeared on Starts At 60.
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