Is Julie Bishop developing a bit of form here or what.
Read the full story at The Australian - and please leave a comment for Caroline Overington to congratulate her on her great work in bringing you this story.
Taxpayers billed for Q&A activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s grand tour of Islamic regimes
The federal government paid for activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied to tour some of the world’s most repressive Islamic regimes last November, promoting her book about being a Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian Muslim woman who wears the hijab.
The tour, which included stops in Saudi Arabia, where women are flogged for adultery and are not permitted to drive, was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which declined yesterday to reveal the cost.
Ms Abdel-Magied, who sat next to Malcolm Turnbull at the Iftar dinner for Muslim leaders held at Kirribilli House last year to celebrate the end of Ramadan, made headlines this week when, as a guest on the ABC’s Q&A program, she described Islam as “the most feminist” of all religions.
Her statement was rejected by a fiery senator Jacqui Lambie, who argued that those countries where sharia informs the law are some of the most violently misogynistic places on earth.
A group of 49 Muslim scholars are now demanding an apology from the ABC for not silencing Senator Lambie, saying the program host, Tony Jones, failed to provide a “safe environment” for Ms Abdel-Magied to speak.
Ms Abdel-Magied, who is also employed by the ABC as a host of a travel program, promoted her tour of the Middle East and Africa on her blog last November, saying: “I’m heading out on tour to the Middle East and North Africa! Very excited to be supported by the Australian Embassies in the region to visit numerous countries over the next three weeks inshallah. First stop: Saudi Arabia!”
Asked to explain the purpose, rationale and cost of the tour, DFAT said: “Yassmin Abdel-Magied visited a number of countries in the Middle East to promote Australia as an open, innovative, democratic and diverse nation. She met youth representatives, scientists, entrepreneurs, women’s groups and others.”
The statement said DFAT posts or embassies in the Middle East funded the visit “from existing budgets”, but declined to reveal the cost. Promoting her tour of the Middle East and North Africa, Ms Abdel-Magied blogged: “I’m incredibly honoured to be hosted by the Australian Embassies … I’ll be visiting a number of countries, and although not all stops have public events I will do my best to make time to meet people inshallah. If you can come to any of the public sessions though, I would LOVE to see you there!”
Her stops included Riyadh, where women who venture outdoors must wear the abaya, or full body covering, and punishments for sexual crimes include flogging and stoning; Abu Dhabi, where women require the permission of a male relative to remarry; Dubai, where most Westerners live in compounds; and Qatar, where marital rape is not a crime.
She also visited Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Sudan, where more than 90 per cent of women undergo forced genital mutilation, forced marriage is common and polygamy is permissible, although only for men. “If you have questions about specific locations, hit me up on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter inshallah,” Ms Abdel-Magied wrote. “Can't wait!”