ECCV condemns attacks on ad featuring Muslim girls wearing hijabs

The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) has strongly condemned attacks on an ad featuring Muslim girls wearing hijabs – as part of an Australia Day 2017 electronic billboard promotion – as racist, ignorant and highly divisive.

ECCV Chairperson, Eddie Micallef, said reports that the ad on a rotating electronic billboard in Cranbourne was “pulled” because of threats to the advertising company QMS are “extremely disappointing”.

“I have been informed that the ad - which featured two Muslim girls - was part of a electronic billboard that featured a number of rotating images of people from different cultural backgrounds photographed at last year’s Australia Day celebrations.

“The fact that the only "0" that has been targeted for criticism is one that has an image of culturally diverse Australians demonstrates how blatantly racist and narrowly focused the attacks are.

“Apparently, this was one of a number of rotating images that were meant to show and celebrate graphically and visually the great cultural diversity that is such an integral part of Australian society.

“Australia is a country built on immigration. Multiculturalism has been acknowledged at all levels of government and within the wider community as one of our greatest strengths, and is what makes our society so culturally rich and vibrant.

“The fact that it has been reported that these threats to the advertising company QMS has forced it to withdraw the ad because of fears for the safety of its employees is an absolute disgrace.

“These threats are nothing more than mindless, ill-informed acts of racism which refuse to acknowledge the reality of the society we are currently living in. We are a highly successful, multicultural society, which gains many benefits from our great cultural diversity and to state otherwise is to go against reality.

“I have been informed that there is a campaign to raise funds to have the ad re-instated, and I commend and congratulate those who are acting to promote an image – that is one of many – celebrating the great cultural richness we have in this country as part of Australia Day 2017 celebrations.”

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