Atrocities committed by Islamist terrorists these last few weeks, especially the Bastille Day attacks in Nice that left 84 dead and today’s slaying of an elderly Catholic Priest in Normandy have sparked the ire of conservative commentators and the genuine fear of many Australians including, but by no means limited to TV morning show host, Sonia Kruger.
However Arab-Australians have made crucial contributions to this country in countless ways. In an attempt to mitigate the tide of fear and vitriol spewed on both sides of an ‘anti-immigration’ discussion, I’m writing a little about just one of these communities, Egyptians in Australia.
(Top Left: Michael Ebeid, photo via sbs.com.au, top-right: Dr Eman Sharobeem, via: smh.com.au, bottom: Professor Anne Aly, via smh.com.au)
Here’s a brief selection of three of these prominent figures in Australian society.
Michael Ebeid, SBS Director
Michael Ebeid manages SBS. The network has made major inroads to build awareness of Australia’s social minorities, and under his leadership has recently established a 24-hour Arabic news channel.
The network has proved an anchor for individuals set adrift from their native countries, fostering new communities through its array of multi-language radio and TV communication channels.
During Michael’s time at the organisation, SBS has launched Australia’s first National Indigenous Television (NITV) free-to-air television channel, refocused SBS 2 to attract younger audiences to the network, expanded in-language programming across analogue and digital radio, and increased its commercial revenues. Under his leadership, the organisation has embraced digital technologies and opportunities, with catch-up service SBS ON DEMAND now available on more platforms and devices than any other Australian broadcaster, and the SBS website awarded “Best Publisher of the year” by AMIA in 2014.
Dr Eman Sharobeem, SBS Community Engagement Manager
Violence is a blight which many Australian women suffer in silence. Egyptian born Eman Sharobeem’s leadership of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service, where she served as Chief Executive for ten years, provided a real response to the suffering of Immigrant women facing domestic violence in Sydney. She has since moved to SBS where she has been appointed community engagement manager.
Dr Sharobeem was inspired to change others’ lives for the better.
As chief executive of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service, Dr Sharobeem has been recognised many times for her outstanding contributions to women’s rights.
“My goal is always to educate the community, engage in a conversation, have a dialogue about girls’ safety and girls’ future,” she said.
“I am absolutely delighted and honoured,” Dr Sharobeem said of the nomination.
Professor Anne Aly, Anti-terrorism expert and Labor Party Candidate
Professor Aly’s work in the grassroots rehabilitation of young people trapped in Islamisation cells sees her treat candidates not as terrorists or criminals, but as ‘kids’ in need of help. Here’s what she had to say about the issue in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.
“On paper, they’re like the poster children for being vulnerable,” she says. “For years I worried. I used to say, ‘Let Al Qaeda or Daesh come and try to take my boys and watch me stand up like a lion’, because I was shit scared.
“You don’t just worry about your kid getting into drugs or crime, there is another layer of worry to add to everything. So this is not just something I do, this is something that I need to find a solution for. This is personal for me.”
Aly has also been elected to the Labour seat of Cowan in Western Australia.