A Muslim fashion designer who sent headscarves to Pauline Hanson and penned a powerful open letter urging the One Nation leader to change her rhetoric speaks to SBS.
Melbourne designer Azahn Munas, who was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia with his family when he was seven years old, sent some headscarves from his fashion label MOGA to the One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in late November.
Along with the gift, Mr Munas penned an open letter to the One Nation leader: "I would hate to think that someone would not want you in Australia because you are a Christian, or have white skin, or fierce red hair."
In the MOGA Facebook page post, Mr Munas called on Senator Hanson to change the way she speaks about minorities in Australia.
"Being a female senator qualifies you to be a great role model for young girls across our country. Using your political platform, however, to publicly call for a ban on Muslim immigration into Australia, sends a powerful message of inferiority to the women of this faith."
Speaking to SBS, Mr Munas said with all the hatred and negativity in the world right now, he decided to extend an olive branch to Hanson rather than getting angry.
"Fear mongering is an easy way to gain attention and support, but in the long run, kindness and compassion is what people ultimately relate too," he said.
"It’s also clear that we both love Australia and want what’s best for our country. It would be great if we people can put aside their differences and come together in building a more tolerant and accepting society.
"I know she isn’t going to be a proud supporter of Islam, but maybe if she can see how her words alienate and belittle people, maybe she might change the way she speaks about an entire religion of people."
Munas said parcel tracking showed the package was successfully delivered to Hanson's Queensland electorate office, however a spokesman from her office told SBS they have not received any headscarves in the mail.
A non-practicing Muslim himself, Munas says Hanson's calls for a ban on Muslim immigration "affected me greatly".
"I am incredibly blessed to have family and friends who accept me for who I am and teach me that my differences, such as my faith, or the colour of my skin or where I come from, is something that I should be proud of," he said.
"However, after hearing what Pauline Hanson has said, for the first time in a very long time I actually felt like an outsider simply due to the fact that I am Muslim."
So far Munas hasn't sent any headscarves to any other politicians, "but we did get a lot of people saying we should send them to Peter Dutton. Maybe down the line when we develop a men’s line," he said with a laugh.
Munas' fashion label, MOGA, specialises in women's headscarves and shawls, and 20 per cent of the brand's profits are used to help young girls attend secondary schools in some of the world's most vulnerable areas.
"I would love to make fashion that integrates style with social issues or causes that are important to me or my generation," he said.