Waleed Aly is scared about where he belongs in this country. He is terrified for his family. But he doesn't blame Sonia Kruger for being scared either.
In his Something We Should Talk About segment on Tuesday night, The Project host called the increasing global terror threat "a nightmare" which has caused fear throughout the world. But Aly called on Australians to stop the cycle of outrage which breeds further division.
"I can't escape the thought that how we deal with our fear is becoming the defining measure that determines us as a people. Awful news leads to fear which leads to an outrageous statement, which leads to a pile-on, a hardening of positions," Aly said, in the segment written with supervising producer Tom Whitty.
"I feel like we're on a Gravitron and spinning around and around. We're all in a cycle and as the year wears on we're spinning faster and faster and we're pushed to the edges and it is harder and harder for us to meet in the middle. Eventually, someone is sick and this is what that looks like."
The Project host pointed to Sonia Kruger's comments calling for all Muslims to be banned from entering Australia.
Aly said he could argue with the Today Extra host but all he'd be doing is "encouraging the inertia of outrage" that has led to horrendous personal attacks on Kruger since she made those comments on Monday.
"Sonia Kruger is not evil, she's scared," Aly said, "How do you think she feels now?"
This fear has led to more than half a million Australians voting for Pauline Hanson, Aly said, and when people attack them everyone is pushed further apart, creating more divided, extremist views.
"My point is we're all now responsible for how this story is going to play out. When we're presented with an outrageous opinion, we're actually presented with two options -- destruction or construction.
"We can react emotionally and carelessly with little genuine critical thought. Or we can do something that's much more difficult than that. When we're presented with something that we perceive to be an outrageous opinion, we can consider what motivated that person and try to understand their fear and then empathise with how they came to that conclusion.
"Because the truth is that what motivates them is fear, and fear is the one thing we're all sharing right now because I'm scared too. I'm afraid for this country. I see such hostility and aggression that I'm afraid about what it could do to this country."
I see such hostility and aggression and I'm afraid about what I could do to this country. I'm terrified about what it's doing to my friends and my family. Honestly, I'm scared about where I belong.
Pointing out a reader's letter printed in The Australian which proposed "locking up Muslims" Aly said: "I'm terrified about what [fear] is doing to my friends and my family. Honestly, I'm scared about where I belong."
Saying he's lost count of the amount of times outrage has gone viral, The Project host called for forgiveness to go viral.
"You might just be angrily tweeting at someone who said something outrageous. What I'm suggesting is while it feels good to choose destruction, right now I think we need to try construction."
And that's something we can get on board with.Suggest a correction