Rita Panahi

Rita Panahi

Rita Panahi is an American-born Iranian Australian opinion columnist and critic of Islam. She works for the Herald Sun, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia and is the host of The Friday Show at Sky News and contributor to Sunrise on the Seven Network. She is on the radio at 3AW and 2GB.

Panahi worked in banking while attending Monash University, studying but not completing a Bachelor of Business Finance. She joined Australian Young Labor and volunteered in the 1996 election campaign. Panahi worked as a personal banker at Colonial Mutual and was the youngest branch manager in the company’s history.

Panahi identifies as a conservative. She has argued against the burqa but opposes banning it. She is a critic of Islam but opposes a ban on Muslim immigration, and supports offshore detention camps for illegal immigrants. She is also a supporter of a high immigration intake (consistent with News Corp’s support for a big Australia) but acknowledges this elitist opinion is not held by most of her readers or most Australians. In January 2015, Panahi sparred with Andrew O’Keefe on Weekend Sunrise over Islamic extremists. Her article prompted a response on news website New Matilda. In a debate over racism in early 2016, Panahi was on a team opposing ABC presenter Stan Grant. Panahi argued that Australia should not be characterized as racist.

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Rita Panahi

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