Sometimes I cannot help wondering whether to continue referring to the national broadsheet as The Australian. Why?
Because after tracking its editorial and op-ed slant, it seems to me that the paper just isn’t. It spends so much of its editorial time defending the policies of George W Bush and his allies in the Coalition of the Killing. And that includes defending even the most crazy policies of the Howard Government.
Now, in speaking about The Australian, I am not in any way commenting on many of its fine journalists and columnists. I am talking about its editorial and its pet columnists. And its refusal to allow alternate voices on certain issues to be aired.
I have already shown in three pieces on this blog how The Australian uses all sorts of intellectually dishonest means to push its pet prejudices down the throats of its readers. But the editorial of November 7 2005 on why Aussie Mossies should support the proposed Anti-Terror Bill is a real classic.
I won’t waste my time or that of readers by going through the entire editorial. After all, I have a real job and a real life. I wish I could say the same for some of these responsible for editorials at The Australian.
“… since the Howard Government announced its tough new terror legislation, some of these leaders have drifted badly off message, claiming the laws will victimise Muslims.”
Er, no. The leaders didn’t say it. The President of the Police Federation of Australia said it. And thus far, he hasn’t been proven wrong.
“In fact, the laws do not mention any ethnic or religious minority. If they did target any minority, they would be anathema to Australians -- whose reservoir of tolerance, and commitment to civil liberties, runs deep.”
The laws don’t need to mention any ethno-religious minority. Because every single proscribed organisation listed in the laws is relate to Islam and Muslims. Every single one. Compare that to the US law in which over one-third of proscribed terrorist groups has no relation to Islam (apart from perhaps having Muslim victims, such as the Kahane Chai and the Tamil Tigers).
Yes, it is true that any targeting of minorities is an anathema to Australians. Which explains why I refuse to call that newspaper by its claimed name. And which also explains why that newspaper rarely seems to make much of a profit.
“Let's be clear, the threat to Islam in Australia comes from one direction, and one only: the fundamentalists who wish to hijack this great and dignified religion for their own lunatic ends.”
No, the threat to Islam in Australia also comes from the crazy pseudo-conservative lunatic fringe whose columns get published in The Oz. Fringe writers like Janet Albrechtsen who claims Muslim migrant cultures teach their sons to rape white women. Lunatics like John Stone who is allowed to publish not one but two columns calling for all migration of Muslims to cease. Lunatics like Messrs Steyn and Pipes who write stuff that deliberately incites hatred and venom toward Muslims.
And yes, I will say it. Lunatics that allow such hatred and venom to be printed on a broadsheet that insults the word “Australian”.
“By playing to unwarranted concerns within their community about the new laws, Muslim leaders risk bolstering the prestige of these radicals, whom they should be isolating. Their responsibility is to issue constant and unambiguous denunciations of those who foment sectarian hatred in Australia, or justify terrorist acts overseas.”
How on earth does exercising one’s democratic right in any way bolster the prestige of terrorists? Has the editorial writer gone completely mad? Muslim leaders (many of them lawyers) are repeating the same criticisms raised by prominent lawyers, judges and even former conservative Prime Ministers.
Further, who is really fomenting sectarian hatred in Australia? Which Muslim leader is suggesting their culture encourages boys to rape white women? Which mainstream Muslim newspaper spurts out anti-Christian and anti-Jewish in the same manner as some columnists for The Oz spurts out anti-Muslim hatred?
In a way, I hope the new laws do come into place. At least the ones on inciting sectarian hatred. Perhaps The Oz will have to re-consider before it allows its editorial space to be polluted by some of the trash we often read.
© Irfan Yusuf 2005