News Limited’s Sydney tabloid Daily Telegraph today published a story about a man who appeared in court yesterday, facing “15 charges, including having a firearm in a public place”. Among the weapons found by police were a loaded pistol, a tazer, and a Russian semi-automatic. He had been sentenced once before for similar crimes and was refused bail.
I’d seen plenty such defendants during my days as a Western Sydney Local Court hack during th 1990’s. This case should have been no different. But for the Tele, this case was different.
The headline of the article was “Man named Jihad caught driving with loaded gun, tazer”. Six out of 11 paragraphs mentioned the accused’s surname Jihad.
Yet neither the police nor prosecutors nor the magistrate raised any racial or ethno-religious issue during the hearing. It seems only the Tele has racially profiled this accused. It’s a wonder their reporter didn’t quote the accused telling the Magistrate: “Derka Derja, Muhammad Jihad”.
The story comes just days after a racist diatribe from senior columnist Piers Akerman who claimed Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne were “shutting themselves in closed societies and demanding immunity from criticism”.
In Akerman’s world, Muslims are locked up, never appearing in public on Sydney Road in Brunswick or Auburn Road in Auburn. Those funny looking people with beards on their faces and/or tea towels on their heads are just top gun actors recruited by Team America.
Akerman’s 430-plus blog comments (amongst them far-Right bloggers and activists like this clown) echoed his Team America worldview, blaming all the world’s ills on Muslims.
We can laugh all we want. But the fact that this kind of racist diatribe is allowed to be published so brazenly in the most popular newspaper of our nation’s most populous city should make us very worried. Either that, or our friends at the Tele just aren’t getting any. Perhaps they need to take the example of Gary from Team America, using pages of their newspaper to remove any carpet stains.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf
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