It seems that Islamic terrorists can invoke Islam as justifications for their actions all they want, but if anyone else takes notice, it’s racism. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it’s ultimately suicidal: it prevents the targets of Islamic terrorism from tracking terror to its source and taking action accordingly. A trenchant piece from Piers Akerman in The Daily Telegraph, with thanks to Jean-Luc and Kevin:
This week the Australian Press Council, the newspaper oversight organisation, warned that “the use of headlines of the style “Muslim terror” and “Islamic bomb attack” would be best avoided as they can be seen to link religious belief and its adherents to deliberate attacks of terror.
Doh! As our friend Homer Simpson would doubtless exclaim.
When, as we have today, news from the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City that a fanatical Muslim cleric named Muqtada al-Sadr is urging his followers to kill all Westerners in the name of Allah, the media — according to this ridiculous Press Council warning — should avoid mentioning Muqtada’s religious connections.
Is the media meant to lie?
Muqtada is nothing but a crazed religious zealot, as are all the hate-filled clerics preaching in mosques around the world calling on their followers to kill and maim at every opportunity.
He is wanted for the bloody murder of another — moderate — Shi’ite cleric and is now holed up near one of Iraq’s holiest shrines in Najaf.
Do the grey folk of the Press Council really want the Australian media to kid readers and pretend that Muqtada killed his more moderate rival because of an argument over a car parking space, the soccer results, or differences in musical taste?
Is the media meant to describe the mosque as a football stadium, a nightclub or a supermarket?
Is the press to encourage the view that these clerical monsters have no religious affiliation and are merely spreading the gospel of mass murder for some spurious secular motive?
Professor Ken McKinnon, the chairman of the Press Council, says in a press release that the Australian Muslim community has reported experiencing the cumulative effect of the frequent use of religious terms, which has led to increased divisions in Australian society and the ostracising of citizens simply because they belong to a recognisable group.
Well, tough titty. Who exactly is he trying to protect from the truth?
Everyone in Sydney has heard of the speech Lakemba’s infamous mufti, Sheikh Taj el-dene Elhilaly, made at a mosque in Lebanon earlier this year endorsing suicide bombings and the attacks on the World Trade Centre towers and the Pentagon.
It was by any measure a poisonous call to young Muslims to take up arms in what was deemed to be a holy cause.
The sheikh claims his speech was full of poetical allusions and widely misinterpreted.
Presumably, applying the idiotic guidelines being urged upon the media by the Press Council, the Australian public would have had to guess that the speech was delivered by a cleric, and that it dealt with religious themes such as martyrs, sacrifice and paradise.
It is not that long ago that terrorists in the far smaller theatre of Northern Ireland were identified in the media as either Catholic or Protestant, without calls for the press to avoid such labels. What is different now and why must the truth be suppressed?
Who is the Press Council trying to protect?
The taxpayer-funded ABC has long instituted a notorious set of rules under which it refuses to permit terrorists to be called terrorists.
As I’ve reported before, the ABC’s head of international relations, John Tulloh, has even forbidden staffers to describe members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad as terrorists, though they clearly are by any definition.
Further, the ABC claims to be guided by the UN in this matter, not the Australian Government which furnishes your taxes each year to bankroll this dubious information source.
Unfortunately, as has been noted by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, the UN doesn’t have a list of terrorist groups per se, just a register of organisations which have been banned because of their connection with al-Qaeda or the Taliban. The ABC has been caught with its politically correct pants down.
Now the Press Council is dismally exposing its vulnerability to minority group pressure and its gross failure to stand up for press freedom.
Taking religion out of the current global conflict is a craven, pusillanimous act of cowardice.
If the Australian Muslim community feels it is being singled out for attention because of the acts of madmen overseas or even criminal elements locally who made a point of identifying themselves by their religious affiliation during the commission of their crimes, the community should demonstrate against those who have dishonoured their religion — not against those who have bravely reported the truth.
The absolute worst thing we can do when confronting the global war on terrorism is to delude ourselves about the perpetrators and their motivation.
That the Press Council should wilfully attempt to get newspapers to stop telling things as they are and to publish false reports stripped of those facts which give meaning to the conflict is criminal. Weak, Professor McKinnon, weak and wrong.