Wednesday, August 03, 2005

MEDIA: Bolted To bin-Ladin

“Mate, did you read the Hun today?”

At least once a week, one of my friends from Melbourne rings up and points me to some editorial or article from Melbourne’s Herald-Sun.

The “Hun” (as it is affectionately known to Melbournites) is a popular tabloid paper, the Victorian equivalent to the Daily Telegraph. On the hallowed Hun pages, you will find intelligent investigative journalism and insightful commentary.

You will also find incitement and hatred, calls to arms and vitriol. And it tends to have one source. Andrew Bolt.

Andrew claims to be a conservative columnist. But he has an unusual concept of conservatism. For Andrew, being conservative means supporting clean-living white fringe-Christian anti-Muslim extremism. Andrew has become journalism’s answer to Pauline Hanson. Except that Pauline is now much prettier and has abandoned her politics for the stage.

On the stage of public opinion, Bolt is tied firmly in the bin-Ladin camp. Commentators like Bolt do bin-Ladin’s dirty work. How so?

Bin-Ladin hates Muslims. He must. After all, he and his colleagues kill so many Muslims. In fact, I think it would be no exaggeration to suggest that the majority of al-Qaida’s victims have been victims.

At least 30% of victims of September 11 were Muslims. In London, at least one-sixth of the victims were Muslims. One of them was a young British bank teller named Shahara Islam.

I would like readers to perform an exercise for me. Compare Shahara’s photo to that of Andrew Bolt’s nasty smirk. Ask yourselves this question. Who do you believe has closer links to al-Qaida? Ms Islam? Or Mr Bolt?

Who is doing the work of killing and hating Muslims? The martyr of London? Or the one who takes Mr Mudoch's dictation in Melbourne? Who is serving the interests of Bin-Ladin more effectively? The bank teller? Or the neo-Con commentator?

Bolt’s latest foray into Qaida-speak again lambasts anyone whom he considers somehow related to Islam. He has a go at the ABC (probably because they would never give him a job). He attacks Sheik Hilali, despite the fact that even Douglas Wood now admits the Sheik’s involvement.

What makes even less sense is that Bolt castigates the ABC for inviting a Melbourne Muslim group IISNA to respond to Bolt’s allegations. As far as Bolt was concerned, giving IISNA room or space to express their ideas is effectively the same as the ABC acting as “the spokesman of Muslim groups defending hate speech”.

Now, if Andrew Bolt had never used an IISNA affiliate to justify any of his views on issues, we could take him seriously. But everyone knows that Bolt frequently cites the views of Amir Butler, executive director of the Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee (AMPAC), a body linked to IISNA. And what does he like about Butler?

Bolt cites Butler in opposing legislation that forbids hate-speech. Butler has criticised the Victorian Religious Vilification Act. Bolt supports Butler’s views. Bolt also supports the Islamophobic views of the 2 Dannies comedy-duo (Pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot).

So there you have it. When the ABC quotes from IISNA, they are giving voice to hate-speech. But when Bolt cites an IISNA affiliate in order to oppose legislation that fights hate-speech, it’s OK.

No, Andrew, it isn’t OK. What’s good for the Aunty is good for the goose.

I wish Bolt would just come out and declare that he hates the religion and surname of the London terror victim mentioned earlier. I wish Bolt would just come out and say that he hates Islam. But Bolt would never have the guts to do this. Why?

Because he knows that if he declared his hatred for Islam, the Hun might lose lucrative advertising contracts from major corporations such as Crazy Johns. So in the meantime, Bolt will do a poor job of hiding his true feelings toward John Ilhan’s faith.

Andrew Bolt is well and truly bolted to al-Qaida. He is part of that sector of journalism (and I use that term in its widest possible sense) known as the “Taliban” of the neo-Cons. Bolt is determined to generate maximum hatred for Muslim Australians.

In doing so, he is trying to marginalise 400,000 Australians at the heart of mainstream Australian life. Bolt is doing exactly what John Howard and John Major and George W Bush and other western leaders don’t want him to do.

Demonising and marginalising Muslims is against our national interests and our national security. Andrew Bolt is a threat to our national security. I think someone should ring the toll-free number and dob him in for inciting terrorism.

So who will benefit from Bolt’s efforts? Yep, you guessed it. That beady eyed chap probably hiding in a cave somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

© Irfan Yusuf 2005

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Steve Edwards said...

Now I'm confused. Previously it was claimed by this author that 22% of WTC victims were Muslims. Now that figure has risen to 30%.

Irfan said...

Where did i say 22%? And why allow the point to be lost because of a possible typo?

Steve Edwards said...

I was writing from memory, but note the following:

On one thread, you claimed "at least 25% of the victims of the WTC bombings in 2001 were of muslim ethno-religious background".

On another thread, you claimed "at least 25% of the sept 11 victims were muslim civilians, including a fair proportion of the NY firemen and paramedics."

On yet another thread, you claimed "over 20% of the WTC victims were of muslim background"

The latest figure is "at least 30%".

If I may participate in your mass murder auction, I'd like to raise you 40%!

Steve Edwards said...

As for the "point being lost", the point had already been lost when both yourself and Peter Faris got suckered into believing that the threat of Islamic terrorism was greater than very small. As an Australian, you have close to a one in a million chance of dying from terrorism in any given year.

Yet for some reason, both you and Peter agree that an increase in the powers of the state is necessary to deal with
"terrorism", while disagreeing on what those powers should entail.

On one hand, Peter seems to favour a system of gulags and labour camps for Muslims, along with national ID cards for innocent Anglos like myself.

On the other hand, you seem to favour more "consultation" and no doubt funding so that Muslim organisations can act as virtual satrapies of Big Government. Of course, you also seem to support some system of state censorship to stop "violent extremists on both sides" from making "irresponsible comments", along with the usual ceiling high stack load of "anti-discrimination laws" to prevent "Muslim alienation". Plus the ubiquitous "public education programmes", to counter "misperceptions" of Islam and so on.

Before long, I predict both this site and other Muslim sites will be calling for some system of "state sponsored mosques" to balance the "radicals", rather like the French are already doing.

Thus the "anti-terrorist" pro-Muslim/anti-Muslim dialectic works only in one direction - handing an arsenal of unchecked powers to the federal government.

Ultimately, there is a cigarette paper of difference between this site and Peter Faris' Daily Gulag, because you are both working from the same first principles - that people have too much freedom.

To the extent that this site calls for a "sensible conservatism" led by a "dying breed" of centre-right "liberals", it has clearly not succeeded.

Irfan said...

in a way the points you raise are valid. but in a way they are not.

the best form of institution-building is the model of writers like Hayek. let institutions emerge spontaneously from civil society. govts should not get involved.

however, in my humble opinion, whether the threat of terrorism is real or illusionary, the fact remains that there are genuine fears. either politicians generate or reinforce those fears or they take the stance which you are taking.

i guess a logical deduction from your claim about terrorism is that the focus should be taken off extremist religious groups altogether.

Anonymous said...


I tend to agree with you.

Shortly after 7/7, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) began lobbying the government to impose a variant of the French model on Australian Muslims -- with a taxpayer-funded quasi-government organisation policing Islamic thought in this country. They have consistently argued that this is need to combat the threat of extremism in the community.

On the other hand, you have the supposed anti-Muslim camp pushing for tougher and tougher laws or the adoption of broad, sweeping approaches such as racial profiling.

Meanwhile, the justification for both sides of the argument is readily provided by obliging 'clerics' who make inflammatory remarks in the media.

However, in both cases, the result is the same: an increase in government power and the reduction in personal freedoms that must always accompany it. If the former camp 'win', then it means that there will be limitations placed on the diversity of Muslim thought in this country (something that will only lead to more radicalisation); and if the latter camp 'win' then it will been a reduction in civil liberties.

For that reason, I think the advocates of the French model and the advocates of draconian anti-terror laws are basically flip sides of the same coin. Of course, I'm not suggesting Irfan falls into either camp because clearly he doesn't.

As for Irfan's suggestion that institutions should evolve from civil society, then I again agree with that. I think one of the problems that Muslims face (and perhaps this is common to other groups) is that our leadership lacks accountability to the grassroots. This is because they do not depend on the individual Muslims for funding, but rather they seem to draw much of their income from government grants. As long as they are beholden to government, they will never truly serve or be particularly responsive to the interests of the general Muslim population. This is where, I suspect, the disconnect between 'normal' Muslims and an organisation like AFIC comes from. If they had to raise funds from their constitutents, then it stands to reason that they would need to better serve those constituents in order to offer them 'value for money'. Such a model is, of course, the antithesis of what our Muslim leaders are mostly calling for nowadays (for obvious reasons).

Finally, just to clarify something that Irfan wrote in this article: I am not a member of IISNA nor an affiliate. I used to be an advisor to their committee but left a couple of years ago. I've been to the centre perhaps three or four times in the last year, so I'm not really an affiliate or an associate in any meaningful sense. That said, I'm still friends with many of the committee members and don't have any real problems with the organisation as such. For what it's worth, I'm now on the da'wah committee of the Islamic Society of Victoria (the organisation that runs Preston Mosque).


Irfan said...

thanks for the clarification, amir.

Steve Edwards said...

"Of course, I'm not suggesting Irfan falls into either camp because clearly he doesn't."

Irf does not quite tow the line, but he still stays withing the comfortable (but fallacious) paradigm that governs the "pro/anti"-Muslim dialectic - leading directly to the destination of state tyranny.

The dialectic goes as follows:

Faris/Bolt et al note that there is a small faction of violent radical Muslims, tacitly supported by a somewhat larger amen corner of Muslims. They extrapolate and suggest that the liberties of all Muslims must be constricted;

Aly/al-Hilaly et al issue veiled accusations of "racism" against Faris/Bolt, defensively insisting (probably correctly) that only a tiny minority of Muslims are "radical" and that the government must give money and power to "moderates" (like, gee, Aly/Hilaly perhaps?) to keep the "radicals" in check.

Eventually, the Faris/Bolt corner come to accept the need to "cultivate" moderates and "monitor" radicals, while the "moderates" themselves gain power and prestige. As a further payoff, "moderates" are granted a crackdown on "religious vilification", which will eventually be applied to "radicals" just to placate Faris/Bolt.

There's your tyranny! The pro-war-pro-multicultural-anti-liberty synthesis forged by a phony "debate" over a virtually non-existent threat.

Steve Edwards said...

Irf writes:

"i guess a logical deduction from your claim about terrorism is that the focus should be taken off extremist religious groups altogether."

But my claim about terrorism is statistically irrefutable. It's astonishing what resources western countries have devoted to "ending terrorism" when you are almost certainly more likely to die from the flu than get blown up by Muslim extremists.

As for the never ending problem that "there are genuine fears"...well! That's very simple; nobody gonna break a sweat over that! Dismember the multicultural body-politic, repeal all anti-discrimination legislation, and reintroduce national origins into the immigration system; that is, adopt a synthesis of Japanese, Malaysian, and Israeli migration policies. I haven't heard any serious complaints about the "evil racism" of those countries!

No longer will people fear "a Muslim takeover" or whatever because, in the manner of that very wise statesman Lee Kwan Yew, it will be made clear that Australia shall remain overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic no matter what. Muslims will have nothing to worry about - turning off the immigration tap will reduce the anxieties of Anglos while encouraging assimilation of Muslims (with obvious benefits for them in the labour market, and elsewhere). The other payoff for the Muslim community is that there will be no political constituency for reactive "anti-terrorist" laws to lock up, torture, spy on, and censor, Muslims.

Rather than seriously worrying about a rise of neo-fascism, people will actually laugh at any proposal for DNA databases as they should be already.

As fears subside, the entire edifice of the "pro-Muslim/anti-Muslim" dialectic will crumble into dust. We'll look back and wonder what everyone was thinking.

What I find bizarre is that those who want to "defend Australia's identity" by erecting a police state are considered "within the mainstream", yet people like myself who point out the more obvious way to defend our identity (i.e. by not gratuitously dissolving it in the name of "anti-racism") are considered "morally suspect".

Steve Edwards said...

One final point - Amir, you said something about racial profiling.

I assumed that racial profiling simply meant that police may be allowed the right to note someone's racial ancestry on a suspect profile, or whatever. Is there something else involved in "racial profiling" that I missed?

Anonymous said...


I don't really have a problem with what you describe. The sort of 'racial profiling' I was refering to was specifically in the context of limiting or focusing general intelligence activities. For example, instructing ASIO to focus on Arabs and using race as a discriminator in deciding whether someone is or is not "of interest". It was a suggestion thrown up earlier in the week, but which the AG seems to have wisely rejected (see It seems more prudent and effective to focus on behaviour -- recognising that the sorts of behaviours that lead to terrorism can be found in all races (even Anglo Saxon converts to Islam like Jack Roach).

Anyway, as a side note, what do you guys think of the Swiss immigration policy (where local communities vote on who they will accept as migrants each year)? It seems an interesting idea in that those migrants who integrate with the community, and make some tangible contribution are more likely to be accepted as citizens; and the general population has a feeling of 'ownership' about who is allowed into their country/community which is lacking in Australia (and seems to be one of the things that concern many Australians).


Steve Edwards said...

I must say, if there was any country I wanted to be right now it would be Switzerland. No doubt about. Requires not a moment's hesitation.

They seem to have everything I like - limited constitutional government, extensive gun rights, citizens' initiated referenda, a prudent foreign policy, and strong immigration controls. And guess what? Nobody wants to blow up the Swiss! Name one single group that wants to target Swiss citizens! Just one.

It's a shame they joined the UN a couple of years back, but otherwise Switzerland is a first rate international citizen, almost without peer.

Anonymous said...

It does have compulsory military service, which is possibly a bad thing but then, as you said, who wants to attack the Swiss?

The system of decentralised government, in the form of the Cantons and Communes, and local autonomy given to them is excellent. There are some Cantons that are officially Catholic and others that are Protestant, and some where the 'official' language is German, Italian, or French. It seems to work well as they have withstood the historical conflict between Catholics and Protestants by simply allowing each group to take control over their own affairs. A remarkably simple solution to inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflicts that still plagues many societies, such as Iraq.

Though I would wonder how such a system would work here: eradicate state governments, increase the number and expand the power of local government, and devolve the federal government to manage only those 'common interests' such as maintaining a standard army and perhaps mint?


Steve Edwards said...

Hmm, comments aren't working for me here.

Steve Edwards said...

I don't know whether we should do away with the states, but clearly the federal government is taking on many extravagant functions.

It would be nice if Iraq could follow the Swiss model, but I'm afraid that country is too far gone. To talk meaningfully of "Iraq" is highly misguided as once the occupation ends, the uniting factor of the external enemy will give way to internal grievances. I'd say a total collapse is more likely than not.