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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