Monday, February 16, 2009

OPINION: Inflammatory Remarks ...

Within a week of the September 11 attacks, I received a host of e-mails sprouting all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories to explain this event. One classic claimed that Israel must have been behind the event because 4,000 Jews didn't turn up to work.

As we know, Jews all work in the banking and finance industries and are part of the giant Israeli intranet from which they receive their instructions on when to exercise their leave entitlements. The five Israelis who lost their lives in the attacks somehow weren't factored into this conspiracy.

Of course, conspiracy theories are the stuff of nutjobs. Trying to find consistent logic in a conspiracy is like trying to find a pig farm on either side of the Gaza/Israel border. OK, maybe that's not the best comparison, but anyway my point is that you just don't give credence to such theories, even if they can spread like wildfire across cyberspace.

And as expected, the worst natural disaster in Australia's recorded history is also producing its share of imbecilic conspiratorial nonsense.

Andrew Bolt cites the
Drudge Report in an entry for his Herald Sun blog:
The Drudge Report has linked the fires to threats last year by a few hotheads on the web to set off bushfires for jihad. Already emails repeating this link are whizzing around the web. That is grossly irresponsible and unfair - the nastiest rabble rousing. Not a shred of evidence has been produced to identify the motivation of any of the arsonists behind these fires, and I seriously doubt any are Muslim. This kind of finger-pointing has no place in these times. This is a time to draw together, not to divide ourselves with baseless allegations. No comments repeating these insinuations will be published here.

Piers Akerman, a senior columnist for the Daily Telegraph, doesn't share Bolt's scruples and quite happily spreads the "forest jihad" conspiracy theory in his otherwise relatively sensible (by his standards) column:

Treating arson as terrorism should not be a huge leap, given that a group of Islamic extremists last year singled Australia out as a target for "forest jihad" as a weapon of terror.

What the ...? Does Akerman have any respect for his own and his readers' intelligence? Can't Akerman have a discussion about the causes of bushfires without manufacturing conspiracy theories based on a single newspaper report? What does Piers know that Victorian police don't know?

But then, maybe we should give Piers the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Akerman wasn't trying to link the ongoing bushfires to terrorists who can only belong to the wrong religion. No such luck. In relation to the possible impact of global warming and climate change, Piers arises at 5:41am on 10/01/09 to comment on his blog:
No evidence of climate change but a lot of evidence that Green policies prevented fuel reduction and created the essential trip-switch for the fires.
Yep, no evidence of climate change but lots of evidence for other causes. As Piers notes some four hours later on his blog:
Islam is mentioned because Islamists said lighting bushfires was a good way to terrorise Australians.
Around 10 minutes later (10/02/09 at 9:53am), Piers explains why, statistically, other suspected arsonists make up only a fraction of their particular group.
If Islamists promote arson as a means of terrorising Australians, it would be negligent not to mention them. The bush is designed to burn and it was burnt by the Aboriginals - we are told. Some CFA volunteers have a history of arson but the numbers are so few in such a large organisation that they are statistically practically irrelevant.
Yep, the CFA volunteers are part of a large organisation. Don't blame all CFA volunteers for arson as they are statistically practically irrelevant. But feel free to blame "Islam" and "Islamists" even if nether are suspected of, let alone apprehended for, involvement in the Victorian bushfires.

And when one of his readers asks the kind of questions I am asking here, Piers responds at 10:50am on 11/02/09 by accusing the person of being ...
... nothing but an apologist for would-be murderers.
Only slightly nuttier than Piers Akerman's forest jihad is Pastor Danny Nalliah, who describes the bushfires as God's way of punishing Victorians for laws ...
... approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb.
Using the same logic, the Boxing Day tsunami must have been divine punishment for Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Thais, Malaysians, Indians, Somalis, Mauritians and persons of countless other nationalities and just about every faith under the sun for supporting laws which ... um ... where do I start?

Nalliah is familiar with Godly conspiracies. In August 2007, Nalliah had received revelation from God about John Howard's impending victory in the November 2007 elections.

God revealed that following the election victory, Howard would pass on the Prime Ministerial baton to Peter Costello. No mention is made in the prophecy of when Mr Costello would release his memoirs or how quickly they could be purchased for under $20. I guess there are some things even God has no control over.

Given that Mr Howard was the recipient of such gracious Divine assistance, it's no wonder he defended his decision to provide an Australia Day message to Nalliah's cult. Even Peter Costello provided such a message to the cult on Australia Day this year.

The Nalliah story and the accompanying condemnations by Peter Costello and Victorian Premier John Brumby weren't deemed important enough to be reported in the Daily Telegraph.

Still, I can't blame them. Carrying the words of one conspiratorial nutter is sufficient. There's only such much fire a Tele reader can catch.

First published on ABC Unleashed on Friday 13 February 2009.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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HATEWATCH: Some more non-racial comments left on Bolt's Herald-Sun blog ...

Once again, the good folk at the Herald-Sun website have little trouble in moderating some completely non-racial comments so that they appear on Mr Bolt's blog. Read and enjoy.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

‘Arab’ bikies?!? I can’t believe we even let Arabs into our country. Look at what they get up to. Our own Aussie bikies are so much nicer.
Matt (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (11:18am)

Thank God he was a moderate muslim otherwise he would have blown her up.
Aussie Boy of Oz (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (11:38am)

It has no place here, and any decent Australian government would issue a single warning before acting appropriately - cut it out, or go home cold in a canvas bag.
perturbed of NSW (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (12:24pm)

Islam allows muslims to kill other muslims that aren’t following the true path. Hence Sunnis can kill Shias and vice versa. All good muslims know that!
And Muzzammi Hassan beheaded his wife because she dishonored him by asking for a divorce!
Of course, honour killings are also allowed in Islam.
Simple really!
The Religion of Peace and Sharia Law; coming soon to a town near you. Enjoy!
geoff from the west (Reply)
Mon 16 Feb 09 (01:30pm)

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