Often what the media avoids presenting is just as important as what they do show or the ‘angle’ in which they broadcast.
Yesterday, a man wielding a meat cleaver in the Melbourne CBD, claiming to be a “messiah of Islam,” was downgraded by media outlets to a plain old messiah who was “not motivated by religion” but was mentally ill.
I have no doubt he was a deranged lunatic but why dismiss the religious link? How can we hope to counter the dangerous and radical ideology infiltrating sections of our community if we refuse to acknowledge its roots and origins?
It reminds me of those tired old police shows where the local cop waves everyone on from the murder scene with a ‘move along folks, nothing to see here’.
It was a similar situation with a recent report in the Canterbury – Bankstown Express newspaper. I was approached by journalist James Beech to respond to a press release invitation to attend the Lakemba Mosque open day hosted by the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA).
Notwithstanding that genuine invitations aren't usually sent to politicians via press release, I provided the following quote to the journalist:
“I’d be able to take this invitation more seriously if it was actually sent to me rather than sent to the media; however, given that the LMA has previously hosted an Al Qaeda recruiter to speak to their youth via teleconference and their leadership have acted as defence witnesses for at least one person subsequently convicted of terrorist offences, I have no intention of having any association with them.”
Now which part of that quote do you think made it into the story?
If you guess it was only the final ten words – “I have no intention of having any association with them” - you’d be right.
I have written a letter to the editor of that paper regarding this particular omission and time will tell if it is published.
It’s not the first time such things have happened and I am sure it won’t be the last. I have written before of the selective editing by the ABC when one dares to outline some facts about some of the ‘moderate’ representatives of Islam in our community.
For example, Keysar Trad of the Islamic Friendship Association has been described as a dangerous individual who incites violence and racist attitudes by the courts and yet he is still feted as the voice of moderation by the media. When I pointed this out during an ABC interview a year or so ago, the comments were cut ‘due to time constraints’.
I could go on but I am sure you get the picture.
Through omission, sections of the media are refusing to present the full story of one of the most pressing issues our nation faces. Islamic fundamentalists are challenging our security, our laws, our culture and our way of life.
If we are not prepared to openly discuss the origins of their hateful motivations then we cannot reasonably hope to counter the danger they present. Indeed, if, as we are repeatedly told, it is only the fringe dwellers linked into this fundamentalism, why do the press insist on air-brushing the history of some of their most prominent community leaders and organisations?