For once, someone at the top is making sense

This from AAP, via Westnet:

Top cop warns of anti-Islamic bias

The nation’s top policeman says there is a risk of creating a generation of Australians with a bias against Islam, which in turn will incite more terrorism.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty called for moderation in media coverage of issues including controversial comments by Australia’s most senior Islamic cleric. Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali compared skimpily-dressed women to “uncovered meat” and suggested they were “the problem” that caused sexual attacks, The Australian reported.

Mr Keelty said if true, the comments were inflammatory. The sheik has since apologised for any offence caused by the comments.

“Obviously what was said is going to be offensive to many of us in the community,” Mr Keelty said in Adelaide. “But I would also point out that there are many other people in the community who say offensive things from time to time as well, and many of them are white Caucasian Australians. Clearly things are going to be said from time to time that I guess inflame the situation and for all us, we have got to look at ways to try and keep some element of moderation about what we say and what we do.”

In an address to the South Australian Press Club, Mr Keelty said: “if we are not careful, I think we risk raising a generation of Australians who will have a bias against Islam. As I travel around the country and speak to different Islamic communities … you hear more and more stories of treatment of the Islamic community that really is sub-standard by members of our own wider community. If we don’t get a handle on this now, if we don’t actually teach the values to future generations that we were brought up with, we do risk, I think, having a bigger problem in our own future than what we have in our past.”

Mr Keelty said he was concerned some media coverage may incite terrorism. “If we are not careful, the way we treat the issues of security and terrorism can in fact incite others to become involved,” he said.

He cited reported threats to the safety of the Australian cricket team during last year’s Ashes series in England as an example, saying Australian media followed a story of “questionable background” from the United Kingdom. “It was the story of a friend of a friend of an alleged friend of an alleged bomber that made the front pages and drove our media here for over 24 hours,” he said.

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4 Responses to For once, someone at the top is making sense

  1. Matthew says:

    Hello Andrew – further to Keelty’s comments – I seem to remember Alexander Downer telling a crowd of astounded women’s services workers that it was “The
    things that batter that matter” on domestic violence a few years ago.

    Today, Alex is our bumbling and corrupt foreign minister, so John Howard obviously did not call for his resignation, in fact, he promoted him.

    So for Howard to be calling now for Alhilali’s resignation is a bit hypocritical. I don’t in any way support his comments, but he has apologised for them. The rest is up to people in the Muslim community to decide I think.

    The media never seem to report the fact that there are a large number of rapes in marriage, so for them to become moral crusaders on this issue is a bit rich as well –
    many feminists have decried for years their deliberate silence on this and other issues which their editors probably consider non-stories.

    Thanks for this intellegent post Andy, read you later!

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks Matthew 🙂

    I seem to recall Downer also was a keynote speaker at an Australian League of Rights meeting at one point – something Liberal senators Nick Minchin (at one time Special Minister for State) and Ross Lightfoot (well, no surprises there) have also done. I mean, I think the comments were totally wrong, but this is a sheer case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    As one editorial (I wish I could find it now) pointed out, Alhilali is usually thought of as something of a moderating force at the top end, and if he goes, I think any potential replacement would be a PR coup for Howard and One Nation types.

  3. Matthew says:

    Hi Andrew, ;0)

    That’s interesting. One letter writer to the “West” actually said he wanted a “non-Muslim” Christmas! He must be slightly to the right of the League Of Rights…it shouldn’t really amaze me after what happened in 1995, but it seems the “big lie” didn’t end in 1945 after all.

    By the way, my old blog “Matt’s Joint” is dead, Opera wouldn’t accept script from Blogger, so I chucked a paddy and deleted it. Five minutes later I thought up the idea of downloading Firefox instead (duh!), so my new blog is “Biolog Of Activist Matt”, in case you were wondering.

    I think you blog superb Andy, I look forward to reading more in time to come. I’ll definately link to you – take care – Mattey.

  4. Matthew says:

    Andrew,

    You might like to see the brilliant letter someone wrote to the Herald on this issue at my blog:

    http://biologofactivistmatt.blogspot.com

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