Muslim Preachers and Their Message
It is interesting, and of some importance, to compare the media follow up to the recent Haider incident. Today we have The Australian’s front page lead (below) reporting on a detailed investigation and exposing the extremist prescriptions in the preacher’s radical lectures (being about 80) at Haider’s local prayer room in Springvale. But no such follow up has been undertaken by the Fairfax Press or the ABC. Today’s The Age does have a report (see below) on the what it describes as an apocalyptic magazine, Dabiq, published by IS but this does not cover threats or prescriptions from Australian extremist groups. The ABC has also had a small number of reports on such groups, including the recent interview of Hizb-ut Tahrir leader by Emma Alberici. But compared with the extensive coverage of social media issues, most notably on child abuse, possible threats from Islamic extremists rate low.
One reason sometimes given for this neglect is that only a tiny proportion of Muslims believe in or accept the extremist view. Apart from the fact that a small number with access to the right equipment has the capacity today to inflict enormous damage, this thesis overlooks that Muslim supporters of violent action are NOT tiny.
Made available here is a press release by the Q Society on a University of Queensland survey of 800 Muslims taken between June and August 2014. Fourteen focus groups were surveyed across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Q Society President Debbie Robinson justifiably claims that:
“The critical point of this study is that 21% of Muslims in Australia sympathise with Islamic terrorists and agree that terrorists have valid grievances”.
Yesterday I circulated a report about statements by Labor’s Anthony Albanese suggesting that some of the new counter-terrorism laws go too far and should be wound back. It will be recalled that Albanese would have been Labor leader had there been a straight vote with Shorten in the party room.
Below is what seems to be an excellent defence of the legislation by Attorney Brandis. It is a pity the article was not published earlier. But is also a pity that there was no journalistic criticism of Albanese’s obvious failure to do his homework.
A similar journalistic failure has occurred with the reporting of the recent survey by the Australian Council of Social Services purporting to show an increase in poverty. The IPA’s Mikayla Novak and Dom Talimandis have today issued a report (see report below from The Australian) entitled “Things are Getting Better all the Time” showing just that – including that there has been a decrease in measures of poverty in absolute terms (as distinct from relative terms). The attempt by social services analysts to argue that poverty has been increasing is long standing and the error should have been pointed out by commentators when the survey was published.
The Future of Coal
The AFR has published as a front page lead yesterday’s opening by Abbott of a new coal mine in Queensland (see below). Abbott’s statement that
“Energy is what sustains prosperity and coal is the world’s principle energy source and it will be for many decades to come,” he said. “Let’s have no demonisation of coal”
is of considerable importance (leaving aside the spelling error by someone!). And the more so as Shorten has agreed about coal, although qualifying that by also indicating support for increasing usage of renewable energy and for a new carbon price policy (whatever that means)
Future sources of energy will be addressed over the two weeks starting next Wednesday 22 October by convert from Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, during his visit to Australia. There are still some vacancies to hear him talk at lunch at The Australian Club on Monday 27 October.