ABCwatch

Tim Blair

Ombudsgod

New Criterion

 

 

Tuesday, January 07, 2003
 
AUNTIE'S CLIMATE ANALYSIS

The most valuable part of Auntie's television news service is the weather forecast. When the 7.30 report touches on climatic matters it seems the demons of a more primitive universe come rushing out to plague us.

According to the 7.30 Report's presenter's script, the little matter of Sheik al Hilaly's traffic ticket is being blown out of all proportion by the climate of anti-Muslim feeling post September 11th.

How does an alleged traffic violation become headline news around the country? When it involves the arrest of a leading Muslim cleric in a volatile climate of anti-Muslim sentiment.

The evidence for this trend assessment? A couple of ranters on talk-back radio.

It's like going back to the days of weather fore-casting by looking out the window - in the wrong direction.

The view from Unlce's window seems reasonably clear. The Sheik allowed some object to project from his left hand window, in a way that properly attracted police attention. On enquiry, the police found that the Sheik's car was unregistered and uninsured.

At some point during the roadside interview some of the Sheik's supporters arrived, and, in the words of an independent eye-witness, began to "bash" the police.

RANESH RAMTOHUL, EYEWITNESS: A young guy just pushed two police to the ground.

He tried to bash the two of them but two more police came to the rescue.

The police did a good job - it was cool.

They tried to explain to those people calmly.


Back-up arrived, arrests were made, and the rest is politics or performance. One of the police officers was a Muslim of Arabic background, by the way.

So, what is Auntie saying? That groups, and their leaders, to whom it accords "victim" status should be above the law? That it has other evidence of improper behaviour on the part of the police, and is not going to tell us about it?

God knows, the NSW police force has plenty of charges to answer.

But it is unthinkable that we should allow the principle to apply that Muslim leaders in areas populated by their followers are above the law.

That is to turn multi-cultural tolerance into communalism. As in the suburb of Paris where the local Islamist enforcers advised a female cabinet Minister that she should not enter.

Your call, Auntie. Do let us know.

In the meantime, here is Uncle's substitute script for a balanced ABC news report:

How does an alleged traffic violation become headline news around the country? When it involves the arrest of a leading Muslim cleric in a volatile climate created by a sentiment among some Muslims that their leadership is untouchable, leading to attacks on police.

Update: I am obliged to reader Harry for the address of this background on the strange processes by which Hilaly got to stay in this country.

Update: Former ALP Immigration Minister, Chris Hurford, has written in the Adelaide Review, as reported in the Australian (don't click unless you want to pay) that it wasn't him what did it. That leaves the lovely Gerry Hand of the Socialist Left, supported by Paul Keating, right at the centre of it all.