Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Halal Snippets

This year, John Howard will be speaking to some 17 Christian groups at the Festival Hall in Melbourne. The pre-recorded speech has been arranged by Danny Nalliah, a Sri Lankan-born pastor of the Assemblies of God Churches and founder of the Catch the Fire Ministries.

The event was reported in Melbourne’s Herald-Sun. What the newspaper doesn’t report is that Nalliah’s service has also been advertised prominently in the 12 January 2007 edition of the Australian League of Rights publication On Target.

Allegedly conservative columnist Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald-Sun, and has been consistently supporting the Ministry in its defence of religious vilification. Treasurer Peter Costello provided a letter of support for the Ministry in the litigation. In this respect, both Costello and Bolt are in league with the Australian League of Rights, an organisation Nalliah has addressed on numerous occasions.

How about this for insightful comment. Here’s what blogger Kieran writes on The Dead Roo blog …

If I were to go around proclaiming myself Pope of Australia, perhaps
backed by some small bunch of religious extremists, and then claim to speak on
behalf of all catholics, I’d be laughed at. Would it be too extreme to speculate
that the Australian media and certain elements of the political establishment
legitimize this idiots bizarre claims to speak for all Australian muslims
because it suites their interests to have Australian Islam represented in this
fashion? …

Everyone has jumped onto the bandwagon, there was barely
a state premier that didn’t get an indignant sound bite. It’s John Howard who
owes Hilaly a bunch of flowers. Coming up to flag waving day John Howard has had
yet another chance to build an Australian ‘majority identity’, defined by the
obvious unAustralianness of some dark skinned minority that probably wouldn’t
vote for him anyway. These are election winning wedges.

But this isn’t the 1980’s, this is the 21st century, when one uses
a dog whistle.

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

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