I’ve just gotten off the phone from Jason Morrison of the Sydney talkback radio station 2GB. His researcher, Judy Goldman, had been trying to contact me since this morning. She had e-mailed me via the AltMuslim.com website (of which I am an associate editor) and also rang the Law Society of NSW. I contacted her and had a brief conversation with her.
I spoke with Mr Morrison at 3:40pm. He wanted to talk about a certain "sheik" Haron who had been charged with sending grossly offensive letters to the families of fallen Australian soldiers.
Morrison asked me if I had ever heard of Haron. I said that I had read about him in a media report in The Australian newspaper last year. However, he first really came to prominence when it was reported he had written to a judge in a terrorism trial supporting and justifying the decision of certain defendants not to stand up when the judge entered the courtroom.
Morrison said that many ordinary Australians would look at this incident and wonder why more ordinary Muslims didn’t step up and condemn Haron’s remarks. He said that his show had been having trouble finding a single Muslim prepared to comment on this issue on the air.
Morrison admitted that he thought Haron had a screw or two loose (which makes one wonder why people might expect Muslims to speak out given that we don’t expect Christians t speak out when someone with a screw loose says something silly in the name of Christ).
The impression he seemed to be giving his listeners was that Muslims in general did not regard this as a serious enough issue. It was as if Australians who ticked the “Muslim” box on their census forms had little concern for the sentiments of their fellow citizens.
After the interview, I spoke to his researcher for a second time. She confirmed to me that she had not contacted any of the following to seek comment:
# Any Islamic Council
# Any imam or Board of Imams
# The NSW Community Relations Commission
She did say that Mr Morrison may have tried to contact people before the show.
This raises the question – exactly who did Mr Morrison or his researchers ring? What efforts did they make to contact representatives from Muslim communities? And why did he tell his listeners on air that he had in fact been trying to contact people from Muslim communities all day to comment about this?
UPDATE I: The website of the so-called Sheik Haron now appears to have been "suspended".
UPDATE II: My suggestion to "sheik" Haron is that he follow the commercial lead of another sheik ...
Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf
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