Turncoat babbles stupidly about the “tiny minority of excremists”
If Media Watch covered a domestic murder in the same way it covered a fatal Islamic extremist attack:
Having told reporters it was a shocking crime and a cold blooded killing, the Prime Minister said Australian men would be especially shocked and warned:
“We must not vilify or blame the entire male community with the actions of what is, in truth, a very, very small percentage of violent individuals.”
So how should the media cover attacks like these?
Well, there are no easy answers but one of the world’s experts on domestic violence coverage told Media Watch we should get less excited … because all the screaming headlines and attention just encourages them.
“The more coverage you give to domestic violence, the more domestic violence you see. The way these guys operate is that they stage some kind of attack and then they get the press for free. Normally if you wanted to get that kind of attention, you’d have to buy advertising space.”
But it’s not just the avalanche of coverage that may be unhelpful, it’s also the tone.
So what is responsible? Well, perhaps one answer is to suggest what’s not. And one might perhaps include headlines like these:
According to one of Australia’s leading domestic violence experts:
“The problem has been less the straight reportage and more the columnists … There’s also the usual stuff where people say, ‘can’t you see the problem is men?’ That doesn’t help anyone.”
Unlike the difficult debate about how to report acts of domestic violence in Australian in a way that won’t encourage more of the same.
There’s no doubt it’s a challenge to find a balance between telling the truth and not fanning the flames of fear.
The above is re-written from Monday’s Media Watch.
In case you missed it, here’s the contemptuous mufti of Australia adding insult to injury:
Sheikh Google and Sheikh Twitter radicalising young Muslims, Grand Mufti says
- Police warn of Parramatta protests
- Farhad Jabar’s classmate suspended
- Jabar recruited by extremists
- Extremists must go home: Kadomi
Respected Muslim community members fear a leadership vacuum in Australia has allowed radicalisation to flourish as young men turn to social media for spiritual guidance.
One week after schoolboy Farhad Jabar killed a police accountant, the country’s most senior Muslim leader spoke publicly for the first time on Friday flanked by his translator and a group of faith leaders.
The Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, refused to call the shooting at Parramatta police headquarters a terrorist act, despite Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Premier Mike Baird labelling it one.
“Without enough information, and given that we are not an investigation body, I can’t comment on that,” he said through a translator.
Sarwa Abdelraheem, a spokeswoman from the Grand Mufti’s office, said violent extremism was a serious but small problem facing the entire community, influenced by a huge range of factors including psychological state and family context.
“All of these factors in association with misguided and deviant so-called religious teachings become a dangerous recipe with disastrous consequences,” she said.
Ms Abdelraheem said they did not want to call the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng a terrorist act because Jabar’s motive was still unknown and “speculation at this stage is just that, unfounded speculation”.
Dr Abu Mohammed said teachings that influenced extremists were not coming from sheikhs or community members in Australia.
“The misguided teaching is imported to us. It is not made by us. It is Sheikh Google, Sheikh Twitter, Sheikh Facebook and not made here in Australia. In addition to that, the developments in the international arena contribute also.”
Ahmed Kilani, founder of the Muslim Village website, said radicalisation via social media flourishing because the Muslim leadership in Australia had become completely out of touch with younger generations.
He said the Grand Mufti not addressing the public in English, despite living in Australia for almost two decades, was a clear example.
“The majority of the mosques and Islamic organisations are still ethnic-based and a lot of the imams, including the Mufti, don’t speak English proficiently or have a western mindset. This is in vast conflict of 85 per cent of the Australian Muslim community who were born here or raised here,” he said.
“The leadership of the community is therefore not only not representative of the community, they are really out of touch with grassroots issues facing the younger generation.”
Mr Kilani said there had been no handover to the younger generation of Muslim Australia, who are best-placed to connect with radicalised youth but have not been equipped or encouraged to do so.
Maha Abdo, executive officer at the United Muslim Women’s Association, said it was crucial to transfer leadership to younger generations.
However, she said the Muslim community has been “under seige” and hasn’t had the “breathing space” to properly mentor youth.
“Our youth get older and the generations will continue and we have to continue to pass on the… positive contributions that we’ve made together,” she said.
“Any discourse that attempts to apportion blame by association or sensationalises violence to stigmatise a certain segment of society only serves to undermine community harmony and safety,” she said.
Father Rod Bower, from the Gosford Anglican Church, appeared alongside the Muslim community leaders in an effort to promote inclusion.
He said an anti-Islam protest planned outside Parramatta Mosque on Friday was only adding to the divisions that lead young men to feel marginalised and angry.
“It is actually part of the problem. They are contributing to the problem,” he said.