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'Four Corners' blames non-Muslims for extremism

By Leon Bertrand - posted Friday, 14 March 2008

It's always quite amusing when someone mounts an argument that those who break the law do so because of others who don't accept them. An excellent recent example of this was Ryan Al-Natour wanting to blame the rest of society, particularly "morally corrupt conservatives" for the Macquarie Field riots. With such arguments, both collective and self-responsibility of wrongdoers are successfully taken out of the equation.

We have a similar story constructed on the ABC's Four Corners program a few nights ago, where Sally Neighbour essentially tried to say it's the fault of non-Muslims that Muslims are being radicalised.

At the start of the show, Neighbour makes her prejudices clear. Referring to anti-Muslim sentiment, she says:


Since September 11, the Bali bombings and the war on terror, views like this have become commonplace.

The implicit assertion is that terrorist attacks overseas are wholly or mostly responsible for hostility to Muslims. Unlike my blog, she appears not to have contemplated the role of the following behaviours, committed by some Australian Muslims, at all:

  • the committing of racially motivated pack rapes on “Aussie sluts”;
  • the vilification of non-Muslim Australian women to “cover up” and “dress modestly”;
  • gang violence committed on non-Muslims;
  • Muslim clerics preaching that non-Muslim women are to blame when they are raped; and
  • other Australian clerics promoting anti-Semitism and supporting terrorism

Such a possibility also appears to have completely escaped the minds of the Muslims that Sally Neighbour interviews. Like Neighbour and the left, they are also determined to stamp out their own individual and collective responsibilities by blaming the rest of society for the behaviours of members of their communities:

FADI RAHMAN, ICRA YOUTH CENTRE: People are asking the question, "Why is there anti-social behaviour? Why is it on such a great level?" I mean when you have a group of young people, a group, any group, take any group, put them under the microscope and put them under so much pressure and under so much scrutiny, eventually they’re going to rebel. And you are creating a generation that has deep-rooted hatred and anger and frustration towards the very place that they’re supposed to call home, and this is quite dangerous.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Walid Sabourne): Walid, why do you think that whole Cronulla thing happened? What do you think it was all about?

WALID SABOURNE: I think my personal opinion, like tension, that the Muslim community and Arabs and Middle Easterners, you know, attacked so much by the media that we wanted an outlet and that was a good excuse, just to attack; the white attack us, men attack us, we’ll go and attack their people and attack their belongings. That’s only my opinion.

JOE ELALI: We don’t want this fight but some people are pushing us, some people are like, are pushing it to the limit where we’re going to start a war in this country …

Nope. No responsibility for the criminal and anti-social behaviours I have described above, and no consideration of the possibility of this having something to do with the hostility towards them. No pledges to change the way young members of their community think about Australian women, or to persuade them to not commit criminal acts. Rather, indulgence in self-pity, on the basis that Australian Muslims can only become violent delinquents or Islamic extremists:


MOHAMED TAHA (at forum): The way I see it as a young Australian, a Lebanese Muslim, this is how the media portrays it to us: If you’re growing up and you commit crimes, if you do bad, if you vandalise, if you steal, if you do all the bad stuff, what does the media call you? A Lebanese thug, yeah? And alright, the opposite of that - if you do good, if you grow your beard, if you wear the Islamic original dress and if you do everything good, they call you an extremist. So where is the line drawn between good and bad?

And, in fact, a justification for Islamic terrorism is offered. You see, when a terrorist act is committed that kills hundred of people, it's all our fault because of Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel:

WALID SABOURNE: Every day hundreds of people, Muslims dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet one person dies you know in America or in England by a terrorist, you know, we’re terrorists. But when America hits the Middle East, you know, that’s freedom, human rights and democracy and when Muslims you know bomb America it’s terrorism.

It’s hypocrisy, double standards. We aren’t the ones going around with armies and raping you women and you know bombing you to pieces. We’re not the ones doing it. You are the ones doing it to us; we’re there getting slaughtered, we’re there defending ourselves we, we are the freedom fighters.

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About the Author

Leon Bertrand is a Brisbane blogger and lawyer.

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