April 03, 2004


Peter Fray, the SMH/Age journalist who earlier this week identified a pre-emptive motive for planned post-September 11 attacks on Britain, today ponders the injustice of Britain’s terrorism laws:

Since September 11, police have detained 537 British Muslims and 94 have been formally charged with offences under the all-encompassing Terrorism Act.

But only six have been convicted. Islamic leaders have, perhaps with some justification, complained about being targetted, noting that the Jewish community would be enraged if Jews were treated the same way.

Yes, Peter. We’ve all heard of the notorious Finsbury Park synagogue, where every week the faithful are called to violent Zionist revolution. I suppose this is an example of what Fray thinks is balanced journalism:

The Muslim community is rightfully cautious of the western media and I felt I had to prove myself when talking to Maha and her colleagues and show that I could produce a well balanced article.

Since the Islam series I have maintained contact with the community. I would be naive to think they agree with everything I write but we now have a relationship based on trust and acceptance which allows us to agree to disagree. I think they now realise that not all western journalists have a bias against Islam and the Muslim community.

Peter tries so hard to build trust and acceptance, and what happens? In its version of Fray’s story, The Sydney Morning Herald deletes his “justification” line:

Only six have been convicted. Islamic leaders have complained about being targeted, noting that British Jews would be furious if subjected to the same treatment.

So unfair.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 3, 2004 01:20 PM

Half a ton of ammonium nitrate does that to the average pom security agent -- gets them a tad suspicious of whoever's found with it. Perhaps, with some justification.

Posted by: slatts at April 3, 2004 at 01:50 PM

Wait, what's the status of the other 88 that were formally charged? Were they cleared (which Fray may wish us to believe, implying that British officials are indiscriminately charging Muslims under the Act), or are trials in process? Would Fray prefer they all get convicted in three week trials? The small number of convictions compared to charges is probably a sign of a robust (and fair) process.

Posted by: Joe Geoghegan at April 3, 2004 at 02:20 PM

This post reminds me of something not totally related. About one-third of the way into the second season of 24, a mention was made of the Finsbury Park mosque and its connection to terrorist recruitment. The scene in question was apparently heavily edited when it aired in Britain. That's just taking political correctness too far, don't you think?

Posted by: TokenModerateGuy at April 3, 2004 at 03:51 PM

Only 6 have been convicted. Only 6. 6 convicted. 6 British Islamokazi's were conspiring or actively seeking to commit terrorism and this dickead puts "only" in front of the number!

Posted by: Dead Ed at April 3, 2004 at 04:39 PM

Putting aside Paul Anka's band for just a mo... I sent this to Tim earlier tonite and would earnestly like to know what ya'll think:

"Liberals/Leftists Need Time Off, Too!" or even "Give Hollywood A Break"...actual name could be determined at a later date.

It occurs to me (and probably a lot of others "out there") that the growing number of anti-Bush, anti-war and anti-Republican comments in general on entertainment TV may be indicative of a problem we right-wingers can help with. Perhaps Whoopi Goldberg, Larry David, Jay Leno, Dave Letterman, Jon Stewart and others are driven to such lengths because of their hectic workday schedules. After all, there are only so many hours in a day when one believes George W. Bush is the devil. Their need to increasingly include insightful political observations in their professional, entertainment-related output must be indicative of an overload in their private lives. I can't help thinking that their fellow Americans, in the traditional "can-do!" spirit, may have a solution.

I propose a day off from TV, perhaps once a week, or maybe just once a month. We could focus our attention on the net, or talk radio, or maybe a selected newspaper, magazine or book. With the TV off (or tuned to less anti-Republican programming that day) we might even choose to discuss current events with our families, minus the distractions of Hollywood and New York. Some might use the time to email or write entertainers, regardless of their political persuasion, as well as their employers, their sponsors, their stations and express their thoughts in the time-honored American tradition... heck, it's a free country!
If enough of our left-leaning fellow Americans knew a goodly portion of their fellow Americans were so disposed, they might become a bit more sensitized to how anti-Republican rhetoric can spoil entertainment TV. If not, then we still get a day where bias takes a holiday and our collective blood pressure is lowered. I really don't see anyone losing here, do you?

I'm not talking boycott here; as a faithful Republican and supporter of our current administration, I'm opposed to boycotts on principle. The economy is coming back, and far be it from me to stoop to advocating something that would cost jobs or disincline someone from investing in America. Still, as a faithful Republican, I feel the time has come for some organized response to the plight of our Liberal/Leftist brothers and sisters.

No petitions, no email lists, no dreaded phone solicitors... just an understanding/agreement that those of us who support our President agree to tune our TVs to something apolitical for one friggin' day a week/month. How hard is that?

Please make the necessary substiutuions with regard to different nationalities/media personalities/time zones/geographical locations, but an arsehole is an arsehole is an arsehole, whatever their GPS coordinates, eh?

Feedback greatly appreciated.

Posted by: geezer at April 3, 2004 at 05:26 PM

In 1984, I was a US student studying in London. The IRA was conducting one of their vicious bombing campaigns, including attacking the Tory Party conference.

Due to my Irish name and good looks (har, har), I was stopped, searched, questioned, released, at airports, ferry terminals, etc. several times. It didn't bother me in the least. My (totally apolitical) friend from Philidelphia was left sitting in an empty room at the airport for two hours while his background was checked out.

This was pre-computer so the Brits had a big book with thousands of names and would look at your passport and thumb through the book. It took forever. Jimmy never complained.

That was the reality of 1984. All we wanted was to live, drink beer, see punk rock bands, and not get blown up or burned to death by our Irish "cousins".

Mr. Fray oughta realize that these Muslim "community members" he seeks to ingratiate himself with might very realistically be eager to slit his throat at the opportune time. I have no doubt that the IRA would've killed me if they thought it would further their agenda.

Posted by: JDB at April 3, 2004 at 10:42 PM

Philadelphia (D'oh)!

Posted by: JDB at April 3, 2004 at 10:44 PM

A bunch of crazed Islamofascists yelling support for bin Laden and burning a Union flag - in my country. I don't want these people arrested. I want them picked up by Special Branch, ruthlessly debriefed, shot in the back of the neck and dumped off the deck of a destroyer in the Irish Sea. And if the 'Muslim community' doesn't like it, then the 'Muslim community' can fuck itself six ways from Sunday. Al Muhajiroun are unlawful enemy combatants in time of war.

Posted by: David Gillies at April 4, 2004 at 12:10 AM

He just had to compare the Muslim community to the Jewish community.

He couldn't pass up taking a shot at the Jews.

Posted by: Rob A. at April 4, 2004 at 12:58 AM


Posted by: Alex at April 5, 2004 at 01:53 PM

Sorry just testing - my comments keep bouncing for 'questionable content'and I can't work out why.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at April 5, 2004 at 01:57 PM

For godssake Alex read this.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 5, 2004 at 08:30 PM

Here's a report in todays SMH online, re Moqtada Sadr's followers taking over the govs office in Basra.

""Terrorise your enemy, as we cannot remain silent over its violations," Sadr said in a statement distributed yesterday by his office in Kufa, south of Baghdad.

It was not clear if Sadr was literally calling on his followers to resort to violence."


What did AFP/Reuters hire Keysar Trad?

Posted by: max power at April 5, 2004 at 10:09 PM