Yesterday’s SBS Insight program (‘Joining the Fight’) about Muslims travelling to fight in Syria and Iraq has rightly angered the Muslim community. It was a classic example of thoroughly cheap and sensationalist tabloid journalism designed to drag Islam and Muslims through the mud. SBS has proven once again that it is no different to other television channels and Insight no better than the likes of Today Tonight or A Current Affair.
In this regard, Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia emphasises the following:
1. This Insight episode, which was originally meant to be about the new terror law proposals, was about nothing more than ISIS, a cherry-picked handful of its actions, and what Muslims think about them – a gross abstraction from the real issues. Attendees were handpicked in a way to ensure a farcical argument ensues and the program moderated (and heavily edited) in a way to ensure that Islamophobic perceptions are reinforced. The serious situation in Iraq and Syria was made a mockery for the sake of ratings.
2. Insight has had a number of shows on issues related to Islam and Muslims. In all of them, discussion about context and conditions is refused. Jennie Brockie’s excuse this time was that, “the geopolitical issues won’t be solved overnight” (as if any of the issues being discussed will!). This is a way to shield western foreign policy and to show Muslims and Islam as the problem. The bias and secular liberal agenda is blatant.
When will Insight be doing a show about the “barbarism” and “savagery” of the Australian Government and its allies who sends their armies to invade, maim and kill people on the other side of the world? When will it do a show that begins with carefully edited footage of US and Australian soldiers mutilating dead Afghans, urinating on corpses and killing civilians as sport followed by a ‘debate’ between ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ Australians about the problem of extremist secular elements in Australia? When will it do a show in which the issue of ‘terrorism’ is placed within its proper context: as blowback from western foreign policy?
Quite simply, it will not, because like most of mainstream media it acts as a mouthpiece of the state while portraying the façade of open debate and discussion.
3. Children holding severed heads, oppression of Christians, random killings and the like are wrong. However, these actions and the groups to whom they are attributed being made the focus when it comes the current situation in Iraq and Syria is a manufactured and unjustified focus. In this respect, ISIS is but the new al-Qaeda, being used as a bogeyman threat by western states in order to:
a. justify further intervention abroad such as in Iraq, specifically to further the US agenda to split it into three: a Kurdish north east, Sunni north and west, and Shite south;
b. justify further intervention in Muslim communities locally, as with the current ramping up of terror laws; and
c. to tarnish the image of Islam and in particular the Caliphate, even though ISIS is not an Islamic state, let alone the Caliphate.
Muslims should not feel pressured to run with this manufactured focus, to condemn or apologise. Rather, the western narrative on terrorism must be challenged to expose it for what it is: a lie. A lie whereby the greater terrorists of our time – western states – are framed as saviours of humanity. Those who have destroyed entire countries through war and invasion are framed as beacons of peace and justice.
4. The Australian Government is beating the drums of intervention once more, towing slavishly behind the US as usual. The pretext this time is humanitarian concern for Christians and Yazidis in Iraq. These are the same states that watched on as people were brutally killed in Syria in massacre after massacre by the Assad regime, as entire villages were set ablaze in Burma, and most recently as an entire defenseless and besieged civilian population was bombed at will in Gaza. Humanitarian considerations are the last thing on the minds of these neo-colonial powers.
5. We reiterate that people travelling abroad to help the oppressed, in whatever capacity, is a noble deed. The government crackdown on Muslims travelling to Syria has been proven to be hypocritical and without coherent basis. The onus is on them to show why a selfless sacrifice to assist the oppressed is being criminalised.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
13 August 2014
Contact: Uthman Badar, Media Representative, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0438 000 465.
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