Monday, August 18, 2014

The Bile Duct of the Nation

What an extraordinary find on the letters page of The Australian:

"For the past few days, the letters page has been filled with letters from people vilifying Muslims and Islam in general. The ignorance expressed in those letters is appalling. Such published commentary must invoke fear in our Muslim citizens, so how close is this to contravening Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act? The inability of many readers to distinguish between Muslims of the Islamic State, the Taliban or extreme followers of Islam in places such as Saudi Arabia, and the majority of Muslims such as the 245 million who live in Indonesia, shows a bigotry beyond belief. I have spent the past 20 years associating with Muslims ranging from dirt-poor farmers and fisherman, to executives and lecturers in Indonesian universities. In no way have I come across anyone resembling the Muslims portrayed in your letters page, nor have I come across any Muslims bent on converting me to their faith." Roger Bridgland, West Hobart, Tas.

To indicate just how extraordinary Bridgland's letter is I have to point out that he is actually quite wrong to begin his opening sentence with "for the past few days." Maybe he doesn't read Rupert's rag as regularly as I do.

The fact is that the letters page of The Australian, billed on its masthead as 'The Heart of the Nation', has been featuring whole blocs of bile-flecked Islamophobic rants/letters for weeks, in what is arguably the most sustained display of racism and bigotry ever seen in this country in modern times.

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