The Daily Telegraph, a Sydney based tabloid newspaper published by Nationwide News Pty Ltd has been widely condemned for its Islamophobic headline “ALLAH AK BARRED!” appearing against a background of flag waving ISIS gunmen on its front page published on Thursday 9 August 2018, while reporting on “Five Aussie terrorists stripped of their citizenship.”
The headline is a highly insensitive and malicious distortion of the Islamic invocation “Allah Akbar” meaning “God is Great” widely used during Islamic prayers and at various other occasions in times of stress or as an expression of joy.
The continuing exclusive full story by Sharri Markson & Jack Houghton on pages 8 and 9 appears with yet another provocative headline “EXILED TO AN ISLAMIC FATE” with photos of the five people stripped of their Australian citizenship against a background of guns, barbed wire and Arabic writing.
Dr Anne Fairbairn AM, grand daughter of an Australian Prime Minister, a celebrated poet and regular columnist of AMUST was highly stressed by the sight of the headline and called AMUST office early on Thursday morning drawing attention to the offensive headline.
The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) in its Media statement issued on Thursday 9 August has condemned the choice of words used in the headline that it considers an attack on Islam and demonising the Muslim community.
The statement reads:
“The Australian National Imams Council and the Australian Muslim community are extremely outraged and offended over the disrespect portrayed by the choice of title and wording in this article.
While The Australian National Imams Council and the Australian Muslim community respect and advocate for freedom of speech, this freedom must not be exploited in disrespecting any community or religion and further demonising and unfairly targeting specific communities.”
ANIC has demanded an immediate removal of the headline and an apology from The Daily Telegraph for causing offence to the Muslim community in what it considers an “ongoing campaign against Muslims and Islam” by The Daily Telegraph that leads to incitement and hatred against the Australian Muslim community.
The President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), Dr Rateb Jneid has also called for the retraction of the offensive headline and issue of an apology saying, “This headline is inappropriate in the extreme and media outlets should be held to account for such irresponsible practices. It just represents another example of the continued attack on our religion from some sections of the media.”
Muslim Australians have been outraged by the offensive headlines and defamatory articles continually published by The Daily Telegraph and there was widespread condemnation of this edition of the tabloid in the social media.
The Daily Telegraph and its publishers have been successfully sued for defamation in the past by the Grand Mufti of Australia as well as the President of ANIC, Sheikh Shady.
However its Islamophobic campaign of defaming Islam and demonising Muslims continues unabated creating disharmony in the otherwise peaceful Australian multicultural community.