Last night, I did something very naughty. I breached the UK Channel Four’s copyright and watched the entire Undercover Mosque program. But don’t blame or prosecute me. Tim Blair’s blog had a direct link to the show.

Sheik Feiz did appear on the show. Or rather, his face did, as did some of his words. So did the words of faces of other radical preachers linked to the fringe Saudi-style Wahhabi form of Islam.

Yesterday, some of Sheik Feiz’s defenders emailed me and told me he was being quoted out of context. They also pointed out that the DVD series on death (from which the offensive quotes were taken) was filmed years ago.

That may well be the case. But for how long will we be hearing such excuses?
More importantly, is Feiz the only radical preacher to use such excuses? Late last year, while sharing a podium with Danny Nalliah from Catch the Fire Ministries (CTF), I asked Danny about his published comments calling on Christians to pray that Buddhist, Hindu and Masonic temples be torn down.

Nalliah used the same excuse – I was quoting him out of context and the comments were made years ago. Morris Iemma argues Sheik Feiz Mohamed should be charged or banned from living in Australia. Other politicians and commentators are lining up supporting him.

Yet these are the same politicians and columnists who are strangely silent about conservative colleagues who vilify indigenous people as “feral”. They are also silent about shock jocks whose words incite race riots at certain Sydney beaches.

Most hypocritical of all, these politicians and commentators were quite happy to oppose the application of religious vilification laws to proscribe the hate-speech of Nalliah and his colleagues. Peter Costello even provided a letter of support to CTF to be used in their litigation. Even the PM has recorded a message of support directly to the group.

The message of all this seems to be clear. The Christian and/or allegedly conservative gander will never be subject to anti-vilification laws and sanctions. Only the Islamist goose will.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey