George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm that all animals were equal but some were more equal than others. The muted journalistic responses to the arrest of two Melbourne Tamil Tiger terror suspects suggests the same principle applies to terrorism.

Absent from yesterday’s tabloids were frontpage headlines like, ‘The faces of hate in our suburbs’. Salivating columnists didn’t tell us how Hinduism and/or Tamil nationalism were serious threats to freedom and democracy, how these terror suspects were part of a broader Tamil conspiracy to destroy our values and way of life.

We don’t see the PM pleading for Tamils to do more to expose terrorists, adopt Australian values, teach about Poms and donkeys in schools etc.

The Herald-Sun reported yesterday that the Tamil Tigers “have conducted dozens of suicide bombings”. Huh? Dozens? I’d love to see the response Aussie journos would get if they tried to publish this sanitized tripe in an Indian newspaper.

Indians and Sri Lankans (including most Tamils) know the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are bad news, conducting more suicide terror attacks than any other terror outfit. Their scalps include numerous Sri Lankan government ministers and even former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi.

American terrorism expert Robert Pape writes that “the world leader in suicide terrorism is … the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka” and that “the Palestinians got the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers”.

The Age, whose reporting was similarly sanitised, reminds us that the “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are not a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia”.

So Phil Ruddock reckons only groups like Hamas that borrow widely used forms of suicide terrorism, not those that invented these forms and implement them more than anyone else, are real terrorists. It’s as if Ruddock believes only Muslims can be terrorists.

I’m not advocating we go all hysterical at Australians who just happen to have Tamil and/or Hindu background. Entire groups shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of an extreme few. But just imagine the hue and cry had the arrested pair been Muslim, not Tamil, leaders. Imagine if Indonesian Muslims were caught raising funds for JI under the cover of tsunami relief. Perhaps the double standard’s reason can be found in these words from The Oz’s report today: “The pair are the first non-Muslims to be charged under Australian terror laws.” (emphasis mine)

Politicians and news editors should consider whether their apparently favourable treatment of certain forms of terror serves the cause of national security. Perhaps they should listen to Mick Keelty and ask themselves whether fostering a generation filled with Muslim-haters and alienated Muslims makes us any safer.