What an appalling hypocrite Peter Costello is.

“It is beyond the bounds of decency to try to make moral or political points out of such a tragedy,” he said about the attempts by prize religious wingnut Danny Nalliah’s effort to link the bushfires with abortion.

Costello could do little else, despite being good mates with Nalliah and the now inaptly-named Catch the Fire Ministries.

But it’s odd that Costello has waited until this late juncture to criticise his friends, who are prone to visions about Hamlet Prince of Malvern being handed the Prime Ministership by Jesus. Here are some other quotes from the Catch the Fire crowd that Costello hasn’t objected to.

Nalliah on multiculturalism: “Like a pressure cooker or bottle of soda water waiting to explode, the simmering racial war will reach its inevitable climax later, if not sooner… The multicultural melting pot has turned into a pressure cooker and it’s now a case of assimilate or implode Australia.”

Nalliah on himself: “Pas. Danny has traveled to many countries in Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, USA, Australia and has ministered to crowds of more than ten thousand people. He has seen thousands come into the Kingdom of God during these meetings and many blind, deaf, dump, crippled people healed by the power of God. He also writes in his book of a dead girl who came back to life, when he prayed for her in Jesus Name.”

CTF on homosexuality: “Nicola Roxon, and by implication the Prime Minister, has now stated that homos-xuality is more important than fatherhood. Along with pandering to homos-xual couples by changing laws to normalise what God says, and nature proves, is unnatural, the Labor government is now telling us that if you don’t agree you can have no place in government initiatives.”

CTF on Muslims: “A Common Word is also disingenuous in suggesting that love of neighbour is a tenet of Islam. Such dissimulation is allowed by the Islamic doctrine of takiyya whenever the reputation of Islam is at stake. Not a single Qur’anic verse has been found that supports love of neighbour. In actual fact Islam teaches love of other Muslims and conversion of, or hostility towards non-Muslims.”

In fact CTF has very strong views on Islam, which formed the basis of the prosecution of Nalliah and colleague Danny Scot in 2005 for vilification. The original judgement against them was overturned on appeal, and CTF settled the matter with the Islamic Council of Victoria. But the appeal court found that Scot had said the following:

Muslim people, when they come [to] some teaching, which they don’t like people should know, they will tell the truth. They will not tell the truth. They will hide the truth. They will tell lies. And concerning money, I mean we think of money but Muslim pour money in evangelism and building mosque and so on. So they have a lot of money, which mostly comes from oil, and all of you know that as it was mentioned during September 11th that 70% of the drugs, which go to England, they are from … Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. So they make a lot of money from there also so that they can spread Islam and fulfill their desire.

The appeal judge also said that “Pastor Scot did assert, incorrectly, that the population of Muslims in Australia is growing such as to double every seven years and said that ‘so that is how they are growing, so because they have control over our Immigration Department and they bring all type of people.’”

Nary a word from of condemnation from Costello for any of these comments. In fact, Costello boasted of his support for Nalliah during the appeal, and blamed the Islamic Council of Victoria for being offended. “The Equal Opportunity Commission sensibly, sent some people out and said, ‘Go out and listen to this man’s sermons and see if you can get offended’. And lo and behold they did get offended.”

And then there’s Nalliah’s attendance at a meeting of the anti-Semitic League of Rights. Nalliah recounted “one guy in the crowd put his hand up and said ‘Do you believe in the Holocaust?’ … I said To deny the Holocaust would be like saying there will be no daybreak tomorrow morning’.” Holocaust denier Fredrick Töben recalls it differently. He asked the question, and said Nalliah “replied indirectly that Jews had suffered greatly in the past.” When he asked the question again, Nalliah “said something about not knowing anything about the topic.”

It was only a fortnight ago that Peter Costello was happily sharing his own deeply-held religious views (including that the Ten Commandments forms the basis of Australian civic life) with this mob, with no apparent qualms about their views on Islam, homos-xuality, the Holocaust, race war or raising people from the dead. But as soon they say something likely to offend regular voters, he turns on them in a moment, as if he would never have suspected they held such absurd beliefs.

At least Nalliah is happy to display his fundamentalist lunacy for all to see.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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