The ABC drew censure from media and political opponents yesterday for providing a platform to convicted criminal and “terrorist-sympathiser” Zaky Mallah.
But a quick look through the archives shows the ABC is far from the only news outlet to turn to Mallah. After he served his time, he became a regular fixture for journalists seeking insight into Australia’s radical Islamists. If Aunty’s not on Australia’s side, neither are most of the country’s major media outlets.
The Australian, September 2012
Zaky Mallah … has “a new jihad” and a message for fellow Australian Muslims engaged in violent protests, as occurred in Sydney last weekend. Go to Syria where your brothers are dying for freedom, democracy and the true Islamic way, rights guaranteed in this lucky country, he says.
“Spend a couple of weeks on the frontline, as I did, where members of the Free Syrian Army are dying for the very rights and freedoms we enjoy in this country. I guarantee you will come back with a different perspective, you will see Australia for what it is,” he told The Australian.
Mr Mallah said Australia was the perfect model for the modern Arab world that was emerging through revolution. “They want peace, freedom, democracy and they want Islam, too,” he said.
The Sydney Morning Herald, July 2013
Zaky Mallah’s aim is to die in Syria. “I wouldn’t mind being granted martyrdom,” he said. “Call me crazy, call me weird, call me whatever but it’s a cause I’m willing to die for.” …
“Who’s to blame for Syria being a jihadi battleground? The international community has done nothing to prevent the atrocities against the Syrian people,” he said, adding that he returned from Syria feeling “very pissed off at the whole world”.
The Courier-Mail, November 2013
“I don’t encourage anyone to go to Syria and fight — especially not to blow themselves up,’’ [Zaky Mallah] said. “I was shocked that an Australian man has gone to that extent. On the other hand, I am pro-revolution and I say well done. It’s a brutal war and I understand why he made that decision to go and fight.” Mr Mallah said he worried anti-government supporters might be stopped from travelling to Syria to provide “humanitarian aid’’ because of fears they might be planning similar attacks.
The Australian, December 2014
In Aleppo, Mallah says, he spent weeks dodging sniper fire.
Asked if he thinks he was in over his head, he is frank. “Hell, yeah. Definitely.” Mallah says he encountered few foreign fighters in his travels, save for one or two Libyans.
“But I know there were other platoons from other places,” he says. “Saudi Arabian maybe, Chechnya. There are foreign fighters over there, no doubt about that.”
The Australian, January 2014
Sydney man Zaky Mallah, who was previously charged under anti-terror laws and travelled with the FSA in 2012, said some in the Islamic community viewed the couple as “martyrs”. “If it is correct that FSA killed (them), it’s the result of rebel infighting or maybe they were on the frontline trying to fight Assad troops.”
SBS, July 2014, Once Upon A Time In Punchbowl
Zaky Mallah is a Punchbowl teenager recovering from the early death of his parents. Searching for answers in Islam he looks for meaning in jihad.
Daily Mail, September 2014
[Mallah] now describes the extremist group which has taken over the rebel fight in Syria as ‘a barbaric cult’ and criticises the friend he knew as a teenager, Khaled Sharrouf, for joining ISIS.
“He is full of hate and he is involved in a massive propaganda war with a group that is intent on starting a new Islamic state,” Mr Mallah told Daily Mail Australia.
“But I don’t believe he’s anywhere near the front line or fighting. Those pictures with the severed heads are propaganda photos and Australians who have joined ISIS are both arrogant and ignorant.”