I am extremely distressed that our wonderful “In Defence of Freedom” events have been hijacked by a hostile media.
I utterly reject and do not agree with Larry Pickering’s reported statement “"They are not all bad, they do chuck pillow-biters off buildings.” I was completely unaware that he had made that statement on the night. The first I heard was when it was reported by SMH the following day. As I was about to board my flight to attend the Melbourne fundraiser I was bombarded with twitter abuse and had little idea of the matter.
In contrast I had heard Ross’ speech, and while I do not agree with some of his statements, I felt in the context of his speech and his dry humour he had every right to say those things at a dinner defending freedom of speech. His walk through history and his dry, sharp humour highlighted the danger we now live in when the media elite and political class censor, abuse, deride and isolate people because they hold a different view. The SMH article was actually a perfect illustration of how when the media don’t like something they throw their full weight behind whipping up offense and shutting people down without engaging in debate.
What Pickering said was wrong and he went too far. Larry has made a career out of being offensive so the fact he said something outrageous at our event is not a surprise nor is it news. Having been made aware of the comment I have condemned it but my opponents and critics want blood. No one in the media has contacted me for comment but all are quick to condemn me without the facts.
Freedom of speech means people say things we don’t like. Things that make us uncomfortable and even offend us. That then gives us an opportunity to engage in debate, to criticise and reject offensive ideas. Whether it is Islam or Larry Pickering the principle is the same to me – I reject and condemn dangerous, hate-filled ideas but I do not reject the individual person.
Larry is a friend and we don’t see eye-to-eye on a number of issues including the issue of gays and also my Christian faith. But we are mature enough to engage in debate and not spit the dummy every time the other says something we don’t like.
So to be clear – I do not accept, condone or agree with Larry’s statement.
What disappoints me the most is that the media are on a witch hunt over Larry and Ross BUT completely ignore the fact that there are Muslims that actually do throw gays off buildings! Where is the same level of outrage directed at the Islamic practice that inspired Larry’s comment? Absolutely condemn his comment but it is time the same offenderati brigade got equally worked up about the daily human rights abuses that are being carried out by some Muslims here and around the world.
I have always been consistent and I will not be intimidated by a hostile media or self-righteous commentators who rarely engage in the debate but expend a heck of a lot of energy trying to shut me down and silence my voice.
I reject Larry’s statement and again to be clear I am opposed to redefining the term marriage but I have been a strong advocate for ensuring same sex couples have civil rights that end discrimination and disadvantage. We had several openly gay people attend our events in Sydney and Melbourne because they know my stand and support my work with Halal Choices.
I do not incite hate speech, I expose it. I do not incite violence, I expose it. The Islamic texts and the very example of Mohamed are hate-filled and condone violence. Let’s shine the spotlight on the texts and ideas that inspired such a statement. Let’s get outraged and worked up over the fact that many Muslims don’t just read the vile commands and follow the foul example of Mohamed but an increasing number literally ACT on those ideas!
As I said in my speeches, there are genuine victims of the Islamic ideology whose stories are ignored. Their reality is diminished because the media are more obsessed with identity politics than showing compassion to real victims. These people suffer in silence because the media would rather engage in witch hunts than confront the harsh reality that the Islamic ideology is dangerous and divisive.
There are real people who are living in fear every day because the Islamic ideology inspires hate, oppression and violence. There are countless victims who have been abused and live with the emotional and physical scars because of acts carried out against them by Muslims inspired by the hate speech in the Quran and Hadiths. It is time to get outraged by this, to confront, condemn and reject these words and actions.