Some revealing stories from the ABC.

Alan Bradley abradley1 at bigpond.com
Sun Sep 23 03:44:15 MDT 2001


The following news stories are from the ABC (http://abc.net.au/news/).

They show how everything is related these days.  The refugees in the last
couple of stories include a large number of people from Afghanistan and
Iraq.

There is a slightly less tasteful story to be told about the story of the
mosque being burnt down.  On the accompanying film, it was possible to
identify the company demolishing the ruins.  This company was Deen Brothers.
The actual Deen brothers are moslems. However, in the past, their company
achieved a bit of a reputation as the specialists in knocking down historic
buildings in the middle of the night, under the protection of the cops owned
by the pigs who were running Queensland at the time.  (Gary Maclennan can
explain it if you need more explanation.)  So, it was just a little odd,
watching the very personifications of vandalism having to clean up after an
even worse exercise in vandalism...

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Military commitments may force postponement of CHOGM

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer admits the Commonwealth Heads of
Government Meeting (CHOGM) could be postponed if key leaders decide not to
attend because of military commitments.

But organisers say CHOGM will proceed next week as planned.

Prime Minister John Howard is keen for CHOGM to proceed and has said
cancelling the event could be a win for terrorism.

But Mr Downer has admitted to Channel Nine, events in the Middle East could
force some leaders, especially from India, Canada and the United Kingdom, to
reconsider their attendance.

"It simply remains to be seen," he said.

"At this stage there is no indication that they are not coming and obviously
we would like to go ahead with the Commonwealth Heads of Government
meeting."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister says the Queen is still expected to open
the meeting next week.

But Mr Downer's comments suggest the Government is prepared for last minute
change, which would then allow Mr Howard an opportunity to call the federal
election earlier.

Terrorism

Mr Downer says the battle against terrorism will be on the CHOGM agenda.

"It's a very good opportunity to get a large number of countries together to
focus on this very issue that we are discussing," he said

"I don't think there's any doubt that the issue of terrorism will be a
significant agenda item both at CHOGM and also by the way at the APEC
meeting in Shanghai later the same month."

Meanwhile, Mr Downer says the latest figures on Australian casualties out of
the US terrorist attacks put the number of deaths at around 23.

© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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Security to increase at Qld mosques in wake of attack

Security is being increased at mosques in Queensland, following a suspected
arson attack at Kuraby, in Brisbane's south.

The old timber and iron mosque burnt down early yesterday morning, but the
fire barely touched an adjacent new mosque, that is almost finished being
built.

In response to the mosque's community's request for extra protection, police
last night guarded the new mosque and patrolled others in Brisbane, and will
do so again tonight.

Detectives are examining leads gathered in a doorknock of homes in the area.

Detectives from a special taskforce set up after the US terrorist attack to
liaise between police and the Islamic community have spoken to hundreds of
people in the area, and are now combing through the information.

Police are treating the fire as suspicious although its cause has not yet
been determined.

The blaze started early yesterday morning, leaving ashes and steel roofing.

Local Islamic leader Amjad Mehboob believes the fire was deliberate.

"For some reason they are doing this, I think it has no place in our
society," he said.

Queensland police commissioner Bob Atkinson has said the attack was
disturbing, and Queensland Premier Beattie says it was unAustralian.

"I can practise my religion without fear of intimidation, the Islamic
community has to be in the same position," he said.

PM condemns attack

The Prime Minister, John Howard, says if yesterday's attack on a Queensland
mosque was motivated by racial vilification or vandalism, he condemns it
unreservedly.

A Muslim community in Brisbane believes it's been hit by an act of payback
terrorism, with a mosque being burnt to the ground. Karen Berkman reports.

Mr Howard says there is no place in Australia for such despicable behaviour.

"We must not allow our natural anger at the extremes of Islam, which have
been manifested in the attack on the World Trade Center," he said.

"We must not allow our natural anger at that to spill over to Islamic people
generally.

"Hundreds of Islamic people died in the World Trade Center and that is a
fact that people should bear in mind.

"Barbarism has no ethnicity."

Investigation

Brisbane police have activated a special "Islamic Taskforce" using
detectives from the Organised Crime Unit to investigate the fire.

Arson squad detectives will analyse samples of burnt material from the
mosque to determine the cause of the blaze, in which one man escaped without
injury.

Investigators are treating the fire which started around 2:30am (AEST), as
suspicious.

Queensland Fire and Rescue investigator Craig Lovell said there was little
firefighters could do to save the ageing building.

He says there are few clues as to how it started.

"[With] the amount of destruction by fire, there was very little evidence
left on the scene,

"There is not a lot we can do from the Fire and Rescue's point of view, it
is generally left into the hands of police to conduct further investigations
to try and ascertain any other leads.

"Samples have been taken for analysis to detect any presence of hydrocarbons
in the floor boards of the premises," inspector Lovell said.

Devastated community

Islamic spokesman Uzair Akbar says the incident is "devastating".

"We know for a fact that the Australian community is sympathetic towards the
Muslims and they are loving and they are caring, so this is only a minority,
and we don't blame the larger community of Australia for this," Mr Akbar
said.

Meanwhile, Brisbane's Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby says anti-Islamic
sentiment is unAustralian and is appalled by attacks on mosques.

"It is an incident, a racist incident, it's a anti-religious incident it
took place in a sacred place and again from that point of view its to be
totally condemned," Archbishop Bathersby said.

United front

Muslim leaders are preparing to meet with the US Consul General in Sydney
this afternoon to call for a united front to fight terrorism.

The acting chairman of the Supreme Islamic Council of New South Wales, Dr
Shuja Kirmani, says the Muslim community has condemned the US attacks.

© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

-------------------------------------------------
Protesters march on Villawood Detention Centre

Hundreds of people have marched on the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney
to protest against proposed laws to remove some remote territories from
Australia's migration zone.

The Senate is due to consider the amendments to the Border Protection Bill
tomorrow, but Labor has already indicated it will support the Government's
changes.

Protesters say they are also concerned military action in response to the US
attacks could boost the number of refugees.

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Collective, says if Australia backs
action which causes further turmoil in Afghanistan and Iraq, it must welcome
refugees from those countries.

"The whole hypocrisy which is happening as a result of the Howard Government
supporting the whole war drive since the suicide attack on the World Trade
Center," he said.

"It's already created many more refugees from exactly Iraq and Afghanistan
and these are the places, people the Government is turning away on our
northern shores."

© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

----------------------------------------------
Detention centre riot 'violent and irresponsible' : Fed Govt

A disturbance at the Woomera Detention Centre in South Australia has been
described by the Federal Government as violent and irresponsible.

The Federal Justice and Customs Minister, Chris Ellison, says a protest
outside the centre yesterday to mark International Refugee Day was the
catalyst for unrest inside.

Tear gas and water cannons were used on the detainees.

Senator Ellison says officers acted appropriately to contain the situation.

"The Government will not in any way be deterred from its policies and its
course of action by these events at Woomera Detention Centre and it deplores
the violence and irresponsible behaviour that has occurred at Woomera [on
Saturday]," he said.

"As I understand it, three officers have been taken to hospital, one with a
suspected broken arm. The matter now is contained, however tense."

© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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