Australia’s popular 2GB Radio host Alan Jones must apologize on air for a racist (What race is Islam?) rant where he called Sydney’s Lebanese Muslims ‘vermin’ who ‘infest our shores’ and ‘rape’ and ‘pillage our nation,’ having failed in an appeal.
[h/t Bolton Patriot]
A $10,000 damages payment, which has been held pending an appeal, is also expected to be released in coming days after today marked the end of a seven-and-a-half year legal saga. The saga was triggered by Jones’ comments on air just days before the Cronulla riots in 2005.
In three separate occasions in April 2005, he made inflammatory comments about Muslims. In one he read a letter which was in response to footage of young Lebanese men taunting police around The Rocks in Sydney on the day before Anzac Day, which was aired on a TV current affairs show on April 27.
The group of men called police “pigs”, and mocked the Anzac traditions, but were not arrested by police. In the other two broadcasts he commented about a Muslim Sheik, Faiz Mohammad, who suggested that women who wore short skirts or didn’t cover themselves were to blame if they were sexually assaulted.
Sydney Lebanese leader Keysar Trad (photo below) complained that Jones’ comments in the three broadcasts breached discrimination laws and incited racial hatred against Lebanese Muslims.
Trad won the first round of the epic battle in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal in 2009 when the tribunal ruled one broadcast in a radio show on 28 April 2005 “incited hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule of Lebanese Muslims” and Trad was awarded damages of $10,000. Trad appealed, in a bid to prove that two other broadcasts in April 2005 had also targeted Muslims because of their race, and Jones appealed in an attempt to overturn the finding of racial vilification.
Both appeals failed, leaving the ruling of racial vilification against Jones standing, but meaning that Trad has failed to prove the other two broadcasts, on April 27 and April 28, breached racial discrimination laws. Speaking after the ruling was handed down today, Mr Trad said he was happy that Jones was still required to apologise for calling Lebanese Muslims “vermin”, but disappointed that the tribunal didn’t regard his further comments as vilification.
Mr Trad said the tribunal has ordered Jones to apologise. The apologies are to be both on air and in writing. ”We want a proper heartfelt apology, we have been waiting for seven years for an apology,” Mr Trad said.
“We hope that this apology wont add to the insult like the apology he gave to Prime Minister Julia Gillard,” Mr Trad said.
Mr Trad said Jones had said many more offensive things about Lebanese Muslims since his comments in 2005, but “you can only run one case at a time”. He said it was a pity that the law made it so difficult to take action for racial vilification.
“The offender can keep offending and it takes almost forever to get any relief [in court],” he said. Mr Trad said he had borrowed money from friends and family to meet the estimated $100,000 legal bill of fighting the case.