Sunday, January 22, 2012

In which Barney Zwartz explains the dangers of Muslim hardliners, possibly Iranian militants, and how this relates to a case of murder ...

(Above: Barney Zwartz and the photo used for his blog, the Religious Write, which also might cover moments when the Religious Write wrong).

Here's Barney Zwartz explaining on January 11th this year a possible cause of the murder of a woman in Fears held for Christian convert:

The husband and friends of an Iranian woman missing from Dandenong for almost a month fear she has been abducted by Muslim hardliners because of her attempts to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Here's Barney in the same story explaining Islam:

Islam, strictly interpreted, mandates death for adults who leave the religion, and there are many cases of Iranian converts being killed, both in Iran and in Europe.

The same penalty may be applied to those who seek to persuade Muslims to leave their religion. While there are accounts of Muslims who converted being beaten in Australia, The Age is not aware of any claims of killings.

Here's Barney in the very same story quoting an informed source in relation to the matter:

Pastor Danny Nalliah, of Catch the Fire Ministries, yesterday sent an email to his mailing list calling for "urgent prayer" for Mrs Ahmadi and her family. He said he had known the family for eight years and they took a leading role in helping Muslim asylum seekers find accommodation, jobs and household appliances.

"Through their love for these people some Muslims accepted Jesus," Mr Nalliah said.

Here's Barney sticking in a quick caveat in the same story:

He and Catch the Fire were the subject of a complaint that they vilified Muslims in a 2002 seminar on jihad, upheld by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal but reversed by the Supreme Court.

Here's Barney back on the case and the chase with Pastor Danny:

Yesterday, he told The Age Mrs Ahmadi "really stuck her neck out" in trying to convert Muslims and that her husband was sometimes very worried for her. He said he was not suggesting asylum seekers had abducted her, but that her zeal had come to the attention of militants, possibly in Iran itself.

Here's the police allowing Barney the luxury of idle, unproven speculation:

An Oakleigh police officer confirmed police were investigating her disappearance but gave no details.

He said the police were following several lines of inquiry, and confirmed that one possibility was abduction by Islamic militants. "We are treating it as a missing person inquiry but are investigating other possibilities," the officer said.

Here's the Victorian police changing their tune later on Sky News, in a story Abduction fears for missing woman:

The disappearance of a 46-year-old mother has stirred up claims of Islamic extremists targeting Christians in Melbourne, claims which have disappointed Muslims.

Police have rejected suggestions that Zahara Rahimzadegan, also known as Mandy Ahmadi, could have been taken by religious hardliners as retribution for her role in converting Muslims to Christianity.

But the accusations have continued from her support base, especially Catch the Fire Ministries.

Egged on by The Age?

Here's Barney offering the husband of the murdered woman plenty of space for an alibi:

Mr Ahmadi said he dropped his wife off at home in the early afternoon of December 16 after a "pamper morning" at Cornerstone for refugees, then went to the supermarket with his eldest son...
After school he took his youngest son to Chadstone shopping centre to pick up presents they had put on layby. He called Mrs Ahmadi and left messages several times.
On Sunday, December 18, he confided his fears to leaders at his church, CityLife, who said that because she had been missing 48 hours he should go to the police ...

Here's The Age reporting the actual outcome of the murder investigation in Husband charged as body found under backyard slab:

Senior Sergeant Iddles said a body believed to be Mrs Ahmadi's was found under a slab of concrete in their backyard yesterday after police questioned Mr Ahmadi...

...Senior Sergeant Iddles said that Ahmadi had made full admissions to the murder.

Here's the pond acknowledging that it belatedly caught up this story during an idle moment's browsing on the tubes, and catching a website documenting anti-Muslim bigotry in Australia: Australian newspaper blamed disappearance of murdered woman on 'Muslim hardliners.'

And now here's the pond - while acknowledging a hearty disinterest in both the Islamic and Christian religions - wondering at the same time how The Age can consider itself a quality broadsheet (in that peculiarly old-fashioned and soon to be lost forever way of matching quality to format)?

And wondering whether anybody else thinks that, for a bit of reporting on a most unhappy murder - surely the place to show dispassionate objectivity and some care for the facts of the matter - Mr. Zwartz's initial report is a fine example of subjective fear-mongering, including but not limited to astonishingly irrelevant red herrings, mindlessly irrelevant assertions about Iran and Islam, and the mindless quoting of suspect sources who turned out to be profoundly wrong?

Yep, it's another piece of reporting from the very same journalist who wrote another story several years ago which won praise from Pastor Danny Nalliah:

We were just absolutely amazed to read such an accurate report by the journalist Barney Zwartz. It seemed like reading the CTFM newsletter. (and you can get links and read about the CTFM connection here)

It was a story about a woman being raised from the dead, and here's how Mr. Zwartz began it:

The rest here, if you can be bothered.

It's the sort of story you'd expect to find in a provincial rag like Geraldton Guardian or if it was still doing the rounds the Melbourne Truth, back when Tim Blair worked for the rag.

Here's the Guardian getting excited about the story:

Yep, you simply can't keep a good religious correspondent down.

Where would we be without miracle cures, people risen from the dead, and Muslim hardliners, especially Islamic militants and dangerous Iranians with a taste for abducting people from Dandenong?

But what if you only saw Mr. Zwartz's first epic egg-beating effort, and never caught up with the reality check that followed?

1 comment:

  1. A witty and insightful summary of the media going nuts (again.)


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