Jacqueline Maley owes Ayaan Hirsi Ali and SMH readers an apology

Jacqueline Maley owes Ayaan Hirsi Ali and SMH readers an apology

by James Doogue

26 June, 2018


Will we ever see an apology from Jacqueline Maley, a ‘Senior Journalist’ at the Sydney Morning Herald, for sloppily using the Southern Policy Law Centre to support her defamation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

I guess she and the newspaper can consider themselves lucky they are probably too unimportant to Hirsi Ali to bother suing.

Last year in her national piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, in her article titled ‘Why did Ayaan Hirsi Ali really cancel her Australian speaking tour?’to denigrate the reputation and message of ex-Muslim, FGM victim, escapee from forced marriage, anti-Islam author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali — Maley wrote:

“The well-respected US hate-watch group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, named Ali in its 2016 “Field Guide to Anti-Islam Extremists”.

Recently the SPLC has agreed to pay Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz US$3.375 million ‘for wrongly naming them in its controversial Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’.

The SPLC, when it started in the 1970s, did great work. According to Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post, ‘filing civil rights lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s. But it has become a caricature of itself, labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an “extremist” or “hate group.”

Maley, as a senior journalist, would have known this — or at least should have known this. At best, using Hirsi Ali’s listing under the SPLC’s “Field Guide to Anti-Islam Extremists” was sloppy journalism. At worst, it was deliberate attempt to falsely discredit Hirsi Ali, and potentially put her life in further danger.

Advertising that Hirsi Ali was on that dodgy SPLC list was inviting Islamic extremists to take an interest in Hirsi Ali, if the didn’t already know her name is on the Al Qaeda list of people wanted dead for crimes against Islam. Incidentally, if you search for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s name on the SPLC list of anti-Muslim extremists you are currently taken to the SPLC’s apology for including Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in their Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. This may mean that Hirsi Ali has been removed from the SPLC list, which isn’t surprising given about 60 organisations are reportedly considering suing SPLC for being included in the ‘Hate Lists’.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

In 2004 Hirsi Ali, who was a frontbench member of the parliamentary coalition governing the Netherlands, made a short film, ‘Submission’, with writer-director Theo van Gogh. The film used verses from the Koran to portray violence against women in Islamic society.

After its release van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic terrorist — shot eight times and partially decapitated. Pinned to his body was a death threat against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She has lived in hiding ever since, only going in public when her security is protected.

I think that alone gives Hirsi Ali have a pretty good reason for being concerned about security in Australia, which Jacqueline dismisses by referring readers to a very strange and irrational video. In the video half a dozen or so women, who must be Muslim, are telling Hirsi Ali she does not speak for them. They call what she says the language of ‘colonisers’, ‘patriarchy and misogyny’, and ‘white supremacy’. They claim Hirsi Ali only does these speaking tours to make money.

It makes you wonder if they know that Hirsi Ali is a black Somali born ex-Muslim, a victim of FGM, married at a young age to a much older man in an arranged married from which she later divorced, and she has been the subject of numerous death threats and can no longer live without security. Why? Because radical Muslims want her dead. She is an apostate and blasphemer as far as they are concerned.

Clearly those women, and Maley, don’t accept that it is followers of Islam who want to see Ayaan Hirsi Ali dead. They don’t accept that Hirsi Ali was a victim of Islam’s oppression of women. They act as if no Muslim woman’s life is controlled by men, using Islam as justification.

Just yesterday I spoke to a Muslim woman, Howaida Abdulla, in Cairo, Egypt. She laughed when she heard that Australian celebrity Muslim Yasmin Abdel-Magied claimed that Islam is ‘the most feminist religion in the world’. We were having this discussion in the air conditioning, while outside there were women in a full niqab in 38 C heat. If that is not oppressive, I don’t know what is. They will still be wearing their niqabs or hijabs as the temperature soars above 40 C as forecast later this week.

Despite the fact Maley must know Islam is a religion which provides justification for the oppression of women, she wrote, “But the voices of mainstream, moderate Muslim women, who are justifiably offended by Ali’s condemnation of them as universally oppressed, are not a threat to anyone’s security.”

What evidence does Maley have that the few women in the video represent mainstream, moderate Muslim women, or that moderate Muslim women are mainstream?

Sure, mainstream Muslim women are not likely to be a threat to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s security. Maley knows that it is Muslim men who are responsible for most violence in the name of Islam.

There were real threats of mass Muslim protests. Maley admits them in her own article, but dismisses them. On what basis?

We already know that even though Muslims represent only 2.5% of Australia’s population, they can whip up violent protests over the most minor provocation.

Who can forget the violent Muslim demonstrations around Australia about a parody video released in the US of Muhammad’s life?

It was quite reasonable for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her security team to be concerned for her safety if similar protests were to happen. Australian police have previously refused to provide security to speakers on the political right, without being paid to do the job they are supposed to do anyway.

As a senior journalist and former member of the Canberra press gallery, Jacqueline Maley would have known this. Maley would also have been aware of previous attempts to stop people from attending events which feature conservative speakers, by far left protestors.

Maley used the thoroughly discredited Southern Policy Law Centre to support her view that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a bigot, then dismissed the idea that Hirsi Ali would have any real security concerns — despite activist Muslims making threats, and creating a public campaign to stir up Muslims against Hirsi Ali.

Many left-leaning journalists like Maley have unquestioningly accepted the SPLC’s ‘hate lists’ because it fitted their ideological bias. The only way to stop the SPLC, says The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen, is if people stop giving it money and the media stop quoting it or taking it seriously. The SPLC once did important work fighting the Ku Klux Klan. But when it declares Maajid Nawaz, the Family Research Council, Ben Carson and Charles Murray as moral equivalents of the Klan, it loses all integrity and credibility.

Perhaps Maley would have been more circumspect on this topic if she was on a death list herself, and had suffered previous attempts on her life?

There is no doubt that Maley owes Hirsi Ali and her readers an apology for completely misleading them about the threats to Hirsi Ali’s security, and about Hirsi Ali’ personal reputation, by sloppily referring to the SPLC’s 2016 “Field Guide to Anti-Islam Extremists.”

Don’t hold your breath.