01 August 2009
Keyser Trad, A Racist?
This particular post might be of more interest to my Australian readership and those that have an interest in race relations and defamation in Australia.
Keysar Trad, founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia and spokesperson for Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly, had sued Harbour Radio, the owners of 2GB, for the comments of Jason Morrison on air. In essence, Morrison said that Trad was gutless, trouble, disgraceful, and dangerous, and also an individual who incites violence, hatred, and racism. These comments were made in 2007 just after the Cronulla riots.
Just on the Sheik, this is the same Sheik that said the following in response to a rape:
"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."
Trad went onto sue and won a jury trial. However, Harbour Radio appealed on the grounds that what was said, although defamatory, was true. In the appeal at the NSW Supreme Court, Chief Judge Peter McClellan agreed with Harbour Radio. McClellan J was unequivocal in stating that the comments made by Trad were "offensive", "racist", and "condoned violence".
In dismissing the claim and ordering that Trad pay Harbour Radio's costs, McClellan J said, "There is little doubt that many of the plaintiff's remarks are offensive to Jewish persons and homosexuals". He then went on to say, "I'm satisfied the plaintiff does hold views which can properly be described as racist."
It is of little surprise that Trad plans to appeal. It will be interesting to see where the Supreme Court has erred in its application of the law in order for the appeal to go forward.