Book and Magazine Censorship: I


 

 

 

 

The Ideological Attack

Author Shayhk 'Abdul' Azeez Bin Baaz

In December 2005, THE IDEOLOGICAL ATTACK was passed with an Unrestricted-rating by the Classification Board. This was confirmed by the Classification Review Board in July 2006.

THE IDEOLOGICAL ATTACK was one of eight books and one videotape that were classified following a raid on the Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba.

For full details of this case, see our database entry for DEFENCE OF THE MUSLIM LANDS.

 

 

THE IDEOLOGICAL ATTACK: Classification Review Board Report

The Ideological Attack
REVIEW BOARD REPORT

Australian Government
Classification Review Board
19, 20, 23 June and 3 & 5 July 2006
23-33 MARY STREET
SURRY HILLS, NSW

MEMBERS:
Ms Maureen Shelley (Convenor)
The Hon Trevor Griffin (Deputy Convenor)
Mr Rob Shilkin
Mrs Kathryn Smith
Mrs Gillian Groom
Ms Ann Stark
Mr Anthony Hetrih

APPLICANT:
Commonwealth Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, not represented.

INTERESTED PARTIES:
NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

BUSINESS:
To review the Classification Board’s decision to classify the publication The Ideological Attack ‘Unrestricted’.

DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION

1. Decision

The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) in a unanimous decision classified the publication The Ideological Attack ‘Unrestricted’.

 

2. Legislative provisions

The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act) governs the classification of publications and the review of classification decisions. Section 9 of the Act provides that publications are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Section 11 of the Classification Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on classification include:

(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and

(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication or film; and

(c) the general character of the publication or film, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and

(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.

Three essential principles underlie the 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Publications (the Publication Guidelines), determined under s.12 of the Act:

1. The importance of context;

2. Assessing impact; and

3. Six classifiable elements – themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

 

3. Procedure

The Review Board convened on 19 June 2006 in response an application dated 5 June 2006 from the Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP (the Applicant). The original application for classification of the publication was lodged by the Australian Federal Police on 15 December 2005 (application reference L05/1456). The Classification Board classified the publication as ‘Unrestricted’ on 22 December 2005.

Seven members of the Review Board read the publication and received both oral and written submissions from Mr Drew Kovacs representing the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.

The Review Board then deliberated ‘in camera’ on 20 and 23 June 2006 and again on 3 July 2006 before convening a final time on 5 July 2006 and determining that the publication be classified ‘Unrestricted’.

 

4. Evidence and other material taken into account

In reaching its decision the Review Board had regard to the following:

(i) The Attorney General’s application for review;

(ii) The NSW Council of Civil Liberties’ written and oral submissions;

(iii) The Publication The Ideological Attack (L05/1456);

(iv) The relevant provisions in the Act;

(v) The relevant provisions in the Code, as amended in accordance with s.6 of the Act;

(vi) The Classification Board’s report; and

(vii) The 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Publications.

 

5. Synopsis

An historical text of 84 pages that examines perceived attacks on the Islamic faith by various ideological forces. The publication is about threats to Islam and not from it.

 

6. Findings on material questions of fact

Classifiable elements

The Review Board found that there were no depictions or descriptions of sex, nudity, drug use or coarse language in the book. There were no depictions of violence in the book and the descriptions of violence were fleeting and of low impact. The treatment of themes did not have a high impact and - although undoubtedly rejected by most Australians - was not “offensive”, as that term is defined in the Guidelines. This is a book which explains the author’s interpretation of the alleged “ideological attack” by the West on Islamic values. The book contains extensive quotations from the Koran and discusses how Muslims are subject to the serious and severe ideological attacks by “Christian crusaders”, “Zionists” and “Communists and atheists”.

The book largely deals with historical matters and the author’s interpretation of why these groups are supposedly attacking Islam. The book notes that the means by which the West engages in the “ideological attack” are as follows:

· infusing Muslims with Western values and concepts; · enabling Muslims to migrate to their country and then return to their Islamic countries infused with Western values; · the promotion of Western languages; · the development of Western universities and schools in Muslim countries; · the large number of Jews and Christians who have studied Islam and who therefore create an ideological turmoil among educated Muslims.

Although most Australians would reject the contents of the publication, the Review Board is required to be conservative in its interpretation of the Code and Guidelines.

Promotion, incitement or instruction in matters of crime or violence The rhetoric in the book is undeniably hostile and often aggressive. However, it does not call for any particular acts of violence or criminal activity.

The Review Board considered that the objective purpose of the publication was to generate feelings of anger at the West. The objective purpose of the book was not to promote any acts of violence or crime by Muslims.

The only reference that the book makes to any modern situation or to any obligation on Muslims to fight is the “peace between the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Jews” (i.e. a reference to the Oslo peace accord of the mid 1990s). The book notes that:

“the peace between the Muslim leaders of Palestine and the Jews does not mean that the Jews will permanently possess the land that they possess now. Rather it only means that they will be in possession of them for a period of time until either the truce expires or until the Muslims become strong enough to force them out of the Muslim lands...when one does have the ability to wage Jihad against them, then what is required is to call them to enter into Islam, or to be fought against...so in this case it is not permissible to seek peace with them, nor to abandon fighting”.

The comments in the context of the Israel - PLO situation are non-specific as to what particular type of fighting should take place, where or when.

 

7. Reasons for the decision

Much of the tenor of this publication is “conspiratorial” and may be considered by many to be “far fetched” however, it concerns itself with ideology and theory rather than their practical application. There is no “call to arms” as such – even of a general nature.

Although some unsavoury political comment is made, the Review Board must take a conservative approach in its interpretation of whether a particular publication promotes, incites or instructs as a crime. As such, the publication could not be considered to promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence in the sense required by the Code.

 

8. Summary

The Review Board decided that the publication should be classified “Unrestricted”. The decision of the Review Board was unanimous.

 

The Ideological Attack - Shayhk 'Abdul' Azeez Bin Baaz - Book


 

 

 

 

Inspire Magazine

Author Al-Qaidah Organisation of The Arabi / Published by Al-Malahem Media / Yemen

In July 2017, a CD-ROM of INSPIRE MAGAZINE - SUMMER 1431 (2010) (67-pages) were banned by the Classification Board.

This was followed in August 2017 by INSPIRE MAGAZINE - WINTER 1436 (2014) ISSUE 13 (57-pages).

In both cases, the Australian Federal Police - Joint Counter Terrorism Team - Sydney was the applicant.

The reason given for the Refused Classification ratings was:

Reason: 9A
9A Refused Classification for publications, films or computer games that advocate terrorist acts states that:
(1) A publication, film or computer game that advocates the doing of a terrorist act must be classified RC.
(2) Subject to subsection
(3), for the purposes of this section, a publication, film or computer game advocates the doing of a terrorist act if:
(a) it directly or indirectly conceals or urges the doing of a terrorist act: or
(b) it directly or indirectly provides instruction on the doing of a terrorist act; or
(c) it directly praises the doing of a terrorist act in circumstances where there is a substantial risk that such praise might have the effect of leading a person (regardless of his or her age or any mental impairment (within the meaning of section 7.3 of the Criminal Code) that the person might suffer) to engage in a terrorist act.
(3) A publication, film or computer game does not advocate the doing of a terrorist act if it depicts or describes a terrorist act, but the depiction or description could reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate or as entertainment or satire.
(4) In this section: terrorist act has the meaning given by section 100.1 of the Criminal Code (no matter where the action occurs, the threat of action is made or the action, if carried out, would occur).


 

 

 

 

Islam and Modern Man

Author Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

In December 2005, ISLAM AND MODERN MAN was passed with an Unrestricted-rating by the Classification Board. This was confirmed by the Classification Review Board in July 2006.

ISLAM AND MODERN MAN was one of eight books and one videotape that were classified following a raid on the Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba.

For full details of this case, see our database entry for DEFENCE OF THE MUSLIM LANDS.

 

 

ISLAM AND MODERN MAN: Classification Review Board Report

Islam and Modern Man
REVIEW BOARD REPORT

Australian Government
Classification Review Board
19 June 2006
23-33 MARY STREET
SURRY HILLS, NSW

MEMBERS:
Ms Maureen Shelley (Convenor)
The Hon Trevor Griffin (Deputy Convenor)
Mr Rob Shilkin
Mrs Kathryn Smith
Mrs Gillian Groom
Ms Ann Stark
Mr Anthony Hetrih

APPLICANT:
Commonwealth Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, not represented.

INTERESTED PARTIES:
NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

BUSINESS:
To review the Classification Board’s decision to classify the publication Islam and Modern Man: The Call of Islam to Modern Man Vol. II ‘Unrestricted’.

DECISION AND REASONS FOR DECISION

1. Decision

The Classification Review Board (the Review Board) in a unanimous decision classified the publication Islam and Modern Man: The Call of Islam to Modern Man Vol. II ‘Unrestricted’.

2. Legislative provisions

The Classification (Publications, Film and Computer Games) Act 1995 (the Act) governs the classification of publications and the review of classification decisions. Section 9 of the Act provides that publications are to be classified in accordance with the National Classification Code (the Code) and the classification guidelines. Section 11 of the Classification Act requires that the matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a film or publication include:

(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults; and

(b) the literary, artistic or educational merit (if any) of the publication or film; and

(c) the general character of the publication or film, including whether it is of a medical, legal or scientific character; and

(d) the persons or class of persons to or amongst whom it is published or is intended or likely to be published.

Three essential principles underlie the 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Publications (the Publication Guidelines), determined under s.12 of the Act:

1. The importance of context;

2. Assessing impact; and

3. The six classifiable elements – themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

 

3. Procedure

The Review Board convened on 19 June 2006 in response to the receipt of an application from the Attorney General, the Hon Philip Ruddock MP, (the Applicant), dated 5 June 2006.

The original application for classification of the publication was lodged by the Australian Federal Police on 15 December 2005 (application reference L05/1451). The Classification Board classified the publication as Unrestricted on 22 December 2005.

At its meeting on 19 June 2006 seven members of the Review Board, having read the publication prior to their meeting, received both oral and written submissions from Mr Drew Kovacs representing the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties. The Review Board then adjourned to deliberate further “in camera” and, after considering the substance of the application and all relevant matters, unanimously determined that the publication be classified Unrestricted’.

 

4. Evidence and other material taken into account

In reaching its decision the Review Board had regard to the following:

(i) The Attorney General’s application for review;

(ii) The NSW Council of Civil Liberties’ written and oral submissions;

(iii) The Publication Islam and Modern Man: The Call of Islam to Modern Man Vol. II (L05/1451);

(iv) The relevant provisions in the Act;

(v) The relevant provisions in the Code, as amended in accordance with s.6 of the Act;

(vi) The Classification Board’s report; and

(vii) The 2005 Guidelines for the Classification of Publications.

 

5. Synopsis

Islam and Modern Man is book of 28 pages that examines the call of Islam to modern man in terms of finding faith, religion, and a world view. It is an attempt at a scholarly text.

The author reflects upon the state of the world and its materialism and corruption, although one may not agree with the examples of corruption given. She considers in her treatise what should be the distinguishing characteristics of a Muslim and how young people, in particular, may be attracted to Islam.

It was first published (2000 copies) in 1976 and reprinted in 1980 (4000 copies). The book is not considered to have a wide publication.

 

6. Findings on material questions of fact

The Review Board found that the publication contains aspects or scenes of importance, under various classifiable elements:

Classifiable elements

There is no depiction or description of violence, sex, nudity, coarse language or drug use. The treatment of themes and concepts does not have a high impact and is inoffensive in a legal context.

In considering publications, the Review Board must also consider the context of the work. The history of the author is of note. According to the introduction the author was born into a German-Jewish family in 1934 and entered a “liberal arts program” at university in New York in 1952. She became “ill” at university and was “unable” to earn “any diploma”. She was “confined to private and public hospitals for two years (1957-1959)” and “only after her discharge, did she discover her facility for writing”. She became a convert to Islam and migrated to Pakistan in 1962 and married becoming a “co-wife” in 1963. It is stated in the introduction that she observes strict Purdah (the practice of requiring women to cover their bodies so as to cover their skin and conceal their form).

The book explains the author’s hatred of atheism, materialism and the Western World as “intense” and “in her restless quest for absolute, transcendental ideals” she upholds Islam as “the most emotionally and intellectually satisfying explanation to the Ultimate Truth which alone gives life (and death) meaning, direction, purpose and value”.

Promotion, incitement or instruction in matters of crime or violence There are no calls for revolution or acts of violence or disobedience. Although Western culture is severely criticised, there is no specific call for action other than an expression of the author’s view about the superiority of the Islamic way of life. The book does not in any way promote, instruct or incite in matters of crime or violence.

 

7. Reasons for the decision

Although most Australians would not agree with the views expressed in the book, applying the criteria in the Code and Guidelines, the book falls within the “Unrestricted” classification.

 

8. Summary

The publication Islam and Modern Man does not promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence and the Review Board does not find that there is any aspect of the publication that offends against the Guidelines. Therefore the classification is “Unrestricted”. The decision of the Review Board was unanimous.

 

Islam and the Modern Man -Maulana Wahiduddin Khan - Book


 

 

 

 

The Islamic State 2015

Author – Unknown

In August 2017, a CD-ROM of THE ISLAMIC STATE 2015 (100-pages) was banned by the Classification Board.

The Australian Federal Police - Joint Counter Terrorism Team - Sydney was the applicant.

The reason given for the Refused Classification rating was:

Pubs section 9A and items 1(a) & (c)
9A Refused Classification for publications, films or computer games that advocate terrorist acts
(1) A publication, film or computer game that advocates the doing of a terrorist act must be classified RC.
(2) Subject to subsection
(3), for the purposes of this section, a publication, film or computer game advocates the doing of a terrorist act if:
(a) it directly or indirectly counsels, promotes, encourages or urges the doing of a terrorist act; or
(b) it directly or indirectly provides instruction on the doing of a terrorist act; or
(c) it directly praises the doing of a terrorist act in circumstances where there is a substantial risk that such praise might have the effect of leading a person (regardless of his or her age or any mental impairment (within the meaning of section 7.3 of the Criminal Code) that the person might suffer) to engage in a terrorist act.
(3) A publication, film or computer game does not advocate the doing of a terrorist act if it depicts or describes a terrorist act, but the depiction or description could reasonably be considered to be done merely as part of public discussion or debate or as entertainment or satire.
(4) In this section: terrorist act has the meaning given by section 100.1 of the Criminal Code (no matter where the action occurs, the threat of action is made or the action, if carried out, would occur). AND The publication is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Publications Table, 1.
(a) as publications that "describe, depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified." AND The publication is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Publications Table, 1.
(c) as publications that "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence".


 

 

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