Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has allegedly threatened to sue Waleed Aly, a co-host of a popular news broadcast, for defamation over an emotional broadcast about the Christchurch attack, according to a local media report.
Mr Aly, a Muslim of Egyptian descent, began his broadcast saying “these aren’t going to be my best words”.
He went on to say that the events from Friday's shootings, where a white supremacist terrorist murdered 50 people attending prayer, did not come as a shock to him.
“Of all the things I could say tonight, that I am gutted and scared and overcome with utter hopelessness, the most dishonest thing, the most dishonest thing, is to say that I am shocked. I’m simply not. There’s nothing about what happened in Christchurch today that shocked me,” he said.
He went on a tirade referring to several other hate crimes in which worshippers of various religions were attacked and murdered at the hands of terrorists around the world.
“If we’re honest, we’ll know this has been coming,” he said. He goes on to talk about the manifesto published by the alleged shooter saying that it invoked fear in him “not because it was deranged but because it was so familiar”.
He read pull-outs from what he led viewers to believe were snippets of the attacker’s manifesto – deeply xenophobic statements on anti-immigrant laws targeting Muslims – only to tell them it came from a statement published by an Australian parliamentarian.
Although he hasn’t mentioned any names, according to The New Daily, Mr Morrison’s government demanded action on Friday night after Mr Aly’s emotional Christchurch plea.
The Australian news organisation's claims that Mr Morrison’s chief press secretary contacted Network Ten after the broadcast referring to defamation of the prime minister. He demanded an apology from the network.
What specifically drew his ire was Mr Aly’s reference to a shadow cabinet meeting in 2010 where members of government gathered and noted anti-Muslim sentiment in government.
Mr Aly said that a “senior politician” discussed using community concerns over Muslims in Australia failing to integrate into Australian society. “That person is now the most senior politician we have”.
He goes on to compliment Mr Morrison in the first time he mentions the prime minister by name. But then Mr Aly makes his plea.
“I have something to ask, don’t change your tune now because the terrorism seems to be coming from a white supremacist. If you’ve been talking about being tough on terrorism for years and the communities that allegedly support it, then show us how tough you are now”.