Supporting Sonja Kruger

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    We need to support people like Sonia.  It takes immense guts to speak out today as Sonia did.   Sonia knows the risks and the likely backlash which makes her courage all the more conspicuous.  That markedly increases your responsibility to get behind her and show her your support.
    Sonia and her family will need it.
    Until January 2009 Muslims and Islam were an abstract issue for me, very much in the background.   I thought Islam was just a religion.
    I'd lived with my family and run a big telecoms business in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.   Every Sunday our Muslim driver Ishak would take us to Mass at the Atma Jaya University Catholic Church in central Jakarta.  I'd have my Muslim staff over to our house for parties all the time - we'd sit out the back near the pool singing and telling stories while we knocked back Bintangs together (under the verandah where Allah couldn't see!)
    I didn't see anyone in a full face-covering in Indonesia.  I never felt any hostility towards me for not being Muslim.
    I'd also been a copper in the mid-1980s in Victoria.   Armed robberies peaked around then.  We were very sensitive to disguises near banks.
    So I thought it was unremarkable to speak about my experience of seeing two black tents with eye slits moving near the bank at Sydney's Roselands.
    I said if I had still been a copper, I would have considered charging the people beneath the shrouds with offensive behaviour.
    That's what we'd charge someone with for wearing a helmet or a rubber Richard Nixon mask in a bank.
    I thought it was unremarkable and so did my listeners on 4BC where I'd broadcast those thoughts..  It wasn't until a helpful soul at the network sent the audio of what I'd said to a newspaper that things heated up.
    Then I fronted a news conference with more TV cameras than Brisbane had TV shows.   Most of the interest was from Sydney and Melbourne, and after A Current Affair ran a story about the "Racist Radio Host", the radio station was inundated with threats and abuse.
    This is one call from a Jihadi-genius who left his message on my voice-mail.

    I received the usual advice about protection and security at home - and the threats caused the usual problems.   Police were great and very speedy.

    But that wasn't the only one.   Some time later I was opening the mail about 10AM at my desk.  A plume of white powder fell from one envelope onto my lap.   I spent the next 5 hours on that chair while the air-conditioning was shut down, the building part-evacuated and police and Fire & Rescue specialists did their thing before I could  go to the loo and get on the air.
    There is no other "religion" that inspires crap like that.
    Sonia Kruger will be copping it a heap harder than I did.
    That's why I implore you to show her the support we should show all well intentioned trail blazers like Sonia.
    You can send Sonia a message of support at Channel 9, on Twitter @SoniaKruger or find her on Facebook.

    michaelsmithnews.com
 
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