Note: Authorities have given no indication that the current bushfires are the result of terrorist activity.
The Brisbane Times has deleted an article claiming Australia was once singled out as a target for “forest fire jihad” by a group of Islamic extremists.
According to the Fairfax publication, the group urged Muslims to deliberately light bushfires as an effective form of terrorism justified in Islamic law under the “eye for an eye” doctrine.
The article, titled ‘Islam group urges forest fire jihad’, was originally published September 7, 2008, and claimed: “US intelligence channels identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to ‘start forest fires’, claiming ‘scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels’ forests when they do the same to our lands.”
The piece resurfaced on social media this week in light of Australia’s current bushfire crisis, however, users claimed within days of sharing the article it was entirely removed from The Brisbane Times website.
According to Jonathan Fighel, Israeli counterterrorism expert and senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), “forest jihad” has existed for many years and has been prevalent in many conflict regions in different parts of the world.
“Deliberately lighting forest fires in Europe, the US and Australia, would not only stretch emergency services, but would also leave insurance companies facing multi-billion dollar claims, as the credit crunch bites,” Mr Fighel wrote in a 2008 piece for ICT.
Mr Fighel went on to say at the time, “forest jihad” was being “championed by Islamic scholars and Osama Bin Laden’s terror strategist who believed setting fire to dry woodlands will produce maximum damage at minimum risk.”
Caldron Pool reached out to The Brisbane Times on Facebook but received no response. We suspect the article was deleted to prevent false assumptions as authorities have given absolutely no indication that the current bushfires are the result of terrorist activity.
Earlier this month, the ABC was accused of deleting a September piece about climate protesters halting strategic asset protection burns in Gippsland, while the SBS temporarily removed a 2013 article by researcher David Packham which claimed bushfires are not due to climate change.
So, what do you think? Should the media be hiding old news stories in order to curb the narrative? What if it’s to prevent people from coming to false conclusions?