ISSN: 20010818
First published in 2012
3 issues per volume
Volume 6 Issue 3
Cover Date: October 2017
Who speaks for Islam in Australian newspapers? – The case of the Doveton mosque in Melbourne, Victoria
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Authors:  Caitlin Parr And  Judith Sandner 
DOI: 10.1386/ajms.6.3.527_1

newswriting,Islam,Mosque,inclusive reporting,critical discourse analysis,Orientalism

This article provides a discursive analysis of content published in the Berwick Leader, a local newspaper in Melbourne, Victoria, on a proposed and approved mosque in the suburb of Doveton. The mosque development was instigated by the Afghan Mosque Project Committee in 2012 and approved by Casey Council in 2013. Catch the Fire Ministries, led by politician Daniel Nalliah from the Rise Up Australia Party led opposition to the mosque project, appealing to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). The opposition centred on the mosque’s physical location next to Catch the Fire Ministries’ proposed church, however the formal appeal was dropped when the church purchased land elsewhere. Database research returned 23 published items from the Berwick Leader relating to the mosque in Green Street, Doveton. Part of the discourse analysis reveals inclusive publishing decisions in terms of community input, with thirteen letters to the editor about the controversial project being selected for publication. Significantly though, the voices identified as being excluded from news reports are those of the Afghan Mosque Project Committee, the representative body for the local Muslim community. It may be argued this form of social exclusion, embedded in journalistic practice, reflects discourses of Orientalism, whereby the Muslim community is relegated to an inferior, strange and threatening ‘other’ in local media reporting. By being denied a voice and right of reply in the reporting on the proposed mosque, the authors posit that the Berwick Leader denied the Muslim community of Doveton recognition and validation as social subjects.
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