DARWIN, Sunday: The Australian Government has leased a former Radio Australia transmitter near Darwin to a British Christian fundamentalist group called Christian Voice. The group plans to use the transmitter to broadcast their Christian message to a predominantly Islamic South-East Asia, an area renown for religious tension.
But Indonesia’s Muslim President Wahid has vowed to retaliate by broadcasting Muslim pop-artist, Cat Steven’s songs 24 hours a day until Australia backs down. “We think that Yussuf Islam, as he is now known, will have much to teach the heathens in Australia. We’ll be playing the song ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’, that was so movingly covered by Ugly Kit Joe. And then there’s his instructive song that explains what to do when you’re being followed by a moonshadow.”
The Foreign Minister, Mr Alexander Downer, is taking the diplomatic situation seriously but has been unwilling to stop the deal.
“While I don’t condone religious fundamentalism,” Mr Downer said, “at least it’s our kind of fundamentalism.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the ABC, Mr Donald McDonald, has defended the original decision to close the Radio Australia transmitter in Darwin and move it to southern Victoria.
“It was a necessary cost-cutting decision, brought on by a Federal Government that very well understands the needs of our region and our place in it. It means that all the countries south of Australia can hear us loud and clear and that seems to be where our support lies.”
Christian Voice will stick to its plans to broadcast, despite the controversy. “Until now, the people of Asia have been very prejudiced in their approach to religion and dismissed our message out of hand, preferring to worship idols and false-gods. By showing them the true message of God we will be able to save some poor Asians from their bigoted approach to religion.