Imagine that – a TV interview that stopped everyone talking about The Bachelor for a few minutes.
ABC journalist Emma Alberici clashed with a spokesperson from radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir on the ABC’s Lateline program on Wednesday night – and we’re all still talking about it.
Host Alberici took Wassim Doureihi to task after he repeatedly failed to answer questions about whether or not his group supported the extreme actions of ISIS, such as beheading western journalists and aid workers.
Mr Doureihi was invited onto the program to defend his organisation against comments made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier in the week that the group “campaigns against Australian values and interests.”
“We’ve invited you here tonight to help Australians better understand what it is that you stand for,” Alberici began.
“So tell me first of all, do you support the murderous campaign being waged by Islamic State fighters in Iraq?”
What followed has become the most-talked about TV interview of the year. See for yourself.
Alberici has since revealed to Fairfax Media that the interview which followed was her most frustrating to date.
“I dont understand why someone given a very public platform through the Lateline program wouldn’t use that opportunity to prosecute his case,” Ms Alberici told Fairfax.
“The kind of messages on the Hizb ut-Tahrir website and the political manifesto you can find, I hope most Australians don’t associate that with general moderate Muslim thinking, because I don’t think that’s right,” she said.
Alberici also had one big regret about the the interview – not asking this question:
“In his ideal Islamic state would I, as a woman, have the opportunity to sit opposite him as an equal and engage in a robust discussion about these issues on the public broadcaster? I don’t think he would have answered.”
Tony Abbott applauded the journalist’s performance the following day describing Alberici as a “fiesty” interviewer who “spoke for the country”.
Alberici said it was terrific to have the PM’s seal of approval, “but it’s just as terrific that in our plural liberal democracy people can disagree.”
She also ruled it out as her best interview ever, “because I didn’t get any answers!”
We thought it was pretty excellent, Emma. Thank you.
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