Malaysian paper apologises for Xenophon attack
A major Malaysian newspaper which falsely claimed South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon was anti-Islam has apologised for the report.
The New Straits Times (NST) reported that Xenophon criticised Islam in 2009 and during the same speech showed support for same-sex marriage.
Currently in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation, sodomy is an illegal act with such a case made against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim dismissed by the nation’s High Court earlier this year.
The NST article also quoted independent MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim as criticising Ibrahim and Xenophon, who was invited to be an independent observer of demonstrations in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
“Should we let someone like Xenophon influence our culture and moral values through politics?” Hashim was quoted as saying.
“By confiding in Xenophon, is Anwar also supporting the LGBT movement?” he asked, according to the NST.”
In response to the article Xenophon told AAP that he is seeking legal advice on the matter.
"It's a vile defamation and I'll be taking action," he said.
"I'm gobsmacked that someone could stoop so low."
In a statement the NST said it regrets any distress they have caused to Senator Xenophon.
"We regret that the article attributes certain statements to Xenophon, particularly the use of the word 'Islam' which he did not make in a parliamentary speech in November 2009. We are taking steps to make amends including publishing an appropriate statement in our newspaper and its online version to address the issue,” the statement said.
"We accept that in his speech in the Australian Parliament referred to in the article, Mr Xenophon did not use the word 'Islam’ and neither did he assert that Islam is not a religious organisation but a criminal organisation hiding behind its religious belief."
"We truly and sincerely regret that Xenophon has suffered any distress and embarrassment arising from the article and we honestly believe that the steps we are taking to make amends will resolve the matter."
In the original article the NST quoted a speech Xenophon made in Parliament in which he labelled Scientology a ‘criminal organisation’ but replaced the word ‘Scientology’ with ‘Islam’.