Professor says there's a deeper meaning behind images

WHEN son of Bundaberg MP Alexander Donaldson shared controversial memes and images on Facebook, he said the images were just a joke among friends. 

The images included an image of an ISIL flag on the moon, with another showing the 25-year-old man as a stereotypedl Arab in front of the Twin Towers during the September 11 attacks. 

However, I don't think terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or ISIS are a matter of joke.

Associate Professor Richard Devetak, head of the University of Queensland's political science and international relations school, said the intention of this type of imagery was to do more than get a laugh from friends.

"There is a part of it that's 'look at me - I'm identifying with a particular group that's gaining movement at the moment'," he said.

"It's meant to play along with that mocking and degradation."

Assoc Prof Devetak said groups such as Reclaim Australia were using the actions of a small group of people to tar all Islamic followers with the same brush.

"The message that they are trying to send out is that it's not just the jihadis and terrorists that are capable of these forms of violence," he said.

Assoc Prof Devetak said while the imagery was "infantile" and "silly" and was a long way from the actions of those physically and verbally abusing people for the way they look or dress - including recent incidents that has seen women abused on buses for wearing headscarves - it had the risk of encouraging the behaviour.

"It's a long way from harassment and abuse but that's where it can end if allowed to go unchecked."

Islamic Council of Queensland spokesman Ali Kadri said it seemed the pictures were nothing more but a silly joke.

"However, I don't think terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or ISIS are a matter of joke," Mr Kadri said.

"Extremism has costs many lives and most of them Muslims. It is highly offensive for most Muslims to be connected with terrorists, in the same way most Australians find right-wing extremists to be offensive."