It’s an iconic war photo of Ben Roberts-Smith on patrol in Afghanistan. But it hides a chilling secret
- Photo of Ben Roberts-Smith in Afghanistan is controversial
- He wore a Crusader’s Cross in the 2011 picture while on duty
- The symbol is provocative for Muslims given its history
As fallout from his court loss continues, a ‘doctored’ photo of decorated Australian solider Ben Roberts-Smith has re-emerged showing him wearing a controversial symbol during battle.
The photo – believed to date from 2011 – showed Roberts-Smith in full combat gear and carrying an automatic weapon while on duty in Afghanistan, and wearing a small shield around his neck.
In the version of the picture released by the Department of Defence the shield was blank.
The photo – believed to date from 2011 – showed Roberts-Smith in full combat gear and carrying an automatic weapon while on duty in Afghanistan, and wearing a small shield around his neck
The original version of the photo shows Roberts-Smith was wearing a Crusader’s Cross, a controversial historical symbol for Muslims
But the original version of the photo, obtained by Nine-Fairfax newspapers, shows Roberts-Smith was wearing a Crusader’s Cross.
The cross is a controversial symbol worn by Christian crusaders in the 11th and 12th centuries when they invaded parts of the Middle East to wrest them from the control of Muslims.
As a result, many Muslims find the symbol offensive. The wearing of one by a Western solider in a predominantly Islamic country would be considered a particularly provocative act.
At the time the unaltered photo emerged, the Defence Department explained it ‘does not condone or permit the use, display or adoption of symbols, emblems and iconography that are at odds with Defence values’.