Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sheik Yahiya Howard?

So that Indonesian Sheik who shares his surname with the New South Wales Governor has invited John Howard to become a Muslim. Sounds pretty halal to me. But there might be a few hitches.

For a start, Mr Howard might be expected to change his name. Some Muslims seem to think that converting to Islam means having to de-Anglicise your name.

My old mate Gazza, a member of the Socialist Left of the ALP, tells me that he had to de-Anglicise his name. So he changed from Gary to Adam.

Huh? Why Adam? Gazza relates that he first converted to please his somewhat feisty Fiji-Indian wife. He would have remained a lapsed Anglo-Catholic (i.e. a left-wing atheist) except that she had led him astray. Hence he named himself after the first man to be led astray by a woman.

Gazza now finds himself pissing off even more Muslims (and no doubt a fair few Christians also) with his public claims that Creationism and Intelligent Design is a load of bollocks.

Speaking of which, many Muslims expect male converts to undergo some Sharia-compliant surgery.

In this respect, Gazza is quite lucky. His Catholic dad and Anglican mum decided to have him circumcised back in the early 1950’s when he was a wee-toddler. Though I doubt they did so with a view to his conversion to the ways of those heathen “Moslems”.

Another convert mate of mine, Mahmud, also married a Fiji-Indian woman. He converted from Soccerism (he is Italian) to Islam. His parents didn’t have as much foresight and allowed his foreskin to remain. His wife wasn’t as tolerant.

Conveniently, Mahmud had to get his haemorrhoids operated on. His Jewish surgeon offered a complementary cut of the excess foreskin. Mahmud happily went under the knife.

Now Mahmud had given his wife strict instructions not to tell anyone about the surgeon’s offer. My folks tell me about visiting poor Mahmud in hospital. He was clearly in excruciating pain. His wife just couldn’t keep a secret. The conversation went something like this …

DAD: So how is Mahmud feeling?

MAHMUD: Can’t talk much. Too much pain.

MRS MAHMUD: What can I say? Mahmud can’t lay on his back or his stomach!

So if John Howard decides to take up Sheik Bashir’s offer, he can look forward to a possible change in name. “John” is easy. We just call him “Yahiya” (the Koranic name for John the Baptist). But what about “Winston” and “Howard”? Perhaps we might just name him “Yahiya bin Bush”.

A bigger (and indeed more painful) obstacle will be the Sharia-compliant surgery referred to earlier. Now we all know that Peter Costello wants to see Sharia banned in Australia. Perhaps the Treasurer could allow an exemption to be granted to the new Muslim convert Yahiya bin Bush, especially if it means Sheik Yahiya vacating Kirribilli House.

Who knows? Maybe Sheik Yahiya might decide to give up Kirribilli for the less salubrious surrounds of the Imam Ali Mosque in Lakemba. (Then again, given Mr Howard’s love for being seen with the diggers, he’ll probably prefer staying at the Gallipoli Mosque.)

But was Sheik Bashir merely seeking to have Mr Howard’s frontal bits compromised? My mate Gazza reckons a more thorough circumcision was what Bashir had in mind.

“Maybe he wanted Howard to be circumcised from the neck up. Politically speaking, of curse”, Gazza remarked as he stroked his ALP membership card.

I wonder how Mr Howard’s ministers and Parliamentary colleagues would react to his conversion. Mrs Howard would need to put up with competition from three more child-bearing wives needed for our good Sheik Yahiya to lead by example and ensure Australia reaches Danna Vale’s target of becoming an Islamic State within 50 years.

Bronwyn Bishop once complained that Muslim men refuse to shake her hands. She also described the writer once in Federal Parliament as a “Muslim activist known for his abusive attitudes to women”. Perhaps with Mr Howard’s conversion, she would now have her own Prime Minister refusing to shake her hand. Then again, Howard and Bishop were never known to be good buddies.

Perhaps the most interesting reaction (or lack thereof) would come from Attorney General Phillip Ruddock. It wouldn’t surprise me if early one morning ASIO raided Kirribilli House to pounce on the latest terror suspect as he was getting ready for his early morning walk around Sydney Harbour dressed in long white robes.

I can just see Mr Ruddock at the press conference announcing the arrest of Sheik Yahiya Howard: “The suspect is believed to have made numerous trips to training camps in Iraq”.

No doubt, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson would be asking Mr Howard to subscribe to the values of the English illegal immigrant Simpson (of donkey fame) or to just “clear off”.

The local Islamic community will, no doubt, welcome having an Islamic Prime Minister. Mufti Taj Hilaly would no doubt give a statement that none of us would understand. The Presidents of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils would probably criticise him for not wearing a burqa.

And what would my old mate Gazza do? “Me? Sharing a religion with John Howard? Forget it! I might just have to see if Cardinal Pell and Dr Jensen will take me back!”

(The author is a Sydney lawyer and former Liberal Candidate for the seat of Reid in the 2001 Federal election.)

© Irfan Yusuf 2006

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Irving Karchmar said...

An excellent piece :) I also just read your piece, Lies as a Pretext for War in Online Opinion, which was also excellent. I am adding you to my blogroll.

Anonymous said...


I enjoyed hearing about Muslims Down Under...and you really did explain EVERYTHING. Funny and well written.