Wednesday, November 28, 2007

COMMENT: Personal[ly plagiarised] Reflections of Afroz Ali

The Afroz Ali saga continues. One reader has tipped me off about some of Afroz's allegedly personal reflections which, it turns out, aren't really his at all.

In the section on inspiration, Afroz presents one of his personal reflections - the story of an empire moth. Of course, this is Afroz's own personal reflection. Hence, he has not attributed the story to anyone else.

Here's an excerpt from this profound and completely original personal reflection ...

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. It just seemed to be stuck. Then the man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily.

Wow, amazing story. And all authored by Afroz. The fact that this story appears on other websites such as this one is sheer coincidence. The fact remains that this is Afroz's original personal reflections.

So let's not accuse Afroz of plagiarism, lest we be flown to the Planet Saturn by a giant flying pig.

(Thanks to SJH)

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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COMMENT/MEDIA: On Afroz Ali, Saudi qualifications & the ABC Compass Progam

Shaykh ash-Shuyukh Fadilat ash-Shaykh Kiai Maulana Mullah Hujjat al-Islam Allamah Ayatullah Hoca Khwaja Moulay Sidi Imam Afroz Ali is described on the ABC Compass program as follows ...

Imam Afroz Ali is founding president of the Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development in Sydney’s south-west. Imam Ali has qualifications from Saudi Arabia ...

Anyone reading or watching this would presume Afroz has completed more than one degree from Saudi Arabia.

How would ABC have gotten this information? Who told them about Afroz's Saudi degrees? And if it isn't true, did Afroz take steps to correct it? If not, why not?

This isn't the first time such false and exaggerated claima have been made by Afroz or about him in his presence. In 2003, the University of Sydney described him as an "Islamic scholar". Yet he refuses to come clean and provide evidence to back up his claims.

I therefore once again request Afroz to produce his Saudi qualifications. Surely it would't be hard for him to scan these and place them on his blog. Or even to tell us what these qualifications are, where he obtained them and in what years.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BLOG: New blog from a “qualified imam” ...

Shaykh al-Shuyukh Fadilat ash-shaykh Maulana Allamah Hujjat al-Islam Ayatullah Mufti Sidi Imam Afroz Ali has launched his own blog.

And in an act of ultimate hubris, Ali’s quotes page has him quoting himself in the company of such illustrious people as the Prophet Muhammad, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson and Mahatma Gandhi. My favourite is where he quotes himself at Al Gore’s climate change training. He won’t quote Al Gore himself.

His self-portrait now has him claiming, amongst other things, to be

a qualified Imam in the Islamic Tradition, having studied under Traditional Islam and received licence [sic.] to teach in various Islamic Sciences.

In what sense is he qualified? Why hasn’t he provided details of his alleged qualifications to the NSW Board of Imams, despite having been asked to do so for over 12 months?

To this day, he has not answered the queries of his detractors and critics (including yours truly) about the true extent of his alleged qualifications.

In past days, he has claimed to hold two (2) degrees from the Islamic University of Madeena. After much questioning, he finally admitted to not having completed even one degree from that institution.

Yet as if to muddy the waters even more, Afroz now claims that

[h]is studies have taken him from university-based Islamic University- Madina, Saudi Arabia then moving towards Traditional Scholarship in Yemen, United States and Mauritania, where he has spent considerable time to learn from the most esteemed Rightly Guided Islamic Scholars of our time. He has also travelled to Cairo, Egypt for further studies in Islamic Jurisprudence with Scholars at al-Azhar University and Arabic Language at Markaz Aleem.

So why are Afroz's Arabic language skills so weak?

What Afroz won’t say on his blog is that he has been tried and convicted of a dishonesty offence. He also won’t be up front and honest about the true extent of his so-called qualifications. Yet he expects us all to believe his claims to being a “qualified imam”.

Of course, none of this detracts from the good work and initiative shown by the volunteers who help Afroz’s al-Ghazzali Centre in its projects. Yet as I’ve said and written before, one needn’t tell porky pies about one’s self to make a contribution to the community.

In conclusion, if Afroz Ali is a qualified imam, then I am an Olympic marathon runner and John Howard is Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

COMMENT: Is this another ASIO stuff-up?

He is the closest thing Australia has to the perfect imam. He is softly spoken and speaks fluent English (as well as Arabic and Farsi/Persian). Far from being an anti-Semite and sectarian bigot, he actively engages in interfaith dialogue with members of all faiths. He has consistently condemned all forms of political violence in the name of Islam.

So why on earth would ASIO want Sheik Mansour Leghaei to deport himself from Australia ? Apparently, they think he is spying for the Ahmedinejad regime in Tehran . And their evidence?

ASIO claim to have a notebook of the Sheik’s which apparently contains words like “jihad” and “infidels”. Apparently the Sheik wants to kill everyone who refuses to believe that the Koran is “the book of heaven”.

The problem with this, of course, is that neither Sunnis nor Shiites regard the Koran as “the book of heaven” in any sense. Firstly, they believe the book was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel here on planet earth. Secondly, they don’t believe that the Koran is “the” (as in the only) heavenly or divinely inspired book.

Indeed, any Muslim who regards the Koran in this manner is not regarded as a Muslim. If you believe in the Koran but refuse to believe that God sent scriptures to Moses, David and Jesus, you can kiss your plans of going to the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca , a city which traditionally bars entry to non-Muslims).

This really is kindergarten stuff. It’s mentioned numerous times in the Koran itself. Had Sheik Leghaei preached such heresy, I doubt his Imam Hussein Centre in Earlwood (let alone that wacko ruling in Tehran ) would want Leghaei on their payroll.

Then again, as Cambridge Muslim scholar Tim Winter (also known as Abdal Hakim Murad) observes, so much Islamist political doctrine is based on heresy. But seriously, the good folk at ASIO need to seriously consider expanding their knowledge base on Muslim theology if they are to combat those promoting the scourge of Islamist terror.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

COMMENT: PM opens conference of Islamic scholars ...

Imagine if John Howard took time out from sucking upto Catch The Fire Ministries, the Exclusive Brethren and other fringe extremist groups. Imagine if he made time to open a national conference of Islamic scholars and theologians.

Then again, imagine if Australia has a properly functioning national conference or board of Islamic scholars. The so-called Australian National Imams' Council is in a mess, with mass-defections and resignations.

We in Australia don't have the luck of the Kiwis. Across the ditch, PM Helen Clark opened the New zealand Imams. Conference in Auckland on 27 October 2007. There was no media rucus. No shock jocks or tabloid columnists made an issue of her presence. In fact, the event received hardly any media attention at all (at least none that I could find on Google news).

Ms Clark no doubt is aware that imams are hardly in a position to deliver any votes. I'm not aware of a single imam on either side of the Tasman who has openly endorsed a political candidate. Well, apart from Sheik Hilaly endorsing Kerry Chikarovski's candidate in the 2001 Auburn by-election. And that didn't prove overly helpful to anyone (except perhaps ALP candidate Barbara Perry).

And the last time we heard about imams and politics was when The Australian allowed one of its cadet journalists to report on him attacking one of his internal community opponents over the issue of voting. I must say that I agree with Sheik Hilaly on this issue, but it was a bit silly for the newspaper to allow itself to be used as an instrument for intra-Muslim community politics.

(Sheik Hilaly's opponent, Dr Paul (Ali) White, was referred to in the article as "Mr White", despite it being well-known that he holds a PhD.)

In any event, it's great to see the Kiwis getting their political act together.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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