Sunday, December 30, 2007

COMMENT: Bin-Ladins on all sides ...

The following sentences are lifted from page 16 of Jason Burke, a reporter for The Observer, from his most recent (published in 2006) book On The Road To Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict In The Islamic World ...

Perhaps the most depressing characteristic of the clash-of-civilisations argument, which would be ironically amusing if it were not so dangerous, is the coincidence of in views and ideas of its
proponents in both the Islamic world and in the West.

In the West newspaper columnists talk about ‘the Islamic world’ as a monolith, Muslim conservatives make similar statements about ‘the American-led West’.

There is talk of ‘the Arab’ or ‘the Islamic mindset on one side, Western, Christian or Jewish ‘mind’
on the other. In the West, American senators talk of bombing Mecca as a reprisal for attacks on the USA while in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere radicals talk of bombing America as a reprisal for attacks in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Iraq and Afghanistan.

And all of them believe they belong to a discrete religiously defined group that must battle violently in a Hobbesian competition for the earth’s scarce moral, intellectual and physical resources and that they are engaged in a last-ditch, gloves-off, no-holds-barred battle against a fanatical and irrational enemy which is aggressive, belligerent and intent on expansion until all alternative cultures, societies and belief systems are eradicated.

All deploy a range of spurious historical and cultural references to justify what are fundamentally prejudiced and ignorant views and all twist actuality to fit their ideas.


It is interesting to note that, even after outlining his travels through Muslim communities in such disparate places as Iraq, Pakistan and Thailand, Burke's opinion doesn't change. It also doesn't change after he was reporting in London at the scene of the July 7 2005 London bombings.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

COMMENT: Tom Zubrycki is a great bloke but ...

(This piece was written on the night Temple of Dreams was broadcast on TV, which I think was 4 December 2007.)

You take a leading role in a religious youth group. You enter into a lease over what used to be a Masonic temple. You don’t get any proper legal or town planning advice to determine how zoning, OH&S and other laws affect your proposed usage of the premises. You just sign the lease and start using the place as you wish. You then wonder why the Council is trying to close you down.

Are you a martyr? Are you the subject of a conspiracy against people of your ethno-religious identity? Or are you just a complete dill?

I’ve written about Tom Zubrycki’s documentary Temple of Dreams in the past. Having watched it in full on SBSTV last night, I can’t say Zubrycki disappointed me. I wish I could say the same about Fadi Rahman and his group of volunteers from the ICRA Youth Centre.

I admire the resourcefulness of these kids who don’t wait for peak religious bodies or imams to provide services to kids in their neighbourhood. On the other hand, this young intelligent group of kids, born and brought up in Australia, can hardly blame prejudice and racism from John Howard, all because they didn’t think it might just be an idea to check the rule book before setting up shop.

Would they behave in this fashion concerning their own private or business affairs? Would Fadi open a car repair workshop in any place that looked vaguely appropriate without getting a lawyer to run through the lease? Or a lawyer and/or town planner to advise on what usage is permissible?

Why is it that, when it came to religion and community, they cut corners and tried to save money? Sadly, having acted for more community organisations (Muslim and otherwise), I’ve seen too many organisational leaders cutting corners and throwing their intelligence out the door on risk management, expecting councils, governments and law enforcement people to grant them special exemptions and allowances.

But failing to get proper professional advice isn’t all. Here’s someone telling kids to show leadership while screaming at his female volunteers in a grossly sexist manner in front of the cameras! At one point, he shouted ...

Let’s work as a God-damned team!
Shades of Billy Birmingham doing Ritchie Benaud: “Let’s work as a team, and do it my way!” Sadly, this was not comedy.

And how damned insular were these leaders? One was surprised to get e-mail from a gay newspaper wondering if gay Muslim youth were represented. Another said ...

I was shocked to see our research showing so many brothers and sisters in Islam turning to suicide.
Why surprised? Do you think Muslim kids live in a social bubble, unaffected by the same factors as everyone else?

Role models aren’t supposed to be perfect or saintly. But if this is the kind of role model young Lebanese Muslims have, God help them and us.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

BLOG: Muslims Against Sharia – Satire or neo-Con crap-artistry?

Imagine a conservative political group that espoused an end to capitalism. Imagine a Catholic group that called for an end to the papacy.

I guess it’s a bit like imagining the condition of someone with undetected bipolar disorder or a sufferer who hasn’t taken their mood stabilisers as prescribed.

Believe it or not, there is a group of Muslims who are totally against Islam. In fact, they want to water Islam down so much that it becomes virtually unrecognisable.

A new ‘group’ calling itself “Muslims Against Sharia” has emerged on the web. Whether it actually exists beyond cyberspace remains to be seen. Whether it is a serious group or an attempt by someone (such as the Satirical Muslim) to lampoon neo-Con Muslims is hard to tell.

Certainly some of its manifested beliefs are enough to make me laugh. Read this and try not to snigger …

Twenty-first century Muslims have two options: we
can continue the barbaric policies of the seventh century perpetuated by Hassan
al-Banna, Abdullah Azzam, Yassir Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden,
Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizballah, Hamas, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, etc., leading to
a global war between Dar al-Islam (Islamic World) and Dar al-Harb (non-Islamic
World), or we can reform Islam to keep our rich cultural heritage and to cleanse
our religion from the reviled relics of the past.

What the f*ck??!! I never knew Yassir Arafat espoused any kind of Islam. Fatah is a strictly secular nationalist organisation that incorporates all shades of Palestinian opinion, and includes Christians among its prominent leaders.

Some of the more fruitloopish folk at The Australian and Quadrant will appreciate the following piece of historical revisionism …

While the Inquisition was a repulsive practice by
Christian Fundamentalists, the Crusades were not unprovoked acts of aggression,
but rather attempts to recapture formerly Christian lands controlled by
Muslims.

Yep, Palestine was all former Christian land. Pope Urban III wasn’t interested in war or bloodshed. It wasn’t the blood of Jews, Orthodox Christians and Muslims that was knee-high when the Crusaders entered Jerusalem.

Then there is this beauty …

Sharia Law must be abolished, because it is
incompatible with norms of modern society.

What sharia are they referring to? How do they define sharia? Is it a complex and sophisticated legal tradition? Or do they presume it is a system of non-anaesthetic amputations?

And should the Common Law remove from itself aspects of sharia law which it has adopted? For instance, should alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (such as mediation) be abolished as being incompatible with modern society’s norms? Should litigants in commercial disputes be forced to hire lawyers and file proceedings in court without any form of commercial arbitration?

The more I read of this website, the more I think it is the work of comics pulling our collective legs. Either that, or these guys represent a bunch of American litigation lawyers desperately in need of work!

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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On Community

One of my constant complaints is with people talking about the “Muslim community”. I consider this entity to be a complete fiction. I’ve always maintained that Muslims are not one community but in fact represent a set of communities.

But then, what does the term ‘community’ actually mean? Some 10 years back, someone sent me a collection of essays by different authors and entitled Community Issues in New Zealand (edited by Claudia Bell and published in 1997 by the Dunmore Press of Palmerston North).

In his forward to the book, Ian Carter sets the ideological tone of the book by making reference to


… that writhing nest of vipers, ‘the business
community’.


However, he also makes some important points. He points out that


Remarkably, whenever the word is used in lay or scholarly usage ‘community’
never is a Bad Thing.

He goes on to comment about community as a vague concept, and that …


It now must be clear that we should celebrate the
richness in ‘community’ as a metaphor, a term which people use to describe
something which they value but can’t quite put into more precise
words.

So community is built upon things we value. But let’s be honest about thus point. Exactly how many people who tick the “Muslim” box on their census forms actually value the religious part of their identity? How many of us regard our religion as being the layer of identity we value the most and often-most?

Ian Carter goes on to give further reasons for us to be sceptical about using the term community to describe Muslims, whether living in Australia or elsewhere.


… how does ‘community’ – a concept rooted so deeply
in European social thought – articulate with ideas doing much the same work in
non-European cultures?

Yes, it is true. There are Muslims who are indigenous Europeans. Albanian Muslims have settled in rural and regional parts of Victoria and Queensland since the 1920’s. But can the term ‘community’ apply to Albanians as Muslims? Or can it apply to them as speakers of Albanian dialect?

So I still think we need to be careful before speaking about a “Muslim community”. Though I’m sure self-serving self-appointed community “leaders” will be happy to continue throwing caution to the wind in this regard.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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Coherent responses to the Camden school ...

Thus far, responses by opponents of the Muslim independent school in Camden have been based purely on environmental and planning grounds. There's not even a hint of sectarian or racial bigotry. Read this sample of rational responses and be amazed at the cool-headedness and balance of respondents ...

One local told the Radio National PM program ...

I said it's not about racism, it's about doing the
right thing for the community. You know what I mean? Like, ay, if we go down to
Lakemba, Bankstown and shit like that, you walk through there, mate, they
despise ya, they don't want to talk to ya. Half of us would get f***en knifed or
robbed. I guarantee ya, mate.If they want to come down here and try take over,
the same thing is going to happen in f***en them, mate.


Local Camden resident Ms Wendy Austin (said to be aged 56), told the Daily Telegraph ...

It's not progress, it's an invasion of our
beautiful little country town.

The Rev Fred Nile, that shining light of tolerance and religious diversity, had this to say to reporters and anyone else who was prepared to listen ...

It's no good putting your head in the sand as
they've done in the UK, France and Holland. Now they have massive social
problems [and] I don't want to see those problems in Australia. They may not
occur, they won't be occurring tomorrow, but they may. We may be discussing this
on the ABC in 2010 [or] 2020, when people are throwing up their hands saying,
'How did we allow this situation to develop?' ...


Rev Nile then shows his extensive knowledge of the broad varieties of theology and interpretation that have characterised Muslim communities' interaction with Christians for centuries ...

Let's celebrate Christmas and celebrate the birth
of Jesus Christ, which is condemned in the Koran, which is a textbook of Muslim
schools. The textbook says anyone who serves Jesus Christ, the son of God, is a
corrupt or perverted unbeliever, 'God assail them'. That's my concern.

Nile went onto tell the Camden Advertiser, a local newspaper, that ...

We have to maintain our Christian heritage,
our Christian culture. We recognise religious minorities but religious
minorities have to accept they live in a Christian nation ... They
[multiculturalists] are confusing multicultural with
multi-faith.


Pauline Hanson brought some reason and common sense into the discussion, telling the Camden Advertiser before the Federal Election that ...

Every school in Australia is Christian apart from
the Islamic schools. I have no understanding of what they teach in an Islamic
school. Do you? If they're teaching kids the Koran, then they're teaching the
kids to oppose us, because they think that Christians are infidels.


Meanwhile, a nasty intolerant fundamentalist extremist Islamo-fascist known as Rabbi Clive Rosenberg left this message on a news blog ...

Yes to Christian Schools and not to Islamic
Schools? The area has eight Catholic Schools and three Protestant Schools. Well
no one thought they would cause controversy, no one expected White Christians
coming to Australia to assimilate with Aboriginal culture and religion. This
stinks of racism all the way through.


Clearly this politically-correct left-wing inner-city radical anti-Western Islamist needs to integrate and come to terms with our Judeo-Chris ... woops, I forgot, we're beyond that now ... Christian values and heritage!

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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COMMENT: Islamist Monitor promotes white supermacy in Camden ...

The notorious Islamist Monitor blog has entered the Camden fray, opening its doors to white supremacy with this comment being allowed for publication by the moderators ...

Wendy, I grew up in Camden and its surrounds when it was the epitome of white Anglo-Celtic Australianess.

Yep, to be a true Camden Aussie, you've got to be white and Anglo-Celtic. So all you 'abbos' out there can go jump.

No doubt the folk at the Islamist Monitor would support the following sentiments expressed by a Camden local ...

If it does get approved, every ragger that walks upthe street's going to get smashed up the arse by about 30 Aussies.

Yep, the best way to promote Anglo-Celtic white purity is to threaten women who dress like the Virgin Mary with anal rape.

Another commenter seems to have figured out what 'Islamist' conspiracy was behind the school project ...

... the plan was to bus Muslims from Lakemba and surrounding areas. We all know that Lakemba = trouble, so in other words, they planned to import trouble into Camden.

Meanwhile, another commenter sees this as part of a wider trend ...

Once Muslims arrive they set up their apartheid enclave and demand more and more ---others are forced out! ... Perhaps a herd of pigs could be run on the site or pigs blood (probably good fertiliser) dug into the soil?
Yep, pigs seem to figure prominently among the Monitor crowd. I guess it's their way of showing their anti-Semitism without looking anti-Jewish.

After reading these comments (many of which were made by regular contributors to the Monitor, such as 'Cassandra'), it's obvious that, when the Monitor states ...

We state clearly and unequivocally that Muslims have just as much right to truth and freedom as any other people on earth. Muslims are not our enemy. The enemy is radical Islam.
... they are about as trustworthy as Judas Iscariot.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

New Youth Leadership program ...

The Sydney-based Mission of Hope (MoH) have received funding from the Department of Immigration & Citizenship to run a program called Muslim Youth Leadership Challenge (MYLC).

The program has its own website (found here) as well as a variety of promotional materials including this poster. The program is open to young people in Years 10-12 from across the Sydney metropolitan area. It aims to attract young people who identify themselves as Muslim and are enthusiastic about creating change.

Young people of all different backgrounds identify themselves as Muslim. One therefore assumes the program will be open to persons of Nusayri/Alawi, Ismaili, Ahmadi/Qadiani, Alevi (Turkish/Kurdish) and even Druze backgrounds. One also presumes the program will be open to young Muslims regardless of their sexuality. Hence, one hopes that the organisers will not exclude young people who openly identify themselves as gay.

Of course, Islamic sacred law regards homosexual sex as sinful, just as it regards many forms of heterosexual sex as sinful. At the same time, both gays and Muslims are minorities who have been the target of vilification and discrimination in recent times.

It is extremely important that young Muslims are taught that an essential component of leadership is the ability to build coalitions of common purpose with all kinds of people. These include people with whom might otherwise disagree.

Further, Muslims must become accustomed to working with other persons who regard themselves as Muslims but aren't commonly regarded within religious circles as being Muslim. The fact is that bigots and sectarian fruitloops don't treat you any better just because you call yourself Sunni or Shia or Sufi or Alevi or anything else. If your name is Muhammad or Ali, you are just as likely to be the target of discrimination regardless of your sexual preference.

Given the expressed and published attitudes of certain organisers of the program toward homosexuals, I hope the Department funding the program will carefully scrutinise the project to ensure that such prejudices do not play a role in the selection of successful applicants or the execution of the program.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

MEDIA: Paul Stenhouse provides some comic relief ...

I just received my copy of this month's Quadrant, which is now edited by former leftist academic and indigenous-genocide-denier Keith Windschuttle.

I noticed the front cover mentioned an article by Mr Paul Stenhouse entitled Islam's Trojan Horse. The article is also on the Quadrant website here.

I haven't read it in full yet. But what I gather from skimming through the article is that Stenhouse regards groups such as the Affinity Intercultural Foundation as the friendly face of what is (according to Mr Stenhouse) a grand jihadist conspiracy.

Stenhouse manages to find a way to link Bediuzzaman Said Nursi to Syed Maududi and Syed Qutb. He also quotes Shaykh Muhammad Zahid Bursawi (also known as Mehmed Zahid Kotku) as declaring support for this sinister jihadi agenda.

And his evidence? Apparently Kotku told his followers to buy Turkish watches instead of Swiss ones. Yep, you can always tell a suicide bomber by his or her choice of watch!

Stenhouse also identified a further source of jihadist extremism - that Kotku insisted on Turkish Muslims encouraging and adopting Turkish national identity. Yep. Terrible stuff. And the same terrible jihadi message is also preached by nasty Islamic fundamentalists and jihadists like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkey's anti-Islamist military aristocracy.

Even a humble jihadi like yours truly gets a mention in Stenhouse's article. Apparently I'm also part of the conspiracy because I once acted for the Feza Foundation and Sule College, all instruments of the grand conspiracy of the Naqshbandi Sufis together with Fethullah Gulen, Syed Maududi, Syed Qutb, Said Nursi, Ayatollah Khomeini, former Turkish PM Necmettin Erbekan, current Turkish PM Recep Teyip Erdogan, Mehmet Ozalp, Anis Ahmad, Abdullah Gul, the Tabligh-i-Jamaat, Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi, the Australian Catholic University etc etc. I'm sure when I read the article in full, I'll probably find a Sudanese teddy bear and the Chaser gang (with their own Trojan horse) somehow involved in this conspiracy also.

I know how much genuine scholars of Islam will find Stenhouse's article amusing. I've therefore arranged for the article to be sent to Emeritus Professor Anthony Johns (of ANU), Dr Nelly Lahoud and Professor Emeritus Bill Shepard (formerly of Canterbury University in Christchurch, an expert on Syed Qutb and an ordained Presbhyterian minister). No doubt they'll find plenty to chuckle about.

Poor Mr Stenhouse just can't seem to shake off his sectarian paranoia. Perhaps the title for his next Quadrant article should be The Protocols of the Whirling Dervishes of Istanbul. Either that, or he should consider taking advantage of that wonderful divinely-sanctioned institution and settle his frustrations by getting married. As one devout Catholic once told me, "Celebacy isn't for everyone, Irfan!"

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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Monday, December 03, 2007

COMMENT: Bobby Sands joins al-Qaida while every other prison gang joins the Hayek Appreciation Society ...

I am very concerned. In fact, I’m very alarmed. I know al-Qaida are a nasty bunch of people. They kill more Muslims than non-Muslims. They are prepared to undertake all kinds of deadly attacks, including suicide bombings. They really don’t care about the strictures of the Islamic sacred law, and claim that flouting its basic provisions (such as the blanket prohibition of suicide) is necessary to wage their wacko pseudo-jihad.

Now I read reports of al-Qaida infiltrating prisons. Apparently, prisoners are studying the al-Qaida training manual. And the evidence? Muslim inmates are engaging in behaviour which is unique to al-Qaida. No other group ever engages in such behaviour. It can only be found in prisons infiltrated by this international terrorist outfit.

So what is this behaviour? According to a report in the Sun-Herald, the behaviour consists of … wait for it …

... hunger strikes, group protests and claims of mistreatment.

The behaviour also includes

... an internal organisational structure to maintain morale, resist interrogation and recruit members.

Clearly ethnic gangs and drug smuggling rackets in prison never develop organisational structures, preferring to follow the teachings of Friedrich von Hayek who claimed that the most durable social structures are those which emerge spontaneously.

And since when have prisoners been known to engage in hunger strikes or claimed of mistreatment? Clearly al-Qaida is at work here. Only Islamic extremists like Sheik Bobby Sands go on hunger strikes.

The report quotes the NSW Attorney General referring to the “insidious nature of these activities”. Apparently “international prison authorities had alerted Australian authorities to the existence of the manual three months ago”, despite the fact that the manual is freely available on the internet and has been known to the CIA since 1996!

The Sun-Herald has been pursuing this story rigorously. Back in April, they claimed that NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Woodham was of the view that there was a contradiction between being Aboriginal and being Muslim.

With this kind of incompetent reporting and/or administration, once again we have good reason to be alert and alarmed.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

POLITICS: O'Farrell apologises to Moslems (sic.) over Lindsay ...

The NSW State Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell, visited the Imam Ali Mosque at Lakemba in South-Western Sydney on Friday 30 November 2007. During his visit, O'Farrell made the following statement (taken from his press release of the same date) ...

Like all right-minded people I am appalled and horrified by the distribution of this offensive, racist and false material. It offends everything I believe in and I unequivocally condemn those involved.

I remain angered by the damage the episode causes to the Liberal Party and its supporters. The action of these rogue Liberals is totally contrary to the Liberal Party’s philosophy and beliefs.

Fifty seven years ago, the founder of the Liberal Party, Robert Menzies, accurately described as ‘stupid’ those engaging in racism and bigotry. Menzies said ‘We must strike down the tendency that exists in the minds of some persons to object to a man because of his race or his religion…prejudice against a person because of his race or origin is a sign of stupidity'.

While welcoming the Liberal Party’s swift and decisive action to expel those involved, I wanted to
personally meet with representatives of the State’s Islamic community and offer a formal apology. As Liberal Leader I remain determined to represent the interests of the whole community, irrespective of race, religion, gender or some other factor.

This city and State’s cultural diversity is a strength to be valued, not something to be toyed with during political campaigns. Those who seek to create division and conflict within our community
should always be condemned.
It's great to see Mr O'Farrell making some effort to apologise to the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association. However, he needs to understand that there are a whole group of Muslim New South Welshmen and women who are not represented by the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

Mr O'Farrell must understand that the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association only allows full membership to men eligible for Lebanese citizenship. Hence, all other men and all women are barred from full membership of the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

Further, the offending leaflet actually included the Turkish flag. Hence, it is arguable that the offence was largely directed at Turkish Muslims.

The vast majority of Aussie Turks living in NSW are either women or men not eligible for Lebanese citizenship. Hence, they are not represented by the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association.

In my opinion, the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association has as much right to represent Australian Muslims living in New South Wales as the South African National Party of the apartheid era had of representing all South Africans regardless of ethnicity and colour.

I say this because the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association practises both ethnic and gender apartheid in the constitutional provisions governing its membership.

I really wish politicians would stop pretending that this racist organisation somehow represents Muslims or indeed multicultural Australia.

Until the Lebanese Moslem (sic.) Association is prepared to integrate into the broader Muslim communities and adopt Australian Muslim values, it should be seen as a fringe ethnic and sexist body with no right to speak on behalf of anyone other than its all-male financial members.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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