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

Bookmark this on Delicious


Get Flocked

Stumble Upon Toolbar