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