OK, here's one that will raise some eyebrows. Yesterday I used some fairly colourful terms to describe the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC). Here's a taste:
But Sydney-based writer ... Irfan Yusuf says the change in AFIC's leadership will have little effect on muslim communities in Australia.
He says federation members are out of touch with those they claim to represent.
YUSUF: It's dominated by middle aged migrant males - first generation migrant males - many of whom have poor english skills who many of whom don't understand mainstream Australian life very well. And again it's a problem of representation: they don't really reflect the reality of muslims, at least 50% of whom are female, most of whom are brought up in Australia and are under the age of 30.
He says another problem is that the organisation only represents religious institutions.
YUSUF: Muslims by and large are fairly sort of, you know, like the rest of the population, they are fairly secular - some of them are interested in religion, some of them are not.
Despite it's apparent narrow representation, the federation is also an advisory body to state and federal governments.
But Irfan Yusuf says that doesn't matter.
YUSUF: I think governments tend to talk to AFIC because they have to be seen to be talking to AFIC, but I think they know quite well that this is an organisation that has had its day and it's really irrelevant, largely.
AFIC also manages over $50 million of assets, mostly land housing Muslim schools.
But Irfan Yusuf says muslim communities see little benefit from the money earned by AFIC in the form of grassroots community projects.
YUSUF: A lot of AFIC's money has gone into litigating, a lot of their litigation is pretty much intra council litigation - they have tried to kick out state councils and introduce new ones and then kick them out , then they have to go to court - so I guess really the people who are benefiting the most from AFIC are the private legal profession, so I guess for he sake of those for those lawyers I think AFIC should continue to exist, because otherwise I guess those lawyers would be out of a job.
He says there is not much the group can do to save it's reputation.
YUSUF: I guess there is really not much AFIC can do I think it's pretty much a rotting carcass and perhaps the best thing that can happen is that it is buried.
Am I exaggerating?
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf