Friday, January 30, 2009

OPINION: No such thing as a monolithic Muslim state of mind ...

Politics and foreign policy can be so confusing. Let's look at Iraq, for example. The conventional wisdom is that we went to war against Saddam Hussein in 2003 and overthrew his government for a variety of reasons, including that Iraq was a crucial battleground in the so-called war on terror. The former Iraqi dictator is said to have had direct links with an Islamist terrorist organisation, al-Qaeda. We were at war with al-Qaeda. Hence we had to make war on Saddam.

Now let's move to the present and another conflict. Israel claimed to be fighting a war on terror of its own recently in its bombardment on Gaza. Israeli spin doctors told us that their war wasn't against the people of Gaza but against Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organisation dedicated to Israel's destruction through firing thousands of rockets and sending suicide bombers into Israel.

See the connection? The war on terror is always a war on political Islamists. It isn't a war on Muslims as such, nor is it a war on the Islamic religion or on nominally Muslim countries. The battle we wage is against political Islam, an ideology that seeks to establish an Islamic state.

That's the rhetoric. But what is the reality?

Before the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, what we now know as the virulently anti-Israel militia Hamas was created from an Israeli-backed network of social welfare projects (including clinics, schools, libraries and other facilities) operated under the auspices of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement founded in Egypt by one Hasan al-Banna. At the time, Israel and the Tunis-based PLO had not signed the Oslo Agreements. Israel's line was that it would not negotiate with Yasser Arafat's PLO because it was a terrorist organisation. Israel also knew that the Brotherhood' s reputation for scrupulous honesty would make it an excellent alternative to the PLO.

So when it suited Israel's desire to drive a wedge between Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and the Palestinian diaspora-based PLO that Israel then labelled a terrorist organisation, Israel was quite happy to deal with another organisation it now labels terrorists.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist credentials and ideology weren't seen as an obstacle to its establishing a host of institutions in the West Bank and Gaza.

But don't take my word for it. A report from United Press International on June 18, 2002 cites documents obtained from the Israeli-based Institute for Counter Terrorism to the effect that Hamas was legally registered in Israel in 1978 by Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the movement's spiritual leader, as an Islamic association by the name of Al-Mujamma al-Islami, which widened its base of supporters and sympathisers by religious propaganda and social work.

The report also cites US administration officials saying funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and, directly and indirectly, from Israel.

Back to present-day Iraq. Thousands of US and British soldiers have lost their lives defending a democratically elected Iraqi Government. After the 2003 invasion and the toppling of its Ba'athist regime, an Iraqi Governing Council was set up and an interim constitution drawn up, which became the basis for Iraq's current constitution. Among the experts assisting in the drafting of this document was Noah Feldman, Rhodes scholar and Harvard University professor of law and Islamic studies.

Feldman is hardly what some might describe as an apologist for political Islam. He has intimate first-hand knowledge of Iraqi governance and law. Feldman openly says Iraq's constitution establishes an Islamic state. Coalition troops are putting their lives on the line to defend the very political agenda the war on terror was supposedly designed to fight.

In other words, all this hysteria about political Islam is little more than a rhetorical cover for what are really just the usual political manoeuvrings one expects in relations between states.

This isn't so much about defending our freedoms against those who allegedly hate our way of life though in the case of anarcho-Islamist syndicates like al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah the rhetoric largely reflects reality.

What we need to understand is that political Islam isn't in itself the enemy. If it were, American and British troops wouldn't be in Iraq today. And if, as President Barack Obama has promised, US troops are withdrawn, it will not be because the US has abandoned Iraq's democratically elected Islamist Government. Indeed, President Obama has indicated that US troops from Iraq will more than likely be deployed in Afghanistan to fight combined Taliban and al-Qaeda forces and the odd insurgency movement. Even in Afghanistan, our allies, led by President Hamid Karzai, are (at least on paper in the Afghan constitution) committed to maintaining Afghanistan as an Islamic republic, albeit a democratic one. The Afghan Government consists of the remnants of old Afghan jihadi factions which once waged war on the Soviet Union, again with support from the West.

In his 2008 book The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State, Professor Feldman argues that the struggle is not between secularism and theocracy. Religion and government are not necessarily seen in many Muslim-majority states as polar opposites. Instead, in the primary battlegrounds of Afghanistan and Iraq, democratic political Islam is allied with the West against what are in essence forces of anarchy.

Being moderate isn't the same as separating mosque from state. Saudi Arabia is classed as a moderate ally of the West but could hardly be described as secular. Muslim-majority states such as Indonesia, Turkey and Kosovo are fiercely secular, even if religion plays a significant role.

With George W.Bush back at the ranch and his neo-conservative advisers and their array of think-tanks and mercenary commentators (including pundits who during the US presidential campaign were obsessed with the Democratic candidate's middle name) largely discredited, now is a good time to adopt a more nuanced approach to our relations with Muslim countries, among them our closest neighbour, Indonesia, which also happens to be the world's most populous Muslim nation.

As President Obama said in his inauguration speech, we in the West must seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

That can be achieved only when we seek to understand the interests of Muslim electorates and to respect their political aspirations, whether these have more secular or religious outcomes.

Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney lawyer and author of the forthcoming book Once Were Radicals. First published in The Canberra Times on 30 January 2009.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FILM: Journey to Mecca: In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta

Here is the text accompanying the trailer. Hopefully this will hit the Sydney IMAX. Find out more about the movie at the website here.

Journey to Mecca tells the story of Ibn Battuta, (played by Chems Eddine Zinoun) a young scholar, who leaves Tangier in 1325 on an epic and perilous journey, traveling alone from his home in Morocco to reach Mecca, some 3,000 miles to the east.

Ibn Battuta is besieged by countless obstacles as he makes his way across the North African desert to Mecca. Along the route he meets an unlikely stranger, the Highwayman (played by Hassam Ghancy) who becomes his paid protector and eventual friend. During his travels he is attacked by bandits, dehydrated by thirst, rescued by Bedouins, and forced to retrace his route by a war-locked Red Sea.

Ibn Battuta finally joins the legendary Damascus Caravan with thousands of pilgrims bound for Mecca for the final leg of what would become his 5,000 mile, 18 month long journey to Mecca.

When he arrives in Mecca, he is a man transformed. We then experience the Hajj as he did over 700 years ago, and, in recognition of its timelessness, we dissolve to the Hajj as it is still performed today, by millions of pilgrims, in some of the most extraordinary and moving IMAX® footage ever presented.

Ibn Battuta would not return home for almost 30 years, reaching over 40 countries and revisiting Mecca five more times to perform the Hajj. He would travel three times farther then Marco Polo. His legacy is one of the greatest travel journals ever recorded. A crater on the moon is named in his honour.

And here is a video showing the making of the film.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

HUMOUR: A joyous rant from Daniel Pipes' website ...

There's nothing quite like being hated by hate-mongers.

The following note was sent to the blog of Daniel "Barack Obama wore a sarong in Indonesia and so is lying about his Islamic heritage" Pipes about me. I'm not sure if it's worth reading, though it should give you all a few good laughs. And if you think it reads funny here, you should see how it reads in the full glory of the actual website!

If you're wondering how bad she thinks I am, imagine what she must think of the nasty stealth Islamist being interviewed here.

(Thanks to SJH and LB.)

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

Submitted by Tess McNamara Australia, Resistance is Not Futile!!!! (Australia), Dec 23, 2008 at 00:26

Caveat Emptor- May the Buyer Beware!!! Spotlight on Irfan Yusuf......and fellow Islamic Taqqiyeh

Self promoting Stealth Jihadists under the guise of so called Multiculturalism and pseudo/-mock journalism....This post is one of a planned number, which is going to focus on the stealth Jihadists amongst us. I intend to expose such smooth slick snakeoil merchants.

Radical Islamist Lawyer Irfan Yusuf has well and truly got busted, for deliberately and maliciously inventing a distorted view of reality of what a certain world expert on Islam, Dr Daniel Pipes ,had stated in 2008, when he was in Australia ,reportedly. Mr Irfan Yusuf was caught out, shamefully, as indeed, he has been, time and time again, deliberately defaming individual and world famous experts on Islam such as Scholars of Dr Pipes fame and accumin, in a malicious, deceptive and deliberate misrepresention of reality and truth.

Let me state clearly, this criticism of Irfan Yusuf is on an academic level , an analysis of certain individuals whom seek to Defame, Libel and to tear down famous and world wide acknowledged Western Academics who are well educated, knowledgeable, on Islam, and whom are in no uncertain terms, World Scholars and recognised experts in Islam , such as the highly recognised and well respected Harvard University former Professor, and Harvard Graduate, Dr Daniel Pipes, whom is the most accomplished, world expert on Islam, and others such as Robert Spencer and Bat Y'eor...

My duty as a An Australian Patriot, well educated woman ,both a self educated and university educated , semi-specialist on Islam and Women also, will be to bring to focus attention to the many past actions claims and deliberate Taqqiyeh, ( which means Islamic, Theologically and Doctrinally sanctioned, by Muhammad himself of the right to lie in Islam- especially to seek to convert others to Islam or to fool the enemy, or to sign so called Islamic "agreements" never intentionally going to keep them) , by the "Fifth Columnists "so to speak, the ones who advocate Sharia laws in Australia. These are dangerous individuals, who are agents of Islam among st us.

These dangerous "Taqqiyeh" spreading "experts" or "spokes-persons" on Islam like Irfan Yusuf ,sadly, have been naively employed ,contracted, or otherwise pursued to give their opinions, by many newspapers and media .

It is later shown, just what a deliberate liar and fraud this Radical Islamist spokesman really is, alas to the shame of the politically correct and left wing ideologues who push their own agendas by hiring such misrepresenter's of reality.

Irfan Yusuf in particular. This Islamist is clearly a malicious windbag of lies, and fraudulent mis-represents the words of others persons whom have clearly a better handle on the truth with superior intellect, superior, sound, academic qualification.

One of the golden rules so to speak of competant journalism and Journalistic ethics, is that if you cant recall what someone says accurately, it does not mean you just make it up as you go along. Perhaps Mr irfan Yusuf might need to purchase and use this in order to record the individual person he wishes to quote, or the persons work, on the digital voice recorder and playing it slowly back.

Perhaps he missed that skill at university....

Islamist representatives, like Mr Irfan Yusuf , and others of his ilk, work for and advise many Military, Educational, Government Agency and also horrifyingly possibly government intelligence agencies or persons.

One needs to ask, in fact when they are caught out lying and misrepresenting why then are they given any credibility, why are they continuing to gain publication, why are they given lucrative contracts for their opinions, and why are they included for example on any so called Government and Non Government agency committees.

It seems apparent to me, that editors do not understand Islam, and take people such as Irfan Yusuf on face value, because they know no better.

This is disturbing as it degenerates the level of truth and reliability of journllism in Australia and elsewhere.

It would seem Mr Yusuf has a extremist agenda after all. In times a war, truth is the first casualty of war, especially where Irfan Yusuf is concerned. He appears to not be affected by previous shame of being caught out lying and spreading the Islamist agenda, and use of Islamist Taqqiyeh, so the poor recipients of skillful lies and deliberate mis direction and Taqqiyeh by skillful Islamist like Yusuf, continue to be humiliated unnecessarily, their names and reputations besmirched by such poor journalism standards that Yusuf demonstrates and frankly I think he needs to be removed from all Government and Non Government work whatsover. He should not be employed in any capacity even as a freeelance jouralist. Word to the wise for anyone thinking of publishing Yusufs work in future-never accept that what they say is true, unless you check the validity and truth of it first.

Remember what the Bible says, Be wary of Wolves dressed in sheep's clothing....Yusuf is just one of the "Wolf"'s we are warned about.

Beware- Islamists work stealth Jihad amongst us in the West, to lie, to fool, to confuse, to break down any perceived barriers to their winning total power over non believers. This is the duty of all Islamists.

This is what Islam really does teach.They seek to impose upon us their Islamist Bronze age, brutalistic repressive inequality of Sharia, and force their racist and de humanising ritualistic backward repressive misogynistic Sharia laws by Stealth Jihad.

It is fools and "useful idiots" in the west whom assist them to fool the public.

Before God and humanity, I believe that It is my responsibility as one whom understands the laws of Sharia and of Islam, to expose the said Islamist, to expose them for their deliberate and vile deconstructive misleading destructive lies . It is my intention to educate whoever I can in the Western advanced civilisation to what is Islam teaches and practises on an academic level.

The world must awake now. Islam has defiled countless many churches, synagogues and millions of non islamic innocents and other non islamic people have died in the 1400 year eternal war against infidels carried out by Islam.

Resistance is not a bad thing, from Resistance of "The People", came the French Revolution and Montesquieu Doctrine of the Separation of Powers. This brought about a recognition of Humanities Rights.

This is basically what led to the Declaration of The Rights of Man.

We will not Submit.

There is a definite right, and there is a definite wrong, and Islam, and the spread of Islam and creeping of stealth Jihad among st us is definitely wrong for all humanity.

The Power of "The People", is what brought about end to the use of Black Slavery in the West , sadly, this is continued by Muslims everywhere in Islamic lands, unstopped by any United Nations Human Rights mouthpieces....

It was the Power of The people, and later, the Westminster System of Government, the most successful system of Governments in the world, were under this system

Islam declared war a long time ago on all non believers 1400 years ago.

1400 years of expansionist racist hateful violent genocidal ideology of Islam and its converts and followers spread this hateful cult, and enslaved millions doing it.

Islam is NOT peace, it has been spread "by the sword "through Asia, northern Asia, and ruled by genocidal murderous terror in India, and into some parts of Europe.

Islam has been ,as instructed, by the doctrines of the Koran, to stay at a never ending war, against all non believers, until there are no non believers, in the world, and their Tribal Mekkan God which was was called Allah, is the only one.

This is the epitome of evil. This is why we must say NO to Taqqiyeh, No to expanisionist Fascist ideologies of hate like Islam gaining control in our civilised Western lands.

Times have changed from the Gates of Vienna, This time it is with seductive manipulation and lies that the Islamist operate within our civilised societies to undermine, and to advance, their Stealth Jihad ism.

One of the ways that Islamists attempt to do this, is to defame and scorn, and put to ridicule, experts of Western Universities whom are aware alert and awake to the dangerous Stealth Jihad.

Remember, Islam is a totalistic doctrine of control over every aspect of life. It is a Geo- Political, Arabist Supremecist, Totalitarian and racist, Unequal treatment of Non Muslims, couched in a theolcratic style to fool people into being slaves of Islam. It is Islamo-fascist nature of this ideology of hate, and Islam, is in total opposition to Democracy and its guarenteed freedoms.

Resistance is not a dirty word, it is resistance by the will of the people which stopped the misuse of power by religions which sought to control and enforce their beliefs upon the society.

Resistance stopped the requirements of tithing to the church whether or not you liked it or not.

Resistance established human rights, something not respected on any level in Islamic countries under Sharia Laws. Resistance curbed the power of the Churches to put people to death for religion.

That's what Sharia Laws do- it can put you to death for opposing its totalitarian ideology.

I call upon all well educated, every day individuals in the west to resist the spread of Stealth Jihad, with education and empowering of women and to teach the people who do not understand Islam,

It is all of us, all of our responsibility to educate everyone we can as to the dangers of Islam .

I will try to rationally explain , on a serious academic level, what Sharia Laws entail.

As a woman it is my duty, to my daughters and my potential descendants, to educate non- Islamic on what the serious, devastating, potential forcible removal of our rights and potential threats to our very lives way of life, our rights and equalities are by Islam.

It is my duty, and yours, to educate westerners of the creeping Sharia Laws, of Islam, and of the sickness and destructiveness that is Political Correctness, and the creeping "Dawa "or proselytising of Islam.

I am here to expose and to educate the world, especially the west, about the slick agents of propaganda and mis information under guise of so called "Moderates" of the followers of Islam, are not here to integrate or assimilate, they are here to take over and force dhimmitude upon us all.

People such as Irfan Yusuf practise such exposed lies and deceit whilst holding positions of trust or power and influence within any communities. this man is a Lawyer. How can anyone feel protected and safe from him when he lies and is caught over and over again?.

The Governments and various government and non government agencies need to stand still and begin to use their clinical intellectual skills, of objective research, and uncover the vast array of liars and Taqqiyeh experts in the west, agents of stealth Jihad, whom are there to fool the governments and to fool armies military, intelligence agencies.

They are not there to help our Governments, they are here to destroy our Governments with the Stealth Jihad.

The Islamist like Yusuf, use their slick propaganda and access to the fool the people into a comatose state of denial of reality, so that they refuse to acknowledge or see the truth that Islam really is. We all know what it is, it is time to spread the word.

It is time to use peaceful means, non violent means, legal means, to expose the reality of what the Islamist among st us are truly doing- working to destroy the Western World and our Advanced Civilisations.

Why are their words deliberate deceit. Why do they lie? because the answer is fairly clear.

To ensure that the Governments of the West continues to believe their lies, to throw a smoke screen of demands from the "Islamist Civilisation" from within our nations to give them special privileges not shared by non Islamist.

The relevance to this post is how so called multiculturalists advocates, and gullible powerless naive stupid Western Governments are blindly believing propaganda and deception by highly trained so called well educated and influential islamists and stealth Jihadists in the west, they are not to be believed it would seem.

Many of the so called darlings of the multiculturalists ideologues are found out to deliberately lie, to attack well known academics and specialists on Islam, for the sole purpose to discredit their advanced academic qualifications. What people like Yusuf fear is the truth being exposed of their activities, their associations, their connections, and their true agendas.

Irfan Yusuf is not someone with any credibility left. Fool me once, your fault, fool me twice, my fault.

This man has over and over been proved to be a liar and a fraud, and has been forced to apologize to people such as world noted academic and scholar Dr Daniel Pipes.

Yusuf, your are an embarrassment to me as an Australian that someone like you has the gall to try to discredit Dr Pipes, a man of such advanced education on Islam , you cannot and will never be able to discredit him because Dr Daniel Pipes knows all about Islam an is exposing it every day.

To Dr Daniel Pipes, people like Yusuf are like flotsam and jetsom in the ocean, he has absolutely no credibility to me and should never be listened to again..


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened for relevance, substance, and tone, and in some cases edited, before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome, but comments are rejected if scurrilous, off-topic, vulgar, ad hominem, or otherwise viewed as inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the Guidelines for Comments.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

CRIKEY: Jonathan Greene's piece on the Abu Hamza pseudo-scandal ...

I normally don't do this. I only reproduce on my blogs Crikey items I have written myself. But in the circumstances, I think the following is warranted ...

I am posting the complete Jonathan Greene story on Abu Hamza (including graphics) for a reason. From time to time, we are all prone to being over-affected by media spin and journalistic bullsh*t. I always thought I was immune from this. Well, in fact I wasn't quite as immune as I thought.

Crikey is a subscription-only service which is a terrific read and well-worth subscribing to. It has been a key force in keeping media magnates, journalists and politicians honest. I strongly recommend readers take out a trial subscription or even fork out a small amount for a full subscription. Find out more here.

When the Abu Hamza story first hit the media websites, I thought I would do something many Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph readers wouldn't do. I thought I would watch the video.

Anyone who watched the video will see that News Limited and/or the lecture organisers have done a rather clumsy edit. It is quite clear from the video that, far from promoting domestic violence, Abu Hamza was emphasising just how evil it is.

Today, the tabloids are going nuts over Abu Hamza's comments about Australia being allegedly a nation of drunks and gamblers. Again, a complete fabrication. If it is true that Abu Hamza really did make this gross generalisation about Australians, is it any worse than Rupert Murdoch's gross generalisation to the effect that all Muslims suffer from genetic defects because they marry their cousins?

Of course, none of this detracts from the fact that any suggestion that marital rape is OK should be condemned in the strongest possible language.

Anyway, enough from me. reproduced below is Jonathan Greene's analysis of the media lynching of Abu Hamza.

UPDATE I: This article is also available to non-subscribers at the Crikey website here.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf


Muslim cleric the YouTube hit of ... 2003

Crikey editor Jonathan Green writes:

"Outspoken Islamic cleric" Abu Hamza has been top of the pops for the past two days, incurring no lesser thin-lipped wrath than that of the Prime Minister yesterday for YouTubed comments on s-xual violence and r-pe. He backed up again in this morning's tabloids, accusing Australians of an over-fondness for booze, gambling and s-x.

More of the last later, but the sudden flurry over these six-year-old recordings must have left Hamza more than a little bemused, not only for the Australian tabloid press's capacity to recycle the ancient as fresh front page news, but also for the way on which the media wheel can turn.

Hamza, also known as Samir Mohtadi, has been a feature of significant media coverage before. Three years after the recordings that so enraged Kevin Rudd, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun he was much discussed as the "moderate cleric" who appeared as a star prosecution witness in the case against accused terrorist Abdul Benbrika.

This is how the ABC's AM described Mohtadi in August 2006:
Samir Mohtadi is the director of the Islamic Information and Services Network for Australasia, based in Melbourne. He's a moderate Islamic cleric who preaches regularly at the Preston mosque in north-east Melbourne. He's also a teacher, who gives lectures about the meaning of Islam, mainly to young people.

Through his work, Samir Mohtadi knows some of the men who have been charged with various terrorism offences, and today he gave evidence at their committal hearing.
And this is how described him at the time of the 2006 trial:
Mr Mohtadi is the director of the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia, in Coburg, in Melbourne's north.

The network provides information and services to Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam.

He said he had known Mr Benbrika as they both attended the same mosque, also in Melbourne's north.
According to sources close to the Benbrika trial, Samir Mohtadi had been cultivated by Australian security agencies since the events of September 2001. He became a key Crown witness in the Benbrika case and gave evidence about a meeting he had with Benbrika in 2004 in which he said to Benbrika that he had heard Benbrika was planning a terrorist attack in Australia. Benbrika denied it. Mohtadi said he would go to the government if he got wind of any plan. According to some, it is not too greater stretch to wonder of Mohtadi was not something of an ASIO mole within Melbourne Muslim circles.

He gave evidence at the long Benbrika trial, and was cross examined at length about Islamic practices, scholarship and views about Israel and jihad. Richard Maidment SC, the lead prosecutor for the Crown, said in his closing that:
... you saw Mr Mohtadi and he was a credible witness, in our respectful submission.

How times change.

Which takes us to today's outrage at Hamza/Mohtadi's comments -- 2003 remember -- that Australians

... think happiness can be achieved by being intoxicated, by going to the casino and blowing your money away.

The Herald Sun demanded his removal from the continent in its editorial today:
Mr Hamza would be better off living somewhere else. His inflammatory teachings are not welcome here.
That was on page 46 of the paper. Here's a look at some other content from the same edition:

Which is not to say that across town The Age is any less dependent on alcohol fueled display advertising. Au contraire:

All of which goes to show that Mohtadi might have a point. Or at least he did in 2003.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

OPINION: Third Column in Crescent Times - Muslims in Australia have no rights!

I have some terrible news for you all. Muslims in Australia have no rights.

This is no joke. And as if to make matters worse, Christians also have no rights. Nor do Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs or even atheists. In fact, no one in Australia, no Australian citizen or permanent resident, has any rights.

And no, I’m not writing this because I have gone stark-raving mad. I’m giving you free legal advice. I’m telling you this as a lawyer, so you can trust me on this one.

When I was in first year uni, my law lecturer told me that Australia’s legal system is based on the English Common Law tradition. There are a number of countries that follow this tradition, including many Muslim-majority states like Malaysia and Pakistan. Of course, it’s no mystery to many of us that Muslims living in many Muslim countries have few if any rights. Recent media reports suggest Malaysian Muslims don’t even have the right to engage in yoga.

Then again, I doubt that the Malaysian Common Law could improve some of the wackier declarations of Malaysian muftis. Returning to that first year law class, my lecturer told me that the Common Law tradition doesn’t grant rights. Instead, it grants citizens these interesting legal creatures called “liberties”.

Citizens can always decide to limit or even dispense with these liberties. How so? By electing members of Parliament to represent them who decide to legislate these liberties out of existence.

But why would citizens wish to deprive themselves of their own liberties? There could be any number of reasons. People might decide that there are internal or external threats that need to be dealt with. Before it was unceremoniously booted out of office, the Howard government kept telling us that it needed to implement a range of strategies to meet the apparently new threats of al-Qaeda terror. This included starting a war in Iraq that created enough chaos to enable al-Qaeda to establish a new front, to wreak havoc in yet another Muslim country. No doubt Osama bin Ladin was clapping his hands in glee when Messrs Howard and Downer joined Messrs Bush and Blair in that disastrous invasion.

The Howard government also kept reminding us that the terrorists hate us because of our values and our liberty. And what better way to protect that liberty than by legislating it almost out of existence?

The weird thing is that Australia claims to be a liberal democracy. Now liberalism is a political philosophy that places emphasis on the rights of individuals to be free of the coercive power of the state wherever possible. But the Common Law gives a sovereign parliament the right to limit the freedoms and liberties of individuals. MP’s can make laws that take away our liberties. But they can also make laws to create rights.

By now, some readers will be completely confused. So let me get to the point. We need a Charter of Rights. Or perhaps we need what citizens of the United States take for granted – a Bill of Rights. The US Bill of Rights hasn’t stopped the Bush administration from implementing draconian laws. But it has provided US citizens with a means to challenge and fight these laws in the courts.

Catharine Branson QC was a Federal Court Judge for 14 years. She is now president of the Australian Human Rights Commission. In a December 2007 speech, she made this startling remark:

... neither Australian lawmakers nor those who make decisions under Australian laws are sufficiently conscious of people’s rights. I have experienced lawmakers restricting freedom of speech. I have experienced public decision-makers making incorrect decisions with harmful consequences for people.

We’re fortunate to live in a country where we have at least some say over the decisions made by our governments. But having elections every 3 years isn’t enough to establish or protect human rights. It certainly hasn’t been enough to stop our government from locking up children in detention centres or deporting citizens. Victoria and the ACT both have a Charter of Rights. The United Kingdom has implemented a Charter of Rights, as has Canada and New Zealand. In fact, the Commonwealth of Australia is one of the few English-speaking democracies without such a charter.

The risk in having a Charter is that it gives unelected judges the power to disrupt the law making processes of our elected representatives. In any event, this is a debate in which Muslim Australians have much at stake. Unfortunately Muslims are frequently used as political and legislative footballs. We often feel our rights are trampled on. The national consultation and debate over a possible Commonwealth Charter of Rights is one process we need to become involved in.

First published in the January 2009 edition of the Crescent Times.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

COMMENT: Introducing Great Moments From Jihad Watch ...

I was speaking to a friend recently who is a voracious reader of conservative websites and books, and is a huge fan of Hayek and just about anything else non-Left. I asked him about Rob Spencer, the blogger behind the JihadWatch website. His response went something like this:

Robert Spencer has lost the plot. He's surrounded himself with wackos who praise him and then infect him with their lunacy. All he seems to do now is search for media reports about people with Muslim-sounding names doing crazy things and then collect them to manufacture a litany of so-called Muslim crimes against "Christendom".

I think my friend was being a bit cruel. I don't think people with psychiatric illnesses could be compared to Spencer. After all, their condition is a genuine illness. Spencer seems clearly to believe the tripe he writes. As do those posting on his blog.

I thought I'd start a series of posts celebrating Spencer and the true believers who congregate at his website. I'll call it "Great Moments From Jihad Watch" (GMFJW). Here is my first post from "ebonystone" about me and Gandhi ...

"Irfan Yusuf: Western civilisation? What a good idea that would be"posted by: sheik yer'mami

I think that line is stolen from Gandhi. How strange that he quotes a filthy polytheist.

Go figure.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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