Friday, February 27, 2009

BLOG: LGF wackos attack JihadWatch wacko for being a wacko ...

It's always fun to watch wackos fighting each other. Especially when they are from the far-Right.

After spending years citing Robert Spencer with approval, the Little Green Footballs website has decided to 'expose' Spencer as a slightly different kind of wacko.

When Spencer was merely a wacko who lumped 1.2 billion Muslims together, or when he wrote stuff alleging that the religious traditions of all these peope were represented by al-Qaeda (a bit like saying that all 1.6 billion Christians were represented by the KKK or the Lord's Resistance Army), he was okay.

But now Robert Spencer has joined what LGF describes as ...

... white nationalists who advocate conquering Turkey and expelling/slaughtering the entire Muslim population—150 million people.
... then Spencer has become evil.

Don't expect to read about this development on Australian far-Right websites, including those of certain News Limited bloggers from Sydney and Melbourne.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Monday, February 16, 2009

COMMENT: Abuse of women continues in Saudi Arabia ...

A disturbing report has been published in the Arab News about child marriage in Saudi Arabia ...

Mother calls for law against child marriage
Walaa Hawari | Arab News

RIYADH: Despite continuous efforts by private and government bodies to eliminate marriages involving minors, such marriages do take place every so often. In a recent case, two sisters from Al-Jouf, aged 13 and 14, were married off by their father to two elderly men.

“Their father held their hands as they signed their marriage contracts. They did not know what they were signing,” said the mother of the two girls, Nowayer. “When I was informed, I rushed to their father’s house and confronted the marriage contractor asking him whether he heard the girls consent to the marriages, and whether he had seen results of their premarital tests. He replied it was the father’s prerogative to marry them,” she added.

All this is being done in the name of enforcing sharia law. Sad.

The father of the children is in fact the mother's ex-husband. The wife complains he hasn't been paying any child maintenance, but was happy to get his young daughters married off.
... her ex-husband totally ignored her children for 18 months before their marriages. “One day, last month, he called asking the older girls, who are 13 and 14, to dress up as he would be picking them up and taking them to a family occasion,” she said.

It was only when she received a phone call from her sister that she realized what was going on. “I rushed to his house barefoot to find that the marriage contractor had begun my little children’s marriages,” she said.
The mother contacted Saudi Arabia's allegedly Islamic government. Here's how they rushed to her assistance ...
Nowayer sent a telegram to the minister of justice and the minister of health asking them to interfere, but received no response. “I even informed the Social Services Department in Riyadh who promised to interfere but as soon as the issue reached the Al-Jouf province, where I live and where my ex-husband has many connections because of his line of work, things got stalled,” she said.

Nowayer had no choice but to contact human rights organizations to try and reverse the marriages or postpone consummation for at least three years until the girls grow older.
Ms Nowayer did receive some assistance from the Human Rights Commission. The HRC have had a few cases like this, and see their mission as follows:
It’s our mission to introduce human rights into society and create awareness about them.
So people in an allegedly Islamic country and society need to awareness of human rights created in them? Aren't human rights an essential part of the faith? Which religion are people in the Kingdom following?

Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to have laws setting out the minimum age of marriage ...
Al-Harithy said the HRC and the ministries of Justice and Health share common interests. The Ministry of Health recently issued a report on the physical and emotional problems women endure as a result of early marriage.

The report was subsequently sent to the minister of justice, along with recommendations to set a minimum marriage age.
So in theory, a 60 year old Saudi bloke could marry a 5 year old Saudi girl. And they call this legal system "Islamic"?

Meanwhile, King Abdullah has decided to appoint a woman to his ministry. Here's how the Guardian reports the news:
Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez, a US-educated former teacher, was made deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students, a significant breakthrough in a country where women are not allowed to drive.

"This is an honour not only for me but for all Saudi women. In the presence of a comprehensive operational team, I believe I'll be able to face challenges and create positive change," she told Arab News. Fayez said she would study the state of girls' education in Saudi Arabia before commenting on the task before her.
The King also removed his nation's Chief Justice, Sheikh Salih Ibn al-Luhaydan. Among Sheikh Luhaydan's more memorable judgments was this ...
Luhaydan ruled last year that it was permissible to kill owners of satellite television channels broadcasting "immoral" programmes.

(Thanks to BC)

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Friday, February 13, 2009

CRIKEY: Shakira Hussein dispatches forest jihad theories for six ...

Canberra writer and academic Shakira Hussein gives the forest jihad rumour a good scrubbing in Crikey this afternoon ...

Every so often, I have a naïve moment in which I think that an overwhelming disaster will prompt people to lay aside their differences and come together to face of a common tragedy.

But apparently not. Even as the search for bodies continues in the Victorian firezone, some people are searching for the "us and them" angle. Muslims have come to expect that they will be stigamised for any crime commited by any Muslim anywhere. But this week's speculation by some media and internet "commentators" about "forest jihad" has reached a new low.

This speculation is based on reports last year that an extremist Islamic website had called for "forest jihad". The fascist British National Party poses the "question" "Australian Death Fire: was it jihad?". The media finger-pointing has been less direct, more "might-have-done-it, will-be-getting-ideas-from-it, who-knows-but-I-wouldn’t-trust-them-with-a-match".

Fox News quoted various "experts" as saying that Islamic extremists would be "watching" the fires carefully, and getting ideas. "Expert" Steve Emerson said that militants "could" light wildfires, just as they "could" poison food supplies.

As Islamophobiawatch points out, this is the same Steve Emerson who said that the 1995 Oklahoma bombing showed a "Middle Eastern trait" because it aimed to kill a lot of people - an aim that the hypothetical "Middle Easterners" turned out to share with Timothy McVeigh.

And (as reported in Crikey), Piers Akerman proved yet again that there is no dog-whistle so filthy that he won't raise it to his lips. His column describing arson as terrorism did not go so far as to blame Muslims for the tragedy in Victoria, but the comments on his blog show that his readers (both admirers and critics) certainly heard the whistle.

On this occasion, Andrew Bolt showed greater civic responsibilty than Akerman (or, in the words of blogger Sheik Yermani, Bolt "chickened out"), telling readers of his blog that he would not post any comments that pointed the finger at Muslims. So maybe the disaster, and the subsequent finger-pointing, is bringing people together after all. It isn't often that I have a kind word to say about Andrew Bolt.

Police Superintendent Ross McNeill was categorical in dismissing the "forest jihad" theory, telling AFP "None whatsoever, absolutely nothing, zero. We usually rank possibilities on a scale of zero to ten -- this would be on a negative scale."

That would be "no", then.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

COMMENT: Hassan Butt turns out to be a Claytons jihadi ...

Many years ago, a famous Australian actor (I think it was Jack Thompson) appeared in an advertisement for a drink called Claytons. I'm not sure if it was a non-alcoholic drink, but the slogan of the advertisement was "Claytons - the drink you're having when you're not having a drink".

Since then, Australians have been referring to half-baked or fraudulent things using the adjective "Claytons". In this sense, if recent media reports are correct, it seems that Hassan Butt, darling of the UK tabloid media and ex-jihadi pinup boy, has turned out to be a complete fraud, a Claytons jihadi.

The Guardian and Reuters report that Hassan Butt was all along speaking out of his backside to various media outlets and journos about his alleged exploits in al-Qaeda. Here's what the Guardian says:

Hassan Butt received significant media attention for his claims to have helped send scores of Britons to terrorist training camps overseas and to have met Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the 7 July 2005 attacks on London.

Butt was the former spokesman for the extremist group al-Muhajiroun and was invited to meet a government minister to discuss ways to combat terrorism, as well as featuring heavily in BBC News, national newspaper and US television reports on al-Qaida.

However at a trial of another man accused of terrorist offences, Butt said he had told journalists stories "the media wanted to hear", admitting that he was "a professional liar". He also admitted faking his own injuries to make it appear that he had been attacked by extremist Muslims.

Butt was arrested in 2008 over his planned autobiography Leaving Al Qaeda: Inside The Life And Mind of a British Jihadist, in which he was planning to claim involvement in the US consulate attack in Karachi, Pakistan, in June 2002, which killed 12 people.

The book was being co-authored by freelance journalist Shiv Malik, who became a media cause celebre after counter terrorism officers demanded he hand over his notes.

But in court Butt agreed he had taken Malik for a "right patsy"

Here is how Reuters reported it:
He made the confession in December during the trial of a former friend, Habib Ahmed, who was subsequently convicted of belonging to al Qaeda. Restrictions on the reporting of the case have only now been lifted following the conclusion of another trial involving Butt's wife.

"At no point have I ever been training, have I ever been a jihadi," Butt told the court, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

Questioning Butt about his past, prosecutor Andrew Edis asked: "So, you were a professional liar then?"

Butt replied: "I would make money, yes." He had, he said, told stories that "the media wanted to hear".

The confession will come as a surprise to many as Butt was for years regarded as a leading Islamist who had subsequently turned himself into a proponent for "de-radicalising" young men in order to combat extremism.

He has been widely profiled in newspapers, magazines and in television documentaries, and even met members of the government to discuss his plans for combating radicalism.

What a bullsh*t artist this guy is. Seriously. God knows just how many people have been arrested or detained or subject to various restraining or control orders thanks to his evidence.

I wonder who will be caught out spinning crap next. Will the UK government now investigate some of the crazy claims of other alleged ex-jihadis and ex-"Islamists"? Will Ed Husain cut the nonsense and admit that so many of his claims about his HT involvement are about as real as Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy?

Hassan Butt ran this imbecilic line that all jihadis had the same "Islamic theology" which inspired them all to commit acts of terror. Butt, speaking out of his surname-sake, told Muslim-phobic tabloid morons exactly what they wanted to hear - that the problem wasn't with violence or terror but with religion itself. But with Butt's cover blown, fruitloops like Robert Spencer and Mad Mel Phillips won't have many native informants to assist in their misinformation campaigns.

Writing in the Daily Mail under the headline I was a fanatic...I know their thinking, says former radical Islamist, Butt writes:
The attempts to cause mass destruction in London and Glasgow are so reminiscent of other recent British Islamic extremist plots that they are likely to have been carried out by my former peers.

Which peers were they, Mr Butt? Were these the non-existent peers you told 60 Minutes about in 2007?

Butt's nonsense has been published by an impressive list of media outlets including Commentary Magazine based in the United States, The Times of London, NPR and BBC. Check out this interesting summary of Hassan Butt's butt-headed nonsense and his numerous supporters here. For more blog commentary, check out UmmahPulse and Indigo Jo.

I feel rather strange now. I've just finished the manuscript of my own memoir of my own teenage and young adult flirtation with Jamaat-i-Islami and Iranian literature during the years of the Afghan jihad of the 1980's. After finishing it, I wondered whether anyone would find it slightly entertaining or enlightening given the more exciting memoirs of people like Hassan Butt and Ed Husain. Well, all I can say now is that my memoir might be a little less dramatic, but at least it is honest.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

COMMENT; Pajamas Media blog closes its doors ...

Good news. Pajamas Media, a prominent force in spreading online hatred and bigotry, has ended its blog. It hopes to focus on its amateur video wing. You can read more about it at the blog of former Pajamas blogger Pamela Geller here. Geller complains about how she lost money, receiving only 20% of her initial investment in the project. Pfft.

Do a search of Geller's blog to see just what a prize fruitloop she is. Or you can read this post and have a chuckle. You'll also find a link at her blog in support of "disproportionate response" in Gaza. Weird.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

COMMENT: How to become an "renowned international scholar" ...

Well, it looks like our Maulana Afroz Ali has moved up in the world. His Al-Ghazali Centre is organising a retreat in Christchurch, New Zealand which he describes as the "Inaugural International Deen Intensive".

That's right. This is the very first time in the world that anyone has ever organised a Deen Intensive. It is a world-first. No one has ever held a Deen Intensive before. Anyone who claims to have held a Deen Intensive in the United Kingdom or North America is just lying.

But it gets better. This Deen Intensive is not only the first to be held anywhere this side of the galaxy. It is also to include classes from ...

... two renowned international scholars ...

... among them ...
... Imam Afroz Ali from Al-Ghazzali Centre based in Sydney, Australia.

And who is the other renowned international scholar? Why none other than Usama Canon of the Zaytuna Institute. Indeed, the actual flyer lists the name of "Shaykh Afroz Ali" above that of "Shaykh Usama Canon".

So is this the first Deen Intensive to be held anywhere in the world? Well, not quite. But you have to read all the way down to the bottom of the page to realise this.
This program is the first of its kind for Australia-Pacific and should not be missed, and is part of a formal ongoing collaboration between Zaytuna Institute and Al-Ghazzali Centre.

Is this the same Zaytuna Institute where Ayatullah Afroz Ali claims is currently home to his numerous ijaza documents? The same Zaytuna Institute some of whose personnel inform yours truly that they do not keep ijaza documents for anyone, let alone Mufti Afroz Ali?

If you go to the Nawawi Center (sic.) of Christchurch website, you will find some carefully written and rather restrained biographical information for Usama Canon taken straight from the Zaytuna Institute website. There is also the updated biography of Fadhilat ash-Shaykh Afroz Ali, written in characteristically unrestrained language with plenty of clumsy hyperbole.

And what a glowing bio it is! You will see Professor Afroz Ali has become, amongst other things:
... a qualified Imam in the Islamic Tradition, having studied under Traditional Islam and received licence to teach in various Islamic Sciences.
So Hujjat al-Islam Afroz Ali has studied "under Traditional Islam". And what is this "Traditional Islam"? Is it the name of a teaching methodology? An institution? A university? Kiai Afroz Ali says he has received license to teach in various "Islamic Sciences". Which "Islamic Sciences" is Maulay Afroz permitted to teach? Is Molvi Afroz permitted to teach entire sciences? Or parts of sciences? Or certain books? Or parts of books? Will Shaykh al-Islam Afroz's teaching at the Deen Intensive be limited to these particular "Islamic Sciences"?

Mullah Afroz then repeats his mantra about how he studied at the Islamic University of Madina, leaving vague exactly what studies he did and/or what level of study he achieved. And so we read that Shaykh al-Hadith Afroz's ...
... studies have taken him from university-based Islamic University- Madina, Saudi Arabia ...

... before he moved on from his university studies onto ...
... Traditional Scholarship in Yemen, United States and Mauritania, where he has spent considerable time to learn from the most esteemed Rightly Guided Islamic Scholars of our time.

Considerable time? How long? Days? Months? Years? Did Dr Afroz spend time listening and learning in the presence of these scholars? Did the Reverend Dr Afroz download their lectures onto his iPod and listen to them whilst bushwalking? And who were these scholars? What did they teach Sayyidina Afroz? What made Khwajaji Afroz convinced that these were "Rightly Guided Islamic Scholars"? What makes a scholar "Rightly Guided"?

Still, it gets better.

He has also travelled to Cairo, Egypt for further studies in Islamic Jurisprudence with Scholars at al-Azhar University ...

In which areas of Islamic Jurisprudence? In which schools of Islamic law? For how long? When? What qualifications, if any, did Allama Afroz achieve?

The claims become even more hysterical ...
He has presented lectures, workshops and training programs worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, United States, The Emirates, Egypt, China, Japan and Denmark.

Pfft. Did Rais al-Ulama Afroz send a video message? Was Chairman Afroz in China at the same time as Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang?

But wait, there's more ...
He lectures around the world on Islamic Jurisprudence, Spirituality, Ecological Wellbeing, Ethical Rights and Responsibilities, and Personal and Corporate Citizenship.
Around the world? Where around the world? Denmark and Japan and China? Indeed, can someone point out to us one place on the map below where Imam al-Azam Afroz has not taught?

Seriously, I am under-selling myself. I might have to update my biography. I've travelled to Malaysia and Indonesia on Muslim exchange programs funded by DFAT. There I met with various government officials, Muslim religious and social bodies, media, academics, NGO's as well as the odd Aussie diplomat. I had to make a few presentations here and there, including at universities in Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Bandung as well as at a pesantran just outside Jakarta. Perhaps I could say something like this in my biography:
Shaykh Irfan has delivered lectures and workshops at universities and institutes of Islamic learning across Indonesia. He has represented the Australian government in numerous sensitive diplomatic negotiations.

I have delivered two lectures at Macquarie University to students doing Masters in International Relations, not to mention a few bayaans when attending Tablighi Jamaat outings in Australia and Pakistan, including a bayaan in the presence of some scholars from Darul Uloom Karachi. I've also been in jamaats with prominent Indian scholars including the late Maulana Palanpuri. I was even asked to do a bayaan after fajr prayer in 1998 at the masjid in San Bernardo du Campo, a district of Sao Paolo in Brazil (though mainly because the usual bloke who did the bayaan was on holidays and the 3 or 4 people present wanted to brush up on their English). So now my bio can state:

Shaykh Irfan has lectured to scholarly audiences across Australia, Asia and the Americas. He has studied at the feet of some of the world's foremost scholars.

In 1998, I also made bay'ah to a Naqshbandi shaykh who also was authorised to teach in the Chishtiyya, Qadiriyya, Suhrawardiyya, Shadhiliyya, Kubrawiyya and Mawlawiyya traditions of Islamic spirituality. That shaykh (through one of his students, a respected Melbourne imam) also taught me how to perform a daily wird (set of furmulae for remembrance of God). I guess I can now say in my bio:
Shaykh Irfan is a master of seven sufi turuq [plural of tariqa, I think], having learned at the feet of masters of all these Islamic spiritual traditions.

You can find this updated extended stretched and exagerrated biography of Molvi Afroz Ali at the website of the Auckland-based Rasheed Memorial Trust here. Now doubt the trustees of that organisation (among them a young barrister) will have verified the information provided to them by Hujjat al-Islam Afroz, including his claim to have received from some unnamed organisation or body:
... the International Ambassador for Peace award.

Words © 2009 Irfan Yusuf

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