Volume 9, No. 4
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EGYPT– The Fight Between Truth and Evil
FOREWORD This issue goes to print as various types of dramatic change are occurring in the world. That is why we have decided to permeate this issue with themes of change - addressing, as best we can, our community members concerns in this country. Azzam Al-Merhebi is a respected political commentator in the Australian Muslim community, and he offers us his opinion of the current Egyptian political crisis, his views are his own, and they offer a unique perspective on a very complex issue. by Editor, Muslim Times WHEN I WROTE MY LAST article ‘The New Turkey’, the elected democratic government of Egypt was still in power, and I quoted the following: “My intentions for this insight into the history of this area is to give the reader a basis that will help him/her draw a picture or a conclusion on what is going on with the demonstrations that erupted suddenly in Turkey and the Arab spring nations. Below are a few points that I raise in regards to challenges for the Muslim Ummah (nation) to reunite under the new Ottomans or the new Arabs: 1. Do the new powers of the present time (The US western block and the Eastern Russian/China block) see the awakening of the Muslim Ummah as a threat to their own power? 2. Are the global financial institutions that control the world economy threatened by
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by Azzam Al-Merhebi these emerging powers such as Turkey? (Note: In the last 10 years, Turkey saved $300 billion US in interest on the country debts to the banks by refraining from the traditional practices of usury). 3. Minorities have lived peacefully and justly under the Muslim Ummah for hundreds of years. Are they possibly attempting to sabotage the unification of the Muslim Ummah in hope of establishing their own separate states?” It was foreseeable that the Islamic government in Turkey will deal reasonably and humanely with the anti-government demonstrations, swiftly bringing back peace and order without the necessity of resorting to the use of deadly force. The influence of the AKP party in Turkey over the past 15 years has had a substantial impact on the values and beliefs of its people. This was the first time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire did the Turkish people have the opportunity to experience a drastic change from oppressive, dictatorial militarily led governments to open, free democratic systems. 15 years of democracy elapsed and the values and beliefs of the generations born during the dictatorial regimes have greatly diminished and came to accept freedom, free thought and democracy, notwithstanding the challenges posed in the three questions above.
Continued Page 11
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I use social media to educate and inform the general public on different topics related to health and nutrition. I predominately use Instagram and Facebook to do this. It gives me a platform to showcase my work (healthy recipes/tips/articles I share) and in return I get to help the public in a small but significant way. You know how the saying goes "knowledge is power," and so I am able to pass what I have learnt to people in various parts of the world. I mainly use Youtube to gain Islamic knowledge. There are plenty of speeches given by Islamic scholars that are very informative.
Using social media really helped with my university experience. Members of my class would make a group on Facebook and we’d discuss assignments and help each other out – it was also really great for making new friends. It’s so easy to find people, and they are more readily contactable because they check social media on their smartphones several times a day more than email. I’ve also found there are a growing number of Islamic groups on social media websites which just give you daily reminders of hadiths and Islamic teachings, this is probably the most useful thing I find on Facebook.
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Box It Out! A review by Fathima Abdoola
MARIAM SURTIE AND CAROLINA ARAYA, qualified and passionate personal trainers at Brisbane Boxing have recently started ladies only boxing classes on Sunday mornings in Macgregor. I have always wanted to try boxing classes and this was the perfect opportunity so woke up early on Sunday morning, got dressed and had no idea what to expect. I soon discovered that these ladies know what they are doing! The session involved 45 minutes of boxing, cardio and strength training. Mariam and Carolina really got our heart rates up! My first session was such a great experience that I continued on the following week and have been able to meet a group of lovely ladies in a comfortable and motivating environment. This is a great place to start achieving your fitness goals and release some serious stress and I would highly recommend coming along. The sessions suit women of all ages, even mums with bubs. Boxing is a fun, fresh and above all and effective method for getting fit. You never know what you’re capable of until you try! First session is free. Sundays 8:30am at Brisbane Boxing - 520 Kessels Rd, Macgregor.
Saima is a full-time mum and health blogger based in Sydney. I use social media on a regular basis to document my healthy eating. It keeps me accountable and I can look back at my Instagram feed and see what I haven't made in a while or challenge myself to cook something new. By using this technology in a productive manner I believe it helps me grow spiritually – with good health and physical strength we are able to practice our religion with a clear conscious.
Social media can be of utmost value when used correctly. Personally I utilize social media for networking & expanding my business & helping reach the many whom of which I would not have reached otherwise. An epic example of this is my friendship with the dietitian of Queensland Muslim Times whom I met on a social media site! None the less, the addiction to social media as a means of socialization can be of extreme at times. Similar to many others, I opt to social media in search for guidance especially when our Islamic leaders have Twitter, Facebook and other social networking accounts! Love & Light
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Assalamu alaikum Dear Readers, Political instability in the Middle East, the upcoming Australian federal elections, the Hajj season starting, Eid al-Adha and various other events are occurring across the world and in this country at the moment. These issues are at the forefront of the minds of all our readers – they are your issues. Coming out of Ramadaan and continuing to implement all the positive change we have affected in our lives is difficult. Many people fall into the pressures of everyday life and are unable to implement their ‘Ramadaan resolutions’ whether they are faith, health or lifestyle related. That being said, the editorial team have worked hard to bring you some inspiration in this time of great change, we hope that the articles and stories shared here will continue on the path of positive change that Ramadaan brought. It would be unfair to talk about issues concerning Australian Muslims and not address the precariously dismal political climate that many millions of Muslims around the world are faced with presently. I believe there is one primary way that you and I can contribute, other than financially, to help the situation in the Middle East and elsewhere – and that is through education. Cultivating a good understanding of what is actually occurring in countries like Egypt and Syria, in an objective and rational fashion is the primary mechanism of affecting positive change in the world. Political education allows you to make a better choices on election day, gives you more credibility when engaging in discussions with your local communities and allows you to understand that the responsibility for rectifying a situation where the weak are oppressed, lies with those who are strong; by definition we are certainly stronger in this country than those facing war. Change is a multi-faceted animal, sometimes devoid of reason or logic. A true test of character is what one learns from different types of change that are presented to you throughout your life, some might even say that these are they small and large struggles that Allah SWT uses to test you, to mould you into a better person. In this edition we have asked our experts to share with you mental and emotional tools that you can use to build resilience, and make any type of ‘change’ situation work in your favour. Our writers have also delved into various other fields tackling this theme of change and we really hope that you can benefit from all their information and advice. A special mention has to be made to all the prospective Hajjis’ this year, whether this is your first Hajj or you are blessed enough to be partaking again, we wish you all the best and hope that you take the opportunity to pray for not only yourself – but all the people in this Ummah, who are in desperate need of reprieve from their suffering. Hajj is perhaps the most significant change event in any Muslim’s life, it is an opportunity to start afresh in the eyes of the creator and this is perhaps the ultimate opportunity to affect real change in your life. As always we invite you to be a part of this newspaper, created by the people, for the people. If you want to get involved please send us an email with your details and we will contact you inshallah. Eid Mubarak to you all, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Nabil Nathie, Editor
Ideas Arabia launches Saudi TV channel for women by Jamila El-Gizuli
SAUDI ARABIA: On Thursday, July 25th, 2013, in a ceremony broadcast by several regional TV and radio channels, the foundation stone for Al-Mrah [Arabic for the woman], the first satellite TV channel for women in Saudi Arabia, was laid. Abdullah Al-Nawazi, chairman of Ideas Arabia Limited, which created the new network and is owned by Saudi businessman Sheikh Yusuf bin Awad Al-Ahmadi, stated that the channel aims to “highlight the skills, traditions, culture, education, Islamic thought and problems facing Arab women in general and Saudi women in particular.” Riyadh bin Kamal Najam, president of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Audio and Visual Media, also said that the channel will “help in removing some stereotypes about Saudi women.” In a region where satellite TV channels have consistently multiplied over the years, this is not the first network devoted to women nor is it the first all-veiled women’s channel, which was launched in Egypt almost a year ago. It is, however, the first channel dedicated to Saudi women. News reports on the network do not reveal much information about its organizational make-up, or whether its female employees will play a leading role in managerial and administrative positions. The channel is expected to start broadcasting in 2014. Unless it is directed by women, for the betterment of one another, the project will be yet another veneer to mask fundamental social
and economic issues faced by the majority of Saudi women. In Saudi Arabia’s conservative culture, there are many obstacles that prevent women’s social and professional advancement. That is not to say there are no pioneering Saudi women who have challenged the path of least resistance and achieved great things, including those who have become the country’s first female filmmakers, pilots, flight dispatchers, Mount Everest mountain climbers, government ministers, fine arts performers, Olympic athletes, and UNDP and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors. There are women business owners, engineers, doctors, academics, television, and radio anchors and other female professionals in the country. This success, however, has been achieved on an individual level. Collectively, Saudi women fare less well. In January 2013, women gained access by appointment to the all-male Shura Council, a government body that advises Saudi King Abdullah, but still cannot run for political office and are not expected to gain the vote until 2015. Among other forms of disparate treatment, women’s gyms are not granted licenses and, of course, there is the ban on female drivers in the country. Al-Mrah can be a platform that brings women’s individual successes to a larger audience and generates support for the social and political changes they seek in Saudi Arabia. A female leadership team for the channel would make these possibilities even more likely. Source:www.muftah.org
Parliament House: Outstanding Muslim Peace and Dialogue Event by Dr Sadek Mustapha
THE QUEENSLAND INTERCULTURAL MUSLIM SOCIETY co-hosted with the Federal Parliament, The Annual Iftaar Dinner Function. Gracing this auspicious occasion were Ministers and Queensland state parliamentarians numbering more than twenty. The diplomatic corps, Councillors, representatives from the police, media, academics, religious, community leaders and organisations formed a huge multiethnic gathering. This articulate event was sponsored by UAE embassy, The Wisdom College and many businesses. The Honourable Glen Elmes MP. LNP Multicultural Affairs minister assisting the Premier acknowledged the interaction of Muslims in Australian society. Their many activities including the enhancing of harmony and peace with the distribution of white roses in Brisbane this year, and symbolizing non violence against women by distribution of white ribbons in the center of the city. The Honourable Desley Scott MP. ALP shadow minister, appraised the contribution of Muslims in Queensland. Key note speaker, Dr Asmi
John Wood of Australian National University delivered an inspirational speech titled, Dispelling Darkness With Light. Dispelling Extremism Through Education. A sumptuous dinner, heightened the entertainment with melodious presentations by Imam Ahmed Abu Ghazaleh and the Istanbul Groove Band with their Anatolia Folk Music. The evening culminated with award presentations to dedicated community workers, who strive together towards social harmony and collaboration. All embracing milestones comments came from The Director of Queensland Education and Cultural Foundation Mr Kenan Boz who praised the Muslim community for working tirelessly to increase awareness and understanding. He further thanked the participants for supporting, encouraging and promoting good will and protection through freedom and privileges enjoyed in Australia. His commitments in advancing education, he said, is to break down misconceptions and establish bonds between the individual communities. Structured Cabling & Home Automation Specialists Mob: 0402 137 786 Tel: (07) 3122 1998 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 4 Channel Networked CCTV Kit
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Muslim Youth Speak Out By Maryam Issadeen
THE SECOND MUSLIM YOUTH Speak Out event that was held in Brisbane, took place on the 6th of July at Griffith University. The half-day program, organized by FAMSY, Revival and Al-Nisa was attended by over 50 people and involved a series of presentations by community youth as well as an address by guest speaker Dr. Zachariah Matthews. The presentations addressed issues faced by youth today with each of the speakers delivering a short talk on their topic which was later followed up by a panel discussion. The presentations began with an introduction by Mufti Zeeyad Ravat who highlighted the importance of community work, citing numerous examples of the Prophet Muhammed SAW involving himself in group activities. Mufti Zeeyad stressed on the importance of seeking knowledge, particularly as youth, and spoke about Iyas ibn Muawiyah a Tabi’ee who was known from a young age to be so knowledgeable that adults would call upon him for his advice. The presentations thereafter began with Current Trends in Social Media by Emane El-Mezin. Emane cited examples of social media being use to effect social or political change by youth. One such example is Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian who self-immolated, as a statement against the injustice of the local police system which subsequently became a catalyst for political reform. Bouazizi’s actions were shared through social media such as twitter and Facebook, the latter was used to organize large-scale protests. Besides political uses, Emane also discussed how users represent themselves (specifically their religion) online in social media, her final message being simple but significant: stay positive or stay silent. The next presentation, by Dylan Chown, was on Integrating and Working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community. Dylan
provided a well-researched presentation about the history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, particularly stressing on societal advancements such as immutable sacred law and trading systems that existed prior to colonisation. Dylan also touched on the concept of cognitive frames, the idea that people perceive others through a pre-set frame, often refusing to acknowledge the intricacies and traits of communities but rather seeing them as a simplified whole that fit within their own ‘frame’ of perception. The presentation provided the opportunity to consider the depth and complexity of an often silenced group in society. The third presentation was Marriage and Living Happily Married by Maryam Yousufzai. Maryam discussed pertinent issues relating to marriage and society today, such as finding and getting to know a potential spouse.
Maryam shared her own experiences and drew attention to important points such as the basis of marriage in Islam, the prevalence of arranged marriages today and a few tips on what to expect after marriage. Bilal Coovadia presented the fourth of the youth topics on Dawah in the Modern World and Working Together with Non-Muslims. Bilal provided much-needed advice on being a Muslim in the corporate world based on his own experiences. He touched on points that many Muslims living in Australia would regularly face – shaking hands and having meetings with the opposite gender, attending office meetings and socials where alcohol is consumed and finding time and a place to perform Salaah. Dr. Zachariah Matthews, the Head of Religious and Leadership Studies at Unity Grammar College in NSW was the guest speaker of the event. His topic was Self-Reform: Essential for Community Service. Dr. Matthews discussed the importance of total reformation, from self, to family, to society. Beginning with
self, Dr. Matthews talked about reforming the mind through increasing knowledge, understanding and wisdom. He spoke about delayed gratification and reward, reminding the audience of the Islamic view of the hereafter. After the mind, he moved on to the heart and spoke of seeking forgiveness, of faith, love and justice. From there he spoke of social reform, warning the audience of “spectatoritis” – the danger of seeing, but not making an effort to change something. Upon completion of the presentations, the speakers took part in a panel discussion to allow the audience to engage. The event concluded with lunch during which conversation and follow-up of the presentations took place amongst the attendees. The event was highly informative, well-executed and well-received. For more information about upcoming events by Revival, visit their website myrevival.com. au and for upcoming events by FAMSY and Al-Nisa, please visit their Facebook pages.
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Islamic College of Brisbane School Fete
On Sunday, 9th June, the Islamic College of Brisbane held their biennial Fete. Despite the threatening clouds hovering overhead all morning, lunchtime rolled around, the clouds disappeared and the day went ahead as planned. With 70 stalls spread over three levels, this year’s fete had something for everyone, and thousands turned up to sample the food and fun. The International Food Court was a great success with an amazing array of food from many nations being sold. The multi-purpose hall was also popular with make-up demonstrations, homewares and a huge variety of clothing. The teachers at ICB offered a variety of fun and interesting stalls on the lower level, leading to the everpopular rides. This year’s fete also played host to the inaugural ICB Fete Baking competition. There was an impressive array of entertainment on the stage throughout the day, showcasing the potential of the students at ICB. Some students presented Nasheeds, others a beautiful song on Syrian children and four Grade 6 girls showed that they have talent, with an excellent performance of cup songs. The highlight of the entertainment programme had to be the wonderful International Fashion Parade showcasing students, in their traditional dress, from over 23 nations, and incorporated a didgeridoo performance by a member of a local Indigenous tribe, Douglas James. This was followed by an Acknowledgement of Country, where the chairman of the CPAC committee,
Br Rabiul Alam, Brother Annas (Master of Ceremonies) and a group of ICB students paid respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the land by requesting permission to pass through the land in the traditional Aboriginal way. Before the day came to a close, there was a Silat Perisai Diri Martial Arts demonstration, followed by an auction where many fabulous donated goods were sold off in a bidding frenzy and the late evening
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Fireworks display were bigger and brighter than any seen before at an ICB Fete. All proceeds raised at this year’s event will be used by the CPAC Committee to purchase school resources that directly benefit the students that attend ICB. The success of the fete was truly in the hands of the community who attended. The CPAC Committee wishes to thank everyone for attending, despite the weather and making the day a huge success.
QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434 9
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From Page 1
Egypt – The Fight between Truth and Evil On the other hand however, the Arab spring revolutions of Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Egypt do not have the privilege of the Turkish or even the Gaza (HAMAS) case. The Muslim Brotherhood plays an important role in the instigation and inspiration of past and present Arab revolutions, including Algeria and Afghanistan. Therefore, it is crucial to analyse the historical significance of this group. The Muslim Caliphate came to an end in 1923 when Mustapha Kemal was announced as the first president of Turkey. Subsequently, the Muslim Ummah went into in a state of shock and as a result the Muslim Brotherhood was established by Imam Hassan Al-Banna in 1928 in the city of Ismailia, Egypt. Islam was still alive in the hearts of the followers of Islam, and the Brotherhood was a hope for the reawakening and reconstruction of an Islamic state for the Muslim Ummah once again. The revival was led by Imam Al-Banna by establishing the Muslim Brotherhood party that spread to numerous Muslim nations. Islamic political parties throughout the world were formed by great leaders who adopted the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood as the basis of their ideals. Prominent parties and figures include: Dr Necmettin Erbakan, the mentor and spiritual leader of the AKP party and the Turkish PM Mr Rajab Tayyip Erdogan, President of Bosnia Dr Ali Ezzat Bigovic, the Jamaat-e- Islami of Pakistan, Jammaat-e-Islami of Lebanon, HAMAS of Palestine, HAMAS of Algeria, Al-Nahda Party of Tunsia, Justice and Development Party of Morocco, The Islamic Party in Iraq, Muslim Brother hood of Syria, Muslim Brotherhood of Jordon and the Muslim brotherhood of Libya. The aforementioned parties, Muslim scholars and Muslims alike have come to believe that Imam Al-Banna is responsible for the rebirth of the Islamic awakening of the whole Muslim world of the 21st century.
Since the establishment of the group in 1928, it faced a lot of political persecution in various countries and many of their leaders and activists were jailed, executed, or assassinated. Imam Al-Banna was among the victims and was assassinated in 1949 allegedly by the Egyptian Secret Police. Massacres have also been committed against the brotherhood, where in 1982 the Hama Massacre was carried out against the Brotherhood in Syria with fatality estimates suggested at between 10,000 – 40,000 victims. Despite all the persecution, the group grew stronger until they won the democratic elections in Egypt, Tunsia, Morocco, Palestine, Turkey and other countries. More significantly, ever since 1928 the struggle of the Muslim brotherhood across all nations was between dictatorial military led governments, including: Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, the military governments of Turkey, Mummer Al-Kaddafi of Libya, and the military governments of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak in Egypt. As I have previously stated, the Turkish and HAMAS Muslim governments face three challenges. The newly elected governments in Egypt, Tunsia, and Libya have more challenges to face in addition to the aforementioned challenges, including: 4. The collapse of the Caliphate saw the formation of new secular states which operated under the guise of ‘democracy’. However, the generations that grew up in the so called democracies, which I like to call the dictatorship generations, have been successfully conditioned socially, mentally and politicly to accept the rule of dictatorship, corruption and fear rather than the rule of law. As a result, a strong faith in the military has been entrenched within the generations and has been regarded as the ultimate safeguard of the nation.
5. The rich Arab gulf states of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait that surround the Arab spring nations perceive democracy as a threat to their own style of government that is based on a tribal, one-man rule system. As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood poses a threat to their regimes and agendas. All the above challenges represent a big challenge for the newly democratic elected Muslim governments in Tunsia and Libya. The fate for Egypt has already been decided as the Brotherhood failed to successfully combat these challenges during their office. The overthrow of the democratically elected government through a military coup proves the theory of a dictatorship generation. The Muslim Brotherhood is left once again to continue the struggle against oppression, unlawful incarcerations, police and military brutality, corruption, and dictatorship. In time, history will illustrate that the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt in the 21st century
brought about the first democratic elected government in the history of ancient and modern Egypt which ended oppression and provided freedom for the masses. 3000 years later and the system has not been modified, from the time of the Pharaohs to the present military dictatorship rule. The fight between the truth (Al-Haq) and Evil (Al-Batel) continues on since the beginning of humanity. It was narrated on Omar Bin Al-Kat tab, “The son of Amr bin As abused and beat up a Coptic Christian; on hearing this Umar ibn Al-Khattab had son of Amr punished publicly by the hand of the victim Copt Christian. Then Umar ibn Al-Khattab addressed both father and son and said, “Since when do you enslave the people when their mothers bore them as free men?” So the question is, who will win in the end: the Truth or Evil? Azzam Al-Merhebi MIEAust, CPEng, RPEQs Principal Electrical & IC Engineer, Queensland
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Toowoomba’s Muslims eagerly The Coming Islamic Renaissance by Saadia Kha WITH ALL THE NEGATIVE media associated with Islam these days, it can be quite disparaging for the average Muslim. Islamic schools being established in the West— await city’s first mosque Every time we see another Muslim rapist, suicide-bomber, with a few of them even starting to outperform by Dr. Zaheer Kadwa
MUSLIMS IN TOOWOOMBA celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on Friday August 9th. Over 1000 musallees attended Eid salat led by Hafeez Abdulateed Al-Ammar on an extremely cold winter morning. President of the Islamic Society of Toowoomba, Professor Shahjahan Khan thanked everyone who helped conduct the daily iftar programme at the Islamic Centre during the month of Ramadan. Lunchtime festivities were held at a function hall in the city centre, which was well attended by the community including many families and international students. The Islamic Society organised gifts for over 130 children under the age of 10. Recently, the Islamic society of Toowoomba has signed a contract to purchase an old church with plans to turn it into a mosque. Toowoomba’s Muslim population has been steadily increasing and there has been a great need for a mosque. Despite previous setbacks, mainly due to strict Council regulations, a solution has been found and Toowoomba’s Muslim residents are one step closer
to having their first mosque. This is an incredibly significant achievement given the multiple challenges (opposition from the ignorant population, funding etc.) that have had to be overcome. The plan is to complete the purchase and take possession of the property by the end of the year. At present $635,000 (68% of the required $925,000) has been raised through various fundraising efforts. Despite this noteworthy amount, the Muslim Community of Toowoomba still needs your support. A fundraising dinner will be held at the Islamic College of Brisbane on Saturday September 14, 2013. Tickets for this event are priced at $35 for a single ticket or $300 for a table of ten, and are being sold at different mosques in Brisbane and the Gold Coast Mosque. The Muslim’s of Toowoomba would like to thank the wider community for their ongoing support in this venture. For tickets and other information regarding the fundraising dinner please contact Shahbaz Rafiq on 0402 398 608.
Top Award for Muslim Community Figure
SUSAN AL-MAANI, the inspirational mother, student and women’s rights advocate from Brisbane has been awarded the inaugural Lesley Chenoweth Award for Social Justice and Equity. Al-Maani is the first recipient of the award and her achievements have set the benchmark high. As well as completing her honours in human services and social work, Al-Maani is a mother of two and heavily involved in the Australian-Palestinian community. Last year she helped to raise more than $60,000 to purchase sewing machines for women to become self sustainable in occupied territories. “My passion is to create awareness and advocate for women’s rights and I’m also interested in early intervention programs targeting domestic violence and child abuse,” she said. The award’s eponym, head of Logan campus Lesley Chenoweth, spoke highly of Mrs Al-Maani. "She’s been an amazing example for her peers and a mentor for other students,” she said. On receiving the award, Ms Al-Maani gave credit to her family, who she said has supported her work. “My husband and kids have been wonderful,” she said. “They have been a source of inspiration. “Without them I would not have done it.” Southern Star, 22nd August
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corrupt politician or backwards adherent using Islam to justify his or her deplorable actions, we almost want to scream from the rooftops: “These people do not represent Islam!” Feeling disheartened about the state of the ummah(Muslim community), many of us lose hope in the general Muslim condition. The inevitable impulse is to become negative and turn inward. But what if I told you that is not the case? What if I told you the global ummah is actually on the cusp of a worldwide Islamic renaissance? What if I told you that despite all the upheaval, and the myriad challenges, most Muslim countries are actuallygaining influence in the international political arena? What if I told you, that among all the negative hype, there exists a concurrent Islamic movement—a movement based on education and empowerment—that is slowly but surely transforming Muslim practice and will have immense influence on the global socio-political landscape in the generations to come? Some people will immediately critique what I’m asserting here based on the idea that there is no ummah. There is no central authority, no unity, and certainly no consolidated vision. How can we possibly overlook the differences between Muslim practice in California or Canada as compared to Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Indonesia? The reality on the ground for each of these groups is vastly diverse, not only between different regions but also within them. My response is that despite these differences, the Muslims of each of these communities, whether they practice Islam or not, still follow a deeply Islamic social script—a script with far more similarities than differences—and that has profound consequences on their socio-political affairs. So what evidence do we have that the Muslim world is on the incline? The first and foremost sign is the emphasis on and acquisition of education within the Muslim world as compared to the developing world at large. The Muslim world is defined as those countries with a Muslim majority population, and with the unfortunate exception of Afghanistan and some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, educational access among Muslims has dramatically improved all over the world. Muslims are also more likely to pursue tertiary education than most other groups. The other significant factor here is the Muslim diaspora. Whether you are in the United States, Canada, Australia or most of Europe, the Muslim diaspora has come to represent a very rich, very informed and highly influential group that is often ignored in conversations about the Muslim world. The most interesting thing about this diaspora for the purposes of this discussion is that not only are many of them highly educated, a rapidly growing number of them are actively seeking Islamic knowledge. So we are not just talking about the pursuit of ‘secular’ or mainstream education but also the increasing grassroots momentum of traditional Islamic knowledge. This has all the ingredients to foster a resurgence of Islamic philosophy. As an extension of this, an increasing number of the most highly-educated Muslim women in the West are choosing to home-school their children. This seems to be born of recognition of the centrality of education to character and nation-building as well as a concentrated community effort to synthesize secular and Islamic education. This development is also indicated by the growing number of
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mainstream schools. These trends are only in their infancy but if they continue, the effects will be quite substantial. As any historian will attest, the rise of education and philosophy are directly linked to the rise of civilization. However, there is a new factor at play in the current scenario that historians have not really had the opportunity to study in great detail. That is the intensification of communication made possible by modern technology, or in other words, the growth of social media. The effects of social media on the distribution of information, as well as the development of a globalized Muslim identity, are already quite profound. Of course, Internet access and literacy are definitely not universal and many Muslims are obviously being left out of the discussion, but what is slowly happening among those who do enjoy such access is an intense negotiation including scholars, regional stakeholders and average Muslim participants. This is ultimately (and quite unintentionally) leading to some level of consensus-building that predictably defies borders, in essence defining a modern Islamic worldview and the contours of Muslim behaviour for a large (and influential) subset of contemporary adherents. To cite just two examples, one of the most fundamentally powerful and obvious political developments born out of social media was the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2012, but a far less discussed development has been the colossal role of social media in defining an emerging Islamic feminism. So the potential implications of what we are talking about here cannot be overstated. And in the coming decades, social media will only grow in influence among the worldwide Muslim population, particularly among its youth. The third point is the changing nature of global politics. In the coming era, Western countries will have relatively less power than they have had for most of the last century. China, Russia, India and the Muslim world will have substantially more influence. As a natural result, Western liberal-democracy, despite its many strengths and contributions, will no longer be the dominant global ideology. Western ideals are not going to collapse, obviously, nor should they. But there will definitely be greater room for new, competing ideologies and these will slowly work themselves into mainstream consciousness. Many countries have just now reached a comfortable level of economic viability and stability; many more are about to. This opens up a stage where citizens start exploring their pre-colonial history, essentially reconstructing their identities and redefining their politics in the process. This is why—in a development that absolutely baffles many Western observers—many Muslim countries are democratically electing so-called “Islamist” governments. In Western scholarly circles, Islam is often regarded as antithetical to democracy but obviously, most Muslims would disagree. So what we are seeing now is with the increasing democratization of the Muslim world, that there is simultaneously an increasing Islamization. And though this phenomenon is riddled with violence, corruption, and other setbacks, it is slowly but surely empowering people, strengthening the ideas of an Islamic identity and worldview and in the process, augmenting the reality of Muslim political power. When we couple this with the sheer growth of Muslim demographics in the next few decades, we are talking about a potential political powerhouse with Islamic ideals at the core. There is obviously a lot of work to be done; and many, many challenges on the road to an Islamic renaissance. But the ground work has already being laid. And the blueprint for change need not be universal. So do not give up on your fellow Muslims and do not lose hope. Concentrate your energies on the inward as well as the outward. Educate yourself and your loved ones, engage with others and support the work of legitimate Islamic organizations and parties. Choose a cause that is important to you and be of service. Strategize, build bridges and emphasize justice. And above all, be patient and put your trust in Allah, exalted is He. “Surely, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Qur’an 13:11) www.suhaibwebb.com
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A Message from Eidfest 2013
EIDFEST CELEBRATED ITS NINTH year in new surroundings with the award winning festival setting up home at the Rocklea Showgrounds. Apart from a few flow issues, the Eidfest Committee is very happy with the response of the people toward to the facilities at Rocklea and the way in which we have been accepted by the Rocklea Show Committee. More than 9000 people came to Eidfest to test the new facilities and they were well received. As well as the new facilities, Eidfest hosted the world's first Muslim Writers Festival, with speakers coming from across Australia, talking on many varied subjects such as Rupert Murdoch and his influence, blasphemy, the influence of Wahabism, and our political leaders and their faith. The audience had an opportunity to interact with Muslim writers, as well as other media people who write about Muslim issues and how they tell their stories. Lots of positive feedback was received about the Writers Festival that it will become a regular event at Eidfest in future years. Eidfest also hosted the Young Australian of the Year, Akram Azimi who was a major hit with the crowd with his story of tenacity and resourcefulness, from when he arrived in Australia, a refugee some 12 years ago, to today being a wonderful youth mentor and ambassador.
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by Yasmeen Khan, President of Eidfest
Again the free rides at Eidfest proved to be a big drawcard, and a great cost saver to families, as everyone had to pay a nominal fee to enter and could hop on the rides all day for free. Entertainment was provided from a variety of diverse areas, including Turkish, Fijian, Indian, Arabic and Australian performers, rounded off with a superb and extra long fireworks demonstration. A big thank you to Mustapha Deen and company from Mactrans who allowed us to have his great big Mack truck on display in the middle of the grounds, and it was a great hit. The Eidfest Committee would like to thank our sponsors, the Qld Government, Brisbane City Council and Malaysia Airlines, Dreamworld and the many businesses who supported us by advertising in the Eidfest booklet. The biggest thanks go to our wonderful community of Brisbane, Muslim and non-Muslim, who have taken Eidfest to their heart and allow us the joy of providing you with a great festival that brings people together. Next year, in our our tenth year, we will have some surprises for you Insha Allah, and we all look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime go to our website for some photos from Eidfest and the video of the panel discussions at the Muslim Writers Festival.â€?
Revival Leadership Program (September 23-27, 2013)
A LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM is to be conducted in September called Leadership Excellence Course co-run by Revival and Standard Bearers Academy. The course is a fusion of modern leadership teachings from a business management consultancy perspective and the leadership teachings of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Mirza Yawar Baig of Hyderabad, India is the course instructor Dr Mohamad Abdalla will also be instructing during the week long program in September (23-27). It is the first time this course is coming to Australia (6 countries and counting) and will be held in Mt Tamborine. The course introduction can be found at www.standardbearersacademy.com/LEC
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A Few Things Every Prospective Hajji Should Know WELCOME, PROSPECTIVE HAJJI, to a unique journey. This journey is an invitation from your Lord to visit His House and engage in one of the most illustrious acts of worship. He picked you out of millions of people to travel across the world and ask for forgiveness in the best place on Earth. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to work on making your Hajj accepted by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He). This means that you fulfill all the requirements and avoid all the actions that nullify Hajj such that you come back home purified from all sins. You’ve heard it before: Hajj is a beautiful journey. But this journey is a struggle. It is said the greatest physical struggle for a woman is to complete Hajj. Like any journey, being prepared in advance will help to maximize the experience and to deal with challenges. I compiled advice from different friends and experienced hajj veterans to help future Hajjis prepare physically, mentally and spiritually. Hajj stories are very diverse—some have scary stories (don’t ask too much about the bathroom situation) while others have some hilarious moments or a few depressing encounters. Understand that every Hajj experience is different but the goal is the same. Please keep in mind that you will get advice from different people who have different goals and values. Take what you feel matches your own values. For instance: I like to prepare for things as much as I can in advance—therefore I will buy all the things I need in the U.S. instead of hunting down things last minute in Makkah/Madina. I also dislike waste and like to economize—so I prefer taking
by Hajja Saira
a few used items from family/friends instead of buying everything new. I also like to give away non-essential items to needy people in Mina. I prefer to use natural medicines before going to regular meds, however I made an exception during Hajj in order to minimize risks and because Hajj requires a lot of energy. Overall, a balanced approach and positive attitude will be your best friends during this trip. The ingredients of a successful Hajj are preparation before the journey, extra patience during the trip, and sincere effort towards improving yourself after the journey. As you keep the following steps in mind, remember to continuously ask Allah (swt) to help you in the journey. He can make the difficult easy and without His help we are lost.
Step 1: Physical Prep
1 Get in shape. You will walk, walk and walk some more. Some people recommend walking regularly in the weeks before Hajj to build endurance. 2 Boost your immunity. Travelling from the U.S. takes a huge toll: long plane rides, layovers, and a wait anywhere from 2 – 12hrs at the Jeddah airport. So indulge in fruits and veggies while in the U.S., especially those rich in antioxidants. Stay away from sick people as best as you can during the trip. One friend started taking a teaspoon of honey regularly in her tea. A few people wore a surgeon’s mask throughout the trip. Although it may seem mean, don’t share your water bottles or share
prayer mats. You might still get sick, but take whatever precautions you can. Pace yourself upon arrival. Try to balance between resting and making the most of your time in Makkah and Madina. You don’t want to wear yourself out before going to Mina, but at the same time you want to earn good deeds in the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. Preventive care. Take medicine as soon as you feel sick, but avoid taking antibiotics unless or until you have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Ricola cough drops are excellent. It is a good idea to take several packs because people will ask you for some. Everyone gets the ‘Hajj cough’. Use lemon, honey, orange juice, etc. Take Vitamin C supplements regularly during the trip—don’t wait till you get sick to start this! Gather your supplies. Make a list before travelling so that you don’t forget anything. Make a specific list for the days of Hajj before you leave for Mina (i.e. stuff you will pack in your backpack) Take your ‘worship tools’ to use during the waiting time. A lot of times people find themselves without anything to do during the long stretches. Come prepared with a Qur`an, seerah (biography of the Prophet, peace be upon him) book, or dhikr (remembrance/ prayer) beads. Write down a few du`a (supplications) for yourself that you can memorize or repeat frequently. Sometimes you will be too tired to remember so keep a small notebook on hand. Also, you can write down some notes or reflections that will help preserve the experience. Stay energized. You need to keep hydrated— drink Zamzam (water from the well of Zamzam in Mecca) but also take snacks and energy bars. Some programs do not serve lunch so healthy snacks will help hold you till dinner. If you don’t like the food at the hotel, don’t complain. There are plenty of places to eat at the malls and hotels. Avoid anything that doesn’t seem clean and anything that you know makes your stomach upset.
Step 2: Mental Prep
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1 Know the requirements of performing Hajj. You don’t want to waste this trip by missing something important. Attend the workshops in your area and/or read a book. Then review the information before you get to Mina. As a first time Hajji it’s natural to be unfamiliar with the rites, so ask scholars in the group. 2 Know what to expect and set the expectations. Hajj is the journey of a lifetime; but at the same time you might face things that are upsetting. Sadly, I encountered a lot of trash and garbage thrown all over the place in Mina. The bathroom situation is another story. Expect squatter toilets and learn to use them. If used correctly it can be sanitary and easier to use then regular toilets. 3 Strategize. A few tricks will help you maximize your time. For example, when going to pray at the rawdah in the Prophet’s masjid there are designated times for women. Head towards the rawdah area towards the end of the time allotted and try to be in the
last group praying. You won’t feel as hassled because there is nobody coming behind you. Also, there are air-conditioned areas in the Haram (area around the Ka`bah) in Makkah on the first and second floor (enter through King Fahd entrance and stay on the left). Plan on praying/sitting there during the hottest part of the day. Since the time between Maghrib (post-sunset prayer) and `Isha (night prayer) is short, it’s a good idea to stay at the Haram between those prayers. That way you won’t struggle for a spot inside. One local student gave us this awesome tip: Make sa’i (the walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa) on the 4th floor roof extension area, which is usually empty and has a wonderful view during Fajr (pre-dawn prayer) time. Don’t be cheap. You will see a lot of the poor and the elderly. Help them as much as you can and be generous. Don’t haggle with store keepers over small amounts. At the same time be cautious of theft and being ripped off by taxi drivers. As in any big city there are opportunists, so be cautious of your money and personal items. Keep your shoes in a plastic bag with you at all times. Side point: don’t take a camera or camera phone into the Prophet’s masjid (for women, there are female guards who will frisk you before letting you in). Get in the right mindset by surrendering yourself to Allah (swt). You are going on Hajj, which is not a vacation in a 4 star hotel. You will be tested in different ways so remind yourself to be patient and not to complain. You are invited as Allah’s guests so use the correct manners that a guest should have. As a bonus, try to catch yourself before reacting negatively to a test by acknowledging that that what is making you upset is the test. Remember why you are here: to complete Hajj and go back home. You are not here to change the Saudi government or fix the ignorance of the ummah (community). You are not here to argue with different people about who is right and wrong. You might need to develop a mantra or phrase to remind yourself. A few people would remind themselves saying, “La jidaal,” or “No arguing,” if they started to get annoyed with a spouse, family member, or random uncle in the group. Don’t compare your group to other groups. It’s very easy to get caught up in what other people ate or what their tents were like. Avoid going down that road and remind yourself that everyone’s test will be different and no one has a problem-free Hajj. Focus on yourself, make incessant talbiyah [Labbayk Allahuma labbayk—I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call], and embody your submission to Allah (swt). Minimize the distractions. This is one of the biggest struggles. There is a lot going on and sometimes it will be hard to focus. Try to set goals for yourself before the trip so you know what to work on. I saw many people complete the Qur`an in a few short weeks. Plan on getting to the Haram extra early if you want to pray inside. Avoid getting into debates about different opinions and madhabs (schools of thought). Decide on what you are going to follow
QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434 15
beforehand and don’t get confused when people tell you that your Hajj won’t be accepted. People find themselves waiting a lot and start to discuss these issues that end up creating confusion or hostility. Follow your group leader who is experienced and let others follow their leaders. 10 Stick together and find an experienced person to follow. This may seem obvious but a buddy system will help prevent you from getting lost. An experienced Hajji is full of tips and will make some of the rites easier to perform (such as the best time to throw stones and which area is easier to start from). 11 Keep calm with your roommates and carry on. If you are sharing a room with other people in Makkah or Madina take some earplugs or eye covers to help you get rest. You might be paired with a roommate that can be a test for you—just try to take things in stride and avoid getting upset or frustrated with the person. If you are annoyed, try to do nice things for the person and make du`a’ for that person and yourself. 12 Use the full day of Arafah for worship—not just the time after Asr (late afternoon prayer). Many people fall into this trap and spend time sitting, eating and talking on the most important day of Hajj and only start making du`a’ after `Asr. Separate yourself from people and focus on seeking forgiveness. The Prophet used to make du`a’ the entire day and intensified the supplication after `Asr. The same thing applies after Arafah when people revert to their old habits and lose focus while they are still on Hajj! Continue to keep yourself busy with reading, remembrance, and extra worship. Side point: plan to avoid the bathrooms at Muzdalifah. Eat/drink accordingly and use the bathrooms in Arafah before getting on the bus to Muzdalifah. 13 An experienced Hajji advised: “Treat tawaf (walking 7 times around the Ka`bah) like prayer and strive for khushoo’ [concentration].” The virtue of tawaf is well known: it is recommended to perform tawaf in the Haram before praying 2 rakahs (units of prayer) as the ‘greeting’ of the masjid! One idea is to pick different du`a’ or prayers for each round, or to pick the first round for seeking forgiveness, the second round for making du`a’ for the community, etc. Performing tawaf can be a struggle given all the distractions. Try to avoid congested areas and the 2nd floor wheelchair
drivers (who go fast and end up hitting peoples’ ankles). One recommendation is to avoid the first and second floor and only make tawaf and sa’i on the relatively un-crowded rooftop. 14. Ask Allah for help. This advice was given by an elderly woman sitting in the Prophet’s masjid. She said to always start your actions by asking Allah (swt) to help you. Allah (swt) can make anything happen—all we need to do is ask.
Step 3: Spiritual Prep
This important aspect tends to be ignored since many people focus on the external actions of Hajj and then focus on trying to survive the trip. If you make this a priority ahead of time by taking a few steps to prepare then the struggle can be spiritually uplifting and rewarding. 1 Read the Inner Dimensions of Hajj notes based on a lecture by Shaykh Mokthar Maghraoui ahead of time to get in the proper spiritual frame of mind. The Shaykh describes the Hajj rites from a different perspective— beyond the walking and waiting, Hajj is an intense act of worship that has spiritual significance. Hajj is not just a physical journey but a surrendering of the heart to Allah (swt) with absolute submission. You will give up everyday comforts (even personal hygiene!) for a few short days as you purify the soul. Print the articles out and share with roommates. 2 Evaluate yourself before leaving for Hajj. Really take yourself to account. As one experienced Hajji stated, “Look at your personal weaknesses and flaws. Make tawbah (repentance) for all the sins you are committing and all the weaknesses you have. Do not go to Hajj with the intention of continuing on any known sin when you return. Your intention needs to be that you will discontinue it and fight it. This is very important. Hajj is not something a person does many times—so make sure you receive the full reward for completing it. Do not risk an unaccepted Hajj.” She also emphasized, “Don’t let the spirit of the group affect your spirit. If people on the bus are talking and socializing and you feel like doing the talbiyah then go ahead and start instead of wondering why others aren’t.” 3 Keep good companionship during the trip. I was blessed to have good friends as roommates during my journey. You might observe different types of people in your group: the complainers, the chit-chatters, the Debby-downers, etc.
Hajj Travel Checklist
This is a list to take to Saudi. Everything is available there so don’t fret if you forget anything. A few things are specifically for rites of Hajj and should be packed when you go to Mina.
• Prescription medicine • Small amount of Advil and Tylenol • Aleve (for muscle swelling or headaches) • Small container of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) • Cough drops (Riccola brand is great. Bring a lot. Cough drops with honey is a bonus.) • Vitamin C (Tablets or powder such as Airborne) • Bengay (or other muscle rub) • Pepto-Bismol and/or Immodium • Small travel-size First-Aid kit • Unscented chapstick with SPF
Even as you prepare for the journey of a lifetime, keep in mind that unexpected events will probably occur. Every year is different and every person’s experience is different. Savor the new experiences and focus on the positives. Yes, you will see strange and rude actions and plenty of ignorance. But you will also see grown men shed tears while gazing at the House of Allah (swt) and pleading for mercy and forgiveness. You will see millions of people unite from all corners of the world for one purpose alone: to fulfill the obligation of Hajj and surrender before their Creator. Reflecting on these facts creates a deep respect for our religion. How amazing is the call to prayer which transforms the chaotic amblings of millions of people into perfectly circular lines within the span of a few minutes? How amazing is our faith that pushes people to struggle and give up basic comforts because of a sincere desire to please their Lord? Revel in the voices chanting in unison, marching onward with a single hope, and with a bond that overcomes all walks of life. Witness the power of submission and obedience and how it transforms tired pilgrims into an army of the faithful. Lastly, as one Hajji said, “Always keep in mind that Hajj is a test. You can prepare yourself as much as possible but nothing [completely] prepares you for the reality of the experience. You will experience highs and lows. There will be moments of great awe as well as moments of great frustration. Pack a bag of patience!” Although Hajj is deemed as the journey of a lifetime, for many it will be a turning point and the beginning of the journey back to their faith. For a few people, Hajj will be an ongoing journey as they come back home and try to implement lessons in patience, physical sacrifice, and complete submission. As one scholar advised, “Take your Hajj back home with you. Be in your life as you were on Hajj.” May Allah bless your Hajj and accept all our good deeds. May Allah make things easy for you and allow you to come back safely.
• Shampoo/Soap/Deodorant/Sunscreen/Cream (to use while not in ihram [state of purity]) • Unscented soap • Toothbrush • Toothpaste • Disposable razors/nail cutter/small scissors (pack in suitcase since they are not allowed on the plane) • Several packs of tissues • Miswaak (you can obtain in Saudi) • Unscented antibacterial hand sanitizers (to use in ihram) • Toliet paper (2 rolls)
• Ihram clothes • Several pairs of thick socks (black) • 1 cloth bag with shoulder strap (to place your small items when going to the Haram) • Waist Pouch/Money Belt • Slippers (Teva or Crocs or any other flip flops) • Earplugs/eye cover (if you are a light sleeper) • Extra pair of glasses • Small Qur`an • 7 beads on a string (to keep track of Tawaf/Sa’i) • Pen/Pencil • Notebook • Prayer rug • Towel (to use while living in apt buildings) • One sheet or sleeping bag (old one that you can leave there) • Backpack (to pack things for stay in Mina) • Travel Alarm Clock/Watch • A few zip lock bags • DC/AC electric convertor (for any gadgets like camera/phone)
Books and Documents
• Hajj and Umrah Made Easy • Salaat & Salaam • Accepted Whispers • Prayers for Forgiveness • Inner Dimensions of Hajj (notes by Sh. Mokthar) • Your personal du`a’ list • Photocopy/picture of your passport page
• Lots of Energy/Protein/Granola bars/snacks (take some extra to share with roommates)
16 QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434
If you found this advice beneficial, please feel free to share with others and make du`a’ for all the Hajj veterans who shared their experiences.
If you feel distracted then keep to yourself since you don’t want the negativity to rub off and affect your experience. Make a pact with yourself that you will come back from Hajj and keep the complaints to yourself. There might be things that you don’t like but you will hold those complaints in your heart and share constructive criticism with the group organizer. Good friends will remind you and support you in this goal. Optimism is contagious!
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All Hallows’ and believing Women for a Culture of Peace by Maryam Issadeen
A SMALL GROUP of students from All Hallows’ school presented the findings of their school assignments to the local group Believing Women for a Culture of Peace (BWCP). Rory McGahan (16), Anita Previtera (15) and Brigitte Vollert (16) have been taking study of religion at All Hallows’ school this year. After being given an introduction to Islam, the three girls chose to write an essay addressing the hypothesis “being a Muslim in Brisbane is tricky”. Each of the girls responded to the statement using the topics of marriage, work and dress. The students read out the 1000 word
essays they had written for school, with two members of BWCP, Azima Omar and Fenti
the opposite gender), in marriage (e.g. finding partners) and socially. All three students spoke eloquently and confidently and stimulated an engaging and lively discussion after their presentations.
USQ Professor Recognised in Bangladesh
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Forsyth briefly responding to each of the essays based on their own experiences as Muslim women. The students found the assignments and research to be highly educative with their well-written and informative essays bearing testament to their hard work. The topic of dress came up often and while many a non-Muslim may be confused by the different degrees of coverings employed by Muslim women, the young students concluded that they understood Muslim women ultimately choose a manner of dressing that they are comfortable with and believe will strengthen their relationship with God. Other findings from their research included awareness of issues Muslim women face in the workplace (e.g. getting employed, working with
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EVEN THOUSANDS OF kilometres away, University of Southern Queensland Statistics Professor Shahjahan Khan is still receiving accolades from his country of origin, Bangladesh. Professor Khan has recently been elected as an Expatriate Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Science, the leading scientific organisation in Bangladesh and a leading representative to the government for matters of science and research. As an expatriate fellow of the academy, Professor Khan will act as an ambassador for Australia and elsewhere in promoting science and technology as well as contributing research. “It’s an excellent feeling to be recognised for your work by members of the scientific community in the country of your birth,” Professor Khan said. “The academy engages with the government in the development and promotion of science within Bangladesh and the academy’s input is highly valued by the policy makers. “As far as I know, I’m the first from Australia to become an Expatriate Fellow of the academy.” Professor Khan said he looked forward to use his new appointment to help the development of science in his home country. “If you have a talent, the academy can use it
USQ Press Release
and mine happens to be statistics,” Professor Khan said. “I can also help with organising seminars, conferences and workshops such as the International Statistics Conferences which I helped organise in 2006 and 2008 in Bangladesh. “I feel USQ is a great platform to work with organisations such as the academy.” While working at USQ, Professor Khan has served as the President of ISOSS (2005-2011), an international professional organisation of statisticians, organised 4 international conferences in Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan and Qatar, and have been serving as the Founding Chief Editor of the USA based Journal of Applied Probability and Statistics (JAPS) since 2006. The Bangladesh Statistical Association awarded him prestigious Qazi Motahar Hossain Gold Medal in December 2012 in recognition of his scientific contribution and promotion of statistics. Professor Khan was nominated for the position by a fellow Expatriate of the academy from Canada. For more information on the Bangladesh Academy of Science and its contribution to the sciences in the country, visit http://www.bas.org.bd
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QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434 17
Bringing a Secret to the Prophet’s Garden By Shibli Zaman (www.suhaibwebb.com)
I HAD BEEN IN MEDINA for 3 days and the crowds were like I had never seen in this city before, not even during Ḥajj. Would I leave without visiting the Prophet? Anyone who has been there knows that such a thing is unthinkable. We had to give it one last shot. My sons and I walked into the Prophet’s Mosque and its hallowed halls—framed with columns and arches adorned in gold and walls gilded with calligraphic benedictions—looked eerily different today. To my astonishment the Mosque appeared largely empty, with only scattered people throughout, most of them sleeping. My eldest son Abdullah, 11 years old, began to quicken his gait. His younger brother Ibrahim, 10 years old, followed him. I quickly caught up with them. “This is our chance!” What we hoped for was to reach the blessed Rawḍah, an especially sacred area of the Mosque. As we got closer, we heard the din and hum of voices like bees getting louder. The Mosque wasn’t empty. Everyone was trying to get to the Rawḍah just as we were. Nonetheless, we hadn’t reached this far yet, so we were hopeful. We politely zigzagged our way through the crowd and neared the blessed pulpit of the Prophet to our right. I explained to my sons the saying of the Prophet: “Between my house and my pulpit is a Garden from the Gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit rests upon my wellspring.” Imams al-Nawawi and Ibn Ḥajar give two possible interpretations to the statement “Garden from the Gardens of Paradise.” The first being that it is literally a Garden of Paradise in a quantum trans-dimensional sense and the very area itself will be seen, as it is, in Paradise. The second interpretation being that worship therein leads to Paradise. Ibn Ḥajar adds a third to these two, saying that the Divine Love and Mercy one feels in there is as if one were in Paradise. In regards to the closing statement of the narration, “my pulpit rests upon my wellspring,” the renowned Maliki Jurisprudent and martyr, al-Qaḍi `Iyyad, said, “Most of the scholars have said this refers to his pulpit itself, as it was in the world.” It will rise upon the Wellspring of al-Kawthar where we will meet our beloved Prophet. He will not be a King seated
upon a throne but a humble friend feeding us water, quenching our thirst from the toils of Judgment Day, water he will feed us from his very own hands. The Prophet often told his Companions, “Be patient until you meet me at the Wellspring.” Anas bin Malik radi allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) once asked the Prophet, “Will you intercede for me with God?” He replied, “I am the one to do that.” Then Anas (ra) asked, “Where should I look for you?” The Prophet replied, “Seek me at the Ṣirat.” Anas then asked, “And what if I don’t find you there?” The Prophet replied, “Seek me at the scale.” Anas asked again, “And what if I don’t find you there?” Finally, the Prophet replied, “You will find me at the Wellspring.” Telling my sons about this made them even more eager to reach the Rawḍah, but how would we get there beyond such a large crowd? We didn’t push. We didn’t shove. We stepped aside so that others could pass. We trusted in God. Finally, after so much difficulty, my sons and I found ourselves within the enclosure of the Rawḍah. Yet everyone was shoulder to shoulder and we couldn’t find any room to pray. The people who were praying had others waiting behind them for their turn to pray. All the while, police were maintaining order by ushering people out who had finished praying so new people could pray, or asking people who were taking too long to hurry up. I had already resolved that I would focus upon making space for my boys to pray before I worried about myself. An Indonesian man, who apparently didn’t speak English well, gestured to Ibrahim saying, “Baby boy! Baby boy!” and motioning that Ibrahim should take his spot in line. I hugged him and thanked him in earnest. I will always pray for him. Just then, as Ibrahim took his spot, two spots opened in front of us so that all three of us could pray together. As I fell down and pressed my face to the ground I began to hyperventilate as tears poured from my eyes. It was as if I was no longer in control. Everything came rushing to me at once as if God was extracting all my pain out of me like poison
18 QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434
from a wound. As I rose from prostration and completed my prayer, I raised my hands to the sky and cried, “O God! Lord of humankind! Remove this ill and please heal my son Abdullah! For you are the Healer and there is no Healer other than You! Neither is there any healing other than Your healing. Let it be a healing that leaves no ailment behind!” My boys and I were able to pray to our heart’s content. It was spiritually liberating in a way that made me realize how enslaving pain and sadness can be. For the past few months, as I watched my Abdullah lose every golden hair from his head and then eventually his entire body, I had wished that his affliction would leave him and afflict me instead. How helpless I’ve felt as a father unable to rescue my son. So I laid it all out before God. There was, and is, nowhere else to go. As we left the Rawḍah, a police officer grabbed my hand and asked me, “Were you able to pray as much as you needed?” I replied in the affirmative. Seeing my tear scarred face he asked, “What troubles you?” I put my hand on Abdullah’s shoulder and told him, my voice cracking, “My son has an auto-immune condition and we came here all the way from America specifically to pray for his healing.” The officer then began to pray for Abdullah and told me to have faith and trust in God who is One. The One who afflicts is the very One who cures. In every hardship is a lesson to be learned and, thereafter, is relief. But you must trust in God alone and no one else. Along with this advice, he repeatedly looked me straight in the eye and exhorted me, “Do not despair! Do not get weak!” He asked me to translate for Abdullah, so I did. Then, immediately after the Rawḍah, we approached the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet is buried in the house he shared with his wife `Aisha, in the very spot of their resting quarters. On each side of him rests his two companions and successors, Abu Bakr and `Umar (ra). One of the religious administrators put his arm around my shoulder and told me, “Here is where Abu Bakr rests, and there is where `Umar
rests, and in the middle is the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him.” My sons and I greeted them, “Peace be upon you, O beloved Messenger of God! Peace be upon you, O Abu Bakr! Peace be upon you, O `Umar!” Then, in the same way we entered the Rawḍah, we followed the waves of people, as comforting as the waves of the ocean, towards the exit gates of the Mosque. As we walked out I turned back and gazed upon the Prophet’s resting place one last time. “You have, indeed, conveyed the greatest message, O Messenger of God! I will see you at the Wellspring.” I placed my arms around my sons and squeezed them as we walked out, telling them that the Prophet Muhammad felt helpless and lost as he desperately hid in a cold cave for days asking God to reveal Himself. Then God answered him, guided him, and raised him up to the point that, today, “Muhammad” is recorded as the most given male name on the planet. I gestured to the magnificent forest of pillars and minarets spiraling out from the smooth marble floors. “This all started in a dark cave, on a cold night, in a mountain of light.” I eased my grip on my sons. As they get older, I notice that at times I’m smothering them. They’re not babies anymore as much as I wish that they were. They are now men. Yet, as I eased my grip I noticed theirs tightening. All praise and thanks are due to God. My purpose for visiting Medina was fulfilled. I came home and recorded all my experiences and thoughts into what you are reading now. I figured my son wouldn’t want the world knowing what he’s going through so I left out all our names and made it anonymous. We haven’t told anyone other than immediate family and very few close friends. Even though I wrote this anonymously, I felt that Abdullah still had to read it first. If he objected even in the slightest, I would have discarded it and never spoken of it again. He had an emotionless expression on his face as he read it. He handed it back to me and smiled. “So what did you think?” “I loved it, Daddy. But I want you to change one thing.” “What’s that, Abdullah?” “Put our names in it.”
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by Maryam Issadeen A YOUNG GROUP of Muslim girls took it upon themselves to organize, assemble and distribute care packs to the homeless of Brisbane. Naeema Ismail (19), Fatima Bhagoo (21) and Afra Bashar (19) got the idea from a video on YouTube called “Make the Homeless Smile” which involved two young men handing out water, bananas and old clothing to the homeless of the USA. The heart-warming video went viral and inspired the young ladies to do something similar in Brisbane. What initially started out as a small project between friends quickly expanded well beyond what any of them could have imagined thanks to Facebook. After creating a Facebook event and notifying all of their friends, the girls were overwhelmed
with offers, donations and helping hands. The Facebook event entitled “Helping the Homeless” listed the items needed to create the care packs – necessities such as water, dry rations, toiletries and winter gear. Within 3 days, the girls received pledges and offers sufficient to create 100 bags, double what they initially set out to do – and the offers kept coming in. From monetary donations to product suggestions and offers of help for assembly and distribution, the Facebook event was inundated with messages. “We’re still in shock at how it all happened, we had messages left, right and centre”, said Naeema. A small group of volunteers gathered to help pack the bags on Saturday, 29th June and began distribution that night. The volunteers targeted areas known to have a number of homeless people such as West End, Fortitude Valley and
Woodridge. They also contacted the Street Doctor service, a recent initiative providing free healthcare to the homeless around Logan, to help locate those in need. The Helping the Homeless project was a resounding success with help coming in all forms from an estimated 50 people. Following the generous support, the girls hope to do a similar event either annually or bi-annually. The extra funds received, close to $1000, have gone towards the purchasing of Street Swags – a basic sleeping bag and shelter that rolls up into
a bag for easy transport and storage. The excess money raised will be handed over to ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) who will purchase and distribute the Street Swags in early July. “We couldn’t have done it without the community. That’s what we want it to be, a whole community thing where we all get together and do something good”, said Naeema. For information about any upcoming projects for the homeless of Brisbane, contact Fatima Bhagoo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434 19
Update from MCF
THE HOLY MONTH of Ramadan has been a time of community awareness and spiritual awakening. The Muslim Charitable Foundation has played its usual role of coming to the assistance of people in need. This year has been special to Muslim Charitable Foundation as other organisations and individuals rendered their assistance through Muslim Charitable Foundation. The Al-Ghazali Foundation supplied a large quantity of blankets, and the family of Ferhaad Osman supplied forty hampers (all packed by the Osman family) and blankets to be distributed to the needy through MCF. What a wonderful feeling it has been to assist in placing food on the table for those who have very little. May Allah reward those who have helped in this important task. The Muslim Charitable Foundation has collected $71,000 of the target of $140 000 during Ramadan for the purchase of disability aids to be sent to Syria in conjunction with Muslim Aid Australia. The Syrian nation is in need and we urge donors to contribute generously by using the following account: The Muslim Charitable Foundation Emergency Account; Bank of Queensland; BSB 124 155, A/C Number 2089 7395. The people of Syria need all the help they can get!! The Muslim Charitable Foundation has been in operation for four years now and has played a vital role aiding of the needy. MCF relies totally on donated funds to continue helping the sick, the disabled, elderly, widowed, single parents, the out- of- work familes, migrants, refugees and all who are in need of assistance. As to date, we have not been assisted with grants from any level of government. We totally rely on the community support. We urge you to help us help those in need. As we approach the end of Ramadaan, let us take full advantage to increase our prayers and charity. Also be mindful of the Fitrah that has to be paid before Eid Salaah. Our banking details are: • Fitrah A/C Bank of Qld BSB 124 155 A/C No 2096 3614
• Interest A/C Bank of Qld BSB 124 155 A/C No 20897385
• Zakat A/C Bank of Qld BSB 124 155 A/C No 20897312
• General A/C Bank of Qld BSB 124 155 A/C No 20897392
The Members of the Muslim Charitable Foundation wish to say JazakAllah Khair for the support that we have received since its inception. May Allah grant all your wishes, reward all your sacrifices, and reward with the best in this world and the Hereafter. Eid Mubarak
Enjoy the Variety of Food
DR SADEK MUSTAPHA encourages young children to know and to appreciate Allah swt creation by enjoying the variety of fruit and vegetable that he has provided. ALLAH SWT made the earth, the sun and the rain clouds. Providing us with good, wholesome, diverse, pure and delicious food and drinks in the world. Certainly all of these are manifestations of ALLAH'S endless grace and HIS mercy towards us. HE bestowed upon us countless favours, fruits, vegetables and various kinds of meats.
Think about the great variety of colors and fragrances with extremely clean contents and each with a very pleasant taste. The banana, tangerine, orange, melon and watermelon and all fruits are created each with its own wrapping. Their peels protect the fruit from decay and ruin and preserve their fragrance. The presence of different fruit in each season is a favor and grace of ALLAH to us. Each type of fruit has many varieties such as apples, oranges, bananas, grapes and olives etc.
Imagine the great variety of vegetables and how they grow. Some are flower buds like cauliflower and broccoli. Others are leaves like spinach, beetroot leaves, boc choy, lettuce, leaks and sprouts. Stem shoots such as asparagus and bamboo shoots. Tubes like potato and yam. Roots such as carrots, parsnips, beetroot, radish and turnips. Bulbs, onions and garlic.
Diverse forms of nuts grow on different trees such as walnut, macadamia and cashew.
Enjoy All The Food
ALLAH has given us beautiful taste buds and sense of smell of different fragrances. HE has also given us strong teeth and gums and facilitated us to enjoy the sweet, sour, bitter, salty and a mixed variety of food. ALLAH has indeed blessed us for which we have to thank HIM every time we eat our food. Remember when you visit the fruit shop, look and study each variety of fruit carefully and think how and from where it comes to our table.
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“Read the Qur’aan, for it will come and intercede for its readers on the Day of Resurrection.” 20 QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434
Federal Election Assistance in Different Languages THE AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION (AEC) has a range of information and services available to help voters from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds participate in this year’s federal election. Electoral Commissioner, Mr Ed Killesteyn, said it was important for all voters to understand the electoral process and have the opportunity to cast a valid vote. “Services to assist voters from a culturally and linguistically diverse background are an important part of the AEC’s effort to ensure every eligible Australian has the opportunity to have their vote counted in the federal election,” Mr Killesteyn said. “This involves having access to information in language so that people from non-English speaking backgrounds can understand when, where and how to vote. “Translations of the AEC’s official guide to the 2013 federal election, as well as a ‘How to make your vote count’ factsheet, are available in 26 languages. “On election day itself, bilingual Voter Information Officers will be available to assist voters in 24 electorates across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. “Specifically, we’ve looked at where there are polling places and communities that have had a very high level of informal votes at the last election, where the provision of bilingual information officers could assist,” Mr Killesteyn said. The Voter Information Officers will be identified with a badge and poster indicating the language they speak. Other bilingual polling officials are also employed wherever possible and appropriate. Translated material will also be available in polling places including posters and flip-books with instructions on how to vote. These have been translated into 26 languages. In addition, the AEC has also conducted a number of activities in the lead-up to the 2013 election to assist voters from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. “To date, the AEC has held 95 education workshops in communities with a large number of people from non-English speaking backgrounds, to increase voter knowledge and address the rate of informality,” Mr Killesteyn said. A team of bilingual educators are delivering the interactive workshops in languages including Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Afghani, Persian, and Korean. An interactive 'how to vote' practise tool is available on the AEC website along with translated material. The AEC also translated its advertisements into 19 other languages. AEC representatives have conducted interviews in language on ethnic and community radio stations and provided information to ethnic media and community groups. A telephone interpreting service also provides voting assistance in more than 16 languages. Phil Diak - Media Director, Australian Electoral Commission www.aec.gov.au
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Finding Faith Modern Style: a Muslim’s Perspective
by Aziza Peime
IN THIS TECHNOLOGICAL ERA, the ﬁrst step one can expect to take in the path of knowledge in Islam is to consult ‘Sheikh’ Google or ‘Imam’ You Tube. This is the case whether or not you are Muslim. And while the days of traversing the globe to sit at the feet of a scholar are gone for most, the instinct for knowledge and spiritual exercise is still something most of us acknowledge; but it is the degree of effort that an individual is willing to forgo in this quest that seems to have weakened in our modern era. In a life surrounded by and focused on man-made scenery, it is no wonder that the contemplation of the Ultimate Creator has been overshadowed by consumerism, political correctness and individualism. Yet nestled in the bush on a mountain is Grifﬁth University’s Multi-Faith Centre: a place for social engagement, inter-faith dialogue, and intellectual and spiritual pursuits. This place is how I dream the entire earth should be; a place where questions are welcomed and expected, a place where difference of opinion is considered a blessing, a place where one focuses on conduct and character rather than what one has achieved materially. Most recently I have been attending the Multi-Faith Centre for lessons facilitated by Seekers Point Brisbane, entitled ‘Knowing Yourself to Know God’. But my journey to understanding Islam started with an internet search of the word ‘Ramadan’. I had overheard someone say they were fasting during Ramadan. I was always curious about other people, cultures and religions. ‘Ramadan’, ‘Muslims’, ‘Islam’, ‘Shahada’ – soon dictionary entries were not enough to quench my thirst to understand. I read the Qur’an and other religious texts before I decided to go to a mosque. At Holland Park Mosque I was greeted most welcomely by Imam Uzair and I pray I will never forget that day. That day, in 2001, I
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realised I was not merely researching another religion. I realised beings have no more capacity to absorb and grow spiritually from what we know than 1400 years ago. I was on a quest for the truth. A couple of weeks past before I read in a book, something to And as faith lies between the balance of hope and fear, I fear that the effect: ‘In order to consider yourself Muslim you have to we are using modern advancements in a self-destructive way, believe in the oneness of God, and that Muhammad is the ﬁnal but I hope they are a means to enhance our human capabilities as individuals and as a society. messenger of God’. So I realised I was Muslim. This article has been commissioned by Griffith University’s Multi-Faith I felt joy in my heart like I never had before. Centre. For more information on the centre and its upcoming International Then September 11 happened. I thought, ‘Any Muslim who Symposium on Religion Journalism, please go to it website: http://www. griffith.edu.au/conference/international-symposium-on-religion-journalism knows the life of Prophet Muhammad would not act with intolerance to anyone other than oppressors of the innocent. People who act differently are not educated on truth’. And still today, it pains me to hear that people are calling themselves Muslims and acting so far from Islam that I wonder, ‘what MBBS, FRCS (Glasgow), FRACS has gone wrong?’. Well, locally, people are seeking knowledge and General Surgery, Breast, Hernia, advice from people who are not experts in that ﬁeld, which is unnecessary given facilities such Colorectal-Haemorrhoids & as the Multi-Faith Centre, free online courses Gastrointestinal Endoscopist such as at Seekers Hub, and our scholars are tapping into social media to make themselves available to answer questions such as Imam Akram from Kuraby Mosque. Islam is a religion for everyone and for all time and God is Vast. The diversity that exists in the world can exist within the pleasure of God. As Sheikh Hamza Yusuf said recently: “Religion is supposed to unite human beings … if it’s divisive it’s not religion from God … “. Before I became Muslim, my perception of reality was limited to my experiences and intellect. But since becoming Muslim I am learning that there is more to life than what can be measured by our own tools of measurement. It was impossible to see from a perspective that I didn’t know existed. A reality beyond this life. I am learning the same things about myself and God that people always have. So, religion in the modern era is the same as it always was in the truest sense: people are still ﬁnding and acting on means and signs to get to know God. Superficially, however, we do it a little differently. Information travels a lot quicker and in much larger loads than ever before. Yet, we as human
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The Goal is Change RAPE. MURDER. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. The list goes on. The headlines continue. And so the world appears to be descending into a new era of emerging misogynists. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, misogyny refers the hatred of women….by men. Now I for one have never been the type to shout ‘woman hater’ too quickly, but in the last year, even I have come to recognise the increasing incidence of violent behaviour towards women. Thanks to high profile cases – the many young girls gang raped and murdered in India, the gang rape and subsequent mutilation and murder of a teenage girl in South Africa, and even the high profile shooting of a woman by her famous Olympian boyfriend people are only just being made aware of a new wave of crimes against women. But what about the ones who don’t make the headlines? What about the everyday women whose torment is not sensational enough to make the news? Women whose abusers are so clever and so insidious that they are almost certain to never face retribution. These are the women being overlooked. These are women who need to be written about, and reached out to. The ones who suffer in silence, unable to classify their pain, unable to admit their victimisation, and completely incapable of asking for help. What is the the point of this piece you might wonder? Its simple really. The point is CHANGE. The goal, is CHANGE. The hope is that even just one woman in an abusive situation reads this article and makes a change. According to the experts – and just plain common sense – ‘Noticing and acknowledging the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it’. And yes, that does sound simple, and logical. Yet even though domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of size, gender, or strength, the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars. I’m no expert, and I do not write this article as an expert. I have spent time as a volunteer at a domestic violence shelter, and I am a woman. And I was horrified at what I saw. Horrified at what is out there and what women have to endure daily. So with this article, it is my hope to appeal to many women out there in abusive relationships; to firstly bring themselves to the realisation of their situations, to know that there are other women like them, and there is help out there. After speaking to many women about their personal struggles with violent, abusive men in their lives, they all appear to have come to the same conclusion; domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to gain and maintain total control. Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down. And most importantly, they do not play fair. There appears to be no common sense, no logic behind their reasoning. It is usually an unreasonable argument they have concocted in their minds which has allowed them to justify their actions. Melinda Smith, M.A., a freelance writer with a master's degree in psychology and over ten years experience as a health writer and editor is of the opinion that domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure
by Dr Shahana Abed this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need and make positive changes. Now as I pointed out earlier, domestic abuse is not exclusive to women. However, according to statistics calculated in the United States, women accounted for 85% of the victims of intimate partner violence, men for approximately 15%. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, February 2003). There are many signs of an abusive relationship. According to Melinda Smith M.A and Jeanne Segal PHd, the most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and having feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation. Determining whether or not you’re in an abusive relationship is not an exact science. The more signs there are, the greater the chances that you are in such a relationship. Your own thoughts and feelings, together with your partners’ behaviours can put together quite a telling picture were you only to think about it. Do you feel afraid of your partner and avoid certain topics for fear of angering them? Do you feel you can’t do anything right and actually deserve to be mistreated? Does your partner humiliate you, yell at you, criticize you and put you down constantly? Does he ignore, or put down your achievements and accomplishments? Does he blame you for his own abusive behaviour? Have you thought about these things, about how they make you feel? Are you in denial? You could be denying being abused because the incidences of violence are seem minor compared to those you may have read or heard about. That’s quite common, but its important to remember that there isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; you can be severely injured as a result of being pushed, for example. Do you make little of it because the incidents of physical abuse have only occurred once or twice in the relationship? Were you aware that studies indicate that if your spouse/ partner has injured you once, it is likely he will continue to physically assault you. Maybe because the physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, and to make decisions? You have to make yourself aware that it is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for not being assaulted! Maybe your denial stems from the fact that there has not been any physical violence. It is so important to realise that many women are emotionally and verbally assaulted too. This can be as equally frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand. Realisation can descend in many ways. Sometimes it has a slow onset and you eventually recognise that you’ve reached the limit of what you’re prepared to accept. It is this initial recognition that will lead you do some research of your own and then the whole truth will begin to dawn on you. Do you know what to look for? Are you opening yourself up to the possibilities of admitting the reality of your situation? Because then, and only then, will you be able to even consider finding ways to make changes and start healing. Be aware, expect more for yourself. Clue yourself Continued Page 23
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T: 07 3349 6158 مترجم محلّف لدى المحاكم اللبنانية مترجم محلّف لدى المحاكم اللبنانية M: 0432 489 961 مترجم محلّف لدى المحاكم اللبنانية PO Box: 372 Mt Gravatt, زواج وغيرها, شهادة ميالد/ ترجمة عقود Brisbane, 4122 زواج وغيرها, شهادة ميالد/ ترجمة عقود E: firstname.lastname@example.org زواج وغيرها, شهادة ميالد/ ترجمة عقود www.transmania.net م ّترجم فوري معتمد في استراليا Our world... Your words! م ّترجم فوري معتمد في استراليا م ّترجم فوري معتمد في استراليا 22 QUEENSLAND MUSLIM TIMES – Aug-Sept 2013/Shawal-Dhul-Qi`dahal 1434
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by Fatima Issa WE ARE AMONG SOME of the most fortunate people in the world, with an abundance of food on our tables, change in our pockets, and the comforts of technology and even things as simple as furniture. So why is it that we so often get stuck in life’s little ruts? We know we have so much to be happy about – but we still feel weighed down? We can never just feel at peace? Mindfulness is a technique that may be able to help change this. Some of the benefits may include: • Relieves physical and emotion pain • Improves well-being • Increases life satisfaction Yes, altering the way we think and perceive the world helps alleviate physical pain! Mind over matter, right? While practising mindfulness to the fullest extent requires weeks of intensive training and guidance by mindfulness professionals, we can take the core principles of mindfulness and apply them to our daily lives to help us gain a better sense of peace and to bring about change in our lives. The practice of mindfulness, involves actively being aware of your internal and external experiences. This includes being aware of your emotions, your thoughts, your actions and movements, and even the sensations of your heart beating and the blood pumping through your veins. Mindfulness requires your full attention to the present moment – the here and now! It sounds simple, but is surprisingly hard to achieve. Most of our daily thoughts are focussed on either the past or the future. Right now, take a minute to bring your awareness to the present moment – what’s going on around you? What’s going on inside you? Are the birds singing outside? How do your clothes feel against your skin? Another fundamental principle of mindfulness is the acceptance of all things, be it good or bad; this resonates with the teachings of the Quran, in particular, the phrase which Muslims use too often in their daily lives - “In shaa Allah” (translated to “God willing”). This phrase embodies acceptance of the future and any events that should occur. Not only does mindfulness teach us to be accepting, but also to be compassionate towards ourselves about our thoughts and feelings. This means when a particular thought pops into our head, we don’t label it as a “good” thought or a “bad” thought. It’s simply a thought – nothing more. Allow From Page 22
The Goal is Change in to your rights as a woman, a wife and mother, both legal and moral and religious, and your rights as a human being. And then you will be able to recognise when these rights are being taken away. And when you do, you will have given your daughters and granddaughters a headstart in fixing their own lives, and escaping their own abusers, or better yet, learning how to identify them and
yourself to feel everything; acknowledge all of your feelings, then let go, and move on, back to the present moment.
So how do we do this? Deep Breathing
This is a simple exercise that has no time limit, but give yourself a few minutes to fully feel the benefits. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Focus all of your attention on your breathing and the sensations that breathing causes. Pay attention to the air rushing in your nose and filling your lungs, and then feel it all release and leave your body. During this process you’ll probably catch your mind wandering, when this happens, immediately bring your attention back to the present moment and your present experience of breathing. The most important part of this is to maintain your focus on only your breathing – not dinner, not work, and nothing else! After a few minutes of this, you’ll feel a lot lighter; this technique is especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious about something. Eventually, the goal is to become mindful about everything around you –if we apply this to everything, it becomes easier to gain joy and peace out of even the most mundane activities.
Mindfulness when Angry
Being mindful and attuned to the present moment is especially helpful when we are in moments of anger as we are able to detach ourselves from our overwhelming feelings, and we are able to look into the situation with a new perspective. Often we will find that the situation that has conjured these feelings will soon subside and we will realise that our feelings of anger are unnecessary. Take a step back from the situation and take a few deep breaths – remove all the thoughts in your mind and focus solely on your breathing (perhaps even recite zikr). Then bring your attention to your current thoughts. Ask yourself what you’re feeling? What has made you upset? In this present moment, right now, does it matter? Let your anger pass, appreciate that what has happened is in the past, accept that it has upset you, and then focus on the present – right here and now. To feel the full benefits of mindfulness techniques, they need to be practiced regularly, and with time, they will get easier! If you have any comments or questions, feel free to email me – email@example.com
Sisters’ House Services Inc. THE SISTERS’ HOUSE was established in June 2010 by the Brisbane Islamic community groups in conjunction with the Muslim Womens’ Convert Support Service to provide a vital housing and resource service for new Muslims. It continues to be managed and run purely voluntarily by a committee of local sisters. (www. sistershouse.org) Sisters new to Islam can find themselves in very precarious living situations or even homeless. They are likely to also need help in other areas of daily life such as transport, health, study and work as well as learning about Islam and social interaction. As well as helping new Muslims, the Sisters’ House has blossomed into a meeting place for Muslim women from all backgrounds to come and participate in worthwhile classes and events, gain Islamic knowledge, work together on projects and socialise in an Islamic and relaxed environment. We also provide support, resources and information to women who are interested in Islam, considering becoming a Muslim, new and long term reverts, or sisters from nonpractising Muslim backgrounds. More than three years on, the Sisters’ House is entering a stage of renewal and growth insha’Allaah.
Our temporary accommodation for sisters and children is continuing alhamdulillaah, Islam101 classes have been held regularly and social occasions hosted including morning teas and a large fundraising dinner back in May that was attended by approximately 160 sisters from throughout the local community.
The monthly revert (and friends) meetings are about to restart at the time of writing, on Saturdays insha’Allaah as we have noted that many new revert sisters are also working women. We are currently planning to open the first Australian chapter of New Muslim Care (www.newmuslimcare.com) in order to more
functionally assist new Muslims in education, social activities and in the My Muslim Buddy program. It is a startling statistic that perhaps 75% of reverts to Islam leave our wonderful Deen. Problems include social isolation, family issues and being unable to integrate into the Muslim Community. If you were born into a Muslim family, have you invited a new Muslim into your home and life?? For enquiries into any and all of the above information and activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact on 0449 268 375.
avoid them altogether. Remember, denying your situation will not make the problem go away. Denying that spousal and partner abuse is very much present in our communities is the worst thing we could do. Burying our heads in the sand about the reality of this type of misogyny and its prevalence in our community is failing wives and mothers and sisters in the worst kind of way; just to know the reality of the situation is the first step to deciding what to do about it and what to change - and how to ask for help.
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ASK THE DIETITIAN Assalamualaikum readers I HOPE YOU ALL HAD a blessed Ramadaan and managed to adapt some new health eating habits. Ramadaan is the perfect time for change and now that it has ended let’s try and keep those habits going. I would love to hear some of the changes you have all endeavored to make. Sticking to theme of this edition, today I propose to you the “7 day Smoothie Breakfast Challenge” Breakfast is the first and probably most important meal of the day. It wakes your body up and fuels you for the day ahead. Skipping breakfast will often lead to overeating throughout the rest of the day. This excess energy is often not used up before bed and is then stored. So how are we going to achieve this in a simple manner? Smoothies J They are easy to prepare can be packed with nutrition and can be made to suit any age or lifestyle. All you need to do is throw the ingredients into the blender, blend and pour and drink (or take it go). You can even throw the ingredients into the blender the night before ready to go. Here are some recipes to start you off. You can get creative, as you like.
- Decreased risk of diabetes through establishing regular insulin release - Increased fibre and thus regular bowel movements, reducing your risk for bowel diseases - Increased satiety (fullness) throughout the day thus improving your ability to reduce portion sizes, which will aid in weight loss - Improved brain function through intake of omega 3, allowing for better concentration throughout the morning
Fathima Abdoola email@example.com
This is a perfect opportunity to increase your daily intake of bio-available (more absorbable by the body) iron as statistics show that 15% of women are iron deficient (World Health Organisation). Iron is lost during menstruation thus contributing to this. Iron is important for delivery of oxygen throughout your body and thus lack of it will often lead to tiredness. Iron-rich Green Smoothie - 1 cup spinach/ parsley, ½ cup watermelon, 1 banana, honey to taste & water to get smooth consistency.
*Other Iron-rich Green Smoothie Ingredients – parsley, kale, spinach, raw cacao (YES, chocolate flavor, yum!) and broccoli. If frozen the green veg have a milder flavor and when blended with fruits the taste is masked. MEN - Heart disease is the number one health issue faced by men. In order to prevent this try and increase your intake of good fats with this smoothie recipe, while reducing your intake of bad fats (animal fats, baked/fried/ processed foods).
Avocado Banana Smoothie – ½ avocado, 1 banana, ½ cup skim milk OR try Almond milk, honey to taste, 1 tsp. chia seeds, LSA mix OR Flaxseed meal. CHILDRENOne of the most difficult tasks of a parent is to get those fruit and veg into their kids’ tummies. Another important change that can be made is increasing the amount of dairy (thus calcium) consumed each day, as it is more important in childhood to consume correct amounts of calcium. Increasing your intake in adult years has little effect on
bone disease prevention. T his smoothie will allow for both increased fruit & veg and calcium intake. A Perfect Combo – 2 Tbsp. low-fat Greek yoghurt, strawberries (pink for girls) / blueberries (blue for boys), ½ banana, honey to taste, ½ cup skim milk You can always change the fruit depending on your child’s tastes and you can use the add veg some days too. Just use ripe fruits to mask the taste and they will never know. Start paving the path for long-term health benefits now! Good Luck J
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Oral Hygiene at Home: Make the CHANGE!!
by Dr Shahana Abed TAKING MEASURES TO KEEP your mouth clean is essential for good dental health. A daily oral hygiene regimen is needed to remove the dental plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease. And good oral hygiene not only helps prevent cavities, but is necessary to battle bad breath. Making an effort to focus on your dental health will not only produce a dazzling smile, but has some added benefits as well. Since oral health is linked to overall health, good oral hygiene can improve your well-being. When your oral health is neglected, bacteria multiply and cause damage to your mouth. If gums become infected with periodontal disease, harmful bacteria can actually enter the bloodstream and make its way to other parts of the body. Practicing good oral hygiene can reduce your chances of developing complications or illnesses from a dental disease and could prevent the need for a costly treatment for gum disease. A beautiful smile and healthy teeth and gums depend on a good oral hygiene regimen, and here are a few guidelines: BRUSHING: Brushing is the most common oral hygiene practice, yet most people don't do it correctly. As dentists we recommend you brush at least twice a day and for the diligent patient, after meals as well. After eating, sugars and carbohydrates from food left on teeth combine with the bacteria in your mouth. This produces acids that attack your teeth, leaving you susceptible to tooth decay. Cleaning your teeth well after eating will help remove dental plaque bacteria and reduce your chances of getting dental cavities. Learning how to brush properly is very important.
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From holding your toothbrush correctly to making sure to reach every surface of every tooth, including brushing the tongue. Brushing the tongue removes bacteria which cause bad breath. Choosing the appropriate toothpaste will also play a role in the success of your oral hygiene routine. In recent years there are so many toothpastes to choose from, it’s best to ask your dentist which will benefit you. The Australian Dental Association recommends brushing with fluoride toothpaste to greatly reduce dental plaque bacteria. Remember, a great rule to live by is to brush longer, not harder. You should brush for at least two minutes to remove as much dental plaque as possible. Harder brushing won't actually get teeth cleaner -- it can irritate the tissues in your mouth and actually cause gum damage! Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums, and be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months. FLOSSING: No matter how well you brush, there are some areas you just won't be able to reach. Flossing removes dental plaque that's hiding in between teeth. Learn how to floss properly with these tips: Start by holding the floss securely with each hand, and ease the floss between teeth. Gently rub the floss up and down, and curve it towards each tooth to cover more surface area. Once you reach the top, slide it under your gum line to remove plaque from beneath the gums. And be sure to use a fresh section of floss for each tooth -- you don't want to put food particles and bacteria back in your mouth! Flossing at least once a day is recommended to remove the ongoing accumulation of dental plaque that forms between teeth. If you have trouble flossing, dental products are available to help -- waxed floss makes for easier manoeuvring and floss holders assist those who have trouble handling the stringy material. MOUTHWASH: Antibacterial mouthwashes can also remove the bacteria that cause dental plaque. This helps prevent gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Like fluoride toothpastes, fluoride rinses help strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. DIET: Most patients are surprised by this one! But healthy eating habits are an equally important part of your oral hygiene regimen. Since sugars and carbs promote tooth decay, the more you eat, the better chances you have of ruining your teeth! Instead, focus on protecting your oral health by eating nutritional foods. PROFESSIONAL TECHNIQUES: Regardless of how well you practice oral hygiene at home, regular dental visits every six months are essential to your dental health. A professional dental cleaning will remove dental tartar / calculus that you can't remove on your own. If necessary, your dentist may even perform a fluoride dental treatment. And an exam is not only a good time for a check-up, but for checking in -- a dental hygienist can provide tips on brushing and flossing, and show you areas that need improvement in your oral hygiene routine. What happens when you don't practice proper oral hygiene on a daily basis? Well, not to mention the bad breath problems you're likely to encounter, you will experience many dental problems, which can lead to tooth loss! And without flossing, cavities can form between teeth, which are harder to spot and even more difficult to treat. When it comes to optimal oral hygiene care, remember to brush at least twice a day, and see a dentist twice a year. Oral hygiene is an ongoing practice that requires your attention, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be happy with the results.
‘Hijab appeal’ campaign divides Sweden
STOCKHOLM – In gender-equality Sweden, a grassroots movement defending women’s right to wear hijab has split the nation, backed by politicians and celebrities while critics say it supports a symbol of female “oppression”. Hundreds of Swedish women have posted photographs of themselves wearing headscarves on social media sites to show solidarity with a heavily pregnant Muslim woman who says she was attacked outside Stockholm for wearing a veil. Police are searching for witnesses to the incident, which is being treated as a hate crime, and has sparked a wave of online protest. Leftist politicians and celebrities were among those who lent their support to the movement, dubbed “The hijab appeal”, by tweeting pictures of themselves wearing the Islamic headscarf. By Thursday, more than 2,000 people had posted pictures tagged with the “hijab appeal” hashtag on Instagram, mostly featuring women of different faiths wearing the veil. A Facebook “event” page set up by the activists garnered 10,000 attendees but had to be removed after the comments section was swamped with racist and sexist remarks. “The number of hate crimes against Muslim women has increased lately,” one of the campaign organisers, Foujan Rouzbeh, said. However, critics say the campaign trivialises the suffering of women forced or pressured into covering their heads, in Sweden and elsewhere. “I support protesting against the treatment of the woman who was attacked, absolutely. Holdi ng speeches, demonstrating,” said Sara Mohammad, the head of a charity for victims of honour crimes. “Not by wearing the veil, which is known around the world as an Islamic symbol for oppressing women. It’s not just being forced on women in Iran and Saudi Arabia, it has also become the flag for political Islam in the west.” The Swedish politicians wearing the hijab this week rarely displayed the same support for those fighting for the right not to wear it, sometimes risking their lives in doing so, Mohammad argued. “This is an injudicious and populist measure designed to attract votes from the Muslim community,” she said. Rouzbeh said critics of the Swedish hijab campaign had taken it out of context. “We’re not trying to belittle people’s experience of having been forced to wear the veil ...we’re basing this on veiled women who wear it out of choice. Those women should have the right to do that without being attacked,” she said. Muslim women were being used as scapegoats in the face of rising unemployment in Sweden and the rest of Europe, said Rouzbeh. “None of us are saying this started under the current government, but we would argue that it has increased because they haven’t taken this threat seriously.” The group is demanding a commission be set up to investigate the problem of violence against veiled women, and also wants the government to ensure a ban on newsreaders for public broadcaster SVT wearing the garment is lifted. Rouzbeh said the rise of the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, which the latest polls indicate would be the third largest party in an election, and a negative image of Muslims in the media had stoked violence and harassment of women wearing the hijab. But there is little data to support claims of a surge in the number of Islamophobic hate crimes. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention said 306 such crimes were reported last year, compared with 278 the previous year and 272 in 2008. Social anthropologist Aje Carlbom of Malmoe University said Swedish attitudes towards the hijab were largely positive, unlike towards the full-face niqab sometimes worn by more conservative Muslims. He said he was not aware of any rise in the number of people who opposed it. “Ever since we began having immigration from the Muslim world, it’s been claimed that (dislike of the veil) is increasing, that it’s widespread, and so on,” he said. “I don’t know why this is happening right now.”
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Lifetime Achievement Award for Janeth Deen
Women in the Workforce: More to it than just Numbers
BRISBANE RESIDENTS and visitors revelled in all things Indian at the India Day Fair 2013 on Sunday, 11 August in the Roma Street Parklands. Now in its third year, the fair was organised by the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin and is being supported by the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs through funding. Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Glen Elmes said the fair was a great chance for Brisbane to celebrate and acknowledge the richness of Indian cultures and traditions, while also observing the significant anniversary of Indian Independence, which occurred on 15 August 1947. “The India Day Fair has become a major event for Brisbane’s Indian community and a time when we come together to celebrate Indian Independence Day through a great community-focused event,” Mr Elmes said.
THE QUESTIONS OF WOMEN in the workforce and how that affects society’s fabric have been posed since the early days of the feminist movement. The question of what is gained – or lost – as women assume a larger role in a country’s economic burden is not so much just about the economic aspect, but spans the issues of the political, social and cultural impacts as well. Women on the job in Afghanistan, by United Nations Photo, on Flickr, 2012 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 As a young woman growing up in a Western country with heritage and cultural influences from the East, the question of women’s role in society more broadly has been of interest. The different cultural expectations of women, and the interestingly underlying and sometimes unexpected similarities give an indication of how far women have come, but also how far we still have to go. In terms of what is gained, there is much to be said. From a numbers point of view, between 1984 and 2009, the number of working women has increased from 44 million to 72 million (in the US). Not only do the sheer numbers of individuals contributing to the workforce make a difference, but women are said to bring particular skills to industry that change the tone. Women are said to be more intuitive with different values, including empathy and support. They are also said to be better team players and are able to look at problems more holistically. On a more extreme level, workers in traditionally male dominated industries such as oil rigs have anecdotally welcomed women as they “make it seem more like the real world” and “bring a different mentality so we even end up talking about different things”. These are all sweeping generalisations though; can it really be said that “all women are empathetic” and that is why they are good for the marketplace? Is it fair to pigeon hole an entire gender into an expected set of stereotyped values? Perhaps these generalisations are more damaging than beneficial and are part of the reason women are thought of in a particular way, limiting their ability to contribute in a meaningful manner. An interesting article on the Financial Times also questions this focus on “what women bring”, concluding that perhaps it just comes down to the skill set of the individual and this is where the focus should remain. This particularly applies to women in senior and leadership positions in companies. Or to put it another way, the women who “make it” perhaps do so because they are far better than the men. It might mean the focus should be less on “what women bring” and more on getting them into leadership roles in the first place. (Source) Generalisations aside though, the increase in the number and proportion of women in the workforce does have implications on society more generally. There is no more obvious platform for this societal shift than of the oft asked question “Can women
by Umesh Chandra
“With more than 10,000 people attending the fair this year, it is a great example of how the community unites to celebrate Queensland’s cultural diversity, share our many different cultures and traditions, and recognise the achievements and contributions of Queensland’s Indian community.” Ms Janeth Deen was awarded the annual GOPIO Lifetime achievement award for the lifelong community service. The newly appointed State director for DIAC Jill Simpson had the honour of presenting the award. President Shyam Das said he was very happy with the outcome and especially with the large number of people who attended, he said he would like to thank everyone involved, the executive committee, the planning committee, the sponsors, the stall holders, Roma Street Parkland management, the performers, the MCS, the volunteers, three levels of Government, the suppliers, the security people and to everyone who attended.
Aunty Janeth Deen (far right) was awarded the annual GOPIO Lifetime Achievement Award at the India Day Fair
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Hair Massage Hair Care Waxing Bleaching
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have it all”. Interestingly, it is a question posed usually by women themselves. “Busy Mom”, by gwilmore, on Flickr, 2005, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Anne Marie Slaughter’s well read essay in the Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” in 2012 was a profound example of an ambitious, accomplished female role model who argued that women weren’t able to have it all – ‘all’ meaning an ambitious career and a fulfilling family life. The article, based on Slaughter’s personal life as a senior US Department of State employee, provoked responses from around the globe and shocked many, opening up a public conversation about what the result of having women in the workforce meant for our society. It would seem that from a purely economic point of view, having women a part of the workforce and contributing to nation building in a corporate sense does nothing but improve, gain, increase and enrich productivity and our work place environment. Where things are perhaps lost is not in the office or on site but outside that world – in homes and within families. This is not to say that having women in the workforce is purely detrimental to families, but that society needs to accommodate the fact that women spend more time away from the home and the resultant shift needs to be accounted and allowed for. Society has accepted that women are part and parcel of the working world, now the cultural change needs to follow so that the overall outcome is of one positive benefit for all. Women collectively breastfeeding for IWD – the right to work and family, by Amadeus Sanz, on Flickr, 2008 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Sometimes images like this suggest that even with women in the workforce and contributing to our society, mentalities still have a way to go.
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Social Work and the Australian Muslim Community HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL JUSTICE and social work were not alien or foreign concepts to a young girl that grew up in a very political savvy family. My father and his friends would sit in the living room sipping Arabic coffee and discussing current affairs, the Palestinian issue, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, American support of the different corrupt Arab dictators who did not allow their own people the freedom of opinion and stripped them away from their dignity. My environment and Islamic upbringing shaped a lot of my passion towards the fundamental importance of standing up for the weak, being just, being merciful and assisting the needy. I learnt about discrimination and racism very early in life which shaped my understanding and exposed me to the meaning of being “oppressed” and being the “other”. As a teenager, I was always very different from my friends as I spent my spare time volunteering in the Muslim and non-Muslim community, something that my parents were very proud of. I started my career as I studied and volunteered as a youth worker at a youth drop in centre. I loved it! It was so exciting and new for a seventeen year old. These young people were unfortunately involved in the child safety system at some stage in their life. Some had sexual identity issues, some came from broken families and some lived with foster carers. Even though I came from a really good family and was fortunate enough to not experience any of the above, I could still relate to these young people as a young Muslim Australian teenager because I could understand and relate to how it felt to be marginalized by the mainstream community. This then opened the door for me to work with young marginalized Muslim teenagers. I became part of the National Muslim advisory reference group for the Howard government and I sat on the Muslim Youth advisory subgroup (Representative of the Muslim Females of QLD). I mentored young Muslim females,
started running youth facilitation sessions to understand how Muslim youth are dealing with discrimination, racism and marginalization, I worked on assisting young Muslims with the issues of identity crisis and then started extending my time and skills into the refugee Muslim [and non-Muslim] community. The Muslim community is a very diverse community. People come from different backgrounds, cultures, traditions and language groups. Department of Immigration and Citizenship states: “The Australian Muslim community is among the most ethnically and racially diverse religious groupings, with members from over 60 different ethnic and racial backgrounds”. The very interesting thing about the Muslim community in Australia is that it can be divided into three different groups: A) Muslim Australians who have been in Australia for over 5 generations, B) Muslim Australians who migrated to Australia as skilled migrants, and C) Muslims who arrived to Australia as Refugees or Asylum Seekers. Each group has its own and different complex issues. Social Workers have to be very aware of some of these complexities when dealing with Muslims for example, if you are dealing with a Muslim Refugee you have to be aware of the political and environmental context that this Refugee has escaped. A Somali Muslim Refugee family would have most probably been living in a Kenyan Refugee camp for a number of years before being settled in another country. These camps are not a safe place for any Refugee and countless human right violations do take place in these camps. A Social Worker has to also consider the importance of dealing with the family, as a family unit, and not to deal with the family on an individual basis (unless offcourse if a family member is in danger e.g.: D.V, child safety issues etc…). If there is a child safety issue a social worker has to consult the family and understand from
the family what is being practised before removing a child. We have to remember that a lot of these families have lived in fear, persecution and crisis for a very long time and might not be able to deal with their children in a new context. Taking the time to educate the family about child safety and demonstrating to the family what a safe environment looks like with the assistance of a qualified interpreter is invaluable. Also one must keep in mind that a lot of Refugees do have fear of an authoritative figure so please ensure that you are not involving the police unless you are in imminent danger. Try to be culturally sensitive and respectful of this family’s situation. The importance of non-verbal cues - Be mindful of simple body gestures such as shaking hands; Muslim men do not shake hands with other females that are not considered family and Muslim women do not shake hands with other men who are not considered family. Some Muslim clients might ask you to take your shoes off before entering their house and this is just simply because Muslims pray on the carpet at home and would like to keep the prayer area clean. Social Workers might come across Muslim women who wear the hijab (head scarf) or burka (full face covering). Be aware that Muslim women do take their scarf off in front of other females, however not in front of males who are not considered part of the family. For example; in a hospital setting- Muslim women would feel more comfortable if they are seen by a female social worker or a female doctor and if they are in a shared room they would feel much more comfortable if hospital staff/allied health professionals are making sure that the curtains are drawn.
by Princess R. Lakshman (Sister Iqra) Assallamu alaykum WITH THIS NEW ENHANCED issue of Muslim Times comes this new column – Revert Diaries. Inshallah this column will serve as a platform to inform, and most of all support, those who are new to Islam. My daughter and I embraced Islam in February 2012. Having been born in a staunchly Hindu, influential and affluent Fijian-Indian family, it was quite a shock to my parents and relatives when they found out that we had become Muslims. So shocked and unhappy they were, that we were immediately ostracised. As a young girl I knew there was something not right in what I was practicing. My best friend at school was Muslim and somehow I was always drawn to the purity of her worship, so much so that I learnt to recite 'La illaaha illalaa' from age 5, not really knowing what it meant until much later in life. Many years and countless mistakes later when I finally questioned my Creator and begged HIM to show me the straight path, I found Islam. ALHUMDOLLILAH. When a person's life begins with a weak and false foundation, it collapses into pieces of shame, guilt, sin and self-loathing. The only savior at that moment is Allah SWT. Most times even when a non-Muslim is aware of Islam, it is the fear of being ostracised, of having no support at all that makes him/her remain glued (albeit reluctantly) to the norms that he/she has grown up with. Support and love from Muslims for fellow new Muslims is necessary and much needed. People who are born into the faith may never experience the hardship and pain that new Muslims feel, especially those who have been disowned by their family and close friends. My question to all Muslims today is how are you being helpful and supportive to fellow new Muslims? Is it time you reflected on yourselves and made a necessary change? New Muslims need guidance from the Quraan. Not words that may potentially drive them away from this beautiful way of life. May Allah SWT guide us all to stay true to our deen.
Salam El-Merebi Social Worker
Princess R Lakshman Screenwriter / Author / Features Writer https://www.amazon.com/author/princesslakshman
A message from Ahmet Ozcelik, Principal of Wisdom College Our teachers help shape the leaders of tomorrow and equip them to have a positive impact on our world.
At Wisdom college we offer: Academic excellence for students to realise their full potential A diverse and challenging curriculum which meets the needs of every student in an environment conducive to learning High standards of education and ethical behaviour Development of English Literacy and Numeracy skills Close ties between the school, parents and the local community Advanced technology with Interactive Smart Boards in all class rooms Values based Education Islamic Studies Arabic Lessons
We provide a supportive and caring learning environment which nurtures students to achieve their highest potential. Enrolments taken from Prep – Grade 7
Qur’an Lessons Affordable fee structure and Scholarships
WISDOM COLLEGE COMMENCED its operation in February last year with only 33 students. The college currently has 65 students and has many parents in the community interested in enrolling their students as they become more familiar with what Wisdom has to offer. The warm and friendly atmosphere at Wisdom College is always noticed by our visitors. Students are nurtured to meet their full potential as learners and individuals by the dedicated and passionate staff. Although only into its second year of operation the school is well equipped with fantastic interactive white boards and wonderful resources to meet the needs of our learners. Wisdom College welcomes students from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. It is committed to the formation of a Non-Denominational School where the most important aspect of a school is its humanity. Not only is the focus on educating students in a thriving environment of serenity and care but also to encourage appreciation
and respect towards all living things. Students are also given opportunities to establish strong relationships with each other through the organisation of pastoral care activities. They also enjoy the support of their mentors who provide guidance through the turbulent teen years. Education is not only based on the Curriculum, as changes and developments in Curriculum alone do not guarantee social, emotional or academic growth. It is the interaction between children's peers and adults, and their relationship with parents and teachers that develop growth, which is the basis for excellent education. At Wisdom College these relationships are nurturing, supporting and considerate. Focus at Wisdom College is endeavoring to provide a balanced education that encompasses 'academic excellence' on the one hand, and 'moral and ethical values' on the other. As such, students can soar through this challenging journey of life with the benefit of two wings.
8th of September, 2013
10am to 2pm Tours available on request during the week by appointment
To Learn more please contact school administration 97 Formby Street Calamvale 07 3711 9821 email@example.com wisdomcollege.qld.edu.au
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