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Issue N 10 August 2009 www.crescenttimes.com.au

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Latest Terror Raids - our Collective Responsibility p7 Melbourne: ANIC press release:

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) and the Muslim religious leaders it represents categorically denounce any form of terrorist activity on Australian soil. We along with the rest of Australia are equally astonished by the arrests of “alleged terrorists” in Victoria yesterday.

ANIC and the Muslim community will be fully supporting the police investigations into these allegations as we are strongly against violence and vehemently discourage it. The Muslim community is a law abiding active member of the Australian society as reflected in Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Mr. Simon Overland’s

comments that “Not all Muslims are terrorists and the vast majority of Australian Muslims do not support terrorism”. We urge individuals and organisations not to use this situation to inflame or create tensions where none exist. We appeal to media outlets to exercise diligence in

continued page: 6

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National

Page 2

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

WA: Canning Council RULING: Suspending Hajj and approves new Mosque Umrah Because of Swine Flu Q for Dawa Centre uestion : Respected salamu`alaykum.

CT head office Perth Dawa Centre Press Release For many months now, many people have been working very hard behind the scenes to make the Mosque Project a reality. Alhumdulillah with the will of Allah approval has been granted by the City Of Canning Council to build a new mosque in Queens Park. We have until 28th September to collect the $700,000.00 to purchase the land in Queens Park otherwise all this hard work was done for nothing. Everyone is aware the mosque in Kent St is too small especially for the Jummah Salat, and we have continual problems there with our neighbors and the Council. We actually spend more time arguing with the neighbors and council over the parking of our patrons and the numbers that attend the mosque on Friday than spreading the word of Islam (Dawaah) We are asking for donations of any amount to help us purchase the land and build a new mosque on it. Even if people can lend us money that would also be a big help. Every little bit will help insha Allah. It is time for everyone to dig deep and help with all that they have to build this house of Allah. The complete budget for this project is 1.5 million dollars (Remember 1000 families

donating $1000 = $1,000,000.00 dollars) May Allah guide us and keep us strong to complete this mosque and send his blessings upon all that pray there. With the will of Allah all is possible and no amount is too large, this mosque will be built insha Allah. We place our full trust in Allah for it is he who gives and he who takes and to the Most Merciful all belongs. Wa Salam Masjid Al- Sunnah To make a donation please deposit into the following account: In Australia: • Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia • BSB: 066134 • Account Number: 10522743 • Account Name: Daawah Association of Western Australia (Mosque Project) From Overseas: • SWIFT payment to:CTBAAU2S • Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia • Branch: Cannington • BSB: 066134 • Account Number: 10522743 • Account Name: Daawah Association of Western Australia (Mosque Project)

WA: CCTV Surveillance cameras

as-

We have been hearing calls for postponing Hajj and `Umrah this year because of fears of spread of swine flu. What is the Shari`ah ruling in this regard? Jazakum Allahu khayran. NSWER: European Council for Fatwa and Research: Dear sister in Islam, we appreciate your question, which touches a very sensitive issue nowadays. One distinguishing feature of the Islamic Shari`ah is that it pays much attention to human well-being and aims at protecting humans from what is evil and directing them toward what is good for them in this life and in the hereafter. In this context, we find clear Prophetic hadiths on the protection against infection and search for cures of diseases. Thus, fear of infection can be a legitimate reason behind the suspension of some activities and even congregational acts of worship. However, it is important to note that Muslims’ decisions should not be based on unsubstantiated panic. Before a conclusion can be reached, facts and scientific information should be weighed and advantages and disadvantages should be considered. In this regard, the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) has issued the following resolution: The European Council for Fatwa and Research received an inquiry about travelling to perform the rituals of Hajj and `Umrah this year in light of the spread of swine flu disease (H1N1) in many countries, which raised the pandemic alert to the sixth grade. The council thus contacted officials from the World Health Organization who said that the grades referred to denote geographic spread and that this grade has nothing to do with the extent of peril at all. Besides, they indicated that the sixth grade

A

inside Mirrabooka Mosque On 29 September 2006, during Ramadan taraweeh prayer, a drive by shooting occurred at the Mirrabooka Mosque in the northern suburbs of Perth. A witness reported a green Jeep Cherokee four wheel drive parked across from the mosque, saw a flash and heard a gunshot. No one was ever apprehended for the shooting which narrowly missed women and children praying in the upstairs area of the mosque. Following the shooting, the Western Australia Government considered granting financial assistance to upgrade security at the Mosque and earlier this year security fencing and closed circuit television surveillance were installed at the Mosque. After these security upgrades, Crescent Times newspaper was contacted by concerned members of the Muslim community in Mirrabooka who reported that there were surveillance cameras in the prayer area of the mosque. They also expressed concern that these closed circuit surveillance cameras were linked with WA police and therefore an intrusion on those going attending the mosque for prayer. These concerns were prompted by the WA police “Blue Iris” campaign in which owners of closed circuit TV systems can sign up with WA police to make the recordings from their closed circuit TV systems available to police on request. This includes private closed circuit TV systems such as that at the Mirrabooka Mosque. Under the Blue Iris campaign, police

scholars,

will approach registered system owners on an “as needed” basis to access the recordings on the hard drive of the system. Crescent Times contacted brother Ismail Fredericks, the President of Nurul-Islam society, which runs the Mirrabooka Mosque. Brother Ismail stated that the surveillance cameras have been installed purely for security purposes to protect the mosque from burglary. He added that a private security company, Steve Corcoran Security (www. stevecorcoransecurity.com.au) installed the surveillance cameras at the mosque. He stressed that the system records activity to a hard drive at the mosque; each day is stored for one week after which it is wiped off. If the alarm is activated the system then broadcasts directly to the security company monitoring room. Fredericks insists that the system does not broadcast to any outside agency, and urged the community to feel safe over this issue. Community members have however expressed concern about the meaning of “as needed” when referring to police requests to view the hard drive images. It is unsettling to think that activities inside the mosque area are under surveillance when the mosque should be a private place for Muslims to gather for worship, teaching and community activities. There is also a concern that privacy could be breached without worshippers’ knowledge or consent. Brother Ismail did not comment on these concerns other than to confirm that the cameras are “nothing to do with the police”

was declared because some cases of the disease showed up in all the world continents. However, the director-general of World Health Organization, the sole authority entrusted by the world countries to apply and interpret international health regulations, indicated that the severity of the disease is within the average limits and that it does not reach the severity of the conventional seasonal flu. Moreover, it has never happened before that the pandemics of seasonal flu resulted in the prevention or limitation of Hajj and `Umrah, and it should be noted that the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has vowed, in a statement issued by the Council of Ministers in its last session held on Jumada Thani 22, AH 1430 ( July 15, 2009), to implement a integrated plan aimed at combating the pandemic and preparing for the prevention of increase in cases of infection. In addition, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced sanitary conditions for people who intend to perform Hajj and `Umrah this year, and reserved its right to take any additional precautionary measures. According to what has been stated above, the council finds no justification for any fatwa implying discouraging people who intend to perform Hajj or `Umrah in the present year. However, it is by all means necessary to adopt safety measures that can prevent this disease, as well as other pandemics. The council also recommends the postponement of such rituals for aged people, people inflicted with devitalizing diseases, and those who take drugs that diminish immunity. Moreover, those who had performed Hajj or `Umrah before are advised to adopt the preceding instruction as a means of decreasing crowding.

Emergency meeting of Arab health ministers to combat Swine flu in 2009 Hajj season Arab health ministers met in Cairo on 4th of August to discuss the procedures and precautionary measures to be taken to combat swine flu and reduce its spread during Hajj and Umrah this year. The emergency meeting has been organised by the Cairo-based Regional Office of the World Health Organization for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO). Around 22 countries in the Arab world discussed issues related to swine flu and its spread in the region. The Saudi team presented the 15 recommendations concluded at the recent workshop held in Jeddah at which swine flu experts from the World Health Organization and the Atlanta-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) exchanged opinions concerning the virus. The recommendations

of the workshop are not to send pregnant women pilgrims, children under five and elderly people who are suffering from chronic diseases for Umrah or Hajj. It was recommended that all pilgrims should take the stipulated vaccines at least two weeks prior to their departure for the holy cities. The workshop also decided to advise the countries that send pilgrims to organise health education programs for their pilgrims in order to create awareness among them. In a related development, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced that it would no longer send daily reports on the incidence of swine flu in the Kingdom. Since May 29, a total of 294 cases have been reported in the Kingdom and the ministry reiterated that it would keep the public informed.

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Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

National

Page 3

Jakarta Bombings:

On Ground Report by a Melbourne Muslim

Kate Grealy*

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was walking by the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta the morning after the bomb had gone off, to satisfy my morbid curiosity in seeing for myself the damage done to the building. It was sad, yes, but the atmosphere around the building was eerily calm. Calm, if not for the banter of foreign journalists, foreheads furrowed in ‘concern’ as they turn toward their cameraman for their ‘Jakarta Terror Attack’ Report to some foreign land. I took some photos and proceeded to leave when an American journalist approached me; “Are you a journalist?” she asked. “No I am not” “Okay, did you know anyone who died or was injured?” “No!” “How do you feel about these attacks?” I began to feel infuriated by her at this stage. “How do you feel?” I asked. She then interrupted me anyway, and started to discuss the injured. She brought up her moral dilemmas in reporting such incidents as I think she felt the disapproval emanating, like sweat, from my forehead. She mentioned that “of course” she felt for the families of those whose lives had been lost. While saying this, she opened her notebook to a page listing the deceased and critically injured, to show me; “You know, I felt awful for the families, going

Above: Journalists gathering in front of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta.

into the hospital, invading their privacy, but the world needs to know about this”, nodding her head, as if to convince herself (and I) that she were right. Nodding in the way that journalists nod, eyebrows raised in false compassion toward a camera as a tragic story goes to air. But at this moment, I was the camera. I asked her: “You went INTO the hospital? You followed the families?” My mind twitched and buzzed. I was thinking many thoughts, asking many questions: she took her camera to the expat

Photo: courtesy of Kate Grealy.

victim’s lonesome hospital beds as they cried to God not to take them away from their loved ones, as they waited for them arrive so they could say their last goodbyes? I felt a twitch in my vision as rage overwhelmed me, she showed me the list; “Here they are, all the names I could get. So, sorry what was your name?” “Kate” “So, Kate, how do you feel?” “Awful” I replied. I felt awful about the bombing, the innocent victims yes, of

New mosque in Parramatta CBD, NSW Muslims working and living in and around Parramatta Central Business District (CBD) have managed to buy the first floor of a multistorey building that is built over 900 square metres of land. The internal layout of the floor has been designed to serve as a fully functional Mosque and Islamic Centre and it’s use as a public place of worship has been approved by Parramatta City Council. The property is in the middle of the Parramatta CBD, on Marsden Street between Macquarie and George Streets. It is very close to the station, to Westfield Parramatta Shopping Town and adjacent to various government agencies and large businesses. It is within easy walking distance for the workers of Parramatta CBD. Friday sermons at Parramatta will continue to be conducted in English. Parramatta prayer reflects the unified identity of Australian Muslims. The affairs of the mosque will continue to be conducted in English by locals independent of any ethno specific association. We also intend to use this property as a community centre, offering Islamic Studies, assisting Muslim youth, providing settlement

services, and fostering dialogue with the wider Australian society. There are about 22,600 Muslims living within the three adjacent local government areas of the City of Parramatta (2006 Census). Muslims are the largest religious minority

group here. The city also attracts many Muslim workers from various other parts of Sydney. Unfortunately, there is no mosque for Muslims living or working here. Over 300 worshipers have been gathering for the

course. But in that moment my response in feeling ‘awful’ was also aimed at her, and much of humankind. A kind of misanthropy washed over me. I discontinued the conversation and looked over her shoulder, gesturing that I have to go. “Nice to meet you” she said. I nodded and smiled. Taking a last glance at the Marriott (yes, I know it stands for a lot of things that we dislike in this world, in a world where there is such disparity between rich and poor and so on, but I’m not writing about that right now. It WAS a tragic sight & site), a policeman said to me, “don’t worry miss, they’re all going jahannum (hell)”. I nodded, silently agreeing. I took a last photo of a smallish red cardboard sign that had been placed in front of the building. In poor-ish English it read ‘you do not scare us, you make us strong. Love Candy’. Walking out of that scene, I passed so many people, going on with their normal everyday lives. Jakarta wasn’t a “hive of fear” as one reporter from CNN declared on that evening’s news. The city’s people defied fear, as one Indonesian friend told me; “My life is in Allah hands, not in ‘terror bom’ people hands. We no scare”. Returning to my hotel (an Asian branded hotel, yes not a Western one), I turned on CNN. The broadcasts were outrageously dramatic. Over the top. But JI (the alleged group responsible) and their automaton foot soldiers had taken their target and were done, and Indonesians were getting on with their lives. The Western media however had by no means finished, and continued reporting and reporting and reporting the ‘crisis’ as it continued to sell more and more advertising slots. Returning home to Australia, on 23 July, The Australian newspaper is still reporting it. Front centre page! *Kate Grealy is a Melbourne public servant, songwriter and musician. She also volunteers for the charity AFAR raising money for refugees living on the Afghan/Pakistan border. For more details, go to www.hope-afar.org.

Friday Jumma and daily prayers at 1:15 pm every weekday by having to rent Parramatta Town Hall on an hourly basis for the past 18 years. Now Allah has granted us this rare opportunity to establish our own permanent mosque in the heart of this rapidly growing, sixth largest CBD in Australia and the second largest city in NSW after Sydney. The mosque commitee are still raising fund to complete the purchase. The outstanding amount is $450 000.00 approx. To make a donation to support this wonderful new development, please contact: *Mr Neil El-Kadomi, OAM JP President, Parramatta Islamic Cultural Association Mobile: 0418218676 (in Australia) Email address: nkadomi@hotmail.com *Associate Professor Fazlul Huq, PhD DIC DipEd JP Chair- Fund-raising Team, Parramatta Mosque Project Mobile: 043 451 0034 (in Australia) Email address: F.Huq@usyd.edu.au Bank details: Commonwealth Bank, Parramatta Branch A/C Name: Parramatta Islamic Cultural Association BSB: 062 223 A/C No.: 10834637 Swift Code: : CTBAAU2S (for transfer from overseas)


Page 4

National

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Be the Change you Want to See in the World

Shayma Alshakshir*

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Muslim ummah is like the human body; when one part of that body aches, the entire body aches. These are the golden words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which inspired one woman to take a practical step to try and heal a Muslim wound from the other side of the world. Ms Abdulrahman, a Lebanese Australian Muslim, has taken the initiative to hold a monthly fundraiser for the people of Palestine. Ms Abdulrahman has been organising this

Above: Gaza protests in Jordan 2008, 2009. fundraiser ever since the Israelis carried out their latest December 2008 massacre on the Palestinians. She says this fundraiser aims at helping the Palestinians as much as possible. “The main objective is to help the poor and needy who are suffering in the hands of the Israelis.” Ms Abdulrahman said. “Our aim is to provide food, clothing, medicine and other needs with the funds that we raise.” Ms Abdulrahman is a mother of six - all under the age of 11. As difficult as it may sound,

Photos: Courtesy of Shayma Alshakshir she organises these monthly fundraisers without any assistance. She says she is strongly supported by the Muslim community; the number of attendees varies between 150-200, including adults and children. The idea of the fundraiser took off very quickly says Ms Abdulrahman. “It was just on the spur of the moment that I got hold of a play centre, owned by Muslims.” Ms Abdulrahman said. “I was able to hire the centre from 5.308.30 pm on a Saturday night, which is much

easier for the mothers to attend and not have to worry about having to put their children to bed early for school the next day.” she explained. Ms Abdulrahman says the fundraising night is a great opportunity for mothers and children to spend time together thus strengthening the bond between them. “It is a lot of fun for the mothers and children and at the same time there is a big benefit in helping those people in desperate need” Ms Abdulrahman said. With the help of Allah, Ms Abdulrahman and her helpers have been successful in raising several thousand dollars. “We have some sisters who sell from home and they bring their items to the centre to sell amongst the sisters. We have one that sells jewelry, another that sells clothes and I sell children’s clothing and bedding as well as abayas. Each sister donates 10 percent from the profit from whatever is sold on the night and this goes towards the fundraiser collection,” she said. Ms Abdulrahman says that it’s the least they can do for Muslims living in Palestine. “We need to do more for our brothers and sisters who are suffering at the hands of the oppressors.” For more information regarding fundraiser details, please visit the IISNA website on www. iisna.com.au/events * Shayma Alshakshir is a Professional Writing graduating student. Her various works have been published in the Leader newspaper, Islamonline (youth4the future), SEED Magazine and Assabeel Daily Newspaper (Jordan). She is a media cadetship candidate at the Herald Sun Newspaper.

The Power of a Green Ribbon Sabrine Elkhodr* A little orphaned girl sits by the dusty road as she waits on the sympathy of a passerby. Food is a luxury here. Left to fend for herself, she has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. Not too far away, another little girl also waits. Waiting for hope, for compassion; both slowly starve and wither away into the depths of hunger whilst they wait for a helping hand. There’s no hope. No help. Humanity is lost on the millions of women and children living in abject poverty around the world. It seems the world has forgotten them. On the other side of the globe, a bunch of university students unite to do something about it. Fired by their passion to help those less fortunate, they spend hours every week organizing fundraising events and programs designed to raise funds for people they will probably never meet. The Green Scarf Day Foundation, a student-run organisation based in Sydney, is a testament to the power that the youth have to make a lasting change in the world. Established in 2007 by a couple of University of Sydney students, it has grown into a grassroots youth movement that spans the nation. Deeply inspired by the United Nations Millenium Development Goals- a set of time-bound targets developed by the UN for halving global

PUBLISHER: Crescent Press Pty Ltd MONTHLY - MODERATE - INDEPENDENT

Above and right: Green scarf day events in Sydney Photos: Coutesy of Sabrine Elkhodor.

poverty by 2015- the GSD vision is to raise funds for community development projects in disadvantaged areas around the world. Focusing on projects which benefit women and children, the Foundation recognizes that this demographic is often left to bear the brunt of civil and natural disasters. To date, the Foundation, working through the MSA, has helped fund a maternity ward in Sudan, sponsored several widows and orphans and is working on two major community projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan in conjunction with local charity organizations. The main project for 2009 is the establishment of a permaculture program in Afghanistan working in collaboration with Mahboba’s Promise. The program is expected to provide employment and fresh produce to thousands within the local community. The main event, Green Scarf Day, was held August 20th 2008 in 11 universities across NSW and Victoria. Armed with green ribbons, GSD t-shirts, moneyboxes and a fervent desire to help others, these students raised almost $15,000 in less than a day. Having grown from a very simple idea in 2007 to a large-scale project within one year, this annual event has proven itself a popular and engaging initiative with the

potential to change the way we raise money for those struggling in disadvantaged areas around the world. The excitement about this initiative has been palpable throughout the year and continues to increase as more and more find out about the aims of the Green Scarf Day Foundation. Green Scarf Day 09 will be held Wednesday August 19th in all major universities across NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. This year, the Foundation has introduced the Community Fundraising program which gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to host a GSD ribbon box during the week of Green Scarf Day ( August 17th-24th) to help raise money by selling green ribbons. It is also inviting schools to take part by selling ribbons on the day. If you are a school or business/organisation and would like to help by selling ribbons on Green Scarf Day 09, please email info@greenscarfday.com with your contact details, institution and say that you would like to host a ribbon box. If you would like to buy a green ribbon and want to know where you can get one from, visit the website www.greenscarfday.com to find out which

EDITORIAL TEAM: EDITOR IN CHIEF: Tarek Chamkhi: editor@crescenttimes.com.au PRODUCTION EDITOR: Joanne McKeown: editor2@crescenttimes.com.au MELBOURNE EDITOR: Nasya Bahfen: nasya.bahfen@crescenttimes.com.au SYDNEY EDITOR: Keysar Trad: nsw@crescenttimes.com.au OPINION EDITOR: Irfan Yusuf: opinion@crescenttimes.com.au

institutions are selling them. The youth are the future. We are the generation that can change the world. We have the energy, the time, the power and the ability to eradicate poverty. Our generation is a very lucky one. Compared to generations of the past, we live a very latte lifestyle. Everything is at our fingertips. Most of us have never gone longer than five hours without a meal let alone tasted starvation. While we play with our iPods and watch the latest release, we tend to forget that just a stone’s throw away, people are dying. As the first generation to have the luxury of education, technology and virtually unlimited resources, we can be the ones to make poverty history. And the Green Scarf Day Foundation aims to do just that. * Sabrine Elkhodr is the President of the Green Scarf Day Foundation which she co-founded in 2007 whilst serving on the executive committee of the Sydney University Muslim Students Association. The Foundation won the Best Community Initiative award in the 2008 Australian Muslim Achievement Awards. Sabrine is currently a third year Pharmacy student at the University of Sydney.

Contributors in this issue: Zabrina A. Bakar - Taj Aldin Alhilali- Shayma Alshakshir - Rashid Alsahkshir - Tarek Chamkhi - Jamal Daoud - Linda Delgado - Hanan Dover - Sabrine Elkhodr - Kate Grealy Amanda Charmand Mazumde - Joanne McKeown - M Ibrahim Memon - Debora McNichol - Aisha Stacey - Irfan Yusuf


Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Community

Page 5

MCCA reaffirms objective to become Australia’s first Islamic retail bank

T

he overwhelming number of attendees, interest and presentations of the keynote speakers at the recent Islamic Banking & Finance (IBF) Symposium Melbourne has reaffirmed to Muslim Community Co-operative Australia Ltd (MCCA) Chairman Dr. Akhtar Kalam that the rapidly growing co-operative’s ambition to become the first retail Islamic Bank in Australia will be hastened as more and more consumers turn to the principles of IBF as an alternative to the current offers in the marketplace. In his welcome speech at the IBF Symposium (sponsored jointly by Latrobe University, NAB and MCCA), Dr. Kalam said that at present, MCCA was too big to remain a co-operative and yet too small to become a bank, but would work with the Australian Federal Government to address the challenges and find an Islamic Finance and Banking solution. Senator Hon Nick Sherry, Assistant Treasurer opened the IBF Symposium and said Islamic finance was an area of growing interest in Australia, and referred to the retail opportunities the industry offered to both Muslim and non-

Muslim customers. “With over 340,000 Muslims in Australia, the offering of retail Islamic finance products contributes to fostering social inclusion, by enabling Australian Muslims to access products that may be more consistent with their principles and beliefs as well as widening the choice of products for non-Muslims,” he said. MCCA Managing Director Mr. Chaaban Omran presented a blueprint for the future of Islamic Finance & Banking in Australia that focused on wealth and job creation utilizing the successful UK experience of the past five years. During his presentation, Mr. Omran said that this style of financing and banking will attract customers away from interest-based products and provide a new form of risk profile, linking the transaction to an asset as the underlying commodity. In particular, he reaffirmed that MCCA had all the key ingredients to become Australia’s Islamic bank. The audience was particularly interested in MCCA’s AFSL license as well the organisation’s objective to develop Australia’s first pure Islamic Superannuation Fund. MCCA Income Fund

Muslim Community Co-operative Australia Ltd (MCCA)

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CCA is a part of the Australian community – as a co-operative it is owned by its members. Since beginning operations in 1989 MCCA has cemented its position at the forefront of Shari’a compliant finance and investment in Australia. And MCCA’s profits are returned to members via share dividends. Home ownership is an important part of Australian life and MCCA has assisted thousands of Muslim families to realise their goal without compromising their principles or sacrificing quality of service. MCCA is a living example of Islamic principles in practice providing innovative products for individuals and businesses, enabling them to participate fully in economic life without compromising the tenets of their faith. And Australian Muslims are not alone – Shari’a compliant finance is the fastest growing sector of the international finance industry! MCCA products are specially developed to meet the needs of Australian Muslims and to provide an alternative to mainstream financing.

investment strategy is mandated by MCCA according to Islamic principles. Mr. Omran also said that Islamic Banking and Finance in Australia will also generate a new era of employment and business opportunities for Australians in the legal, consulting, government, education, audit & taxation and training sectors – to name but a few. As part of the IBF Symposium, Latrobe University announced the launch of a new initiative, the postgraduate Master of Islamic Banking and Finance. The cutting edge program will provide students with a unique knowledge and technical skills in demand by global Islamic capital markets and institutions. “Islamic banking and finance is widely acknowledged as one of the fastest growing sectors in the international and Australian financial services marketplace.” “I am confident that the Islamic principles of ethical investment and finance will be immensely attractive to Australian Muslims and non Muslims and in doing so, provide the momentum that will ensure MCCA’s goal is realized to be our nation’s first retail Islamic bank,” concluded Dr. Kalam.

WA: a new prayer room in Clarkson, Northern Perth The Muslim community in the north of Perth, WA have established a prayer room to avoid the long way drive to the nearest mosque. Address: 2/30 Ainsbury Pde, Clarkson Prayer Times FAJAR (Morning Prayer) 6:15 AM DHUR (Afternoon Prayer) 01:00 PM ASR (Mid AfterNoon Prayer) 03:30 PM MUGHRIB (Evening Prayer) 05:30 PM ISHA (Late Evening Prayer) 07:15 PM Quran classes: every day between MUGHRIB (Evening Prayer) at 05:30 PM and ISHA (Late Evening Prayer) at 07:15 PM Insha Allah there will be Taraweeh prayer in the month of Ramadan. Your support

and donations are welcome. To donate or for more details please contact brother Wahid Sidiqi on: 0412033225.

ROOM TO LET WA- Fully Furnished, self-contained/private room $150 pw Size of three rooms Balga – Warwick Hamersley side, close to amenities, to suit clean professional or student, single or couple. Call Rabikah Roby White on: 08 9342 0096

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Minorities find it Harder to get Jobs

ob applicants find it easier to get an interview if they have an Anglo-Saxon name, according to new research from Australian National University. The study, conducted by ANU economists Professor Alison Booth and Professor Andrew Leigh from the Research School of Social Sciences, in conjunction with researcher Elena Varganova, estimated discrimination by sending over 4000 fake CVs to employers in response to job advertisements in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. ‘By varying the names on the CVs, we were able to estimate precisely the extent of hiring discrimination,’ said Professor Booth. ’Because all other characteristics are constant, we can be sure that we are really measuring discrimination. To get the same number of interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon name, a Chinese applicant must submit 68% more applications, a Middle Eastern applicant must submit 64% more applications, an Indigenous applicant must submit 35% more applications, and an Italian applicant must submit 12% more applications. By comparison, a similar study in the United States found

that a black applicant must submit 50% more applications to get the same number of interviews as a white applicant’ he added. The authors also carried out two other experiments to measure racial and ethnic discrimination in the general population. ‘In one experiment, we mailed letters to several thousand households, to see whether they returned them or put them in the bin,’ said Professor Leigh. ’We found that letters were slightly less likely to be returned if they were addressed to non-Anglo people. In another experiment testing reaction speed, we found implicit discrimination against ethnic minority names, suggesting that part of the effect in the hiring experiment is likely to be subconscious.’ A copy of the paper, Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence From Three Experiments, is available at: http:// econrsss.anu.edu.au/~aleigh/ Source: ICCWA

Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Latest Data The fourth Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report was released on 2 July. Commissioned by the Council of Australian Governments, the report’s strategic framework is designed to track the extent to which government policies and programs are making a difference to Indigenous people where it counts. The report finds that over the period reviewed, Indigenous people continued to share in Australia’s general prosperity, with increases in employment, incomes and home ownership. Mr Banks said ‘these further improvements in economic indicators are a positive sign. However, preserving the gains in more difficult economic times will be challenging’. He added ‘a number of the key social indicators have shown little improvement, with a deterioration occurring in areas such as criminal justice’. Mr Banks observed that data in some critical areas remain poor: ‘There have been laudable efforts to improve data in recent years, but more work is needed. Improved methodologies suggest that Indigenous life expectancies are higher than previous estimates. But it is still not possible to say whether the gaps with non-Indigenous people have actually narrowed.’ Visit http://www.pc.gov.au/gsp/reports/indigenous/keyindicators2009 Source: ICCWA

South WA: Ancient Area Returned to Traditional Owners

Responsibility for an area of great Aboriginal heritage significance in Albany, Western Australia was returned to its traditional owners on 28 June, 2009. The fish traps at Oyster Harbour have been managed by the National Trust since 1966 when they were under threat from development. They are part of a much larger area where local Noongar people have been gathering for at least 7,500 years. In 1791, Captain George Vancouver noted them on an exploration expedition. The fish traps consist of eight weirs that extend along the north end of Oyster Harbour. They are made from thousands of stones in which branches are positioned vertically, then horizontally to trap fish when the tide recedes. The fish are then speared. Heritage Minister John Castrilli said the site held special significance because it was the first heritage place vested in the National Trust of Australia (WA). ‘It gives me great pleasure to join with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs as we pass the responsibility for the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps and reserve to the Albany Heritage Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation and the traditional owners of Menang country,’ Mr Castrilli said. ‘This most valuable and unique site has been passed to the traditional owners to enable its conservation and interpretation as a cultural heritage educational resource for the local community.’ Source: ECCWA


National

Page 6

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Editorial:

Sydney judge rules against Keysar Trad in his defamation case:

Keysar Trad, Harbour Radio and Justice McClellan Joanne McKeown*

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n Friday 31 July 2009 Justice McClellan found that although Radio Station 2GB had in fact defamed Keysar Trad in remarks broadcast on 19 December 2005, they were justified by the fact that a substantial number of the defamatory remarks were true and based on fact. He then went on to order costs against Keysar Trad, a highly visible figure in the Australian Muslim community. Defamation law in NSW in 2005, the time of the defamation, was highly complex, defamation trials consisted of a number of phases. In the first phase evidence would be presented by the plaintiff about what had been said or published and a jury would decide whether defamation had actually occurred. The second, defence, phase gave the respondent (in this case Harbour Radio as the operators of radio station 2GB) the opportunity to present evidence to the presiding judge about their justification for the remarks (ie their defence). The judge would then decide if any of the proposed defences were proven. Following this determination the judge presiding over the case then had the opportunity to consider the amount of damages if any. In this case, in the first phase of the trial, the Supreme Court jury concluded that Keysar Trad had been defamed by radio station 2GB when they broadcast allegations about his character on the morning of 19 December 2005. During the broadcast, the radio station host made comments such as: Keysar Trad incites people to violence and racism, he is a dangerous and disgraceful individual and that he deliberately gives out misinformation about the Islamic community. In August 2007, the Supreme Court jury found that these accusations constituted serious defamation. In the second phase of the trial, Justice McClellan, considered evidence put forward by Harbour Radio in defence of the finding of defamation. Harbour Radio alleged that the statements made were true and went on to provide evidence about Keysar Trad’s beliefs and actions dating back over a number of years to support their claim. This included evidence about his involvement as a spokesman for Sheik Hilali where he was left in the untenable position of trying to explain some

USA: Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder A former Blackwater employee and an ex-U.S. Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”

of Sheik Hilali’s more controversial comments, for example his description of scantily dressed women as uncovered cat’s meat. The judge found that Keysar Trad’s lack of outright condemnation of some of the Sheik Hilali’s views meant that he in fact agreed with such views even in circumstances where he had not been given any prior opportunity to confirm or deny agreement with those views. For example, Sheik Hilali made comments in February 2004 at a mosque in Lebanon that indicated that he approved of the use of children as suicide bombers. Keysar Trad wrote to SBS after part of the speech was broadcast correcting the translation that had been used. Justice McClellan concluded that as Keysar Trad had not outright condemned these views at the time of writing the letter, he was therefore in agreement with them. Keysar Trad’s later unrelated comments regarding what he described as the generally moderate views of Sheik Hilali were also interpreted by Justice McClellan as implying that Keysar Trad commended or agreed with all of Sheik Hilali’s views. Justice McClellan concluded that most of the defamatory statements made by Harbour Radio were in fact true and therefore justified. He also noted the fact that Keysar Trad had made remarks against the radio station 2GB during his attendance at a peace rally following the Cronulla riots. Justice McClellan concluded that the defamatory remarks made by the Harbour Radio presenter the following day were justified in the context of a response to Keysar Trad’s remarks which he described as an “attack”. Justice McClellan concluded his judgement by ordering that Keysar Trad pay costs; costs are estimated to be four hundred thousand dollars. A representative for Keysar Trad has confirmed that an appeal will be lodged. Sadly, the judge’s deliberations on some of the defamatory remarks also took into account statements and publications by a range of members of the Muslim community who had from time to time felt the need to criticise Keysar Trad publicly or no good reasons. * Dr. Joanne McKeown is the production editor of Crescent Times..

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Thank goodness for the Rudd government Luckily we elected the Labor government and replaced the fundamentalist conservative Liberal Howard government. Though our troops, for various well known reasons, still occupy two Muslim lands in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Muslim community are hugely relieved from the pressure we experienced under the Howard government and his old guard hardliners such as Peter Costello. It doesn’t take much imagination to see what the media would say against the Muslim community if the 4th of August raids occurred a few years ago. In 2005, The Western Australian newspaper published the headline “ENEMY WITHIN” when members of a group led by Abdul Nacer Benbrika were arrested for plotting to commit a terrorist act. The newspaper did not make any attempt to distinguish between the suspects and the Muslim community in general. In today’s atmosphere, there is no such mix up. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say, there is no more media demonisation of the Muslim community as there was previously under the Howard government. Alhamdulilah. Our Muslim leaders seem to have established better communication skills in dealing with such groups who imperil our future in this country and worldwide. In time, mainstream society will realise that Australian Muslims, despite their extremely diverse backgrounds, are no worse than say Irish Australians. Over time all the discrimination against the Irish dating back to the early days of European settlement and continuing to Irish links with terrorism in the form of the IRA became just part of history. The process of integration of Non Muslim Australians and Muslim Australians may take longer than integration for some other ethnic or religious groups, but eventually everyone will get there safely, Allah willing.

From front page:

The Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) press release:

their reporting and to respect the privacy of the families of those who are under investigation. The Australian legal system is built on a presumption of innocence, which we are confident, will be upheld throughout this legal process. This is a very serious matter with very serious allegations, and as this matter is

A

under police investigation and before the courts, we are not in a position at this point in time to issue any further comment. Thank you. Sheikh Fehmi Naji El-Imam Mufti of Australia. Contact details; Phone No: 0433 924 197 - Email: boardofimams@gmail.com

Censorship on Facebook?

recent visit to Facebook has confirmed the presence of hate groups such as Crush Hamas and F***Jesus Christ as well as any number of groups devoted to the promotion of random and diverse concepts ranging from same sex marriage to peanut butter month. So which page has attracted enough attention from Facebook operators to be removed? The page deemed to be most offensive by Facebook operators was in fact the page ‘Commander Ismail Haniyeh’. This page was dedicated to fans of Hamas’ prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh and had attracted more than 10,000 Facebook users before it was removed from the internet.

There was no explanation given for the removal of the page and it remains to be seen whether similar action will be taken against other Hamas-affiliated Facebook webpages, including that of Hamas’ politburo chief, Khaled Mashaal, which has already accumulated 17,000 ‘friends’. The London based Al-Hayat reports that “the assumption is that the site is under pressure from Israel, the US, or other groups acting with Israel’s interests in mind and battling against the Palestinian people and its resistance movements, including Hamas”. Some pages are clearly more equal than others.

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Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

PLANET IRF:

Irfan Yusuf*

A

s I write these lines, a 24 year old man is in custody and some 400 police and security agents have undertaken raids across Melbourne searching for alleged plotters of an attack on an Australian army barracks. Police spokesmen have said that the attack, if carried out, would have been the largest terrorist attack on Australian soil. The Islamic Council of Victoria has already issued a statement about the raids, which were said to have been undertaken on the homes of young Australian men of Somali and Lebanese heritage. The ICV has made three

International

Page 7

National security is now a matter of National Security simple messages. First, ICV President Mr Ramzi Elsayed asks police to “respect the legal rights of the people arrested in this morning’s operation”. He also requested media to “respect the privacy and dignity of the families concerned in today’s operation”. Vice-President Ms Sherene Hassan said that she “welcomes Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland’s comments that Muslims are valued members of our community”. Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Ikebal Patel, President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils. And it wasn’t just peak religious body leaders and police seeking to separate this issue from ordinary Australians who happen to tick the “Muslim” box on their census forms. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made this observation: “Australians will be concerned to hear about arrests of this nature in our midst. Our assessment of the terrorist threat in Australia is that it comes from a small number of individuals who in no way should be taken as a wider reflection of any group within Australian society.” Australians will be concerned to hear. Not non-Somali or non-Lebanese or non-

Middle Eastern or non-Muslim Australians. And there are “a small number of individuals” whose actions should in no way “be taken as a wider reflection of any group within Australian society”. National security has become an issue of national security. It is no longer an issue to be manipulated by cultural warriors or religious crusaders as it once was under the Howard government when even the smallest incident unrelated to national security was used as evidence that “a small group of Muslims is hostile to our way of life”. But that doesn’t mean our responsibility ends. Bombs don’t discriminate on the basis of race or religion. Had this attack been carried out, men and women in and out of uniform at an army barracks could have died. Those men and women, be they Muslim or not, are our men and women. Sadly, those carrying out the attack would also have been our men and women. It’s something we seriously need to think about. We need to consider the processes by which young men and women can become attracted to such thinking, and allow their religious identity to become influenced by conflicts overseas of which they often have minimal

understanding. Speaking of minimal understanding, and on the lighter side, The Australian newspaper which broke the story was accused by police of behaving in a manner which threatened the entire operation and the safety of police involved. This was a newspaper whose editorial line at one stage was heavily geared toward using Muslims as a cultural punching bag, even publishing articles that said the “Muslim problem” was a bigger threat to Australia than global warming. And as if to confirm their lack of understanding of Somali politics and religion, The Oz included this perceptive identifier for the al-Shabaab group: “Its followers shun alcohol, cigarettes, music and videos, choosing an austere, violent interpretation of Islam”. So shunning alcohol, cigarettes, certain forms of music and videos is said to be violent and austere. Perhaps the police should also be raiding the homes of Fred Nile and Danny Nalliah. * Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney based lawyer, writer and columnist. He is the opinion editor of Crescent Times.


Conference

Page 8

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Conference: A Common word for the Common Good

Crescent Times, Perth, WA:

T

he Common Word for Common Good conference was held in Perth between 10th and 12th of July 2009. The conference featured speakers including, Imam Afroz Ali, Reverend Professor James Haire, Father Charles Waddell, Anwar Ibrahim and surprise guest Anwar Ibrahim’s wife Wan Azizah. In 2006, the Common Word initiative was conceived in response to the growing divide between Western and Muslim societies. Muslim scholars from around the globe came together to take the important step of bridging that divide, by sending an open letter to church leaders and Christians everywhere, emphasising the common ground between the world’s two largest religions. Anwar Ibrahim’s lecture:

Malaysian opposition leader, and global interfaith spokesperson, Anwar Ibrahim addressed a remarkable crowd at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre on the night of 11th July. Embellished with classical literary quotes from the likes of Shakespeare and TS Elliot, he covered a diversity of issues from religious identity to global leadership. Anwar Ibrahim quoted from a diverse cultural background including Fukayama and the end of history liberal theory, Huntington and the clash of civilisation theory, Andalusia as the peak of civilisation for European Muslims, the

impact of Imperialism on today’s politics, the Danish cartoonist and the Jewish American Orientalist Bernard Louis. Anwar Ibrahim openly criticised the irrational anger from Muslim crowds worldwide in their reaction to events such as the Danish cartoons. Anwar explained that Makased Eshariaa (the aim of Islamic law and teachings) is all about saving human blood, properties and lives, not destroying, burning and killing each other. “Islamic law is in fact very complimentary to the aims of today’s secular societies. If we look back to the roots of both Christian and Muslim civilisations, we find democracy and freedom at their core,” he said. Following Mr Ibrahim was Reverend Professor James Haire, who emphasised the shared history of Christians and Muslims and suggested ways in which both groups could move forward in unity. “We need to unite, or we’ll continue to be pitted against each other by secularists who see faith as weakness,” he said. The Common Word conference closed on Sunday 12th July with a public lecture titled “The Just Balance” at the University of Western Australia, given by Imam Afroz Ali. The Conference was organised by the University of WA’s Muslim Students Association, Perth Lighthouse, Jumiatul Ulama of WA, and Perth Convention Bureau.

Photos: top left: Prof. James Haire, top right: Dr. Anwar Ibrahim, left: imam Afroz Ali. Crescent Times, 2009

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Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Ramadan

S Hanan a k eDover* enah

Inner Secrets of Fasting T

he status and reward of sawm (or fasting) is not found in another act, neither is it’s closeness to Allah….. Allah (swt) says in a hadith Qudsi that “the fast is for Me and I will reward it.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]. Fasting is closely connected to Allah and its secrets lie in the fact that the actions are hidden. The basic level of fasting involves the general fast of refraining from eating, drinking, and sexual satisfaction. The inner acts are those where one refrains from speaking ill of others, gossiping, lying, backbiting, jealousy, using offensive language, cheating, gazing or staring at haram images, listening to haram messages, and refraining from engaging in haram acts. Hence, exercising self-control in terms of lowering one’s gaze, speaking of benefit, controlling one’s body part from what is disliked, forbidden or has no benefit is a superior act because it takes a lot of inner conscious effort than merely abstaining from food and drink. “Whosoever does not abandon false speech and the acting upon it, Allah is not in need of him leaving off his food and drink.” [Sahihh

al-Bukhari, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah] The highest aspect of fasting is to achieve Taqwa, God-consciousness. This is where the heart is motivated towards the pleasure of Allah. The heart abstains from its yearning after the worldly affairs and anything else that distances one away from Allah. Make a Ramadan Training Program for yourself this Ramadan where you can list 5 qualities that you would like to change about yourself to serve Allah, whether it is to increase an act of worship, curb desires and ill-thoughts, to quit smoking, or helping others. Take advantage of the 30 day period to change your life towards the siratal mustaqeem (the straight and righteous path). *Hanan Dover is a forensic psychologist and regular contributor to Crescent Times. You can reach her on hanan.dover@crescenttimes.com.au

Fatwas about Ramadan and fasting

Answers from Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, the Professor of Jurisprudence & Its Principles at the International Islamic University, Malaysia. Kissing in Ramadan while fasting: Question: Salam. My wife and I are so mutaqqin (pious), alhamdulillah. But even though is Ramadan we get excited and I kissed her neck and she put on herself some perfume, and my mouth tasted that perfume; does this break my fast? Answer: Thank you and may Allah increase your Taqwah. However, you have to observe your fasting and protect it by refraining yourselves from all actions and activities leading to the breaking of your fasting such as kissing or touching with desire. You should dedicate your times in Ramadan to more praying, reading Qur’an and Zikr, attending religious lectures rather than spending it with your beloved wife. Furthermore, she should avoid putting perfumes which are provocative and attractive. Both of you need to repent to Allah and distance yourselves from what you did. Of course, your fasting isn’t broken but it needs further repair in order for you to have a quality fasting free from all small and great sins. As you may know well that our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to remind Muslims about the importance of this month and the necessity of increasing our Ibadah and good doings in this month in order for us to be among those people whom Allah will accept them in the Heaven. May Allah strengthen your Taqwah.

Social aspects of Ramadan: Question : I would like to know more about the social aspects of Ramadan. An Iftar has been organized for medical students (I’m a medical student), and there’re no gender restrictions, i.e. males and females will be sitting on the same table. In general, I have red lines for any activity involving alcohol, dancing and music, or if the activity will make me miss my prayer. However I have a gray area... what to do when an activity does not involve the mentioned points yet both males and females are participating... I’m not really willing to go for the sake of being around males but rather feel not isolated, as I’m having a huge difficulty in feeling integrated in a class of non-Muslim males majority. I hadn’t participated in any class dinner or lunch previously because the majority of my classmates are alcohol consumers. However this time the place doesn’t serve alcohol. Will I be doing something that insults Ramadan spirit if I go to the Iftar? I really want to feel social but I do not want to be disobeying Allah SWT. Answer: In fact, organizing iftar party at universities or campuses is a good idea and an opportunity to present Islam to nonMuslim students and teachers. Two years ago, I was in America during Ramadan and I was invited to an Iftar party organized by the MSA, and it was very successful and a lot of Muslim scholars gave

Ramadan Compromise

The Kiki principle:

Debora McNichol*

I

fasted through Ramadan for the first time in 1997. That winter month was a simple one. I was not married at the time, and didn’t really know any Muslims except my future husband, and he was in another state nine hundred miles away. Looking back, I didn’t know him all that well. Not having a benchmark other than a newbie’s knowledge of the Sunnah, my expectations were only to get through the month as smoothly as possible, day by day and hour by hour. If I was lucky, I could lose a few pounds in the process. I fasted at work, somehow managing to keep up in my very busy restaurant, broke the fast at the appropriate time, ate simply, prayed, and read the Quran. At the end of the month, I celebrated Eid by eating solo between lunch and dinner rush at the restaurant. Ramadan was elegant, simple and peaceful, but a little bit lonely. I didn’t lose a pound. Imagine my confusion the next year when Ahmed schooled me on what he expected to break his fast with: chicken, beef, rice, molokhia and vegetables, bread, and fruit salad in cream and sugar. Good thing he cooks, I told myself as he spent entire afternoons preparing for iftar in the restaurant. Late nights we stayed awake after long days at work. Egyptian movies and Ramadan specials played while we relaxed in the dark. Egyptian Arabic peppered our mornings

talks and presentations about Ramadan. So, such events are very good for Muslims living in the West to introduce Islam to non-Muslims. Finally, I should say that organizers of such events should be careful to mange the event in a way that doesn’t violate the general ethics and morals of Islam. For example, food and drinks should be halal. Islamic ethics for dealings between boys and girls should be observed. Redo Hajj or give money to poor Question: I want to go to Makkah to spend 2 days to pray in the Haram (Sacred House – the Ka`bah). The night is 1ooo riyals. I don’t know which is better, to donate it to poor or pray in the Haram. I feel a little guilty to spend money on the hotel when there are lots of poor but the thawab (reward) is too much in the Haram? Answer: Dear sister, If you have performed your obligatory Hajj and performed `Umrah, then you could spend the costs of your visit to Makkah on the needy and the poor people, especially in the suffering Muslim countries where people don’t find food or drink to survive. As for the issue of reward, this is left to Allah alone who knows the sincerity of everybody. What we could do is to give priority to the obligatory over the optional. Saving people’s lives is a must, while going

Page 9

as Ahmed called his family and every friend he ever had. He remained unendingly goodnatured despite missing too many suhoors. I, on the other hand, tenuously and irritably held my own, foregoing cigarettes, coffee, and most of the time, curse words. ‘Tweren’t easy. Eleven years later, I need the spirituality of Ramadan more than ever. I’ve quit smoking, but have a temper that continues to require more tongue biting than can possibly be good for a human being. So I’ll prepare myself for fasting and dispose of those victims of procrastination that haunt me daily. I’ll drill Ahmed to make sure we have the funds for zakat (never an issue, alhamdulillah, but I worry). I’ll schedule a pre-Ramadan blood donation. The most important preparation, though, is done. There is no adequate excuse or explanation for why Ahmed and I had not discussed our divergent Ramadan practices, but alhamdulillah, better late than never. As usual, Ahmed was receptive and sweet and is willing to tone it down a bit, while I will try not to be such a sourpuss. Insha Allah, no more late nights with the TV. No more skipping suhoor. No more temper tantrums. No more Maghrib feasts. Well, maybe one. Ahmed really is a wonderful cook. *Debora McNichol is a Muslim wife, mother, daughter, business owner, editor, and attorney in the USA. She has a general law practice in Virginia and North Carolina, and especially takes pleasure in discussing intellectual property and business law with willing clients, friends, and neighbors. Debora blogs regularly, discussing Muslim and personal topics, current events, and business-related subjects with passion. www.sawalad.com – Sawa-Lad Editing Services www.mcnichollaw.com – McNichol Law Offices.

for `umrah is optional; we have to first carry out what is must. If you could combine between both: donating money to the suffering and needy people and going to Makkah for `Umrah, this will be the best option. May Allah accept your and our good deeds! Allah Almighty knows best. Gargling mouth with water Question: I was gargling my mouth one day in Ramadan while fasting and had a doubt that I swallowed some water while being conscious that I was fasting? Does this invalidate my fast or do I have to be %100 sure that I swallowed it in order for my fast to become invalidated? I would greatly appreciate your response. Thank you. Answer : Dear sister: First of all, it should be clear that rinsing the mouth or nostrils with water doesn’t invalidate the Fast provided that it is not overdone. So, you are advised not to use much water when rinsing your mouth or nostrils so that water will not go to the stomach. Regarding your specific case, as long as you were not sure that water went to your stomach, and you just had doubt, then your fasting is valid. It is known in Shari`ah that certainly cannot be removed by doubts. Allah Almighty knows best. Source: IslamOnline.


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Stories

Page 11

Life Storyteller

The Story of The Farmer and His Watermelon

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

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was reading the newspaper today about a man who was charged for lying in court. Despite the vow to ‘tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ he still gave wrong information to the court. Perhaps he never heard what Elvis Presley once said, Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away. As I thought about this man’s behaviour- his lies, I began to ponder. Despite making such an oath, he had no qualms in violating it. Clearly it was just lip service. I wondered what was on his mind at that very moment when he made that promise. Why would someone who swore to tell the truth go against his very own words just seconds later? Didn’t he think that he would be found out one day? What about the impact of his lies on others - especially on the victims? Whatever the real reason that man lied, only Allah knows. Perhaps he was desperate, needed to lie in order to save someone else, perhaps to protect others, to avoid shame, perhaps to run away from punishment. Who knows, right? But you know what? Those excuses are not even valid excuses. Our Prophet (pbuh) had said that we can’t even fib or tell a lie even when we

are joking! In fact, telling the truth is so significant in our lives that if we are able to do it, guess what reward awaits us? He (pbuh) said that… I guarantee a house in the middle of Paradise for the one who leaves off lying even if it be in jest. (at-Tirmidhî on the authority of Abû Umâmah) When I first read this hadith, something amazing struck me big time. It is the word “middle” he (pbuh) used! Yup, he (pbuh) said if we leave the habit or act of lying, he would guarantee us a house in the middle of Paradise? SubhanAllaah. My question is why the middle? How and why is it significant? Let us reflect on this, shall we? Offices in the middle of New York city, apartments in the centre of London, condominiums in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, hotels in central Paris and land plots in the centre of Tokyo – what do they have in common? That’s it. You got it. The most expensive rent slapped on each and every door there! So yes, if we are able to stay honest and not lie, ready for us upon our entry to our permanent abode is a home right smack in the middle of His Paradise! Isn’t that absolutely great? Let me share with you a story of a farmer and his watermelon… There was a farmer who grew watermelons. He was doing well, but was disturbed by some kids who would sneak into his watermelon patch at night and eat his watermelons. After some careful thought, he came up with a clever idea that

he thought would scare the kids away for sure. He made up a sign and posted it in the field that “Warning! One of the watermelons in this field has been injected with cyanide.” The kids ran off, made up their own sign and posted it next to the farmer’s sign. When the farmer returned, he surveyed the field. He noticed that no watermelons were missing, but the sign next to his reads, “Now there are two!” Yikes! I know… I asked myself- Do I ever want to be the farmer? Wondering which two of my watermelons are contaminated? Goodness, I would definitely have countless sleepless nights crying over all the melons I have to throw away! Not to mention the regrets I would have. Na’udhubillaah. Realising this, I am determined to get my act together. I shall strive for my Jannah by being truthful. After all, there is a great reward attached to it, don’t you agree? What about you my friends? Fancy a property that would last for eternity? If having property in the midst of the city doesn’t excite us, perhaps remembering the farmer and his watermelon will… *Sis Zabrina also known as Zabrina A. Bakar, is a Life Storyteller, motivational and inspirational writer and speaker; and author of Islamic motivational book Life is an Open Secret book series http://wwww.lifeopensecret. com. Her latest book- Life is an Open SecretRamadan Special is now available online. She maintains an active blog at http://www. wisdomthruwords.blogspot.com.

Dreams of the Chinese Muslims

t’s thousands of miles from Makkah, but more and more Chinese Muslims are fulfilling their dreams of learning about their faith as the government relaxes controls over Islam to win hearts in the Middle East, where it seeks to strengthen trade and oil ties. Hai goes to the mosque every day to pray as he did growing up in the northwestern Chinese region of Ningxia, home to a majority of the country’s estimated 20 million Muslims - as many as live in Syria or Yemen. “Not everyone was like that but my family was, and now more and more people are. Our religion is developing very quickly,” said Hai, who declined to give his full name. Pottering around his “Muslim products” shop, which sells everything from Islamic skullcaps and headscarves to dried figs and beaded handbags, Hai says his customers include a growing number of visitors from the Middle East. The increase in Muslim visitors to China tourists, businessmen, and expatriates - is causing a rise in religious observance among China’s Hui, a Muslim group that traces its heritage to the Middle East and Central Asia. “It’s been very noticeable speaking to people in mosques across China. Whereas before they were completely cut off from the mainstream Muslim community, they’re not anymore,” he said. That could pose a challenge for China’s Communist - and officially atheist - rulers, who seek to control organized religion to prevent

potential challenges to their rule. China cut ties with the Vatican in 1951, leaving its Catholic community split between an underground church loyal to the Holy See and the official, state-backed church. The government has also been cracking down on Christian “house churches” congregations of people who worship in private homes, away from the glare of officialdom. But Christianity does not come with an economic or energy element, key for China’s rapidly expanding economy. “The relationship with the Muslim Hui has always been a stake of international diplomacy, part of a charm offensive by China,” said Bequelin. “This to a certain extent explains why the authorities have been more lenient.” The leniency extends only as far as the Hui. China’s other Muslim group, the Uighurs, live mainly in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and have close linguistic and cultural links with Central Asia. With aspirations for greater autonomy, Uighurs are seen as an ethnic problem and subject to much tighter controls. In dusty Tongxin, a Hui Muslim-majority county in Ningxia, the area’s mosques, devastated in the frenzy of the Cultural Revolution, have been rebuilt with surprising splendor for one of the country’s poorest regions. One religious leader, who runs an Islamic girls school in the town of 300,000, was vague about funding for the rebuilding.

“We rely on introductions from friends coming here and giving a bit of money or help,” said the woman, who asked not to be named. Minarets and Domes The minarets and domed roofs of Tongxin’s new mosques could be mistaken for any in the Middle East and are a stark contrast to the main mosque in Beijing, whose courtyard architecture and low, sloping roofs reflect a more traditional Chinese style. The religious leader says she has 68 students in her school. The youngest is 15, despite an official ban on religious education for anyone under 18. “When I graduated from high school, in 1986, the situation was very difficult,” said the woman. “Now the religious policies are more relaxed. We can go ahead without fear.” Most of her students wear headscarves, although it is rare to see women wearing the Islamic headdress in the area. The religious leader in Ningxia says she’s happy to be able to worship in peace and teach her community freely, after enduring a lifetime of much stricter controls. “The national policies are opening up and as long as you don’t go against the country’s religious policies and regulations, you can freely progress,” she said. Islam in China Muslims live almost everywhere in China. A few small clusters are located in the south, more in the northeast, and hundreds of thousands on the north China plain, with the densest

concentrations at Bejing and Tianjin, though they constitute only a tiny minority among the non-Muslim Chinese. Eastern Turkestan (now the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region) has had an indigenous population that is almost entirely Muslim and non-Chinese-speaking for centuries. Only in the past 40 years have millions of non-Muslim Chinese immigrated to the region. Islam in China began during the caliphate of `Uthman ibn Affan, the third caliph. After triumphing over the Byzantines and the Persians, Caliph `Uthman dispatched a deputation to China in AH 29 (650 CE, only 18 years after the Prophet’s death) to invite the Chinese emperor to embrace Islam. The deputation was led by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, Prophet Muhammad’s maternal uncle. Even before this, Arab traders during the time of the Prophet had already brought Islam to China, although this was not an organized effort, but merely an offshoot of their journey along the Silk Route (land and sea route). Even though there are only sparse records of Sa`d’s deputation in Arab history, a brief one in the Chinese Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes the landmark visit. To Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China. To show his admiration for Islam, Emperor Yung Wei ordered the establishment of China’s first mosque. The magnificent Canton city mosque, known as the Memorial Mosque, still stands today after 14 centuries.


Page 12

National

Is it Islam or is it Culture?

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Amanda Charmand Mazumde*

N

owadays, so many of us are confused, Muslims, non-Muslims, the old generation and the new generation. It seems as though many citizens of this world cannot differentiate between ethnic culture and the religion of Islam. For example, it is common for nonMuslims to wrongly believe that female genital mutilation is a procedure mandated by Islam. However, it is within the ethnic culture of countries such as Egypt and elsewhere in Africa where there are large Muslim populations, that this method is practiced and mistaken for an Islamic ruling. Non-Muslims tend to believe that the laws of Islam dictate that women are oppressed, beaten, and inferior to men and act as slaves to their husbands. In some ethnic cultures, men who use force and authority are expressing masculinity and if these men give

equality to their women they are labelled as weak and insubstantial. This type of behaviour is then mistakenly conveyed to the world as the traits of a Muslim man. As Muslims, we understand that the nonMuslim community is taking our events, behaviours and traditions out of context and we are trying our utmost to put these into perspective, but what about when Muslims themselves cannot understand that their ethnic culture is going against the teachings of Islam? This is the topic that causes the most consternation. In some cultures, a ceremony is performed before a marriage takes place. This consists of the family, relatives and friends stroking the bride/grooms face with turmeric paste. Most people within this ethnic culture would not see a problem, but when it is seen from an Islamic perspective, touching someone from the opposite sex is strictly forbidden. It is not just this single case, there are cultures which say you have to marry from your own culture, caste and so on. Another culture requires the younger generation to touch the feet of the older generation. Where is the Islam in all of this? Muslims all over the world continue to perform cultural ceremonies, procedures and activities that go against what Allah has prescribed for us. Cultures do bring diversity of foods, arts and historical landmarks, but the point being

expressed here is that parts of ethnic culture that conflict with Islam should not continue to be followed. But why is this happening? Why do some people love their culture more than Islam, why are they willing to compromise their religion for the sake of their ethnic culture? It arises from the lack of education, where parents, either intentionally or unintentionally, teach their children only some parts of Islam and disregard other parts. The child then grows up believing that Islam encompasses all the cultural beliefs they have been raised with. We need to remember that we are role models for our children, if we follow Islam correctly, they will do the same. We need to clarify for our children how they can differentiate between culture and religion. We need to educate them that when culture and Islam clash, we must first follow the teachings and guidance of Allah and his Messenger (pbuh). If we demonstrate Islam to them wholeheartedly, then, insha Allah, they will become good Muslim role models for others. * Amanda Charmand Mazumde is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, previously working in Sydney South West Area Health Service (Bankstown and Liverpool Hospitals). Now temporarily living in Bangladesh. She is passionate about medicine, nursing, health and psychiatry.

Israel: Rabbi and religious leader labels Obama “slave” The leader of Israel’s Shas party recently described US President Barack Obama as a slave. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is regarded as the spiritual leader of Shas, a Jewish fundamentalist party which supports the building of illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. Yosef was speaking in opposition to pressure from the Obama administration to cease building new settlements in the West Bank. In his Saturday sermon, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef stated: “American insidiousness tells us to build here and not to build there, as though we were slaves working for them,” he said in his weekly sermon Saturday, adding: “We live in a time when slaves are governing us and are trying to control us.” Turning down the Obama administration’s request to stop illegal construction of settlements on Palestinian occupied territories, he said: “We are not employees of the Americans.. and Israel does not work for the United States.” The senior Rabbi then addressed the issue of the Haram al Sharif (Dome of the Rock) saying: “...and where is our temple? The situation there is cause for grief. There is nothing there but evil Arabs who are occupying our lands…and I hope that the messiah will appear soon to destroy them.” Born in Iraq in 1920, Yosef is a former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel and a controversial figure who has in the past referred to Arabs and Palestinians as “snakes” and “vipers” who were “swarming like ants”.

Climate change legislation: political opportunism or matter of principle?

Jamal Daoud*

We can assume that our prime minister is hoping that the opposition will make their biggest mistake and block climate change legislation. Such a move that could pave his way to call for a double dissolution, an early election would avoid going to the polls after further economic decline. But why are the Greens also so keen to block the proposed climate change legislation? We should remember first that the Greens have no clear ideology; rather they take populist stances to obtain more votes, ensuring that they have more power. The Greens are also keen to block this legislation to pave a way for a double dissolution with more chances to increase their representation in the senate. As the Greens stand at the moment nationally on around 7% of the vote, there would be no guarantee that they could increase their representation in the senate in any future ordinary election. To win a seat in the senate in normal election candidate needs to win 14.5% of the vote in each state. There is no guarantee that the Greens candidate would win any seat in any normal election. But in a double dissolution scenario, The Greens needs only 7.5% to win a seat on their own. This means that in any double dissolution, the Greens would have better chance to win senate seats. The other political players who would benefit from the double dissolution scenario are the Nick Xenophon team and the Family First party. The family first senator in particular is in a very vulnerable position. His party got less than 2% of the vote in the last election. In normal election he would need a miracle to be re-elected. But in double dissolution, he needs only a mini miracle to win a seat.

So what about the Liberals? There is no doubt that the coalition will be the biggest losers in case of a double dissolution be called. The Liberals were in a very difficult situation here. If they agree to pass the legislation, they would be seen to betraying the business sector, historically loyal coalition voters. If they block the legislation, they will pave a way for an early election with the prospect of a significant defeat and the possibility of losing seats in both houses. So what other options does Malcolm Turnbull have to avoid such a fate? Malcolm can resort to the old fashioned tactic of retreat with minimal casualties. Given the current situation in the parliament, the Liberals can vote against the legislation in the lower house. The Labor government has the numbers there to pass it. Then he can declare that the party will allow senators to take a conscience vote in the senate. A few Liberal senators can then cross the floor and vote for the legislation, hence avoiding any trigger for a double dissolution. The most important lesson we can learn from this issue is that there is a total lack of principled political parties in our parliament. The club of white, middle class and privileged politicians has proved to be incompetent to tackle any issue that matters to marginalised citizens. The issue of climate change is a good example of the need for strong leadership to lead Australia into a better future. *Jamal Daoud is a community worker and human rights activist. He writes regularly about multiculturalism, Islamophobia, human rights and oither social justice issues.

Nathan Robert HOGAN aka DOLAN Age 20. Crime Stoppers would like to hear from anyone who may know the current whereabouts of Nathan Robert HOGAN, also known as Nathan Robert DOLAN. It is alleged HOGAN was involved in a serious assault in the Fawkner area in March, 2009. He was arrested and charged but failed to appear at court in April, 2009. Warrants for his arrest have been issued. Call 1800 333 000 or visit www. crimestoppers.com.au

Jake Alan WHITEMAN

Age 22. Crime Stoppers would like to hear from anyone who knows the current whereabouts of Jake Alan WHITEMAN. It is alleged WHITEMAN was involved in a burglary in Coburg North in November 2008. Warrants for his arrest have been issued. Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers. com.au


Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Arts

Seven 8 Six make their mark

Rashid Alshakshir*

B

oy band Seven 8 Six has finally come to Australia. Performing in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as part of the Sounds Of Light Islamic concert. Shahaab, Zafar, Omar, Saad, Saeed and the drummer Jaffer form one of the most popular bands in the Islamic music industry. At first I was satisfied to sit among many others in Melbourne and watch the band perform, but then I asked for more - instead of being hustled away by security, I was being escorted backstage to interview the guys before the show. So maybe the previous failed efforts to sneak in backstage with others, (whose names I won’t mention for security reasons), didn’t go in vain. I was in legally. There was no choice but to tell the guys the truth, because if the panic couldn’t be seen on my face, then I passed for a good actor. “I’m here to interview you, but I’m actually not prepared, so I need a couple of minutes to dot a few questions down”. They assured me it was fine, sat around the table, Saeed snacked on his biscuits, chatted, laughed, while they waited for me to scribble on the back of the ‘concert evaluation’ paper. The band formed in 2001 and swiftly came to rise in 2002.They aim to “provide people from

all walks of life an alternative” to other music with a less positive message. Their mystical voices have combined to create songs such as she made her mark on me, Palestine and in Urdu, Dosti, which have enthralled audiences in the United States, United Kingdom, the Middle East, and now they have made their mark in Australia. The Sounds of Light concert facilitates sponsorship for orphans around the world, including Palestine, which has been war stricken for more than 60 years. The band is happy to be performing for a good cause that will help take the lives of many children to a new level. They hope people would “donate their time, money and efforts” for the people of Palestine. Omar says, “The lyrics of our song Palestine reflect how we feel.” Nothing has changed for the better and the song “still has relevance today”, he said. The band definitely loves to perform, but say their “main goal is to please Allah (SWT)” and their inspiration “will always come from Islam”. While they don’t see themselves as the ultimate role models, they try their best to stay on the straight path. “Because you are in the public gaze, you have to be aware that what you do will be judged”. They advise youth to “base everything you do with the intention to please Allah (SWT) with whatever talent

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you have, make an effort, do your best and surround yourself with good friends.” They hope to return to the “so beautiful” Australia soon. * Rashid Alshakshir is a Multimedia and Professional Writing student at VU.An aspiring film maker, his first film Outlawed screened at a city public gallery for two weeks.

Page 13

Above: Seven 8 Six performing at their concert in Melbourne Photo: courtesy of Rashid Alshakshir

Above: Seven8six fromleft Shahaab, Zafar, Omar, Saad, Jaffer, Saeed Photo: courtesy of Rashid Alshakshir

Ramadan Food Program and Eid Gift Drive

AMAL Community Outreach, a Mission of Hope initiative, is aimed at serving needy people during the Holy Month of Ramadan and during the important Celebration of Eid. Prophet Muhammad was most generous in giving gifts. At times, he associated giving gifts as an act of Ibadah. In the spirit of giving and caring, we invite you to participate in our projects. The Ramadan Food Program will be assisting a large number of people representing many different linguistic groups from many different ethnic backgrounds. These people are the poor, new immigrants (without jobs), refugees, asylum seekers, detention centre detainees, single mothers, and disadvantaged families. Food hampers consisting of non-perishable goods for families during the month of Ramadan will be distributed by volunteers. The Eid Gift Drive in its fourth consecutive year, aims to bring joy to less privileged and sick children in hospitals (Muslim and non-Muslim), the aged in care facilities and Muslims in detention centres. Our volunteers wrap gifts in colorful gift wrapping, attach a greeting card with wishes of a happy Eid on behalf of the Muslim community, then sort the gifts by age and gender, and finally distribute these gifts to a variety of centres.

Donations can be made to: Acct Name: Mission of Hope BSB: 062191 Account No: 10300318 Commonwealth Bank All donations are tax deductible

www.info@amal.org.au www.missionofhope.org.au


Page 14

HIJRAH

National

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

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Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

East - West

Obsession with qualifications!

W

hen I was still harvesting qualifications, over ten years ago, I considered myself obsessed with university qualifications in some way. I tried to collect as many as possible when I was free of kids and family, although I failed to continue my studies in a philosophy degree, post graduate studies in administration sciences and I am yet to finish post graduate certificates in both political science and Islamic (Sharia) studies. Life got in the way of me realising these dreams. Other friends and colleagues - like Irfan Yusuf - have a different type of obsession with qualifications! Indeed, some of Irfan’s concerns about qualifications have reached the Supreme Court in one state and have been used as evidence in judging one of our Muslim community leaders! I’m sure that Irfan did not intend such a use of his questions when he raised his concerns! Irfan’s obsession with qualifications, and checking those claimed by our Muslim elders and leaders, reminds me somehow of the Microsoft check that tells you if the software you are using is genuine or not. Since I arrived in Australia I have realised that the qualification dilemma is a pure Aussie nightmare. Tens of thousands of poor hardworking overseas graduate professionals are told simply to drown their alleged “certificates” in a cup of water and drink it! This applies even to graduate professionals such as UK doctors, European union graduates and so on. Indeed I was told once in an Australian court that it must be difficult to be unable to work as a journalist in this country using my overseas experience and qualifications! Well, that was just a sympathetic opinion from a poor stereotyped judge, not more or less. It is a long standing Islamic tradition to request the qualifications of scholars, professionals such as doctors, judges, administrators and public servants. Amazingly the control of the domain of qualifications for the manufacturers, engineers, handcraftsmen, tradesmen and all other merchants involved in selling their products to the public was first popularised in the traditional historic Muslim markets in Andalusian cities as Grenada, Toledo, Cordoba, and the Middle Eastern cities of Bagdad, Damascus, Kairaoune and Cairo. None of the merchants or tradesmen were allowed to start his profession or business without a proper certificate from the market committee to certify his experience and training, which was usually obtained through a tough apprenticeship. Regarding Muslim scholars, the judgment of qualifications is even higher and tougher because it is related to sincere advice on religious matters. Whoever cheated or faked qualification or issued fatwas without “Illm” or pure qualified knowledge of Islamic teaching, has guaranteed himself an automatic booking for hell, as the famous hadith of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) says clearly. Cheating in religious qualifications is the worst ever cheating in Islam. I got through some of the traditional learning myself from my Imams such as the Lebanese Mufti Khalil Elmisse in Usull Al Fiqh, (principles of Islamic jurisprudence) as well research in particular areas. I do hesitate to declare any further qualification other than those I have in my hand, until I either finish post graduate studies, or publish my unfinished scholarly books. Irfan got it mostly right in general - but in a Bedouin way! However, some of Irfan’s “victims” are never claimed or pretended any certificates as far as I know. Our brother Keysar Trad that humble man, never claimed to have anything he was not qualified for. Indeed, he is working in silence for the wellbeing of our community without any fuss. even though we do not agree with all of Keysar’s opinions, we pray that his work will harvest soon inchaa Allah. If not in the forseeable weeks and months, perhaps in a matter of few years time. Irfan! take it easier brother and do not microsofting our dudes any more please! We are all alert to your concerns! Tarek Chamkhi Editor in Chief

Community

Page 15

Australia wide Community Events:

Nationwide Green Scarf Day Date: Wednesday August 19 Location: Universities across Australia The Green Scarf Day vision is to raise funds for community development projects in disadvantaged areas around the world. Focusing on projects which benefit women and children, the Foundation recognizes that this demographic is often left to bear the brunt of civil and natural disasters. The Community Fundraising program gives businesses and organisations the opportunity to host a GSD ribbon box during the week of Green Scarf Day ( August 17th24th) to help raise money by selling green ribbons. It is also inviting schools to take part by selling ribbons on the day. If you are a school or business/organisation and would like to help by selling ribbons on Green Scarf Day 09, please email info@greenscarfday.com with your contact details, institution and say that you would like to host a ribbon box. If you would like to buy a green ribbon and want to know where you can get one from, visit the website www.greenscarfday.com to find out which institutions are selling them.

NSW Fourth Annual Australian Muslim Professionals Dinner Date: Sunday 16th August 2009 Time: 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start Location: The Emporium, Bankstown NSW Cost: $50 per person, $40 students, Table of 10 $450 Tickets available online: http://www.missionofhope.org.au/events_ mor...ls.php?event=60 The purpose of the event is to provide a space for Muslim Australian Muslim professionals, businesses, and tertiary students to network, and to build strong community relations. The dinner and networking event will include a Trivia program that will encourage networking and team building. There will be entertainment, good food, and great company. Trivia Quiz Master: Talal Yassine. For more information email info@missionofhope.org.au or call Asma Yusra 0432 577 671 or Amina Alshafie 0425269132 Australian Islamic Mission Lecture series Date: Saturday 1, 8 and 15 August Time: After Ishaa prayer Location: Punchbowl Mosque, 25-29 Matthews Street Cost: Free This month: Preparing for Ramadan and Ramadan Rules and Regulations. Brothers and sisters welcome. Islamic Awareness Panel Discussion: Ramadan Limited Time Only Date: Monday 10 August Time: 6:30pm Location: Lakemba Mosque Cost: Free The ISLAMIC AWARENESS PANEL is back and discussing the topic of the month, “Ramadan, Limited Time Only”. Guest speakers include: Sheikh Tarek El Bikai, Doctor Zachariah Matthews, Sheikh Shady Al Suleiman. Don’t miss out on this important event, learn how to maximise your rewards during Ramadan and interact with the speakers via the Q&A session. Weekend Course: Lord of the Worlds – Unity of Allah’s Worship Date: 8 and 9 August Time: 8:30AM to 7:00pm both days Location: Building 23, Main Theatre, University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Milperra Cost: $95 Take a journey into the detailed study of Allah, our Creator Most High! Learn about His worship, the testimony of faith and what it means for us and how to purify and perfect our tawheed. Learn about the many manifestations of Shirk and how people commit the most heinous crime of associating partners with Allah and how they seek to justify it under false pretexts. Limited seats at each seminar, enrol as soon as possible to confirm your seat. On line enroments: www. alkauthar.org VIC Sisters Paintball Day Date: Sunday 9th August Time: 8.15AM - 5.00PM Location: pick up & drop off: 8.15AM SHARP! Cnr Swanston and Latrobe St (Outside RMIT) Price: $60 includes 300 Paintballs, Transport and BBQ. For further information email info@rmitis.org.au or visit: www.rmitis. org.au Note: You must be over 18 and EVERYONE is welcome! you do not have to be a uni student to attend. It will be an outdoors paintball session, in a secluded area with only female instructors. Lectures: The Beauty of Islam SISTERS ONLY Date: Sunday 16 August Time: 12:30PM Location: Banksia Latrobe Secondary College, 230 Banksia St, Heidelberg West Cost: No charge unity4sisters presents lectures including: From missionary to Muslim: my journey to Islam; The Struggle to Practice Islam in the West; The Blessings of Guidance and Allah’s Mercy upon Mankind. Yummy

food available. Customised Ramadan Gift Hampers will also be for sale on the day. No bookings required, all sisters welcome. SYMPOSIUM - OVERQUALIFIED AND UNDERVALUED: employment barriers for culturally diverse people in Australia Date: Friday 21 August Time: 9:00AM – 1:00PM Location: City Flinders Campus, Victoria University, 300 Flinders Street, Level 9 Room C915 Cost: Free The symposium will explore issues related to representation and participation of culturally diverse people (immigrants, refugees) in the public and private sectors, including factors promoting and prohibiting their employment and career advancement. A range of key stakeholders have been invited such as: government departments, migrant organisations, multicultural associations and private organisations. Contact Sue Butterworth by Friday 14 August 2009 Ph: 03 9919 5478 WA Multicultural Services Centre of WA - English Language Classes Date: Friday 24th July – 11 December 2009 Time: 9.30 AM – 12.30 PM Location: 20 View Street, North Perth Cost: $37.05 per student, 20 weeks All clients will be assessed at the start of the delivery and will be given an Individual Learning Plan. Participants will receive certification for each module in which they are competent. To complete these certificates, clients need to complete six modules (Certificate I in Spoken & Written English 6448). This course is to be run over 20 weeks with one three hour session per week. For more information contact: Francis ph 9328 1544, places are limited and early registration is recommended. Lecture: Jesus: Prophet and Servant of God Date: Saturday 15th August Time: 3-5pm Location: UWA Geology and Geography Lecture Theatre 2 Cost: No charge In this lecture Imam Feizel Chothia sets out to clarify Islam’s true position towards Jesus, which is the middle course between two extremes. At one extreme there are those who believe that Jesus is God, the Son of God or part of a divine trinity while on the other extreme there are others who slander him and deny his message. We hope that this lecture will serve as an invitation to Christians to reflect on the beauty and simplicity of Islam, which has taken a moderate stance towards Jesus, assigning him a lofty role as one of the foremost messengers of God. Women’s Health Today ... Dialogue Café Date: Thursday 20 August Time:10:00am to 1:45pm Location: Banksia Room at the City of Wanneroo, 23 Dundebar Rd, Wanneroo Cost: No charge. Registrations close 13 August, please enrol as soon possible as places are limited. Women’s Health Today ... is an opportunity to have a say in developing the new National Women’s Health Policy by participating in a Dialogue Cafe. ‘We are keen to hear what you think about women’s health, barriers to accessing services and how we can improve women’s health and well being’ explained the organisers. ‘At this exciting event common interests will be explored and you can have your say in shaping the direction of future health services for women. Lunch will be provided’ For further information contact Mandy at Women’s Healthworks on 9300 1566 or email mandy@womenshealthworks. org.au or Andrea at Ishar on 9345 5335 or email andrea@ishar.org. au. Lecture: Ramadan - Opportunity for Change Date: Monday 17 August Time: 7:30PM Location: Thornlie Mosque Cost: Free Guest Speaker: Ustadh Mahmud A. Kürkçü (Imam of Coburg Mosque, Melbourne). Contact: Sh Burhaan 0416 332 507 or Sr Zeenat 0404 750 194 for further information. Lecture: Disease of the Heart Date: Sunday 16 August Time: 11:00AM to 9:00 PM Location: The Agonis Hall, 2232 Abany Hwy, Gosnells Cost: $25 (Book early, limited seats) - Lunch, Tea & Dinner provided After an enriching week-end intensive lecture on the Diseases of the Heart in July, we are pleased to announce that Ustadh Mahmud Kürkçü will be back before Ramadan to continue on the topic insha Allah. Contact: Br Ihsan 0401 664 884 or Sr Zeenat 0404 750 194 or Sr Wajma 08 94515696 for details. Public Lecture: Sha’baan – Stepping Stone to Ramadan Date: August 6 Time: 7:20pm Location: Thornlie Mosque, Clancy Way, Thornlie Cost: Free Quran recitation Qari Mohammed Misri, Lecture Sheik Burhan Mehtar, Special zikr program and du’aa


Page 16

Ramadan

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Crescent sighting to be determined by naked eye or modern scientific methods?

Moon Sighting?

Taj Aldin Alhilali*

M. Ibrahim Memon* One only has to say Ramadan and you envisage many things. The first of them moon sighting, and then the altercations and the incessant squabbling that resound in the mosque and communities throughout the beginning and the end of the month of Ramadan. In the issue of moon sighting there are two roles. The first role is that of the eminent scholars who have always been the wellwishers of the ummah. They aspired to take out confrontation and sectarianism from the concept of moon sighting. They make efforts every year to bring this matter to a consensus and to unify the communities and mosques on one decision. We have seen, though, that their efforts have fallen on deaf ears with little to no difference on the outcome of each coming Ramadan. The second role is played by those who put aside intellect and judge matters based on their emotions. The result: they remain stubborn on their personal opinion though it may clearly contradict the Qur’an and Sunnah. People are forced to follow their opinion - to the extent that one who disagrees with it becomes a social pariah. There is no accountability if these emotional people backbite him, falsely accuse him, or swear at him as if it is permissible. Sometimes it goes to the extent of physically abuse for his difference of opinion and worse, the one who beats him actually thinks he is performing a good deed. In essence, a purely juristic Islamic issue becomes the playground of a few people who try to solve and settle it with emotions and fieriness. It is relegated from an Islamic issue to a personal one. Differing with an opinion translates to an attack on the individual who holds that opinion. The result of this is selfevident. A day of one of the most sacred worships in Islam and two days of celebration of the ummah are transformed (by Shaytan) into three days of disunity and chaos. This is why it is important to analyse this issue of moonsighting through the Qur’an and Sunnah. That way, every Muslim can establish his position according to the Qur’an and Sunnah and likewise know the position of others based on the evidences used to support their position. Following are a few points that are discussed that will help us reflect on this issue and will alleviate, if not eliminate, the schisms and simmering tensions between both parties and most importantly, help us open our minds to the opinions of others. And this is not difficult for Allah.

Astronomical Calculations

Determining the beginning and the end of a new month through astronomical calculations is unfounded in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The standard in the shari’ah for discerning the beginning of a new month and the end of the last month is based on actual moonsighting. Which means that if the moon is not sighted, the month will be completed with thirty days. In the ahadith, the Blessed Prophet incessantly put emphasis on this:

Calculation?

Do not fast unless you see the moon, do not break your fast until you see the moon. (Bukhari H.1773, Muslim H.1795, Nasai H.2093, Abu-Dawood H.1976, Muatta Malik H.557) Meaning that if you do not see the moon, then do not begin the month of Ramadan and likewise, do not celebrate the Eid until you sight the moon. In another hadith the Blessed Prophet clearly prohibited the use of calculations. He said: We are an illiterate nation. We do not write or calculate months. He said it is like this, this, or this. So saying, the Blessed Prophet lifted his hands three times with all fingers spread the first two times and the thumb hidden the third time to indicate 29 days. Then he said the month is like this, this, and this and again lifted his hands three times, this time all fingers spread out each time to indicate 30 days. (Muslim H.1806, Bukhari H.1780, Nasai H.2111, Abu-Dawood H.1975) In this hadith, The Blessed Prophet certainly doesn’t mean to say that this is an ummah of illiterates, but rather he is emphasising their simplicity of not being educated in the subject which we are discussing. The purpose behind this is to declare that we do not know calculations nor are we going to use this method to figure our months. This is a universal religion. Anyone from anywhere can follow it wherever he may be. If the system was based on calculations, the decision of millions of people would be in the hands of the few who would decide when the month begins and when it ends. Instead, Islam based the lunar calendar on moonsighting so that even bedouins, who are out of touch with most modern sciences and technologies, could sight the moon and know when the month begins and ends. This may raise a question in the mind of many that if Islam is all about simplicity, then why do we use time tables for prayer and depend on the calculations which produce those time tables. This is an important question because the answer to it will prove how Islam is indeed a universal religion and will also reveal the most fascinating miracle of the Blessed Prophet pbuh. To understand this we need to remember that in Islam, the beginning and end of the month rely on the sighting of the moon while the prayer timings are based on the movement of the sun. Calculations to this day have not been able to inform us of when the moon can first be sighted; the only thing known to us from the calculations is when the moon is born. And we as humans cannot see the moon immediately after its birth. How many hours does it take before the moon can be seen? Sometimes it can be seen after 14 hours and at other times it cannot be sighted even after 20 hours. This is because there are many different factors which contribute to the sighting of the moon. The sun is different. During the day, the sun

continued p19

Sharia responsibilities in Islam have goals, aims and objectives. The aims and objectives are constant and eternal, they do not change nor can they be exchanged, whilst the means to achieve these objectives can change and be exchanged depending on the time and place. For example: obligatory prayer has appointed and defined timings. The prophetic tradition explains these timings in a Hadith where the angel Jibreel taught the Prophet (phuh), that the time is measured based on the shadows and the movement of the sun when it rises and when it sets. The traditional means in this case were the rise, decline and setting of the sun. Yet with the invention of the clock which provides the time with great accuracy, the means have changed. Today, for 365 days of the year, it is rare to find any Muslim, adhering to this traditional means of timing. We pray according to the movements inside a mechanical clock and we start our fast based on this clock during the month of Ramadan because it is a scientific tool that does not set aside the prophetic tradition but rather it works to fulfil the goals and objectives of the prophetic tradition with a great degree of certainty. Yes my respected brothers and sisters, the Muslims throughout the earth worship Allah, Most High, relying on a mechanical (and electronic) tool for their prayer. When the tools of science declare that there will be a solar or lunar eclipse, they define an exact time and date and the Muslims go to the mosques or to open spaces to revive the tradition of praying during the eclipse. Muslims take their food and begin their daily fast during Ramadan relying on the very mechanical or electronic tool, the clock. The Hadith is clear: “if it is obscured by clouds, then calculate.” (narrated by Bukhary and Muslim). Can we calculate with anything except mathematics? (the Arabic words are “Qaddiru lahu”, meaning measure out for it, or in this context, calculate for it). Imam Sabaki in his Fatawa (finding/rulings) Vol 1 page 119 states that if science or calculations were to give definite findings that the crescent cannot be sighted then the evidence of witnesses will not be accepted and such evidence will be treated as either a lie or a mistake. This is because calculations here are definitive and sightings or news carry a margin of human error. Human error cannot be equated with nor can it overrule definitiveness. Ibn Daqeeq Al Eid, one of the great Maliki and Shafii scholars, says in “Umdat Al Ahkam” vol 2 p 206 after rejecting divination: If calculations were to show that the crescent had arisen in the horizon and is sightable, if no obstructions (such as clouds) were present, then this indicates that it is there (or had arisen) for a Sharia reason. Physical sighting would not remain a condition, because what is held (or obstructed from sight in the horizon), if calculations were to show that today is Ramadan, then fasting becomes obligatory even if the crescent is not sighted. These great scholars said this before the great scientific advances in astronomy. The calculations that we are referring to here relate to the actual movement of the planets which is observed with accurate scientific means

and is unrelated to divination or fortune telling, nor is it guesswork. The entire Muslim scholarship is unanimous that fasting commences with Imsak at Fajr and ends at night with sunset: we start our fast and break it without sighting the twilight, the dawnbreak or dusk. It is not a condition for every fasting person to sight the crescent with his naked eye. It is sufficient to rely on the sighting of others, or the scientific knowledge that the sighting is possible. The sighting is a sign of the commencement of the fasting and is not a part of the fasting. Why do we believe the astronomers and the mathematicians and rely on their tools (like the clock) throughout the year and with respect to our Imsak (commencement of the daily fasting) and our Iftar (daily breaking of the fast), then we doubt them and have no confidence in them with respect to the commencement of the month of Ramadan? If a person with poor eyesight was to rely on spectacles to see the crescent, would we say that this is innovation in religion? Or is it permissible to sight the crescent with spectacles? What is the difference then between spectacles and the telescope which enlarges things millions of times? Our answer to the misunderstanding relating to the words of the Messenger, peace and blessings upon him: We are an non-literate community ... .is an explanation of the condition and the reality to which he was sent so that he can guide it and teach it as per the words of Allah Most High, “Read in the name of your Lord Who created”. As that was the condition of the community then, the messenger could not impose on non-literate people what is beyond their abilities. When Muslims started to pursue the sciences, and became proficient therein and carried the call to all communities and peoples, teaching and learning, they began to have a presence in the different scientific fields and arts. So they sought to lead and become pioneers and through that became masters and teachers for European scientists, they were the first to define the latitudes and longitudes and the equator and the solar clock. Yet when the month of Ramadan arrives, the tongues start to wag and the barriers are erected as are the catapults under the excuse of protecting the Sunna and fighting innovation and mathematics. The problem for Muslims lies in those who defend it with a blinkered understanding and little knowledge of the prophetic tradition and they create a chasm between proven science and religion. Science in the service of Sharia and fulfilment of the Sunna All goodness is in the following of the guidance of the chosen Prophet (phuh), whoever wishes to block the prophetic tradition or repeal it will not have the intercession of the Messenger (pbuh). There is no dispute amongst Muslims regarding fulfilling the Sunna and working through it, the difference arises with respect to the comprehension of the prophetic tradition. Those who hold onto eye-sighting as religious proof for the commencement or end of the month of Ramadan and take no heed of calculations or the science of astronomy rely on

continued p19


Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

FOCUS: Linda D. Delgado*

Ramadan

On Ramadan Aisha Stacey*

T

Muslim Publishers and Retailers Missed the Boat: Millions Lost! Fiction is not an Arabic word. Fiction reading is not required reading in most Muslim dominated populations/countries. Many grandparents and parents living today did not grow up reading fiction books. Some Muslims mistakenly believe, because they were told by misguided “experts,” that fiction is all about lies. Most Muslim publishers do not publish fiction books for children beyond little children’s picture books with limited text and the stories are mostly about historical persons or events in Islam’s history. Some of the books have strictly cultural themes. But… There are millions of Muslims living in countries where reading “fiction” is required in schools for accreditation and passage on to higher university level education. So if Muslim publishers are not publishing quality Islamic fiction books for the millions of students: youth/teens/young adults AND Muslim retailers are refusing to sell the limited number of Islamic fiction books that manage to get published by small Muslim publishers (many in the USA/ UK/Canada) and self publishing Muslim fiction authors… What kind of fiction books are our Muslim students reading and who is providing the fiction books? Big secular (non-Muslim) publishers and retailers like Scholastic Books are being promoted by 1,000+ Islamic schools in the USA alone. Their secular books are bought on a regular, sometimes monthly basis by Islamic schools and parents. These books are in our Islamic school libraries and on schools’ recommended reading lists! You won’t find many - if any - Islamic fiction books. Who is profiting from all these fiction book sales to Muslims? Well it is NOT the Muslim publishing and book retail businesses for sure! They have missed the boat…. losing hundreds of thousands of dollars… possibly millions of dollars each year from Muslims buying secular fiction books for our kids! If the schools and parents won’t support Islamic fiction books that are available AND Muslim Publishers and Retailers won’t publish and sell quality Islamic Fiction Books…Then who loses the most? Our Muslim children - students! Listing of Islamic Fiction Books at www. IslamicFictionBooks.com Quality Books That Reflect The Very Best Of Islam! *Linda Delgado - AKA Widad is a revert, mother of three and has 8 grandchildren. Widad is the author of the award winning Islamic Rose Books series, and owner-publisher of the Muslim Writers Publishing business: www.MuslimWritersPublishing.com.

he days weeks and months have flown past, the end of 2009 is only a few months away, and Muslims are already into the Islamic month of Ramadan. It is a month of fasting, prayer, and remembrance. It is a time to remember who we are, why we are here, and what our purpose in life is. Sadly, this is not the reason Muslims have featured prominently in mainstream media over the past month. Reporting about the recent bombings in Indonesia led many to believe that Islam condones such criminal acts, when this is simply not true. God makes it clear in the Quran (5:32) that life is sacred. Closer to home, a Muslim woman in Sydney was denied access to public transport because she was covering her face. The bus company pleaded ignorance about Islam. Those who fear Islam and Muslims because of bombings and terrorist acts are also ignorant about the true nature of Islam. This holy and sacred month of Ramadan is a perfect chance for Muslims to lift the veil, so to speak, and educate those around them about the intrinsic peacefulness that is Islam. To non-Muslims, Ramadan might appear to be nothing more than a time of hunger and thirst. A time of rumbling bellies and dry mouths, filled with long hours of prayer and bleary eyes before dawn. Perhaps your neighbours have no idea that Muslims around the world wait excitedly for Ramadan to arrive and look forward to the month, as a chance to recharge spiritual batteries. The members of your gym class may not know that in Ramadan Muslims give up worldly pleasures in the hope of the joy and pleasure of Paradise in the hereafter. Work colleagues might be surprised to learn that fasting helps one to understand the plight of those who face a daily battle for food and water. Other harried Dad’s waiting for children at footy practice may not know that in Ramadan Muslims try to increase their good deeds and give generously in charity. Our good and moral behaviour should be evident all year round but Ramadan is a reminder, a chance to reap rewards even though we are frail human beings that make endless mistakes. This month, inviting non-Muslims into our sphere of influence, and showing off the beauty of Islam may build bridges of trust. Ignorance is our enemy but the tolerance and respect inherent in Islam will be our shining light into the future. *Aisha Stacey is an Australian convert to Islam. She spent from 2003 until 2007 working as a writer / researcher / da’eh at the Fanar Islamic Cultural Centre in Doha Qatar. Aisha recently returned to Australia, and completed her Bachelor of Arts, specialising in Terrorism, Security, and Counterterrorism. Aisha writes a weekly column for www.islamreligion. com

Page 17

Conference: Countering Militancy in Pakistan: Domestic, regional and international dimensions

3-4 August 2009, organised by: Centre for Muslim States and Societies, the University of Western Australia.

P

rofessor Samina Yasmeen, the convener of the Countering Militancy in Pakistan Conference, managed the huge number of academics and scholars invited to speak about the militancy issue in Pakistan in eight sessions run for two days. Some eminent local academics attended the conference including Professor Amin Saikal, from the Centre for Arab and Islamic studies, Australian National university, Professor Riaz Hassan, from Flinders university, South Australia, and Professor Kim Beasly the former Labor party opposition leader. The conference discussed topics such as democracy, militancy and suicide bombings, Madrassa education and militancy: evidence from Pakistan, the domestic and regional

dynamics of militancy, the question of Pashtun nationalism, the forming of Pakistani Taliban and the involvement of the Pakistani army, Musharraf counter terrorism policies, the jihad hot spot of South Punjab, Lashker-e-Taiba from their texts, poverty, employment and terrorism, engineering in countering terrorism in Pakistan, India-Pakistan tension and militancy, strengthening U.S policies towards counter insurgency in Pakistan, and dealing with militancy and domestic solutions. Some of the speakers noted that the Pakistani Army is contributing to the destabilisation of the region. The Pakistani army has always wanted the U.S to return to the region, Prof Waseem from Lahor University explained. Riaz Hassan, the Australian academic, said

Photos: top left: Prof. Samina Yasmeen, top right: Prof. Riaz Hassan, down left: Prof. Amin Saikal, down right: Prof. Kim Beasly. Crescent Times, 2009.

that the vast majority of suicide attacks have occurred post the events of 9/11. Hassan has conducted a funded study about suicide bombing cases from 5 countries. He added that only 4% of the attacks in Pakistan from the Taliban in recent months are suicide attacks, out of 1200 operations. In addition, the majority of attacks targeted politicians and security forces unlike the situation seen in Iraq in recent years where targeting of civilians is commonplace. Interstingly, Professor Hassan observed that suicide attacks are linked to politics more than religion. He was clear in saying that the poor conditions of life in tribal areas, political injustice and torture of political prisoners, are the direct reasons that people are driven to make suicide attacks. “Improve the refugee camps,

and political prisoners’ conditions and you’ll see how dramatically the suicide bombings will drop.” Dr. Hassan said. “The amount of misery in tribal areas and the Gaza strip is beyond any imagination. Suicide attacks are a sort of deadly expression from people who are powerless”, Hassan added. Some of the lecturers were not as academically inclined. One speaker went on and on with theatrical gestures, to convince us that the Taliban has radicalised almost everything in Pakistan. She showed us a photo of the Pakistani cricket team doing their collective prayer, shouting in pretended anger: They radicalised our cricket team, too!


Page 18

Native matters

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Native Identity Issues – Matters Everyone’s Got ‘Em

Eugenia Flynn*

Crescent Times is a monthly Muslim community newspaper and as such welcomes contributions of letters, articles and photographs from all members of the community. Contributions sent by email or on computer disk are appreciated; there is no publication charge for articles submitted. The deadline for all contributions is the 25th of the month prior to publication. All contributions and advertising may be sent to: PO Box 628 Mirrabooka WA 6941 or by email to: editor@crescenttimes.com.au INDEMNITY AND WARRANTY Advertisers and/or advertising agencies upon and by lodging material with Crescent Press Pty Ltd for publication in the Crescent Times or authorising or approving of the publication of any material INDEMNIFY Crescent Press Pty Ltd and the Crescent Times against all claims, demands, proceedings, costs, expenses, damages, awards, judgements and any other liability whatsoever wholly or partially arising directly or indirectly in connection with the publication of the material, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing indemnify Crescent Press Pty Ltd and the Crescent Times in relation to defamation, libel, slander of title, infringement of copyright, infringement of trademarks or names of publication titles, unfair competition, breach of trade practices or fair trading legislation, violation of rights of privacy or confidential information or licences or royalty rights or other intellectual property rights AND WARRANT that the material complies with all relevant laws and regulations and that its publication will not give rise to any claims against or liabilities to Crescent Press Pty Ltd or the Crescent Times, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, that nothing therein is in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 or the Copyright Act 1968 or the Fair Trading Act 1987 or the defamation, consumer protection and sale of goods legislation of the Australian states or territories or infringes the rights of any person. Crescent Press Pty Ltd and the Crescent Times accept no responsibility or liability in relation to any loss due to the failure of an advertisement to appear according to instructions. The positioning or placing of an advertisement is at the discretion of the editor. COPYRIGHT Where no charge is made for the preparation of advertising material, Crescent Press Pty Ltd will remain owner of the copyright in the advertising material. Such advertising material may be reproduced only with the consent of Crescent Press Pty Ltd and upon payment of such fee as Crescent Press Pty Ltd may require. Original works are subject to copyright and shall not be reproduced without authority. HALAL POLICY Crescent Times does not represent or endorse the halal status of our advertisers products, neither the reliability of any of the advertisments, nor the quality of any products, information or other material displayed, consumed or purshased by any member of the public. Every individual shall conduct their own research on matters related to quality of product or its halal status.

Having spent time with a wide variety of people throughout my life, I can safely say that many people have a difficult time wading through the identity politics that surround Indigenous peoples and communities. Stemming from the coloniser’s mindset of divide and conquer, assimilate and annihilate, many erroneous views on the identities of people of colour have been permeating minds for years upon years. As someone who has spent time dealing with the devils of her colonised mind, I believe I can recognise in others the remnants of colonisation – the subconscious and conscious drive to move toward ‘whiteness’ – whatever that may be perceived as being. In the Indigenous and wider community, I see these remnants manifesting themselves in the politics of identity. For Muslims, even if they are white they are viewed by non-Muslims as non-white – conversely these white Muslims are sadly sometimes viewed as not Muslim enough by non-white Muslims. For Indigenous Australians the

concepts of half-caste, quarter-caste, fullblood, et cetera have been used since invasion to ingrain in Australian society the concept of levels of whiteness and the concept of breeding more whiteness through breeding out blackness. In contemporary Australian society this means that whilst most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people view their “indigeneity” as connection to family, country, language, culture, people, community and more, many people outside of the Indigenous community view indigeneity as darkness of skin, closeness to ‘traditional’ culture, place of residence and more. I recently had a fellow Muslim ask me if the other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people I work with are shocked to find that I am in fact Aboriginal, as I ‘do not look Aboriginal’. This question, in turn, shocked me as I rarely consider my looks when I consider my indigeneity. As an Aboriginal person who also maintains strong identities as a Chinese person and a Muslim person, I am happy to break down wrong notions of Aboriginal identity. What makes me Aboriginal is my family, my connection to my land and my people. Just as I ponder these matters of identity – religion, culture, race, gender and more – I invite you to ponder them too. Go forth, and ponder! * Eugenia Flynn is an Aboriginal (Tiwi and Larrakia) and Chinese (Teo Chew) woman. She reverted to Islam in 2002 and in 2007 founded the Indigenous Muslim Support Network, which she continues to run. Eugenia aims to see Indigenous Australians healthy, strong and free and is the Deputy Chair of the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia.

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Ramadan

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

Page 19

Daily Prayers: Why Five?

Molly Carlson

B

elieve me, I know that having to pray five times a day seems like a lot of work; it certainly seemed that way to me before I became Muslim. So, why? Why five? Well, let’s think about Prayer not in terms of it being a chore but in terms of it being a break from the chaos of the world outside. Imagine that you are at work and your phone is ringing, your colleagues want your help, your emails are piling up, and you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, what would you do? You would take a break, right? Prayer is a break for us and a time of meditation. It allows us to set aside the demands of the world and simply focus our hearts on God. We get up and make ablution

and then find a quiet place to pray in peace. We take ten minutes to remember our Creator and refocus our energy on what is really important and relax. Relax our hearts, our minds and our souls. When we return to work, we are refreshed and ready to begin and then, just when we are starting to be stressed out again, it is time for the next Prayer. So really, we should be asking, why five? Why not six? God knows us better than we know ourselves and in His great Wisdom, He set the Prayers at perfect intervals. The first Prayer is the dawn prayer and is prayed before the sun comes up. Wow, that’s early, right? Well, what time do you get up to go to work? Before sunrise? What a perfect way to start the day: a cup of coffee, some breakfast, a little conversation with God, and then off to work. Then the next Prayer is the noon Prayer, and it is prayed usually somewhere between 12 and

continued from p16

M. Ibrahim Memon supporting naked eye determination is very easily seen every day except for when the skies are overcast. This is one difference between the sun and moon. Another big difference between the two is that the sun runs on a set path that is the same each and every year. For example, if one measures the time of the rising and setting of the sun on the first of January, 2005 he will find that is no different from the time of the rising and setting of the sun on the same date, one year before or after. And if one measures the time of the rising and setting of the sun on the same date ten years later it will still be no different from the time the sun rose and set on January 1, 2005. So if one person notes the movement of the sun one whole year and makes a time table out of his observations he could continue using that time table for the rest of his life. And in reality this is exactly how the time table for the prayers was made. Once this time table was produced, there was no need to repeat the process of observing of the sun. The moon in this aspect is a very different case. If Ramadan was 30 days this year, it won’t necessarily be 30 days the next year or the year after that. And this highlights the miracle of the

Blessed Prophet pbuh that he prohibited the use of calculations and formulas to determine the birth of the moon (nor do we write nor do we make calculations), but didn’t include under this order the movement of the sun. How was the Blessed Prophet pbuh to know 1,400 years ago of the consistency that was in the movement of the sun and that, despite the latest breakthroughs in astronomical data and calculations, no one would ever be able to read the exact time of the sighting of the new moon. In summary, it is not possible nor has the shari’ah allowed the Islamic lunar calendar to be based on calculations. This has never been permitted and has been the consensus of the Ummah. Though, this much can be said that Islam does allow using astronomical calculations to aid in moonsighting. For example, it can be helpful in providing us the approximate timings to when the moon will be most likely visible, or the age of the moon at the time of the setting of the sun, or at what time the moon will set. * M. Ibrahim Memon is a New York based Imam.

Prayer Schedule August 2009 Sydney, NSW

Date 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Day Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon

Fajr Sunrise Dhuhr 5:23 6:48 12:02 5:21 6:46 12:02 5:20 6:46 12:02 5:20 6:45 12:02 5:19 6:44 12:02 5:18 6:43 12:02 5:18 6:43 12:02 5:17 6:42 12:01 5:16 6:40 12:01 5:15 6:39 12:01 5:14 6:38 12:01 5:13 6:37 12:01 5:12 6:36 12:01 5:11 6:35 12:00 5:11 6:35 12:00 5:09 6:33 12:00 5:08 6:32 12:00 5:07 6:31 12:00 5:06 6:29 11:59 5:05 6:28 11:59 5:04 6:27 11:59 5:04 6:27 11:59 5:03 6:26 11:59 5:00 6:24 11:58 4:59 6:22 11:58 4:58 6:21 11:58 4:57 6:20 11:57 4:56 6:19 11:57 4:56 6:19 11:57 4:54 6:17 11:57 4:52 6:15 11:56

Asr Maghrib 2:55 5:15 2:56 5:17 2:57 5:17 2:57 5:18 2:58 5:19 2:58 5:20 2:58 5:20 2:59 5:20 3:00 5:22 3:00 5:22 3:01 5:23 3:01 5:24 3:02 5:24 3:02 5:25 3:02 5:25 3:03 5:27 3:04 5:27 3:04 5:28 3:05 5:29 3:05 5:29 3:06 5:30 3:06 5:30 3:06 5:31 3:07 5:32 3:07 5:33 3:08 5:33 3:08 5:34 3:08 5:35 3:08 5:35 3:09 5:36 3:09 5:37

Isha 6:37 6:38 6:38 6:39 6:40 6:40 6:40 6:41 6:42 6:43 6:43 6:44 6:44 6:45 6:45 6:46 6:47 6:47 6:48 6:49 6:49 6:49 6:50 6:51 6:52 6:52 6:53 6:54 6:54 6:54 6:55

1 p.m. This is right around the time everyone takes a break to eat lunch and to recuperate and we also take the time to remember God again and re-center ourselves. The third Prayer of the day is the afternoon Prayer, and is usually prayed three to four hours after the noon Prayer: just when we’re hitting the mid-afternoon slump. You know that time of the day when you are feeling sleepy at your desk and you are watching the clock tick by until you can leave? This is another great time to get up and take ten minutes to rest and refocus, and by then it is time to head home. The fourth Prayer of the day is the sunset

continued from p16

Al Hilali article supporting modern science determination three misunderstandings: The first: that reliance on calculations is a form of repealing the prophetic tradition and eliminating the eye-sighting which the Sunna has cited. The second: That calculations are an innovation which was not taken up by the messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him nor any of the predecessors. And The third: the words of the Messenger (pbuh): We are a community that does not write or calculate, the month is like this (29 or 30 days), implying that there is no relationship between the community and scientific calculations or astronomy. Our answer for the first misunderstanding: The reliance on astronomical calculation does not mean a negation of the eye-sighting but rather confirms it and helps to fulfil it and protect it from error, doubt and confusion. That is because it guides and reveals and clarifies the possibility of an eye-sighting for the crescent which is likely to rise on such and such a date and when it will set whether or not this is after sunset and by what measure of time and where. It merely relates the positions of the moon which Allah had measured and given particular movements and stations, births, appearances and disappearances and rising and setting down with the date and time to the last second. The answer to the second misunderstanding: There is a vast difference between face and palm reading and astrology or divination which are forbidden in Islam and the modern science of astronomy which is based on evidence and proofs that exist in the ordered planetary motions

Prayer Schedule August 2009 Perth, Western Australia

Date 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Day Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon

Fajr Sunrise 5:42 7:05 5:41 7:04 5:40 7:04 5:40 7:03 5:39 7:02 5:38 7:01 5:37 7:00 5:37 6:59 5:36 6:58 5:35 6:58 5:34 6:57 5:33 6:56 5:32 6:55 5:31 6:54 5:31 6:53 5:30 6:52 5:29 6:51 5:28 6:50 5:27 6:48 5:26 6:47 5:25 6:46 5:24 6:45 5:23 6:44 5:21 6:43 5:20 6:42 5:19 6:41 5:18 6:39 5:17 6:38 5:16 6:37 5:15 6:36 5:14 6:35

Prayer, and it is prayed right after the sun goes down. How many times have you sat in the evening on your porch or in your backyard relaxing and watching the sun set? After we watch the sun go down we take a few moments to remember the God who created that sun, commanded it to set, and then made those beautiful colors for us to enjoy. What a powerful moment for meditation. And then finally comes the night Prayer, which we pray before we go to bed. This is an opportunity to think about our day and about our blessings and to calm and quiet our minds before we sleep. In this way we begin and end each day bowing our heads to God and to me this is a Divine symmetry.

Dhuhr 12:24 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:23 12:22 12:22 12:22 12:22 12:22 12:21 12:21 12:21 12:21 12:21 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:19 12:19 12:19 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:18

Asr Maghrib 3:20 5:41 3:21 5:42 3:21 5:42 3:22 5:43 3:22 5:44 3:23 5:44 3:23 5:45 3:24 5:46 3:24 5:46 3:25 5:47 3:25 5:48 3:26 5:48 3:26 5:49 3:27 5:49 3:27 5:50 3:27 5:51 3:28 5:51 3:28 5:52 3:29 5:53 3:29 5:53 3:29 5:54 3:30 5:55 3:30 5:55 3:30 5:56 3:31 5:56 3:31 5:57 3:31 5:58 3:32 5:58 3:32 5:59 3:32 5:59 3:33 6:00

Isha 7:01 7:01 7:02 7:02 7:03 7:03 7:04 7:04 7:05 7:05 7:06 7:06 7:07 7:08 7:08 7:09 7:09 7:10 7:10 7:11 7:11 7:12 7:12 7:13 7:14 7:14 7:15 7:15 7:16 7:16 7:17

and the orbit of the moon. If these scientific means existed during the time of our righteous predecessors, they would not have turned to anything else. The Prophet of mercy (pbuh), when he made the eye-sighting as a tool of confirmation, did so because it was the means that they had available to them at the time, he was not one to impose on his community what was beyond its means. So there is no prohibition then from taking a modern scientific tool to apply the prophetic tradition with certainty away from suspicion, error and guesswork. Imam Tirmizy has narrated with a true chain that the messenger of Allah peace and blessings upon him, said: fasting is the day you begin fasting and breaking the fast is on the day you break the fast and the festival of sacrifice is on the day you make sacrifice. This means that staying with the majority and the mosque is what is intended by Sharia and the consensus of the Muslims is the goodness and the guidance through which they earn the mercy of Allah Most High and His succour and support. And that the Eid festival is a Sunna (tradition) but the unity is Fard (compulsory) and Wajib (obligatory). There is no blame on the Muslim when he/she adopts a method that has won consensus even if it contradicts his views of evidence of sighting. Our success is only from Allah, on Him we rely and to Him we return in repentance. * Taj Aldin Alhilali is the Imam of the Lakembe mosque and the former Mufti of Australia. The article was written in Arabic and translated by Keysar Trad with many thanks.

Prayer Schedule August 2009 Melbourne, Victoria

Date 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Day Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon

Fajr Sunrise Dhuhr 5:51 7:21 12:27 5:49 7:19 12:27 5:48 7:18 12:27 5:48 7:17 12:27 5:47 7:16 12:27 5:46 7:15 12:27 5:46 7:15 12:27 5:45 7:14 12:26 5:43 7:12 12:26 5:42 7:11 12:26 5:41 7:10 12:26 5:40 7:08 12:26 5:39 7:07 12:26 5:38 7:06 12:25 5:38 7:06 12:25 5:35 7:04 12:25 5:34 7:02 12:25 5:33 7:01 12:25 5:32 7:00 12:24 5:31 6:58 12:24 5:29 6:57 12:24 5:29 6:57 12:24 5:28 6:56 12:24 5:26 6:53 12:23 5:24 6:52 12:23 5:23 6:50 12:23 5:22 6:49 12:22 5:20 6:47 12:22 5:20 6:47 12:22 5:19 6:46 12:22 5:16 6:43 12:21

Asr Maghrib 3:12 5:32 3:13 5:34 3:14 5:35 3:15 5:36 3:15 5:37 3:16 5:37 3:16 5:37 3:16 5:38 3:18 5:40 3:18 5:41 3:19 5:42 3:20 5:42 3:20 5:43 3:21 5:44 3:21 5:44 3:22 5:46 3:23 5:47 3:23 5:48 3:24 5:48 3:24 5:49 3:25 5:50 3:25 5:50 3:26 5:51 3:27 5:53 3:27 5:53 3:28 5:54 3:28 5:55 3:29 5:56 3:29 5:56 3:29 5:57 3:30 5:58

Isha 6:58 7:00 7:00 7:01 7:02 7:02 7:02 7:03 7:04 7:05 7:06 7:07 7:07 7:08 7:08 7:10 7:10 7:11 7:12 7:13 7:13 7:13 7:14 7:16 7:16 7:17 7:18 7:19 7:19 7:19 7:21


Fi amani’Allah

Page 20

Crescent Times, 10th issue, August 2009

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