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RESCENT T IMES Australian Muslim Newspaper

Monthly - Independent

Issue # 31, June, July 2011

Strengthening Our Community www.crescenttimes.com.au

Syria: The fall of the House of Assad Robin YassinKassab* It’s too late for the Syrian regime to save itself.

“Selmiyyeh, selmiyyeh” “peaceful, peaceful” was one of the Tunisian

revolution’s most contagious slogans. It was chanted in Egypt, where in some remarkable cases protesters defused state violence simply by telling policemen to calm down and not be scared. In both countries, largely nonviolent demonstrations

and strikes succeeded in splitting the military high command from the ruling family and their cronies, and civil war was avoided. In both countries, state institutions proved themselves stronger than the regimes that had hijacked them. Although

protesters unashamedly fought back (with rocks,

not guns) when attacked, the success of their largely peaceful mass movements seemed an Arab vindication of Gandhian nonviolent resistance strategies. But then

continued page 4

E E R F

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Live export: bad for cows, worse for kids

The juxtaposition of the Federal Government’s recent stance on live animal export and the treatment of refugees is a sad indictment on our current leadership. Video footage of the treatment of Australian livestock in Indonesia led to an immediate suspension of exports followed by a six month moratorium on exports while system wide problems are investigated and procedures put in place to protect the well being of the animals. On the other hand we have the treatment of refugees arriving by boat. The current proposal is that any refugees travelling to Australia by boat will be deported to Malaysia. Government ministers have confirmed that these arrangements will apply to all children, even those who have arrived alone with no friends or family. Treatment of refugees in Malaysia is notoriously poor, refugees are considered to be “illegals” and are subject to physical violence, including caning, as well as economic and social repression. From a promise to ensure that refugee children would be released into the Australian community rather than kept in immigration detention, government policy has swung to the extreme whereby children will not even be able to access the relative safety of immigration detention, they will be deported and face conditions that are not considered to be acceptable even for Australian livestock. Readers are invited to contact the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to express concern over proposed treatment of child refugees via the web page: http://www.pm.gov.au/contact-your-pm or by telephone or fax to her electorate office Tel: (03) 9742 5800 Fax: (03) 9741 6213.

Unsettled, unfinished Arab revolutions Tarek Chamkhi

Legal: How to deal with anti-Muslim bias in the media? Hyder Gulam continued page 14

I found it touching when a Libyan revolutionary said to TV reporter, in quite good English: “We are moving towards Tripoli, to capture Ghaddafi or kill him”. Behind him 4WD utes carried his colleagues

firing rockets and machine guns while the whole world looked on, wondering NATO has taken so long to secure a victory against Ghaddafi! Many analysts around the world would agree that the West,

continued page 11


Page 2

Issue # 31, June, July 2011

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Issue # 31,June, July 2011

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Page 3

Sydney: Uprisings in Muslim VIC: YMA Junior World Conference Camp

2011 will go down as the year in which the Muslim masses broke the shackles of fear and stood up to a tyranny that had long silenced them though brute force. The uprisings we have witnessed are of historic proportion, by any measure. They are the biggest news story of 2011 by a long way and they are of great significance to the revival of the Muslim World. For this reason, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s major Islamic conference for 2011 which will be held in Sydney on the 3rd of July - will focus on the uprisings. Starting in December 2010 with the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi in the Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid, the uprisings reached a level and size beyond anyone’s expectation. The Tunisian President, Ben Ali, was forced to flee the country in January, followed by an extraordinary eighteen days of protests and resistance in Egypt

which led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. In Libya, the situation has led to war and foreign intervention by Western forces. In Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh is hanging on to power only by the thinnest of threads. In Syria, brave Muslims have been subject to the most brutal of repression by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, yet they are persisting and continuing to resist. There have also been large scale movements and protests in Bahrain, Jordon, Oman and Kuwait, with smaller scale protests elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Muslims across these regions have displayed great fortitude and courage to stand up to the regimes. This is what we have seen. However, understanding the reality and essence of these uprisings raises many key questions. Are these uprisings the fruit of deeper historical processes or are

they the spontaneous results of shortterm causes? Are they the result of the people’s own endeavours or is some power pulling the strings from afar? The United States and other Western powers have claimed that they support the uprisings. Can this be the case given it was these very powers who propped up the dictators in the Muslim World for decades? Western politicians and media claim that people are calling from secular democracy and liberalism. Is this true? Are the people in these uprisings calling for Islam or democracy? What does Islam say about such protests? Are Muslims permitted to rebel against their rulers? Finally, where is the place of these uprisings in the greater Islamic revival? These are some of the

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key question related to the uprisings that will be discussed. Join us at this important conference which will place the uprisings in their broader historical, ideological and political context. All details of the conference can be found on the conference website: www. uprisings2011.com.

The Young Muslim Association, YMA Junior Youth Camp is on for the 12th year! Aimed at children between ages 10-15 years, YMA Junior Camp is a place where children have lots of fun in an Islamic environment while learning about Islam. Targeting that age group where children are on the verge of adulthood and are beginning to face many challenges in their lives, Junior Camp is a place where they can connect with people just like them, facing very similar problems yet sharing the same identity as a Muslim. YMA Junior Camp is also a place where children find role models in their team leaders and supervisors, showing them that the idea of being a good Muslim doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t smile anymore or you don’t have any fun. YMA Junior Camp is a unique opportunity for our children to really connect with their identity, an opportunity so rare in the challenging environment we live in today. Here is an excerpt of what a parent had to say: “...just wanted to say thank you to all of the sisters/brothers that make the YMA Camp possible. I must admit I was a bit hesitant to send my son but then after speaking with a fellow YMA student who reassured me it is a life time experience I just knew he had to go and really it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for him... He has always been a good boy but since coming back, there is such a positive change, he’s really matured and is forever telling us everything that went on. I felt as if I’d missed out on such a spiritual event. He wakes up and prays fajr without hesitation, he always used to read Quran at night but now we can hear him from our bedroom and he reads with so much love and his pronunciation is just amazing and also with this beautiful flow. He said he loved going to Ustadh Mahmud’s lectures ... he said to me “mum when brother Mahmud speaks he speaks to the heart” It’s so nice to see my son love Islam and not be forced into doing it. He said he has learnt so much in the time he was there and he would definitely go again! May Allah swt reward everyone that puts so much effort into this whole event, Ameen!” Ameen! If you would like to enrol your child or obtain further information, please contact Mohamed Abdulhai: 0426 269 085


Issue # 31, June, July 2011

Page 4

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NATIONAL NEWS

Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad

continued from front page

came the much more difficult uprisings in Bahrain, Libya, and Syria. Even after at least 1,300 deaths and more than 10,000 detentions, according to human rights groups, “selmiyyeh” still resounds on Syrian streets. It’s obvious why protest organisers want to keep it that way. Controlling the big guns and fielding the besttrained fighters, the regime would emerge victorious from any pitched battle. Oppositional violence, moreover, would alienate those constituencies the uprising is working so hard to win over: the uppermiddle class, religious minorities, the stabilityfirsters. It would push the uprising off the moral high ground and thereby relieve international pressure against the regime. It would also serve regime propaganda, which against all evidence portrays the unarmed protesters as highly organised groups of armed infiltrators and Salafi terrorists. The regime is exaggerating the numbers, but soldiers are undoubtedly being killed. Firm evidence is lost in the fog, but there are reliable and consistent reports, backed by YouTube videos, of mutinous soldiers being shot by security forces. Defecting soldiers have reported mukhabarat lined up behind them as they fire on civilians, watching for any soldier’s disobedience. A tank battle and aerial bombardment were reported after a small-scale mutiny in the Homs region. Tensions within the military are expanding. However, a small minority of protesters does now seem to be taking up arms. Syrians - regime supporters and the apolitical as much as anyone else - have been furiously buying smuggled weapons since the crisis began. Last week for the first time, antiregime activists reported that people in Rastan and Talbiseh were meeting tanks with rocket-propelled grenades. Some of the conflicting reports from Jisr al-Shaghour, the besieged town near the northwestern border with Turkey, describe a gun battle between townsmen and the army. And a mukhabarat man was lynched by a grieving crowd in Hama. The turn toward violence is inadvisable but perhaps inevitable. When residential areas are subjected to military attack, when children are tortured to death, when young men are randomly rounded up and beaten, electrocuted, and humiliated, some Syrians will seek to defend themselves. Violence has its own momentum, and Syria appears to be slipping toward war. There are two potential civil-war scenarios. The first begins with Turkish intervention. Since Syrian independence in 1946, tensions have bubbled over into Turkey’s Hatay province, known to Syrians as Wilayat Iskenderoon, the Arab region unjustly gifted

to Kemal Ataturk by the French. War almost broke out in 1998 over Syria’s hosting of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, who now sits in a Turkish prison. Yet since the ascension of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey and Bashar al-Assad’s inheritance of the Syrian presidency, relations have dramatically improved. Turkey invested enormous financial and political capital in Syria, establishing a Levantine free trade zone and distancing itself from Israel. Erdogan extracted promises of reform from Bashar at the onset of the protests and then watched with increasingly visible consternation as the promises

were broken. He warned Syria repeatedly against massacres and their consequences (on June 9, he described the crackdown as “savagery”). Syria’s response is reminiscent of Israel’s after last year’s Mavi Marmara killings: slandering its second-most important ally with petulant self-destructiveness. Turkish military intervention remains unlikely, but if the estimated 4,000 refugees who have crossed the border thus far swell to a greater flood, particularly if Kurds begin crossing in large numbers, Turkey may decide to create a safe haven in north or northeastern Syria. This territory could become Syria’s Benghazi,

None of this makes sectarian conflict inevitable. Class and regional cleavages are perhaps more salient than sects in Syria today. Sunni business families have been co-opted into the power structure while disfavored Alawis have suffered as much as anyone else. The protesters, aware of the dangers, have consistently chanted slogans of national unity. And in Lebanon and Iraq the catalysts for civil war were external interventions, not internal upheaval. The catalyst in Syria may be the regime itself. Simulating sectarian war is one of the regime’s preferred tactics. In March, Syrian friends have told me, its shabiha militia tried to spark social breakdown in Latakia by pretending to be a Sunni mob while it shot up Alawi areas and an Alawi mob as it terrorized Sunni neighborhoods. Syrians say the regime is arming Alawi villages and wishfully thinking of a repeat of the 1980s, when it faced a genuinely violent sectarian challenge in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, which it defeated at the Hama massacre in 1982. The danger of the simulacrum is that it could become reality. If the regime doesn’t disintegrate quickly, the state will disintegrate gradually, and then the initiative could be seized by the kind of tough men who command local loyalty by providing the basics and avenging the dead. If violence continues at this pitch for much longer, it’s easy to imagine local and sectarian militias forming, with the Sunnis receiving funding from the Persian Gulf. Such a scenario would be a disaster for Syrians of all backgrounds. The ripple effects would be felt in Lebanon (which would likely be sucked into the fray), Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and beyond. It could also give a second life to the Wahhabi-nihilist groups currently relegated to irrelevance by the new democratic mood in the region. Let’s hope the boil bursts before either of these wars occurs. The economy may collapse catastrophically, at which point almost every Syrian would have to choose between revolution and starvation. Under continued pressure, the regime may destroy Alawis - unlike Christians, Jews, and mainstream itself through internecine conflict, or it may surrender Shiite Muslims - were therefore deprived of all legal when mass desertions make the military option rights. Before the rise of the Baath and the social unfeasible. The manner of bringing the boil to revolution it presided over, Alawi girls served as bursting remains obscure. What seems certain is that housemaids in Sunni cities. Some Alawis fear those the regime will not be able to bring Syria back under times are returning and will fight to prevent change. its heel. The social stagnation of dictatorship has made it *Robin Yassin-Kassab is author of The Road from difficult to discuss sectarian prejudice in public, Damascus, a novel. He co-edits www.pulsemedia.org and which has sometimes kept hatreds bottled up. blogs at qunfuz.com. Some in the Sunni majority perceive the Assads as representatives of the Alawi sect and resent the entire Source: Pulse Media website. community by extension. potentially a home for a more local and credible opposition than the exile-dominated one that recently met in Antalya, Turkey, and a destination to which soldiers and their families could defect. A council of defected officers might then organise attacks on the regime from the safe haven, adding military to economic and diplomatic pressure. The second scenario is sectarian war, as seen in neighbouring Iraq and Lebanon. Although most people choose their friends from all communities, sectarianism remains a real problem in Syria. The ruling family was born into the historically oppressed Alawi community. The Ottomans regarded Alawis as heretics rather than as “people of the book,” and

Contributors June/July 2011: Kamariah Ahmed - Mostafa Al-khateeb - Fa’izah Batchelor - Tarek Chamkhi - Linda D Delgado - Hyder Gulam - Shaazlah Hafreth - Stuart Littlewood - Aftab A Malik - Joanne McKeown - Debora McNichol - Khurram Murad - Khairi Omar Gareth Smith - Pamela Taylor - Robin Yassin Kassab - Irfan Yusuf PUBLISHER: Tarek Chamkhi

EDITOR IN CHIEF: Tarek Chamkhi editor@crescenttimes.com.au EDITOR AT LARGE: Joanne McKeown joanne.mckeown@crescenttimes.com.au NATIONAL EDITOR: Selma Cook selma.cook@crescenttimes.com.au MELBOURNE EDITOR: Shayma Alshakshir shayma@crescenttimes.com.au QUEENSLAND EDITOR: Shaazlah Hafreth shaazlah.hafreth@crescenttimes.com.au ADELAIDE EDITOR: Janine Evans janine@crescenttimes.com.au PERTH EDITOR: AZIZ KHAN aziz@crescenttimes.com.au LEGAL AFFAIRS EDITOR: Hyder Gulam hyder.gulam@crescenttimes.com.au

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Issue # 31,June, July 2011

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MUSLIM WORLD

Syria: in the footsteps of Libya

Dr. Khairi Omar

Political escalations in Syria are reaching a humanitarian crisis after the army intervened to protect President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Despite the announcement of the ending of the state of emergency, the military force is now the primary option of the Syrian authority, opening the doors to international intervention to protect civilians. D e c i s i v e p o l i t i c a l options The army’s raid on the Syrian city of Daraa signifies that the Syrian government will not tolerate further protests and will do all that is possible to end the protests and rid itself of the protesters, whether in Daraa or elsewhere. Syria has a history of ending protests through the army, such as the incident of the destruction of the city of Hama in 1982 during the conflict between the regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is symbolic of the Syrian regime’s lack of ability to compromise and its adherence to military force. Despite the political differences regionally and internationally, it is unlikely that the Syrian regime will change its means of managing the political crisis Syria is currently undergoing. During the past several days, the Syrian regime initiated a media campaign to condemn the protesters. The campaign asserted the existence of armed groups amongst the protesters, and accused them of using weapons against security forces and the army.

is because the elitists in Syrian society are those who make up the military management and establishment. In the past decades, this has become more evident, as these same individuals took hold of not only the military, but partisan activities as well, dominating the

Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party (a secularist party). This became a source of political stress for the majority Sunni Muslims who are discriminated against by authorities. It should be noted as well that the Syrian regime is fully aware that it would not receive any external aid or safe haven, except perhaps from Iran. Therefore, the only option it has available is the use of military force.

Safe transition While the Syrian regime is gaining support from Iran and Hezbollah, there are many others who are either siding with the protesters or are indifferent, such as the Gulf countries who are attempting to prevent Iran from gaining influence in the Arab region. In addition to the Gulf countries, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey are also striving to achieve safe transition of power in Syria, as well as preventing possible chaos or regional conflicts that may Source of stress The reason the Syrian regime be detrimental to their stability. At commonly resorts to military force this stage, many Arab countries are

UN Report Describes Internet Access as Human Right Describing the internet as an indispensable tool for realising a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, Frank La rue presented a report to the UN outlining its significance. According to La rue who was appointed as special Rapporteur and human rights watchdog by the UN Secretary General the internet is a basic human right. He cites in his report submitted Friday, the impact of online collaboration in the Arab Spring and states that facilitating access to the internet for all individuals, with as little restriction to online content as possible, should be a priority for all States. The report supported the internet as a

attempting to attract people towards Arab politics in light of the threat of revolutionary organisations. Perhaps the delay in the Arab League and Arab Interior Ministers’ meetings further illustrates the extent of division the Arab World is currently experiencing. In this context, the relationship between Syria and Iran poses a threat to Arabs in general. This threat has many aspects, the most momentous of which is Iran’s effort to gain power and influence in Arab countries, through deploying S h i i t e missionaries, supporting Hezbollah, influencing the Iraqi government, and forming close ties with Houthis in Yemen. International intervention The current situations in Syria may lead to a push for international intervention to protect Syrian civilians in a manner similar to Libya, where the international intervention gains regional and international legitimacy, allowing NATO forces to take military action to secure its interests in the area. This escalation, if it happens, will raise many questions with regard to the future of Arab revolutions and where they may lead the country. In reality, there are three aspects threatening the success of the Arab revolutions; foreign intervention, internal conflicts, and the states’ already fragile situations. These aspects may prevent the desired outcomes of these revolutions being achieved.

Page 5

LINK TO PROPHET MOHAMMED SAW

Adhering to Hadith does not cause backwardness in the Muslim community

Kamariah Ahmad*

Against the claims made by modernists and secularists, hadith did not cause Muslims to be weak and backward or illiterate. There are hadith that encourage man to seek knowledge from cradle to tomb. This is in response to the statement of those who claim that hadith as a source

of theology and law are responsible for disunity, weakness and backwardness of the Muslim community today. The disunity among Muslims definitely is not the result of adhering to hadith but is due to the ideas of secularist or modernist movements that instill ideologies to confuse and distract M u s l i m s . continued on page 9 U n d e r

Turkey says no place for authoritarian regimes in Islamic world Turkish President Abdullah Gül has told Egypt’s revolutionary youth that there is no place for authoritarianism in the Islamic world, urging rulers of Arab countries to make reforms for more freedom. “Sadly, struggle [for democracy] continues in some countries today. I would like to remind to rulers in Muslim Arab countries of the necessity to be realistic, to perceive the world better and see that there is already no place for authoritarian regimes in the Islamic world,” Gül told “January 25 Tahrir Youth” members who are visiting Turkey. But Gül also suggested that the governments that have not achieved freedom in their countries must lead these kinds of revolution and reforms, adding that as long as the governments don’t make reforms, these rulers would resist but resistance will have no benefit in the end. He recalled bloodshed and causalities in these countries and said these incidents “indeed made us deeply sad.” The Turkish president said that in order to end this violence as soon as possible, rulers must first respect their

own people before all and take steps in line with demands of their own people so that their countries come out of this process stronger. “Everyone obviously is aware that I am speaking about countries such as Syria, Libya and other similar countries,” Gül stressed. President Gül said Turkey is closely monitoring developments in Egypt, and Turkish-Egyptian relations will continue to be strong and the two countries will always benefit from each other’s experiences. “There will be a multi-party system in Egypt from now on, and whoever the nation wants, will rule the country,” Gül said. Gül said all nations had to overcome their fears in order to be ruled by robust and respected administrations. Moreover, Ibrahim Al Drawi, a representative of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party, said his party wanted Turkey and Egypt to cooperate regarding the Palestinian dispute and requested that Turkey support peace efforts among the Palestinians.

communication platform, and an asset individuals to disseminate information in powers endangers anonymity’s ability to record time and protect dissenters and journalists alike to all democratic mobilised people when they speak out. societies. It which triggered While he acknowledges that there must highlighted however fear amongst the be restrictions, La rue voiced concern that its effectiveness in most powerful the legitimate online expression is being threatening power governments. This criminalised in contravention of States’ brokers in some fear prompted international human rights obligations. countries using some governments He claimed that while such laws are often Egypt, Syria and to take action and justified as being necessary to protect Libya as examples cut the service. reputations, national security and to where the power of A court ruling counter terrorism they are frequently used the internet was a against Egypt’s to censor content that Government powers catalyst serving the ousted Mubarak and other powerful entities do not like or oppressed people in fact has fined agree with. who turned to its him $90 million He called on all nations to make plans speed, worldwide for cutting the to offer universal access and also maintain reach and relative service during the policy that will not limit access for political anonymity to early days of the purposes concluding that the government’s enable the historical bad track record of protecting this type of revolution. revolutions. La Rue also free expression is ideologically just as bad He attributed the argues that this as shutting the internet down altogether. distinctive features broad surveillance of the internet practiced by the Source: Ikhwanweb. that enabled the


Page 6

Issue # 31, June, July 2011

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

PLANET IRF:

Dublin hosts European Selected short stories atheist conference

Irfan Yusuf*

Okay all you Muslim chaps, chapettes and chapatti-eaters. I’m back. And I’m a bit rusty. I haven’t written a column for anyone for a long time. Up until early May, I was churning them out like your average wacko rightwing columnist from The Australian on steroids. Then I realised I was starting to almost sound like I wrote for The Oz, passing judgment on others and pointing my finger at them, without noticing three pointed right back at me. So I’ll replace the usual column with a short set of observations of varying degrees of imbecility. Here goes. *A mate was driving me in his hatchback around the streets of southern Brisbane the other day. He sports a beard and wears a cap and is on the conservative side. I was looking out the window when I saw a Muslim lady draped in hijab and wearing traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez (baggy pants covered with a loose long shirt) running faster than I ever could. I pointed her out to my mate with some concern – was she running from a violent husband or a home invader? We watched, ready to save her from her perilous predicament. After a few moments we looked at her footwear. Running shoes. She was just having a jog! *A TV journalist rang me up recently to ask about my thoughts on the recent Federal Government initiative to throw money at Islamic organisations to help Muslim kids become de-radicalised. And let me tell you, readers. These organisations have their work cut out for them. From what I’ve seen, young Muslims are becoming way too radical. I recently went to a mate’s house where his conservative young Pakistani wife was preparing a dinner fit for a jihadist cell - roast chicken, potatoes and carrots. Donning her hijab, she had a song playing audibly on her iPhone with lyrics that would make Osama bin Ladin turn in his grave. From memory, they

Hamza Al Khatib

Hamza Al Khatib, 13, was a Syrian boy who decided he would bring food to Daraa, a town under siege by the state security forces. Though the situation in the besieged city was dangerous, no one would have ever guessed that he would end up shot, tortured, and with his penis

went something like this: “California girls / We’re unforgettable / Daisy Dukes / Bikinis on top / Sun-kissed skin ...” I just cannot go any further in case more devout readers feel compelled to scream “Oooooh oh oooooh”. *Aussie blokes of the Muslim persuasion have been providing a fair bit of entertainment recently. For those who don’t have Foxtel, Nazeem Hussain is appearing on the Australian edition of the popular British comedy show Balls of Steel. He plays the role of Calvin Khan, an investigative reporter with a South Asian accent. And for those living on another planet, Mohamed El-Leissy and his best friend Mostafa have also been doing the rounds on the Channel 7 Race Around The World show. Waleed Aly’s Late Sessions on SBS is perhaps the worst cure for insomnia. *Recently I spent some time working in the beautiful city of Geelong, south west of Melbourne. Unlike Mackay, a regional city of similar size in which I’d spent 10 months, Geelong has no shortage of halal eateries. Among them are at least one Afghan restaurant, 5 Indian, a kebab shop and who knows what else. And that’s just in the CBD. Geelong also has a mosque, located in the most expensive suburb in town. *Poor Mrs Weiner. Actually, that’s not her name. Huma Abedin comes from a Michigan family of South Asian extraction. According to the New York Times, she was brought up in Saudi Arabia and is a practising Muslim who speaks fluent Arabic. Since 1996, she has worked for Hillary Clinton. In July 2010, Ms Abedin married Anthony Weiner in a highpowered wedding that was officiated by Bill Clinton. Now Ms Abedin has been dragged into her husband’s sex-tweet scandal. Will this affect her political career? I doubt it. Only time will tell if it affects her marriage. One cannot help but pity Huma, though many Muslims will argue that she should never have married a non-Muslim in the first place. Presumably that means that if Mr Weiner had been a Muslim, his infidelity would have been more acceptable.

amputated by President Bashar Assad’s security thugs simply for marching in a protest. Though Hamza was arrested alive, by the time his parents came to identify the corpse, there were signs of severe torture. There were three bullet holes and numerous burns on his body from cigarettes and electric shocks to the body. His torso and face were extremely bloated and his genitals had been shockingly mutilated. It did not take long for the video of his tortured body to be released and circulated throughout the blogosphere. In order to memorialise his life, many Syrians and people outside the country changed their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to Hamza’s smiling face. Facebook pages also sprung up to commend his brave deed and to show the world the brutality of the Syrian regime. One of them has reached more than 66,000 followers. The Syrian regime did not accept any responsibility for the torture, claiming instead that Hamza was shot by soldiers exercising their right to selfdefense - a common excuse used by the regime. Comments circulating on social media sites and blogs reflect the anger and the grief of Syrians at this moral outrage

Amid reports about its growing atheist population, the Irish capital hosted the world’s first atheist convention, raising questions on the constitution of Europe’s most religious nation. “Twenty years ago the atheist campaign would have been around trying to change public opinion,” Michael Nugent, the chairman of Atheist Ireland, told the Irish Times on Saturday, June 4. “And now it is much more about getting politicians and institutions of the State to recognise that public opinion has changed.” The World Atheist Conference brought together about 350 atheists. “We have two aims: to promote atheism and reason over superstition and supernaturalism, and to promote an ethical and secular Ireland where the State does not give special treatment to any religion,” Nugent added. Along with Nugent, speakers also include British professor Richard Dawkins. The meeting comes amid reports of growing numbers of non-believers in Ireland. In the 2006 census, more than 186,000 people ticked the “No Religion” box, an increase of 34.6 percent from 2002, making it the second-largest census grouping after Roman Catholic. A further 70,000 opted not to answer the religion question, giving an indication that the 2011 census results are expected to record a further increase in atheists’ group. A 2005 survey published in

Encyclopedia Britannica put nonbelievers at about 11.9 percent of the world’s population. An official European Union survey recently said that 18 percent of the bloc’s population do not believe in God. The Washington Post reported in September that atheist movements were growing across Europe, lobbying hard for political clout and airtime. Referring to the French “burqa ban” and Ireland’s anti-blasphemy law, those attending the conference criticised public questions of faith, which they believe are threatening Europe’s traditionally secular politics. “Broadly speaking, religion is back on the agenda in a way people didn’t think it would be 10 or 15 years ago,” Titus Hjelm, a sociologist of religion at University College London, told the Christian Science Monitor. Islam was the center of the latest debates across Europe. Far-right politicians have accelerated their rhetoric against Muslim minorities across Europe. For example, far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has called for banning the Muslim face-veil in the Netherlands and stopping immigration from Muslim countries. In Sweden, the far-right Sweden Democrats have unveiled plans to impose a moratorium on building new mosques in the Scandinavian country. The move came after far-rightists succeeded in winning public support for banning the building of mosque minarets in Switzerland.

Hjelm, himself Finnish, said growing fears of Islamic influence in Europe are overstated, criticising politicians’ growing focus on religions in their campaigns. “The discussion is really around issues of identity rather than what’s really going on,’ he said. “There is definitely a change going on with immigration and so on, but the idea of being ‘swamped’ is not accurate. Also, the attention religion gets is disproportionate.” The rise of politicians’ use of religion in their campaigns was not the only issue raised among delegates at the atheist conference. The question of separation of church and state has taken on new urgency as well. Labour party Senator Ivana Bacik warned of “a creeping fundamentalism in Irish life” which was “a real problem we have”. The “creeping fundamentalism” she referred to was also evident in the US, she said. But in Ireland it was “perhaps more sophisticated, where columnists talk of choice, yet oppose change where Catholic schools are concerned,” Bacik added. Bacik also called for ending preaching in schools and limiting it to churches. “In Ireland we have far too much preaching in school,” she said. Source: Ikhwanweb.

Irish Muslims Under US Watch New leaked US cables have showed that the United States has put Ireland’s sizable Muslim minority under scrutiny over allegations of extremism in the country, The Irish Independent reported on Monday, June 6. Diplomatic cables leaked by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks revealed that Washington has put Ireland’s main mosques under close watch. The move came after some cables raised concerns about the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland (ICCI), which runs the country’s largest mosque in Clonskeagh. Some cables alleged that members of the ICCI mosque celebrated the kidnapping of an Irish aid worker in Iraq in 2004. The leaked document also said that students at a school linked to the same mosque mourned the death of Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab

al-Zarqawi. The leaked cables also revealed US concerns that the ICCI did not take a strong stance against global terrorism. The cables, a tranche of over 1,900 US embassy cables exclusively obtained by The Irish Independent from WikiLeaks, showed that US officials were worried that young Muslims could become alienated from mainstream Irish society. In the cables, former US ambassador Thomas Foley told Washington that the government in Ireland was being complacent in its efforts to pursue alleged terrorists. The US cables, however, showed that US Ambassador Dan Rooney was confident that Irish Muslims were moderate. A confidential cable of August 2009 quoted Rooney as telling US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he believed “overall the Muslim

community in Ireland is content and moderate”. The cables also indicate how Washington became less worried than it was in the past about possible attacks in Ireland. The leaked cables also included accounts of some Irish Muslims about the ICCI. Siraj Zaidi, an interpreter at the office of the Minister for Integration, was quoted in the cables as saying that the ICCI leadership was detached from its own community and often taken by surprise when problems arose - such as the alleged celebration of the aid worker’s abduction by some of its members. He is also quoted as saying that the ICCI leadership “attempted to disassociate itself from the issue”. Ireland is home to a Muslim minority of 45,000.

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Muddle and mixed messages precede Palestinian bid for UN recognition

Stuart Littlewood There are hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of dedicated pro-Palestinian activists out there waiting, straining at the leash, hoping for a call from the Palestinian leadership to mobilise, get stuck in, set the mood and pave the way for the make-or-break bid for UN recognition and statehood in September. They long to hear a coherent theme, a gutsy strategy and a strong, persuasive message that puts across the Palestinian case in terms that cannot be argued with. But the big day is only three months away and “the silly season”, as the media call it, is nearly upon us. It’ll need sharp thinking and superhuman effort to make enough noise to get the world’s attention. Mixed messages And the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) – also known as the Palestinian Authority (PA) – is off to an unpromising start with the depressing news that “a statehood push at the United Nations will not advance the Palestinians’ cause”, according to President Mahmoud Abbas. The initiative, he is reported as saying, will be compromised by the fact that the Palestinians first have to seek support from the Security Council before going to the General Assembly. The most that can be hoped for is “a nonbinding affirmation of previous resolutions saying the Palestinians have the right to a state”. The Palestinian leadership is only going ahead with its plan to approach the UN “in order to save face among the Palestinian people”, said the report. According to Ma’an News Agency, a member of the negotiating team denied the report, saying some of the world’s most important international lawyers are backing the initiative and the Palestinians are hopeful they will succeed. The Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) negotiators have made a career of bolloxing up negotiations for years. So who exactly are the “negotiating team”? It’s time we knew their faces and background. Unwanted baggage And here’s more silliness: The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) – what’s with all these names saying different things? Those of us in the world outside should only have to listen to one authority, otherwise we’ll lose patience. Which one is it going to be? Surely not the PLO. This organisation has strong paramilitary overtones, being Yasser Arafat’s old outfit. How clever is it to bring to the negotiating table or to the UN a name like that at a time like this? Yet it has a Negotiations Affairs Department, which in turn has a Public Relations Unit. A fat lot of good either of them are. Do they seriously intend heading up this statehood move? Now is the time to dump all unwanted baggage. Like Abbas. He may be the Americans’ and Israelis’ pet dinosaur but it won’t help in this situation and has never helped the Palestinian cause in any event. There is surely considerable talent among the “Palestinian Forum”, which has been quietly pulling things together behind the scenes. It was left to Robert Fisk to bring us news of their work while Abbas’s useless PLO and worthless public relations units kept us in the dark.

And I thought chief negotiator Saeb Erakat resigned following the scandal of the “Palestine Papers”, which revealed the shameful behaviour of the Palestinian team in their pathetic peace talks with the Israelis. But no, he’s still there issuing press releases. His seems to be the only voice and he continues to have a high profile role. Erakat is reported to be in Washington talking with US officials about reviving the peace process. Adding to the confusion and showing the world that he can face two ways at once, Abbas was reported as welcoming a scheme by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe to arrange a conference in Paris in July where the discredited “peace talks” could be resumed. Juppe says Abbas “responded favourably”. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad also welcomed the idea, we’re told. Nothing is more likely to kick their application for UN recognition and statehood into the long grass than resumption of dragged-out, lopsided “negotiations” with an illegal occupier who’s determined to make the occupation permanent And why is Juppe doing this? If he is so concerned about Middle East peace why doesn’t he concentrate on ensuring that in September the UN recognises Palestine as an independent state on pre-1967 borders? A just and proper peace will flow from that. The PA/PLO’s “enlightened road map to peace” On 7 June I received a press release from the Palestinian embassy in London which said: “The Palestinian leadership has ... concluded

that endless negotiations with Israel have not led to a just solution to the conflict... The Palestinian leadership’s decision to pursue a September United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines comes as a result of the deadlock in the peace process. This legitimate move has been welcomed by many countries that have recognised the Palestinian leadership’s strenuous efforts to secure a negotiated settlement and that recognise the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and statehood.” The document quoted the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Professor Manuel Hassassian, as saying: “The foundations upon which Palestinians seek the establishment of a homeland are based

Gareth Smith

delivered it to the Australian embassy in Cairo and were told by the ambassador that it would be put in a diplomatic bag and sent directly to Mister Rudd in Canberra. I never received an acknowledgement or reply in spite of having written several times since. So, on this occasion at Justine Elliott’s office I submitted my letter to her with a copy of the original statement of the Gaza Freedom March sent to Mister Rudd. Ms Elliot accuses me of dishonest misrepresentation of her position but I counter that by accusing the Australian government of misrepresenting Israel. Israel is in violation of 252 United Nations resolutions, it also breaches international law by the building of settlements on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and by drawing economic benefit from it. It violates international law again by imposing a collective punishment on the people of Gaza and by bulldozing Palestinian homes. Its other illegalities are too numerous to mention. Despite this welter of evidence Australia, like the United States, continues to portray Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East and as a law abiding nation with whom it expresses no fault or criticism. I therefore make no apologies for my action.

upon peace, prosperity, freedom and security, against which Israel justifies its brutal occupation. Home demolitions, family evictions, revoking ID cards, the illegal occupation over Palestinian land, the remapping of Jerusalem, stalling peace talks and defying international law are tactics employed by Israel to stall the establishment of a viable

seek to establish a homeland”? That’s the language used by Zionist bribers and manipulators after World War I when trying to wheedle their way into Palestine. Palestinians already have a homeland, for God’s sake! They just want it back. Professor Hassassian is the PA/PLO’s mouthpiece here in the UK. Presumably, he is told to stick to Ramallah’s script. According to Ramallah, then, the foundations for establishing a homeland are “peace, prosperity, freedom and security”. But the real purpose of the application, surely, are to end the brutal occupation, secure the return of stolen lands and natural resources, restore refugees to their homes if they wish, and become an independent self-determining state. There can be no peace, prosperity, freedom and security until these things are achieved. The Palestinians’ demands are based squarely on international law and numerous UN resolutions, which are waiting to be implemented. Not least, they are enshrined in human rights legislation and the principles of the UN Charter. The question is, will senior member-states respect these solemn principles when the crunch comes in September? Or will they show the world how lawless, grasping and corrupted they have become? One of the strongest cards in the Palestinian hand is the realisation that there never has been and never could be any meaningful negotiation with Israel in present circumstances. No-one can reasonably be expected to “negotiate” with a gun to their head. Furthermore, the Israeli prime minister has refused to talk with a Palestinian government that includes certain democratically elected elements. Clearly, the only way forward is an application to the UN. So what are we to make of the mixed messages at this eleventh hour? Does the Palestinian left hand know what the right hand is doing? Is the PA/PLO going wholeheartedly for UN recognition or is it determined to scupper its people’s hopes by entertaining more “peace talks”? If I were a Palestinian I’d be tearing my hair out.

I erected the banners shown above and other materials at Justine Elliot’s office, nobody interrupted me and when I had finished I crossed the road and photographed the result. I sent the photograph and a letter to lots of different parties. Justin Elliot was not amused, she sent me an e-mail accusing me of dishonestly misrepresenting her position. She said that she supports a two state solution and a strong and secure Israel but does not support the BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) campaign. I delivered a bag of children’s clothes and toys to her office and asked her staffer to send them to Gaza. He said they were not equipped to send the clothes to Gaza. I told him that all he had to do was get a large envelope and pack the clothes, then dispatch them. He insisted that the office could not handle these things but I simply turned and left. I decided to take this action at Justine Elliot’s office because in December 2009 I was part of the ten member Australian delegation to the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo. We signed a statement calling for the siege of Gaza to be lifted and denouncing the Australian government’s uncritical support of Israel; we

Palestinian state…” Professor Hassassian calls on the international community to “seize the moment” and support recognition of a Palestinian state in September. “This is the enlightened road map to peace,” he says. Is it the call to action? Who knows? It isn’t enough to email a press release. You have to follow up and make sure key publications broadcast it. And I cannot find it on the embassy’s website, so there’s no link. For activists it contains no action plan, no briefing material, no “killer” statistics for activists to arm themselves with, no “lines to take” against stooges of the US-Israel axis, no contact details of articulate and media-savvy * Stuart Littlewood is an Israeli pro Palestinian writer lives in Tel Aviv. spokespeople on hand at a moment’s notice. Nothing to This article first published in: Redress.cc support a campaign. Maybe information packs are on the way. And why spoil it with words that grovel, like “Palestinians


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MUSLIM FAMILY

Catch the Spirit…Be a Muslim Champion Linda D. Delgado* •

We Are Muslim Champions Serving Allah • We Work For The Benefit Of Muslims • We are Champions of Literacy for Muslim Children, Youth, and Teens • We Are Champions of Creative Writing for Muslim Students • We Are Champions for Islamic School Libraries • We are Champions for Aspiring Muslim Writers Striving to Become Published Give your support to a Muslim non-profit organization that works to benefit our Muslim kids! Who We Are: The Islamic Writers Alliance Inc. (IWA) is a USA based professional Muslim non-profit organisation with an international membership. We were founded in 2004. Members include published and aspiring writers, editors, artists, publishers, journalists, playwrights, web designers, retailers, and marketing consultants. The IWA is an inclusive organisation and welcomes adult Muslim men and women of all races, ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, abilities, and creeds. Our Purpose: Our purpose is to promote literacy world-wide. The IWA has established successful programs designed to meet the established goals and purpose of the organisation.

Our programs are segmented into five areas: IWA regularly awards fiction and nonfiction Islamic books to Islamic school libraries (20 schools to date). IWA sponsors creative writing contests for Islamic schools.(12 contests to date). IWA sponsors two annual contests open to the public: an Islamic poetry contest (for 7 years) and an Islamic fiction story contest (for 2 years). IWA provides publishing opportunities for members aspiring writers and published authors through the anthology books we publish. We have published three anthologies to date with a 4th book currently in progress. IWA provides publishing opportunities for members through its quarterly online publication, IWA Magazine. We trust in Allah. We work in His service. We ask you to join our cause and help support our programs. We need your support. Join us and be a Muslim Champion, too. Visit our website at www.islamicwritersalliance. net Donate thru PayPal: islamicwritersalliance@ gmail.com *Linda D. Delgado is the owner of Muslim Writers Publishing. She has authored nine books with some being available in pdf and other ereader formats. She is a mom, grandma, and great-grandma. She lives in southwest USA. www. Muslimwriterspublishing.com and www.Islamicfictionbooks. com and www.islamicfictionbooks.wordpress.com and www. raineywalkerseries.wordpress.com

Too many “leftovers” Fa’izah Batchelor* As a relationship coach and matchmaker I am confronted with sad stories every day. Sad stories of single people who can’t find a spouse and sad stories of bad relationships ending have become part of my career. The saddest of all is of Muslims’ own making. Everyone knows that the Prophet Mohammed married women that Muslim men today would pass over. He married old women, he married widows, but most of all he married women that needed husbands. I know so many fantastic women here in Australia and overseas who, through no fault of their own, are being ignored as viable options for marriage. Once a woman has been married and had a baby she is no longer deemed marriageable quality by Muslim men. If a woman is overweight or ill or is over 35 she is cast onto a dump heap of women that are no longer desirable and that are destined to be

NOW OPEN!!

alone. But the women in Australia have it easy. I personally know women in Muslim countries where there is no financial help from the government that are on the same pile of unwanted women. These women range from their mid-twenties. Those women that were unfortunate enough to marry an abusive man and are divorced, those women who were unfortunate enough to be widowed and those women who were unfortunate enough not to find someone in their early youth have been condemned to the category of “the leftovers”. I have single Muslim men contact me every day. These men claim to be desperate to get married and confess that they are in danger of falling into sin. “Sister” they cry to me “please help me sister. Allah did not create us to be alone. I want to complete half my deen.” So I go to work looking for a sister I know that is single who will match them. It is not hard. Many great sisters are single. So I contact the brother

Now on the Web!!

www.ajislamicmedia.com ajislamicmedia@hotmail.com and give him some information about the sister and it is at this point that my stomach is turned by their answers “Oh no sister, she is from such and such a background, oh no sister she isn’t a virgin, oh no sister… oh no sister…oh no sister.” Unfortunately without any hint of a joke 90% of the men who contact me want a convert - but only if she is white, virgin, 18-25 years old, with a university degree and porn star looks. So the ummah stays single and more and more single people are added to it every day. What is the solution? Is there an example with the Prophet Mohammed? Is there a guide in Islam? Yes. The real question is are you willing to follow it?

*I am Fa’izah Batchelor and I am for improving relationships, all relationships. If you would like more information about me and what I do please contact faizahbatchelor@gmail.com

COMING SOON!!!


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ISLAMICA technologies, many resort to debating on minor matters such as trying to make statements on how to make supplication ; whether it is permissible or not to hold sessions of salutations to Prophet Mohammed; condemning women from visiting graves or debating on whether women should be allowed to drive. The sight of Muslim males and females in blue jeans seems to be more frightening to them than the failure of reaching out to society in dawah or missionary work to spread Islam. Beside these ongoing debates, there are groups of Muslims, who believe they are totally sinless, they stand by to mock those who are slow in grasping the Islamic identity (in wearing of headscarf or having beard for man) or its teachings - and ignore the hadith that says: “Make things easy (for people) do not make things hard and difficult for them. Give them good tidings and do not create hatred.” To further explain this Hadith: we are to encourage people by mentioning glad tidings and virtues for doing good deeds; and not to frighten them so much about their sins that they despair of the mercy of Allah, and are thus dragged away from religion. Another hadith states “Do not harm Muslims; do not condemn them; and do not look for their faults”. Imam Al-Ghazali, in his search for sound reasoning to understand Islam said: “Beware, then, of associating with a wicked man, because the constant sight of wickedness and sin will remove the dislike of sin from your mind and will create the feeling that sin is something light. The sinfulness of backbiting has become light to man’s mind for this reason and not for the reason that the mind cannot understand it. If people see that a Muslim jurist is wearing a gold ring or silk cloth, they strongly oppose it because they rarely see this, whereas they do not oppose backbiting even though it is a more serious sin, because of their familiarity with backbiting.” Even the hadith on the prohibition of wearing silk cloth for men is not a final injunction if we observe another hadith that says: “The Prophet gave permission to ‘AbdulRahman bin ‘Auf and Az-Zubair to wear silk during the journey because of itching which they had.” Hence, seeking knowledge helps to define Next door to the Brunswick clearly in Muslim minds the Islamic prohibitions and allowances instead Masjid of leading to relentless arguments Tel/fax: 03 9383 1865 which create much distrust and disharmony among Muslims. The beloved Prophet said “The acquisition of knowledge is a duty incumbent on every Muslim, male and female.” Hence, it is the duty of Muslims to find a middle way and help the younger generation find a way to practice Islam in the modern world as many Muslims now reside in non-Muslim countries as a minority group. There are many more hadith that encourage man to upgrade himself and to look upon learning as a never-ending process instead of relying on the teachings of what seems a pious imam. Muslims must hold on to the hadith that says, ‘the beauty of Islam is through the best behaviour of its believers’. For many, the closure of the doors of ‘ijtihad’ or interpretation of existing law (derived from Quran and hadith) is often blamed for stagnation of Muslim societies which will be discussed in the next article.

the cloak of their academic achievements and impressive arguments, Muslims who receive little Islamic knowledge in their early life will be impressed by secularists arguments and statements on Islamic matters. Their ignorance and lack of love for Prophet Mohammed and the teaching of Islam have created discord among the Muslims. The modernists will try to present a ‘convenient new Islam’ for the modern time. Their beliefs will easily attract the younger generation who are influenced by the secular education system. The most obvious example is on the issue of identity, especially the wearing of headscarves or in the matter of ‘handshakes’ between sexes. Some modern Muslim leaders chose to take a secular stand on these issues which has resulted in conflicting signals to the secular world. In contrast to the modernist there are the fundamentalists who fight hard that every Muslim woman should be wearing only the black abaya as outer coat and that any colour other than black is unacceptable. Their stands have painted Islam as a backward religion to the unbeliever, casting Islam as too difficult to be practiced in western society. A hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik says: “Make things easy and do not make them difficult. Comfort people and do not scare them.” In the present day we see many camps of Muslims correcting, criticising and disputing with one another, mostly on how to do things this way and not that way; while on the other side of the world the wheel of progress and technology is turning. Instead of competing and sharing ideas through new

VIC: Obtain Property by Deception Prahran 17 February 2011

continued from page 5

Cherry Blossom www.cherryblossomjewellery.com

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References: (1) Muntakhab Ahadith, compiled by Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlawi , published by Imran Book Depot, narrated by Anas ibne-Malik (Muslim) hadith 37 page 588 (2) Narrated by Anas (Bukhari) hadith 185 page 649 (3) Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibne-‘Umar (Ibne-Hibban) hadith 277 page 488 (4) The Deliverance from Error and The Beginning of Guidance, Al-Ghazali, translated by W.Montgomery Watt, Relationship between God and Man page 175 (5) Bulugh Al-Maram compiled by AlHafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani/written by Muhammad bin Ismail Al-Sanani, Hadith on the Manners of Clothing, page 183-184 *Kamariah Ahmad is a Singapore based author and commentator. She is a frequent contributor to CT.

Page 9

Chapel Street South Yarra.

On Thursday 17 February 2011, a man and a woman allegedly used a stolen credit card to make purchases at two different shops in

Police have released images of a man and a woman whom they believe may be able to assist them in their enquiries.

The pair also attempted to make a purchase at a jewellery shop in Toorak Road, South Yarra, but was thwarted when the owner became suspicious. The man is described as Caucasian, about 167cm, aged in his late 20’s – 30’s, of medium build and short hair. He was wearing a white peaked cap, black calf length shorts, a black top with white writing, and black runners. He was described as having a ‘weathered’ look. The female is described as Caucasian, about 162cm, aged in her early 20’s, of medium build with long straight blonde hair. She was wearing green ¾ length pants, a long green, oversized sleeveless top, white runners and carried a pink bag.

Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au

(Please quote reference no CA 5467)


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Jewish settlers burn 250 Palestinian trees in Nablus village

Jewish settlers started a huge fire in Palestinian farmland in Deir Al-Hatab village east of Nablus on Monday 7 June burning 250 olive and almond trees, local sources reported. They said that Palestinian fire brigades managed to contain and extinguish the fire before it spread to nearby groves. The firefighters said that the fire destroyed 200 olive trees and 50 almond trees, but hundreds of others were protected and saved. Jewish settlers deliberately target Palestinian plantations at this time of the year when the temperature is high so as to facilitate spread of the fire.


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by: Tarek Chamkhi

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Unsettled, unfinished Arab revolutions continued from front page especially the super powers of NATO, has been surprised by the Arab revolutions (remember the surprise of the White House at the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979) and they are currently doing their best to destroy the pure goals of the revolutions. Well, they say, have democracy according to our agenda. Have nicely decorated representative houses where you can include the Islamists - as long as you don’t let them run the country. Despite the theatrical propaganda of Obama, Hilary Clinton and various European leaders purporting to support the “Arab Spring”, it appears that there is no way to let people in the Arab world mind their own business. Sadly, no way whatsoever. The latest records of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions reveal quite disturbing outcomes. The direction of the interim governments indicates that, behind the scenes, America is working hard to secure pro-American political systems, just as they have over the last 11 years with Karzai in Afghanistan, Nouri Maliki in Iraq, the military government in Mauritania, the Algerian government and the Hariri government in Lebanon. These countries have all been pressured to accept the same American made political packages, where you can participate and have some sort of free speech as long as you avoid military resistance, condemn terrorism, condemn anti American sentiments. Unfortunately, this leaves no room for real leadership to work hard towards independent economic and political strength and stability. *** On the other hand, the giant AP Turkish party has today delivered a different message for all who are going to give up. On the 13th of June 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan led his party and country to his third term in office. Although he is not able to change the controversial extreme secular Ataturk era constitution alone, it seems he is going to make it one way or another. He has not revealed that his party, his government or his agendas are Islamic, but in reality that what he has been promoting tirelessly since 2003. Despite the claims by some extra orthodox Islamists that his politics are non-Islamic, he delivers much needed hope to the hundreds of millions of Arab revolutionaries in the Middle East: Just be patient, work on aims not propaganda, avoid conflict, avoid clashes with the West, avoid terrorism acts, and avoid extremism. This way you are much stronger than your enemies! You will MAKE IT sooner or later! ** Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself faces a dilemma when it comes to the Libyan and Syrian leaders. They have been close friends of his state; recently he has worked towards strengthening economic ties with the Syrian regime, as well as interfering in the early days of the Libyan revolution to secure Ghaddafi’s personal safety. Fortunately, he has now come out in support of the Libyan interim government and has welcomed Syrian refugees while reprimanding the Syrian dictator for the killing of innocent unarmed people. Unfortunately, many so called traditional Arab revolutionaries and pro Iranian Islamists still see the current Syrian regime as a barrier against imperialism and Zionism. They mistakenly think that Bashar Alasad is a real freedom fighter, resistance supporter and a legendary protector of Hezbollah and Hamas. That is pure delusion and utter nonsense. Indeed, reports from Syria reveal that the sectarian Iranian shia regime could not afford to go against the Alawi regime in Syria. It has been reported that members of the Iranian revolutionary guard and the Lebanese Hezbollah party have contributed to support for the Syrian regime by killing Syrian protesters. Of course Hezbollah has denied involvement; Iran has not commented either way. Following the Arab revolutions, the fire of sectarian war between Sunni and Shia arises out of the ashes with destructive flames. We thought that the Arab revolutions had weakened the effect of the Iranian regime’s attempts to transform the region to a sectarian war field, but sadly the main players including the Saudi regime are adding fuel to this horrible un Islamic war. But hope still there! The young Arab revolutionaries in Tunis, Cairo, Beirut, Manamah, Damascus, Tripoli, Sana’a and elsewhere, shia and sunni pure gold hearts, know better than the corrupt Arab and Persian dictators. They will sort it out sooner or later without extra bloodshed between the two major sects of Islam. The support of a strong section of the Syrian Alawi community for the Syrian revolution, alongside their Sunni countrymen, gives the hot tip of how ordinary people over there think and act: O dictators, we know well that you are just ugly fitnah mongers and war criminals. Will get rid of you that’s it! The editor in chief.


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Issue # 31, June, July 2011

Web: www.crescenttimes.com.au

Syrian refugees in Turkey Thousands of Syrians are streaming into Turkey, escaping a deadly crackdown on prodemocracy protests. Many of those injured in the violence are now speaking about their ordeal. Turkey’s support for Damascus may be ebbing, as the Prime Minister joins other nations in condemning the violence. According to latest reports, Syrian helicopters

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MIDDLE EASTERN CONTACTS

opened fire on protests in the northwestern town of Maarat al-Numaan. Jisr al-Shughour has seen much violence in the last week, after a reported mutiny among the army. Protests were held and gunshots were also heard in suburbs of Damascus on Friday 10 June.

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MEDIA WATCH:

Debate on sharia law ‘sign of healthy democracy’

Like some other leaders of the Muslim community, Dr. Rane had been surprised by the push for sharia. He was also surprised it had originated with the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ikebal Adam Patel. “I don’t know Ikebal Patel to be inclined towards this type of discourse. I didn’t think he was one of those promoting sharia, or separate laws or legal pluralism or anything like that,” Dr. Rane said. Dr. Rane, who specialises in relations between Islam and the West, believes sharia is not needed because state and federal law already meet “the higher objectives of Islamic law”. He makes the point that the reason sharia arose was to bring law and order to the Arabian peninsula at a time when there was an absence of law. “But the fact of the matter is that we do have a legal system here that provides all of the rights, protections and freedoms that people need to maximise their benefits and protect them from harm, which essentially is what all legal systems are about,” he said. Dr. Rane, who is also a lecturer at the National Centre of Excellence in Islamic Studies, said he was

unaware of any significant push within the Australian Muslim community for sharia law. He said the community needed to be very cautious when considering transplanting laws developed in the ninth or 10th century to a modern society. “I suspect it could lead to injustices; outcomes that are contrary to the intent of law in the first place,” Dr. Rane said. “I know other countries have played with this - such as the UK and Canada - but I think there needs to be a complete revision of all the Islamic laws before any country considers implementing them. “Maybe the Muslim countries need to have that conversation.” While he was opposed to introducing sharia in Australia, he believed the fact the issue was being debated revealed one of the great strengths of democracy. “Ikebal Patel has expressed his view, but others from his own community have disagreed with that. And that is a healthy thing,” Dr. Rane said. “It shows that it is not something a majority of Muslims desire.” Source: The Australian

Editor’ note:

Crescent Times newspaper has tried to avoid discussion of the role of sharia law in Australia as this subject has no prospect of influencing the lives of Australian Muslims at any time in the near future and the discussion is thus largely pointless. However the editorial view is to support expression of opinions and debates being held in the community. On a personal level, Muslims all over the world still and will forever use parts of sharia law in their daily lives, personal choices, family laws and dietary and hygiene regulations. Some hundreds of millions of Muslims and Islamists around the world are still calling for sharia law to be practiced in full in Muslim countries or where Muslims make up the majority of the population. Under the circumstances, this call for sharia law is legitimate. To support such a call or not is a different matter, depending on personal beliefs and understanding.

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Issue # 31,June, July 2011

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COMMUNITY NEWS

Check daily prayer times any where in Australia’ major cities on our website:

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British Muslim Women Launch “Gender-jihad”

Aftab A. Malik*

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0412 601 152 info@hussana.com.au

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any, body care and beauty products were Halal certified. The products that were available were mainly cheap imports from the Middle East, with very poor packaging, not widely distributed.

ussana has just been launched in Australia, working under it’s parent company Dukkaan Ltd. The concept behind the Hussana brand started in early 2008. After researching the market, we found very few, if

The aim of Hussana is to introduce a halal alternative to the current high street products, many of which contain alcohol and other haram ingredients from different animal parts. None of Hussana’s range contains any alcohol or animal products. The range consists of Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, Moisturiser, Cleanser, Face scrub, Lip balm, Baby shampoo, Baby lotion, Baby oil and Baby bath. The range is suitable for use by both males and females.

www.hussana.com.au

Email: editor@crescenttimes.com.au SMS: 0414 155 366 Mail: P.O. Box: 628, Mirrabooka, 6941 WA

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

SPECIAL OFFER - BUY ONE HUSSANA PRODUCT AND GET A SIMILAR HUSSANA PRODUCT FREE = 50% DISCOUNT. Aussie Muslim Leadership crisis A’salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. So true & beautifully written Brother Tarek! May Allah (SWT) reward you with what is best… Amin! One could be forgiven for laughing at the irony of Muslims allowing the debacle that you perfectly describe in your article to go on, but the joke is on us, and it is, in reality, a crying shame. How can we ever hope to address the huge issues that the wider Ummah is facing, if we can’t even clean up our own backyard? Verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves. 13:11 Allah (SWT) gives us the solutions to all of our problems and, indeed, He has even given us the solution to this particular problem when He said: By those who range themselves in ranks, and so are strong in repelling (evil). 37:1-2 It is clear to me, from those ayats, that if we unite ourselves in the correct order, without envy, fear or undeserved favour, i.e. with those who are, by consensus, best suited to being our leaders taking the helm, and with everyone else assigned to the tasks that they are best suited to, we will thereby overcome all obstacles, and succeed in all our endeavours,

Page 13

There are many reasons to be glum if you are a Muslim living in Britain today. For starters, a 2010 YouGov poll revealed that the overwhelming majority of respondents in Britain believe that Islam is synonymous with both extremism and the repression of women. And many Muslims believe that Britain is becoming increasingly Islamophobic. But some might be surprised to learn that despite frustration and fear among Britain’s Muslim populace, a generational shift has occurred in the last decade. The Muslim community has shifted from being isolated to being self-reflective and ready to take on challenges. This is the natural expression of an inquisitive, creative, empowered and articulate generation of British Muslims. And at the forefront of this changed community are women who are the driving force for change. Take Tahmina Saleem and Sara Khan, for example, who in 2009 established Inspire, an organisation that seeks to empower British Muslim women. After having witnessed numerous “cultural crimes” committed against women, Sara and Tahmina decided to redress the wrongs and start a debate. In the process, they have stood up against patriarchy, challenged extremist Muslims and thrown the gauntlet down to far right extremists. As part of their ongoing struggle to restore gender equality within contemporary Islamic discourse, or what could be described as “gender-jihad”, they are organising a conference next month in London for policy makers, grassroots organisations and the media called “Speaking in God’s name: re-examining gender in Islam”. Samina Rehman, from Nottingham, is a prolific writer and director of Mona Media, an innovative film and theatre company specialising in issue-centred drama, workshops and participatory arts projects. Samina has written and produced plays and films that tackle a range of issues

– from bicultural identity and cultural bigotry, to drug abuse and attitudes that lead young Muslims to social isolation. Their passions are derived from their faith, which is unashamedly encapsulated within a sense of being British. And it’s not only Tahmina, Sara and Samina who have a strong sense of belonging; it’s something they shares with most of their fellow British Muslims. In fact, a 2009 Gallup poll revealed that 77 per cent of British Muslims identified “very strongly” or “extremely strongly” with Britain, a higher percentage than the British public as a whole (at 50 per cent). Proactive … It’s no surprise then that an energetic group of young Muslim professionals lie behind the creative input of the public educational campaign “Inspired by Mohammed”, which aims to challenge misconceptions about Islam and inform the British public how the Prophet Mohammed inspires Muslims to contribute to society. A similar message was expressed by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – the first female Muslim to serve as a Cabinet minister in the UK and co-chair the Conservative Party – who proudly declared: “As a Britishborn Muslim, I believe my faith makes me a better person.” Yet the impetus for

insha Allah. forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones Let there arise a band of people inviting to attain success. 3:104 to good, enjoining what is right, and May Allah (SWT) unite and order the Ummah, under those who are the most worthy to lead us…Amin! Wassalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu

Omar Abdur-Rahman Katanning, WA

Meelad-Un-Nabi celebration- Yes or No ?

these Muslims’ newfound confidence has, perhaps s u r p r i s i n g l y, come from the unlikeliest of places: the gloomy news that has plagued the Muslim community. Remona Aly, Campaign Director at the Exploring Islam Foundation, an organisation that challenges the damaging stereotypes about Islam through the medium of creative resources, explains that “since the horrendous events of 9/11 and 7/7, Muslims have felt it ever more vital to get their voices heard – to speak for ourselves rather than being spoken for, to be proactive rather than reactive. And through this has emerged a greater need for and a greater sense of confidence.” It appears that this generation of British Muslims does not want to be ghettoised, nor remain on the fringes of society demanding special privileges. Rather, they want a fair deal. They want their contributions appreciated, their commitment to this country valued and, above all, they want to be treated as equals. As the famous 13th century Sufi poet Maulana Jalalluddin Rumi advised: “Be not content with stories of those who went before you. Go forth and create your own story.” Clearly, this new generation of Muslim activists, leaders, artists and thinkers see themselves as stakeholders in the future of Britain, keen, confident and able to forge their own paths, write their own stories of success and overcome the challenges they face. * Aftab A Malik is an OnIslam contributor based in London. Source: onislam.net

BOOK in many surahs. Arranging it in form of a book is therefore no bidah, specially more because Umar did not alter or modify even a comma or dot in it. Then how can it be an innovation Or bidah??? Quran is protected by Allah from any manipulation, so citing this example is nothing but to justify prevailing bidah in religion which add not to reward but lead to hell-Fire as warned by the noble Messenger of Allah Mohammed. 3- Bidate hasanah is nothing but deception. All bidah is started as good or hasanah and alters the religion by adding new thing as if Allah swt and His Prophet s.a.w have left shortcomings for us the lesser beings to improve upon it. We have to do what the Prophet did or advised to do, nothing more. A simple man came to the Prophet and asked as to what he should do to be successful in hereafter. The Prophet replied : Perform your daily prayers and fast during the month of Ramadan, pay zakat if prosperous and perform Hajj once in life time if you can afford. The man said by Allah he would do nothing more and nothing less and got up to leave. The Prophet s.a.w said : one who wishes to see a person of Paradise, let him see this man. If someone is interested in earning more reward, he/she must say Tahajjud and additional nafil rakah and observe nafil fasts as prescribed barring the two days of Eid, do charity as much as he/she likes but never indulge in things not laid down by Allah swt or His Messenger s.a.w. Birthdays are not part of Islam. Seerat lectures can always be arranged throughout the year.

Referring to the article by Shaazlah Hafreth published in issue 30 , April-May 2011 of Crescent Times I have to put the following facts for the benefit of all. 1.Before celebrating Meeladun nabi, we must ascertain that it was celebrated during the tenures of noble Khulfa-eRashidin [Allah be pleased with them all]. 2.Perfect and complete, introducing any new thing in matters pertaining to Religion is bidah. The Holy Quran was revealed over a period of 23 years and recorded on the bark of trees, leather and so on. Though not in the Saiyid Akhlaq Nabi form of a book, Allah Kenwick, WA swt repeatedly called it a


Page 14

Issue # 31, June, July 2011

Web: www.crescenttimes.com.au

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LEGAL AFFAIRS

How to deal with anti-Muslim bias in the media and anti-Muslim websites

Hyder Gulam– CT Legal Editor

•Australian content standards •Anti-siphoning rules and •Anti-terrorism standards. The ACMA broadcasting In this article I will discuss how we can deal with complaints form can be the anti-Muslim sentiments or bias that we perceive downloaded from their website. in the media, as well as the host of contemptible antiRadio complaints Muslim websites. If you have heard something However, as Muslims we should make sure we don’t accuse others of the very same misdeeds we ourselves on the radio that you think breaches a code, the first thing are committing. to do is to make a complaint in writing directly to the station you heard it on. If you have already made a complaint to the station and have either not had a response within 60 days, or aren’t satisfied with their response, you can make a complaint to ACMA. ACMA cannot accept complaints about the quality of programs or the accuracy of advertisements. If you have heard something on radio that you think breaches a licence condition or standard you can make a complaint to ACMA.

Internet services

Newspaper or magazine complaint

If you have a complaint against a newspaper or periodical or the news reporting on a website which appears to have breached the Australian Press Council’s Statement of Principles or the code of privacy standards, you should first take it up with the editor or other representative of the publication concerned. If the complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may refer it to the Australian Press Council. A complaint must be specific, in writing and accompanied by a cutting, hardcopy print, clear photostat or html attachment of the matter complained of, with supporting documents or evidence, if any. Complaints must be lodged within sixty days of the initial publication. The Council provides a complaint form for complainants to use. The Council will not hear a complaint subject to legal action or possible legal action, unless the complainant is willing to sign a waiver of the right to such action. On receipt of the complaint, the Council secretariat will first try to negotiate a settlement of the matter. Up to 50 per cent of complaints are settled amicably at this early stage of the process. If such a settlement is not possible, and the complaint is accepted, a formal response from the newspaper will be sought and sent to the complainant. If not satisfied by the response, the complainant can, with the agreement of the newspaper, seek a conciliation hearing conducted by a Public Member of the Council or can immediately refer the matter to the Press Council for adjudication. If a matter is sent to the Council, the complainant and publication have the option of attending a meeting of the Complaints Committee which makes a recommendation to the Council on the matter. The Complaints Committee consists of seven members of the Council, with a majority of public members (including the Chairman).

Television complaints

If you have seen something on TV that you think breaches a code, you must first complain in writing to the station that you saw it on. If you have already made a complaint to the station, and have either not had a response within 60 days, or aren’t satisfied with their response, you can make a complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). ACMA cannot accept complaints about the quality or scheduling of programs, the content of advertisements, or advertising on the ABC. If you have seen something that you think breaches a licence condition or a standard, you can make a complaint directly to ACMA. Standards applicable to television include: •Children’s television standards

and

online

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF CYBER-HATE/VILIFICATION? 1.Remain assertive but not aggressive and stay calm. 2.Contact the Muslim Legal Network or your peak state/territory Muslim body such as the Islamic Council of Victoria and report the matter immediately. 3.Flag the material if the website provides this function. Make a detailed report of why and how the matter is Cyber-Hate/Vilification and should be taken off. 4.Collect information about the website, their internet service provider (ISP), whether they have posted similar content before and the authority of the offensive content. Services such as www.domaintools.com will enable users to find the ISP of the website. 5.Check with the ISP’s Terms of Service (TOS) and hold them accountable if it has been breached. Write to them with regard to the advice below in the “Model Letter”. This does not guarantee results as enforcing the TOS is likely to be solely at the discretion of the ISP. Additionally, the material may reappear on another ISP. 6.Contact other community groups and seek letters of support for combating the offensive content. 7.Post videos, counter viewpoints, or comments that oppose the offensive content. Let viewers see an alternative perspective. 8.Lodge a complaint at www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au with letters and collected information attached claiming a breach of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001. 9.If the cyber-hate/vilification is directed at a particular race (Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, Malays, Turkish, Albanians etc), make a report to www.hreoc.gov.au/ racial_discrimination/racial_hatred_act/index.html. 10. ACMA deals with prohibited content - detailed at www.acma.gov.au. Lodge a complaint if relevant to online@acma.gov.au. 11.Follow up after a month and stay updated on the progress of the investigations. 12. If action is not taken by the website owner or ISP: Contact the Multicultural Liaison Officer who will support you in the reporting process to Victoria Police and file a report with the Victorian Police. 13. If race related, also file a report with the Australian Federal Police.

to full and equal participation in society. Vilification diminishes dignity and sense of self worth and affects the ability of individuals to contribute to society. This reduces the benefits that diversity delivers to the community. Contained within the Act are the two criminal offences of serious racial vilification and serious religious vilification. Serious racial or religious vilification occurs where: •a person, because of the race or religion of another person/class of person, intentionally engages in conduct that the person knows is likely to incite hatred against that other person/class of person and either threatens physical harm, or incites others to threaten physical harm against that person/ class of person, or their property, or •a person, because of the race or religion of a person/ class of person, intentionally engages in conduct that the person knows is likely to incite serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that person/ class of person. Under the terms of the Act, such conduct includes use of the internet or email to publish or transmit statements or other material.

Lodging a civil complaint

Civil complaints of vilification are different by definition to criminal complaints of vilification. The following organisations can be contacted for information about lodging a civil complaint of vilification. Conduct likely to be considered racial or religious vilification includes: •comments about the race or religion of a person that could incite contempt or ridicule of, or hatred for, that person •publishing baseless allegations that a racial or religious group engages in serious criminal activities •persistent and serious verbal or physical abuse about the race or religion of another person •encouraging violence against people who belong to a particular race or religion and the destruction of their property •promoting hatred of a racial or religious group in flyers, stickers, posters, in a speech or •publication, or through websites or email. It is also against the law to authorise or assist someone to vilify others. Conduct unlikely to be considered racial or religious vilification includes: •religious criticism and racial or religious debate that does not encourage or promote hatred or contempt for other racial or religious groups •behaviour that offends people of a particular race or religion, but does not incite hatred, severe contempt, serious ridicule or revulsion. •comments, jokes or other acts related to the race or religion of a person may not constitute vilification, but if they occur in employment, education, accommodation or the provision of goods and services, they could still be the basis for a complaint.

The Internet has impacted on the way we communicate and POINTS FOR A MODEL LETTER interact, how we buy and sell •Be clear and direct when dealing with entities on the internet. Users must things, how information and explain exactly what has disturbed them, why the content is offensive, where it knowledge is distributed, but is located and when it was last accessed by the user. the law has not kept up. There •Explain carefully and analytically with references exactly why the content is is no single piece of legislation offensive even if you believe it to be obvious. that we can turn to when we •It is important to be clear, precise and thorough so that someone reviewing are faced with an internet the letter can understand you even if they only have spend seconds of their time related legal issue, and usually, reading the your complaint. •If a breach is found in the ISP’s TOS, try to identify the particular section of we have to conceptualise an the breach and explain how it has been breached. online problem in the offline •Complaint should be calm, polite and to the point. legal framework and adapt the •Specifically request a response. existing law accordingly. In this •Copy an organisation like the Muslim Legal Network/ICV/or peak Muslim context a wide range of laws are body in your State or Territory on your communication. relevant including the Australian Consumer Law 2010 (formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974), the Jurisdiction Copyright Act 1968, the Telecommunications Act The internet is not restrained by location and may 1997 and the defamation laws. reach any number of countries. As such, the internet’s The rise of the internet raises many interesting and wide reach creates interesting jurisdiction questions: complex concepts and problems, some of which are Where has an online crime been committed? Where set out below. is an online contract made? Which court has the power to hear a dispute? Which country’s laws apply? Cyber-Crime How can a court judgment be enforced if a person is The Internet has seen an increase in new types of based overseas? crimes such as computer hacking and cracking, and the spreading of computer viruses. The Internet is T h e Victorian also a new medium for more “traditional” crimes Racial so that the phrase “cyber stalking” and other a n d Some behaviours may not be considered vilification online offences like credit card fraud if they are reasonable and done in good faith. and the possession of child This includes: an artistic work or performance; a pornography statement, publication, discussion or debate in the are now public interest; and a fair and accurate report in the media. Vilification complaints can be lodged with recognised 1. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human by the Rights Commission (VEOHRC) criminal law. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission can lodge complaints about Defamation racial or religious vilification. VEOHRC can be The ease contacted at: by which Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights defamatory Commission Level 3, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton, material is Toll free: 1800134142, Email: complaints@ published on the veohrc.vic.gov.au internet, by email, 2. Australian Human Rights Commission in news groups or Civil complaints about racial hatred can also in chat rooms poses be lodged with the Australian Human Rights many challenges for the law of defamation. R e l i g i o u s Commission. You can contact the AHRC for more information, via: As the internet can Tolerance Act 2001 Australian Human Rights Commission GPO Box be used to conceal a In recognition of Victoria’s cultural person’s identity (for and religious diversity, the Racial and Religious 5218 SYDNEY NSW 2001 Complaints Infoline: example, through the Tolerance Act (Act) was introduced to promote 1300 656 419 Email: complaintsinfo@humanrights. use of anonymous email accounts or community acceptance of racial and religious gov.au nicknames or handles), and because the defamatory diversity. material may reach any number of jurisdictions over While the Act recognises the importance of * Hyder Gulam, BA, BN, LLB, LLM, MBA, FRCNA the internet, it may be difficult to identify and sue a freedom of expression in an open and multicultural He is a Melbourne based lawyer. He is the President of ICV. person for defamation. democracy, it also recognises the rights of all citizens

ITH W E TIS TIMES R E ADV CENT YOUR S CRE MOTE OR S PROSINES TION AT H A U T S B NI PER A A G P OR T THE OU DAY: Y S R RT US TO PO O P P U S SUP EMAIL 66 R 53 O 5 1 L 4 CAL 041


Issue # 31,June, July 2011

Hijab Ban Dashes Iran Olympics Dreams

Dashing Iran’s hopes of playing in the 2012 London Olympics, football’s governing body has ruled that the footballers’ Islamic dress code broke FIFA rules, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, June 6. “This ruling means that women’s soccer in Iran is over,” said Shahrzad Mozafar, the team’s former head coach. FIFA ruled on Monday that the Islamic dress of the Iranian women’s football team broke its rules, which ban the manifestation of religious symbols.

2012 London Olympics. “FIFA’s decision in March 2010 which permitted that players be allowed to wear a cap that covers their head to the hairline, but does not extend below the ears to cover the neck, was still applicable,” FIFA said in an e-mail to Reuters. “Despite initial assurances that the Iranian delegation understood this, the players came out wearing the hijab, and the head and neck totally covered, which was an infringement of the Laws of the Game. “The match commissioner and match referee therefore decided

In April 2010, FIFA announced that it was planning to ban hijab and other religious symbols during the 2012 Olympics. “Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits,” the rules say. To be in line with FIFA rules, Iran’s teams designed a special headscarf that players wrapped tightly around their heads and necks. “We made the required corrections and played a match afterwards,” Farideh Shojaei, the head of women’s affairs at Iran’s football federation, told Reuters TV. “We played the next round and were not prevented from doing so, and they didn’t find anything wrong. That meant that there are no obstacles in our path, and that we could participate in the Olympics.” But FIFA said that the Iranian dress code violates its rules for the

to apply correctly the Laws of the Game, which ended in the match being abandoned.” Under Iranian rules, all women are required to cover their body head to toe. In order to be allowed to function domestically and compete internationally, the women football team play in full tracksuits, headscarves and neck warmers. Iranian officials said that the FIFA ruling has thrown a killer stone for women sports in the Islamic Republic. “Headscarves are simply what we wear in Iran,” said Mozafar. Iran’s female athletes have excelled during international events in sports such as karate and volleyball. “When a serious women athlete can’t participate internationally, which ambitions are left for her?” Mozafar said. Iranian officials said that the ban was an insult to Muslims worldwide.

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Page 15

ISLAMICA

Virtue of Fasting in Rajab and Shaban

Question: Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Is it recommended to fast frequently during the months of Rajab and Shaban or not? Consultant: M u h a m m a d Ahmad Al-Musayyar Answer: Wa`alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. Brother, we really appreciate y o u r for warding this question to us, and we commend your keenness on getting yourself wellacquainted with the teachings of Islam. May Allah help us all keep firm on the right path, amen! Prophet Mohammed is reported to have recommended fasting during the four sacred months (i.e. Dhul-Qidah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab). Therefore, a Muslim is generally recommended to observe fasting in these sacred months, and Rajab is one of them. It is also reported that the Prophet used to observe fasting in Shaban more than he did in other months. In response to your question, prominent Muslim scholar Dr.. Muhammad Ahmad Al-Musayyar, professor of Islamic creed and philosophy at Al-Azhar University, stated: Fasting is a spiritual act of worship, which elevates one to the rank of angels, as one abstains from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from

dawn until sunset. In general, a Muslim should fast some days every now and then; in these days, one abstains from worldly matters, strengthens his or her resolution, and purifies his or her soul. However, no authentic hadiths are stated indicating that the Prophet recommended fasting in the month of Rajab, nor did he forbid fasting in it, according to Imam An-Nawawi, who added that fasting in general is recommended. Still, it is recorded in Sunan Abu

than in Shaban.” The hadith indicates that the Messenger used to fast many days in Shaban that `Aishah said in another narration, “He [the Prophet] used to fast (almost) all of Shaban; he used to fast Shaban except for few (days).” Except for these two months, Allah’s Messenger used to observe fasting continuously to the extent that people would say that he would not break fasting. He also used to keep breaking the fast for many consecutive days to the extent that people would say that he

Dawud that Allah’s Messenger recommended fasting during the Four Sacred Months, among which is the month of Rajab. As for the month of Shaban, there are authentic hadiths about the virtue of fasting during it, among which the hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of `Aishah who said, “Allah’s Messenger used to observe fasting (continuously) that we would say he would not break fasting, and he used not to fast (continuously) until we would say he would not fast. And I did not see Allah’s Messenger completing the fast of a month, except Ramadan, and I did not see him fasting more in any other month

would not fast. So the matter depends on feeling comfortable and devoted to worship without feeling bored or weary. That is why the Prophet said, “Do (good) deeds that are within your capacity, as Allah never gets tired of giving rewards until you get tired of doing good deeds.” He also said,”The most beloved deed to Allah is the one its doer performs regularly even if it were little.” Allah Almighty Knows best. Source: islamonline.net

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Issue # 31, June, July 2011

The Kiki Principle: Debora McNichol*

Underwhelmed in 2012

With reports that the Obama fund-raising machine has its sights on $1billion for the 2012 election cycle (yes, that’s a “b”), the Republicans up till now have seemed reluctant to throw their hats in the ring. But nominations are slowly trickling in, and the election is looking to be, well, boring. In the United States, a potential candidate for a party must get the nomination, and usually, prepping a candidate for nomination requires several years of name dropping, formulaic partisan policy adoption, and high profile speeches. Not this year for Republicans. This waiting game is unusual, and can probably be explained by a combination of the economy on micro and macro scales, the butt-whoopin’ the Republicans took in 2008, and the Tea Party phenomenon. Perhaps added to that is the realisation that Republicans have screwed up big time - cutting the budget to drastically reduce entitlements and education while stubbornly refusing to raise taxes on the rich or make serious cuts in other parts of the budget. Americans might not be as smart as a 5th grader, but we learned to count in kindergarten. While President Obama has tried to keep his voter base together at the expense of the rest of the world, Republicans have given their token shout-outs. Obama’s May speech, for example, resulted in the usual “you’ve thrown Israel under the bus again” for the simple suggestion that latest Israel-Palestine negotiations begin at the 1967 borders. Now, everyone knows that there is no way Israel would have accepted that negotiation starting point. Everybody also knows that Obama’s suggesting such was an insincere attempt to appear to be a neutral peacemaker. Yet Republicans don’t want to let go of the AIPAC dollars, and so made the statements. Who are today’s Republican contenders? Here are a few— mostly recycled from past election seasons: Michelle Bachmann: This Congresswoman is a Tea Party favorite whose grasp on American history and the Constitution is, umm, loose. High school student Amy Myers challenged Bachmann to a “fact check” debate on American civics and the Constitution, stating her cause for concern over Bachmann misstatements: “As one of a handful of women in Congress, you hold a distinct privilege and responsibility to better represent your gender nationally. The statements you

make help to serve an injustice to not only the position of Congresswoman, but women everywhere. Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalise this shadow to women as a whole.” (I am seriously impressed with that young lady. I hope politics doesn’t ruin her.) Newt Gingrich: ExCongressman Gingrich is probably the most factual of the Republican bunch. I don’t care for him much—he’s a womanizer and a hypocrite, but he’s the one I like best so far. Mitt Romney: Former Governor Romney is vanilla. Just plain vanilla. Everyone can agree on vanilla, even if it’s not anyone’s favorite. Donald Trump: He’s not running, but he’s fun to talk about. He ranted on about the Middle East overcharging for oil, and taking back the American economy from China. His probirther campaign lost him any semblance of credibility—he actually stated that he was proud of himself for forcing Obama to obtain and show his “long” birth certificate from Hawaii. I predict that his reality show won’t last too much longer. Well, that’s more of a hope than an actual prediction. Tim Pawlenty: Two-term governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty’s goal is to out-vanilla Romney. If he can convince Evangelical America that he is a better alternative than the Mormon Romney and will appeal to the center, he may just have a chance. Sarah Palin: No one’s really sure what Palin is doing these days, including Palin. She is currently taking a tour of the country on bus. The bus, decorated with Palin’s name and patriotic images, has hit the political circuit without a statement of intent except having a nice vacation. She reportedly will not speak to the “lamestream media” because it would affect her contract with Fox News. This is a no-news situation, but of course, the lamestream media that Palin so loves to bash, is eating it up. May Allah help us. Complain all you want about Obama, but to date, I see no better alternative. * Debora McNichol has written for Crescent Times since its first issue. Debora is an American Muslim lawyer, editor, restaurant manager, and writer, who lives in Virginia and North Carolina, US with her ever-sopatient daughter and husband. She practices business, intellectual property and criminal law in those states. To contact Debora, email her at DebMcNichol@hotmail.com

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GLOBAL NEWS

Inner and moral dimensions of the sharia Khurram Murad** In Islam, faith is not an abstract theological dogma, nor an intellectual creed, nor a philosophical proposition. It must spring forth into action in day-to-day life, extending from inner to outer, from individual to social, from moral to legal. It is the sharia which translates faith and moral ideals into clear, definable, viable, and concrete goals, forms, and codes, and brings them within the grasp of every ordinary man and woman; this is why it is one of the greatest blessings of God and one of the greatest vehicles for human progress. For men have groped endlessly to translate faith and moral ideals into viable actions and deeds. Some have been tempted to separate the two, others have been led into a never-ending philosophical quest. They have not been able even to define what is ethical, moral, or good. But can ordinary men and women wait for such definitions and answers? If man has to live a morally good life, if he has been created with a purpose, if he has to meet his Maker, the moment he opens his eyes and becomes aware and conscious, he must know what to do and what not to do. And he must act in the certain knowledge that what he is following is universally and absolutely true and will please his Creator. Who else, then, other than his Creator should he look to for those answers? Herein lies the beauty of the sharia. Every man knows what his outward conduct ought to be to conform with his faith, his moral ideals. He has an answer to the eternal question, what is “good?” It matters not whether he is illiterate or a scholar; he can confidently act. Not that all ethical and moral problems have been solved and buried for ever. So long as man is alive, he will continue to face difficult choices and dilemmas, old and new. This is a natural corollary of a worldview where man has to battle incessantly for good against evil. But, in the sharia, he has the means to find the best way to ease and facilitate his task. Inner Dimensions To think that

Islam

submission to God merely in the outward conduct of man’s life would be a gross misunderstanding. As the name used for the totality of the man-God relationship, Islam grips man’s inner self in equal, or even more emphatic, terms. Significantly, the Quran prefers to address Muslims more as “those who believe,” and treats iman, faith, and good conduct, as an integrated whole. Indeed, the Qur’an and the Prophet, at almost every step, stress the importance of the inner relationship to God as compared to mere outward conformity. The true heart of the sharia is not at all formalistic. For example: Although prayers cannot be performed without turning to Mecca, the Quran says, [it is no virtue merely to turn your face to the East or the West] (AlBaqarah 2:187); charity is ardently desired, but an act of charity done for the benefit of the doer will bring no reward (Al-Baqarah 2:264); it is not the “flesh and blood” of a sacrificial animal that God desires, but [the taqwa (God-consciousness) inside you] (Al-Hajj 22:37), says another verse of the Quran; and, declared the Prophet, “There are many who fast during the day and pray all night but gain nothing except hunger and a sleepless night” (Ad-Darimi); and, finally, only those who return to God with a pure and wholesome heart, qalb salim, will deserve to be saved (Al-Shu`araa’ 25:89).

tension and conflict between the two or extol one at the expense of the other. But there were never two different paths or two different expressions of man’s relationship to God. Interestingly, both sharia and tariqah have exactly the same meaning ”the way.” According to Ibn Taymiya, a person observing only the law, without its inner truth, cannot be called truly a believer; and, similarly, a person claiming to possess “truth” which is at odds with the sharia cannot even be a Muslim.

Even, historically speaking, in early Islam, the two streams, of Sufis and the jurists never flowed separately. Al-Hasan Al-Basri, the doyen of Sufis, is a major pillar of fiqh and tafseer (jurisprudence and exegesis); whereas Ja`far As-Sadiq, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Ash-Shafi`I, and Ahmad - the founders of the main schools of Muslim jurisprudence - find pride of place in Fariduddin `Attar’s classical Tadhkira al-Awliya (The Book of Saints). In the Quran and the hadiths both inward and outward are inseparably intertwined. For example, when the Quran says [who in their prayers are humble] (Al-Muminun 23:1), then prayer is what one is likely to categorise as the sharia, humility as the tariqah. Or, when it says [those who believe, love God most] (Al-Baqarah 2:165), love is likely to be taken to belong to tariqah; but, at the same time, the Quran emphasises Sharia and Tariqah Some in Islam, naturally enough, have [Say: If you love God, follow me]. Thus concentrated more on developing ways prayer and humility, love and obedience are and means of purifying the inner self and inseparable, two sides of the same coin. of strengthening the relationship between man and God. Leading exponents of * Based on the book Shari`ah: The Way to this approach - known as tariqah - have God, Published by The Islamic Foundation been the Sufis. Much has been said about (1981), here excerpted with some the conflict between the sharia and the modifications from:http://www.witnesstariqah. But what we have said above gives pioneer.org/vil/Books/KM_shariah/index. the lie to the often propagated idea of any htm inherent or continuing dichotomy and tension between the two terms - both of **Khurram Murad (1932-1996) studied which, interestingly enough, are of latter- civil engineering at the universities of Karachi, day origin. (Early Islam used only Islam or Pakistan and Minnesota, USA, and was deen which encompassed every aspect of actively involved in the Islamic movement man’s self.) Special circumstances may have and in the training of Islamic workers. Many led this or that person to lay more emphasis of his books, both in English and in Urdu, are on a certain aspect: A few may have even being published posthumously. emphasises been sufficiently misled to try to generate

Healing Hearts*

Healing Hearts Healing the heart is through understanding Al-Quran By avoiding its prohibitions and obeying its prescriptions By remembering Allah at all times through ‘Dzikrullah’ By invoking one of Allah’s ninety nine beautiful names And by saying any other forms of dzikir.

In the body there is a piece of flesh This piece of flesh is the heart The heart is the seat of man’s reality The reality of his character and personality, Heart Illness Heart illness comes through jealousy and hypocrisy Illness comes through hatred and anger Illness comes through pride and greed Illness comes through ‘ghaflah’ that is forgetting Allah, Heart health Its health comes thru clarity and sincerity It comes thru gentleness and piety It comes through love towards the

Almighty The health of the heart depends on man’s faith If the heart is healthy, the whole body is healthy,

*From the book Let’s Celebrate Islam in Poems and Art, Published by Haritha Artworks. Poem Healing Hearts by Sheikh Zakaria Bagharib pg 88 You could order the book from Crescent Times newspaper at cost of 25 dollars + postage. Please email us if you wanted to get your copy.


Issue # 31,June, July 2011

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UMMAH NEWS

Faysal Mawlawi: A Moderate Practicing Scholar Mostafa Al-Khateeb

in establishing the Dublin-based European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) for the benefit of Muslim communities in Europe. Also, he was one of the main founders of the International Union for Muslim Scholars. He has been one of the leading figures of the moderate Islamic awakening and was the secretary general of Al-Jama`ah AlIslamiyyah, the Muslim Brotherhood branch, in Lebanon. “He has dedicated his life to Islamic dawah and Islamic institutions and known no listlessness or boredom until he died,” IUMS stated.

“A pioneer and a leading scholar who has played a role in modernising the Islamic jurisprudence,” the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) described the prominent scholar sheikh Faysal Mawlawi who passed away on Sunday, May 8, at the age of 70. The late sheikh Mawlawi was known for his distinguished ijtihad and activism in Islamic scholarship and dawah (call to Islam). He was an outstanding renewing intellectual and jurist who mastered both fiqh Noble Characters

(Islamic jurisprudence) and its principles. Throughout his life, Faysal Mawlawi was concerned about Muslim unity and movements for the sake of the ummah. He was a moderate, tolerant, and wise jurist who worked for the benefit of Muslim communities all over the world. Activism and Scholarly Contributions Giving, caring, and sacrificing are the main key words that could describe sheikh Mawlawi’s efforts for Muslims and humanity. When tracing his life, one sees a true, devout Muslim seeking Muslim unity, a Godly scholar spreading living fiqh and sharia among Muslims, and an active faithful daee (caller to Islam) practicing what he preaches. He represented a unique model for Islamic scholarship and activism. In addition, he enriched Islamic fiqh, linked thoughts to Islam’s original sources, defended causes of the Muslim ummah, and backed the resistance to occupying forces through practical means. Mawlawi was unique in his ijtihad, fatwas, scholarly contributions, and studies. He was concerned about Muslims’ presence and welfare in the West and offered them wonderful ijtihad and fatwas to moderately and Islamically solve their thorny problems. Sheikh Mawlawi participated in establishing some well-reputed councils and associations for the benefit of Muslims all over the world. For example, he actively participated

Besides his distinguished scholarly contributions to Islamic jurisprudence and dawah, sheikh Faysal Mawlawi offered a model for humbleness, noble morals, and fine characters. This was reflected in all his personal and dawah affairs throughout his life. All those who knew him agree on his calmness, politeness, tolerance, kindness, and devotion. He was bright-faced and showed scholars’ politeness and daee’s noble manners at the same time. Sheikh Mawlawi’s moderate thoughts were reflected in both his dawah and practice. Moreover, he was always concerned about the affairs of the Muslim Ummah. Because of his noble manners, profound knowledge, and faithful activism, sheikh Mawlawi left behind a good number of faithful and loyal followers and students. Education and Achievements In 1967, sheikh Mawlawi obtained his BA in Law at Lebanon University. A year later, he obtained a BA in Islamic Sharia at Damascus University, Faculty of Sharia. He also received a diploma of advanced studies from the Sorbonne in Paris. After his graduation, Mawlawi was appointed as a legal judge in the Sharia Court in Beirut. He served in many sharia courts in Lebanon. He was appointed as a councilor for the Supreme Shar`i Court in Beirut in 1988 until he resigned in 1996. He was granted the title ‘Honorary Judge’ by the Republic of Lebanon in

May 2001. Sheikh Faysal Mawlawi occupied many prestigious dawah positions including: •The secretary general of AlJama`ah Al-Islamiyyah (Muslim Brotherhood) in Lebanon, •The head of At-Tarbiyah AlIslamiyah society in Lebanon, •The head of the house of Da`wah and Da`is since 1990, •The secretary general of former Jama`at `Ibad Ar-Rahman, •A member of the administrative committee of the Islamic National Conference, •A founder of both the Islamic Association and the European College for Islamic Studies, in France, •A spiritual guide of the Union of the Islamic Organizations in France,

Page 17

Malaysia: ‘Obedient wives’ club

As a new bride, 22-year-old Ummu Atirah believes she knows the secret to a blissful marriage: obey her husband and ensure he is sexually satisfied. Ummu and some 800 other Muslim women in Malaysia are members of the “Obedient Wives Club” that is generating controversy in one of the most modern and progressive Muslim-majority nations, where many Muslim Malaysian women hold high posts in the government and corporate

but it’s all down to sex. A good wife is a good sex worker to her husband. What is wrong with being a whore ... to your husband?” she said. “This way, the family institution is protected and we can curb social ills,” said Rohayah, the club’s vice president who is also a trained physician. Indirectly, “disobedient wives are the cause for upheaval in this world” because men are not happy at home and their minds and souls are disturbed, she said.

world. The new club says it can cure social ills such as prostitution and divorce by teaching women to be submissive and keep their men happy in the bedroom. The club, founded by a fringe Islamic group known as Global Ikhwan, has been dismissed by politicians and activists as a throwback to medieval times and an insult to modern women of Malaysia. “Unfortunately even today, there are still many Muslim women who are ignorant of their rights or culturally inhibited to exercise their rights in full,” said Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a female Muslim minister in charge of family policy. Despite the group’s conservative Islamic background, Rohayah Mohamad, one of the founders of the club, openly talks about the virtues of marital sex even though most of her colleagues are shy about the topic. “Sex is a taboo in Asian society. We have ignored it in our marriages

The Global Ikhwan group is an offshoot of former members of the Al-Arqam sect outlawed in 1994 after its teachings were found to have deviated from Islam. It is funded by the group’s restaurants, grocery stores, poultry and other businesses abroad. Expectedly, the club has faced intense criticism. Some Malaysians started a Facebook page called “We do not want sexist nonsense from Global Ikhwan.” One Muslim man, Amirul Aftar, wrote: “I do not want a wife to submit to my every beck and call. I want a wife who understands me ... we are not your masters, we are your equal.” Women’s group, Sisters in Islam, said Islam advocates marriages based on mutual cooperation and respect. It said domestic violence happens regardless of women’s behavior. “Communication,not submission, is vital to sustain any healthy relationship,” it said.

He was awarded the Best Muslim Preacher by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). He worked on establishing the European Council for Fatwa and Research in Dublin in 1997, for which he was the deputy chairman. Over the course of his life, Mawlawi participated in several national and international Islamic events, conferences and lectures. Works Sheikh Mawlawi’s works focus on signficant issues that affect Muslims in the contemporary context. He studied many issues in economy, transactions, manners, education, and social affairs from a moderate Islamic viewpoint. He left behind many books, studies and publications that are of great benefit to Muslims all over the world. These works have been characterized by a deep and profound knowledge of fiqh and the accurate reality of the world. Among these works: -Tayseer Fiqh Al-`Ibadat (Facilitating Fiqh of Acts of Worship) -As-Salam `ala Ahl Al-Kitab (Greeting the People of the Book) - Al-Mara`ah Al-Muslimah (Muslim Woman) -Ar-Riq fi Al-Islam (Slavery in Islam) -Ahkam Al-Mawareeth (Inheritance Rulings) -Dirasat Hawla Ar-Ribah walMasaref (Studies on Usury and Banks) -Ahkam Al-Mawarith: Derasah Muqaranah (Inheritance Rulings: Comparative Study) -Silsilat Mabadi’ At-Tarbiyyah Al-Islamiyyah (Basics of Islamic Education series) a ten-part series for primary, preparatory, and high schools. May Allah shower the late sheikh Mawlawi with His infinite Mercy for exerting notable efforts in serving Muslims and dawah. Source: OnIslam.com


Page 18

Issue # 31, June, July 2011

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GLOBAL MUSLIM NEWS

“Blind Eyes see better than Blind Hearts” Shaazlah Hafreth Picture a professional wrestler flaunting his cut-throat prowess in a typical wrestling arena. Then couple that up with an image of a vibrant Sheikhly figure preaching to an eager audience about the mercies of Allah SWT. Now add the little factor of blindness to the scale and the end result is Sheikh Abu Hafsah Abdul Malik Clare, a wrestler who was born totally blind and who accepted Islam in 1996. A widely travelled figure who has held workshops in Canada, Kenya and lately the “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” tour in Australia, his speeches never fail to touch people’s hearts when he reveals facets of his life from childhood, right through achieving his wrestling dream up until how he entered the threshold of Islam. Born Jerome Clare, to a Roman Catholic family in Nova Scotia, Canada, he says “instead of being a blind person I was a person who happened to be blind”, indicating that he never let his condition overshadow his goals in life. In an interview with Sheikh Ahmed Shehab of Save a Soul Productions, he fondly recalls how his mother never treated him differently. She let him play on the streets and basically nurtured him to be independent. His fascination with wrestling started at an early age, while he was exposed to the theatrics of professional wrestling on TV around the age of 4 or 5. Only sheer resolve and an adamant refusal to back off saw him make the wrestling team at school when he was 9, when the cutoff age was ten. He laughingly admitted that because he was younger and smaller, he was quite bad at his dream sport. He was pummeled so much so that his

coaches used to say he was “all guts and no brains”. Things did take a turn, when his hidden

their breasts.” ( Al Haj 22:46) When asked about his discovery of Islam, he says that he was different from

wrestling spirit finally emerged all honed up and he shot up the rankings. At 11, he won the middleweight title at his school and went on to secure interschool team titles, even against older, heavier players. In addition to wrestling, he used to run track, participate in martial arts and sports for the blind, such as goal ball, and was generally very athletic in his pre Islamic days as he is now.

most reverts, in that he had never felt discontented about who he was or what his beliefs were. Rather than him seeking out the truth, the truth knocked on his door in the form of a stentorian voice declaring in the midst of a song that was playing at a party: “By any means necessary.” These were the lifechanging words that to this day have him reflecting in awe. After much inquiry he found out that the speaker was Malcolm X. Piqued by the curious “variable” for the

“Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in

last name plus the authority in Malcolm’s voice, Jerome Clare perused through the autobiography of the remarkable man and gradually began to digest snippets on Islam, through Malcolm X’s profound activities. However, as much as he wanted to emulate his new role model, he couldn’t see how he could “cross the bridge to where the Muslims were”, so he momentarily left it at that, thinking that if Allah was real, He would guide him. So life went on as usual until in 1996, he got a job at a computer camp geared towards the blind and the vision impaired. There he met someone who had an unusual name and when he asked her why it was so, she replied that it was of Arabic origin. Suddenly he recalled how Arabic and Muslims went hand in hand and everything rapidly clicked into place. This precipitated a juggernaut of eager questions which led to a detailed discussion about the crux of Islam. Not long after, Jerome Clare shed his cloak and emerged as Abu Hafsah Abdul Malik, witness to the fact that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is indeed, the last messenger of Allah. After that initial breakthrough, Abu Hafsah went on to learn how to read the Quran, which in the Braille format consists of six volumes, and made a steady and industrious effort to master his recitation. Today Abu Hafsah is busy spreading awareness of Islam. When asked what advice he would give to people who are “wrestling” with issues of today he says, “Follow and be a part of truth no matter what it costs.” So if it’s a physical, psychological or spiritual problem anyone is wrestling with, “ask Him for help and trust in Him…the only way that you can be victorious in that ( the problem) is with the permission of Allah SWT.”

Al-Qaeda: new leadership Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second in command, has issued a eulogy for Osama bin Laden, saying the slain group’s chief terrified the US when he was alive and would continue to do so in death. Al-Zawahiri appeared in a white Arab robe and turban, a kalashnikov at his side, in a 28-minute video posted on jihadist online forums shortly after bin Laden’s death. “We will pursue the jihad until we expel the invaders from Muslim lands,” he was quoted as saying in the video titled “The Noble Knight Dismounted”. The Egyptian, who has long been considered al-Qaeda’s operational head, heaped praise on bin Laden, killed in a May 2 US raid in Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri, who is believed to be operating from somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier, also blasted the US for burying bin Laden at sea and urged the Pakistani people to rise against the country’s military rulers and politicians, describing them as “traitors”. Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said al-Zawahiri is an irrelevant figure in today’s Arab world. “The whole idea of being the ‘second in command’ is of course more of a media construct than it is in any way a chart within that group. Bin laden was the guru and the guru is dead. “What is left is an organisation that claimed a false prophecy during a time that Arabs were lost. That was in the 80s, 90s and the last decade. Now the Arabs have found their voice, and are out in their millions in the streets in the Arab world. So, in a sense, the whole idea of al-Qaeda, even if it had any merits in the eyes of very few, it simply has absolutely now role in today’s Arab world,” Bishara said.

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UMMAH AFFAIRS

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Love in a time of torture A young man’s account of sadistic torture in a Syrian secret prison, and how a girl’s note helped him through his pain. Arrested during a protest in the first days of the Syrian uprising, a young man endured acts of sadism and torture at the hands of Bashar alAssad’s secret police. As his body was beaten, whipped, electrocuted and worse; the prisoner could think only of the girl he loves, clenching a note from her in his hand as the torturers did their worst. Told largely in his own words, this is his remarkable personal story of endurance and hope in a place filled with darkness and despair.

evening - when I was again interrogated. I was asked the same questions and gave the same answers. Then I was led back to the courtyard to sit on my knees for another two hours or so.” That first night the prisoners were stripped naked while the prison guards made jokes about their genitals. The prisoners asked for food and water, and were refused. “I would smile when I was forced to take off my clothes at night and I was shaking from the cold. How could I be cold knowing that she was enjoying the warmth? Since when can the cold find its way into our bodies while the warmth of love is filling our every cell?” The young man was led to a corridor with A small piece of paper held tight in a clenched prison cells on either side. For the next six days, fist. A lifeline to a better place. Days become nights become days. The kicks, the punches, the questions, the insults, the humiliation and the pain. “She was always on my mind in the toughest m o m e n t s during the torture. The only thing that relieved the pain was my belief that, at that moment, she was comfortable in her bed.” The beatings began on the police bus driving arrested protesters to one of Syria’s most notorious secret police branches. “Your mother is a whore!” screamed one of the policemen, as he slammed the butt of his rifle into the prisoner’s face. “We will f*** her and your sister!” But the young man wasn’t when the interrogations were over, this is where listening. he would be left, kicked and beaten with sticks “In the first five minutes I was only thinking by the passing guards so he could not fall asleep, of her. I was so afraid for her. But when the bus his legs hunched up and cramping, his head drove off I saw her trying to phone somebody, forced back upright against the wall so that he so I was so happy that she’s wasn’t under arrest. could never lie down. I didn’t know then that they arrested her a few “I would only be allowed to drink water every minutes later. second day. If I needed to go to the toilet I “We were welcomed at the prison by beatings. would be given 30 seconds. If I spent any longer Our hands were tied behind our backs and we than that they would tie me to a large tire and were blindfolded. We were made to sit on our whip me.” knees in the prison courtyard for an hour while ‘Humans and Monsters’ they beat us continuously and kicked us all over On the second day the interrogations grew our bodies. worse. “Then we were ordered to lie down on our “They were asking me the names of the people stomachs and five or six security men took I had been with at the protest. But I refused to turns running and jumping on our backs while give any names. I said I had gone there alone insulting us. Then they made us sit on our and had not seen anyone at the demonstration knees again for more than two hours while they who I knew.” whipped us. I could feel the moisture of the Back in the corridor a man arrived and told blood on my fingers.” the guards to untie the prisoner and take his He was later led into a room, still blindfolded, blindfold off. He was ordered to strip naked for the first of many interrogations. again. “There were three interrogators and a “First, the man applied the electric shock fourth person writing down what I said. The device to my chest. He then moved it to my interrogators wanted to know why I had gone to nipples. It felt a bit like an explosion. You can’t the protest, who I had gone with and what the describe the pain. It was so painful. slogans we had chanted. All, of course, under a “At first I was surprised. I didn’t understand torrent of insults. what had happened. Then, after two or three “After that I was sent back to the prison yard times, I somehow grew accustomed to it. My and was made to sit on my knees until the head was banging against the wall, but I didn’t

feel that until they finished.” After the chest, the man lowered the electric prod, slowly and methodically, applying the current first to the elbows, left and right, then to the wrists, left and right, then to the knees, left and right, then to the ankles, left and right. “I saw him. He was so angry. He accused me of working with the US and Israel. I later found out that he was the head of the prison. He was shouting. Then I remembered her smile. “At every moment her words were ringing in my ears and my chest was full of her rebellious spirit. It shaped my will, which can never be broken, as long as we defend the principles of right and justice. “In the end I said: ‘I beg you God, don’t let

them arrest my friends. I don’t want them to be electrocuted like me.’ In prison there is no female or male. There are only humans and monsters.” After the beatings on the third day, the young man thought he might die. “I heard the guards, further down the corridor. They were talking about the demonstrations in Deraa. They were very upset and discussed killing me in front of people in order to terrify them and force them to stop their protests. That night the beatings continued until the morning.” On the fourth day, the young man again overheard the guards, this time talking about how the protests had begun to spread across Syria. “When I heard the word ‘uprising’ I thought seriously that maybe this crazy regime will kill us all to stop this.” ‘An expression of fear’ The words of his two favourite Arab writers, Ghassan Kanafani and Mahmoud Darwish, came back to him. “Deep down inside I was so happy because the words of the poets were in my mind, that if we die my friends and my family will live in peace and freedom. She will live in freedom and we’ll meet in another world. That was a great feeling when I thought about it.” That night his interrogators forced a stick up his rectum, repeatedly.

“During the torture I remembered the words of Kanafani, which always reminded me of her: ‘If the prisoner is beaten, it is an arrogant expression of fear.’ Every single cowardly strike from the security police was another crack in my wall of fear.” Unable to walk after six days of torture and stress positions, the young man was taken to see the prison doctor. “He asked me why I couldn’t walk and when I told him the reasons he kicked and hit my knees and slapped my face. He asked: ‘Does that make you feel better?’” After the sixth night in the corridor, the young man was carried to a cell no larger than four square metres. There was a single blanket on the floor and two other prisoners inside, one of them a protester he had been arrested with. The other man said he was being held on a drugs charge. “The next day the i n te r ro gato r s asked me about all the things we three had been speaking about in the cell. Then I realised that the third man had been put there to spy on us.” Days went by and prisoners would come and go, until nine men were forced to share the tiny cell. One of the prisoners was a lawyer. “He told me all my friends at the protest had been arrested and that she had been arrested as well, but that they had been released after a week. He said the secret police had hit her. I cried for a week. “I had a small piece of paper with me in the prison. Very small. It was from her. She had drawn something on this paper. All the time I would smell the paper and remember the hand that had drawn it. The young man learned later that his parents had gone to each of Syria’s 17 security branches asking for their son. All denied they were holding him. Only when the lawyer who had shared the cell with him was released did the traumatised parents finally know of their son’s whereabouts, just two days before his own release. Though tortured for a month in appalling conditions, the young man has no plans to flee his homeland. He’s working hard to earn a living. And though he takes drugs to help with the pain in his back and knees, he says he sleeps well at night. The girl he loves is safe and those “paper tigers” of Assad’s security forces will be unable to withstand the wind of change, he believes. Then he wants to marry her. If she’ll have him. If she only knew how she had saved him. How she had helped him through all that about which he’ll never tell her. Source: Al Jazeera


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Issue # 31, June, July 2011

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Crescent Times June 2011