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N 8 June 2009 www.crescenttimes.com.au

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Above: Auburn Gallipoli Mosque.

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efore you arrive in the crowded suburbs of western Sydney you have undoubtedly developed stereotyped ideas about Lakemba. I imagined the place as “dodgy” as the popular markets of Marrakesh in Morocco, the Hamedia market of Damascus or even the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. Indeed the main street in Lakemba was a pleasant surprise in it’s small size, seasonable action and Lebanese presence. The Arabic signs for shops and businesses were obvious, dominant and confident. Most of the signs in Arabic are accompanied with writing

EDITORIAL: editor@crescenttimes.com.au VIC BUREAU: nasya.bahfen@crescenttimes.com.au NSW BUREAU: nsw@crescenttimes.com.au

Photo:Crescent Times, 2009 in English which you do not usually find in Chinatowns or Vietnamese business quarters in Australian metropolitan cities - so why all the fuss about the “ghetto” of Lakemba? Certainly Australia is a real multicultural society, with a real equal opportunity for every single culture and language to get on board – perhaps with the notable exception of the native Aboriginal cultures and languages. During my visit to Sydney I met the NSW community minister, who is of indigenous background and she explained to me that her grandmother lost

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Bismi’ Allah

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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refer to the exchange between the Crescent Times and the DAWA Association in the issue of 7th May, your newspaper. I would, at the outset, like to say that I have the utmost respect for the Brothers at the DAWA Association and know some of them personally. They are doing a wonderful job! I consider myself to be a pious Muslim and have scoured through the entire four Volumes of Sahih Muslim to find any refences to music being specifically forbidden. I am well on the way through Sahih Bukhari too – still to no avail! In all my readings of the Qur’an, I have not come across single verse which informs me that music forbidden. I know many Imams have told us in Khutbas that music is not permissible in Islam. To this end they inevitably quote Verse 3 of Surah Mu’minuun, which reads,” And those who shun vain talk”. In some translations the “word “vain” is replaced by the word “idle” talk. Since I neither am Arabic speaking, nor do I pretend to be a scholar, I have to depend upon the translations of which I have at least three different versions. I find it hard to reconcile the words “vain and “idle” with music. Idle talk is surely gossip and vain talk, boasting. Both practices are reprehensible. I have found a hadith in which Aisha (ra), prophet’s (pbuh) wife was standing at her door and saw another of his (saw) wives in the distance, and remarked how small in stature she was. Rasullah

(saw) responded by asking her if she knew the enormity of what she had just said. Therefore we know that gossip is one of the enormities, and to be avoided. In my many readings I have come across two other hadiths concerning music. In the first one was when Rasullulah (saw) and Abu-Bakr Siddique (ra) were entering Madina. The locals were so ecstatic with happiness and welcomed them amid songs and the beating of drums. In the other, Aisha (ra) went to a wedding of the Ansars. When she returned home, Rasullulah asked whether they had music, and added that he knew how much the Ansars loved music. Since the Sunnah not only includes those matters which Rasullulah recommended we do, and things which he, himself did, but also those actions which he saw we do and did not object to, one has to wonder on what scriptural proof the prohibition of music is based. To this end we should remember that Rasullah choose Bilal (ra) as the muezzin because he had a beautiful melodious voice. When our qaris recite the qur’an their proficiency is gauged on their intricate intonations, rhythms and the different octaves in which they recite. Whatever harm there is in music, lies not in the music itself, I believe, but in the manner in which it is produced. This is not a unique situation. Computers, Mobile phones and any number of other implements suffer the same fate. When my children were babies,

Question about music in Islam:

Given that your objection revolves mainly around music and why it is permissible, here is the clarification for that in the light of fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: The whole issue of singing is controversial, whether it is with musical accompaniment or not. Some issues succeeded to gain the Muslim scholars’ agreement, while others failed. All scholars have unanimous view on the prohibition of all forms of singing and music that incites debauchery, indecency, or sin. As for musical instruments, given the weakness of the evidence indicating that they are forbidden, the rule to be applied here is the one states that all things are originally deemed permissible as long as there is no Shari`ah text that prohibits them. Singing is no more than melodious words; if these are good, singing is considered good; but if they are bad, such singing is deemed bad. Talk that contains forbidden content is prohibited. What if that talk is accompanied with rhythm and melody? Scholars agree on the permissibility of singing without instrumental accompaniment and where the content is not prohibited. This sort of singing is allowed only in certain occasions such as: weddings, feasts, welcoming a traveler, and the like. This is based on the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) that states: “He (peace and blessings be upon him) asked, ‘Have you given the girl (i.e., the bride) anything as a present?’ They (the attendants) replied, ‘Yes.’ He asked, ‘Did you send a singer along with her?’ ‘No’, said `A’ishah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) then said, ‘The Ansar are a people who love poetry. You should have sent along someone who would sing: Here we come, to you we come, greet us as we greet you.’” In this case, we can say that a woman can sing only in front of women and her non-marriageable male kin. In the subject of musical instruments, scholars disagree on the matter. Some of them permit all sorts of singing, be it accompanied with musical instruments or not, and even consider it recommended. A second group of scholars permit singing only when is not accompanied with a musical instrument. A third group declare it to be prohibited whether it be accompanied with a musical instrument or not; they even consider it as a major sin. In supporting their view, they cite the hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abu Malik or Abu `Amir Al-Ash`ari (doubt from the sub-narrator) that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the

I used to pace the floor with them cuddled in my arms, singing to them. The lyrics may have been that of the salawaat on the Nabie (saw), or some thikr or other – or sometimes it just was “Rock a bye baby on the treetop”. Inevitably they fell asleep in my arms and I laid them down in their cots with a light kiss to their foreheads. Thinking of music makes me remember the ripple of a brook, the whisper of the breeze, the wailing of the wind, the roar of thunder, the crashing of the surf against rocks, the sound of a bell – and the song of a bird! It is all around in nature. Finally Allah Subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has told us that He has perfected our faith and completed His favour to us. He has expressly prohibited things like alcohol and swine and a number of other things. My reasoning suggests to me, that music was very much present at the time when the Qur’an was revealed to us. Surely He would have made it expressly clear and included music if it was not permissible. Surely it is not a matter for Ijtihaad, for Ijtihaad is reserved for those matters which were not known at that time, such as cloning, surrogacy, invitro fertilization, etc. My hope is that the good sheikhs at the DAWA Centre will help me, as well as all the readers of the Crescent Times by teaching us exactly what is wrong with music. Then the dreams of Editor, and owners of the “Times” will be realized because their newspaper would be fulfilling it’s purpose.! That is, after all, why we need this newspaper! Jazakallah Adam Parker, Perth, WA

Ruling about music in Islam:

As-Salamu `alaykum! In his fatwa “ Does Islam Go against Laughter? “, Sheikh Yusuf `Abdullah AlQaradawi stated that when Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (may Allah be pleased with him) tried to stop two young girls from singing in the Prophet’s house, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told him: ‘Let it be, for we are now in the feast.’ However, Imam Qaradawi did not refer to the following hadiths: Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) used to swear by Allah that the verse: “And of mankind is he who purchases idle talk to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah . . .” (Luqman: 6) referred to singing. Abu ‘Amir and Abu Malik al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among my Ummah will be those who make permissible al-hira (adultery), silk, khamr and musical instruments . . .” (Reported by al-Bukhari; see al-Fath, 10/51). Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “In this Ummah there will be punishments of earthquakes, showers of stones and deformity (transformation into animals); that will be when the people drink alcohol, listen to female singers and play musical instruments.” (See al-Silsilah as-Saheehah, 2203; attributed to Ibn Abid-Dunya, Dhamm al-Malahi; the hadith was narrated by at-Tirmidhi, no. 2212). Also, Sheikh Qaradawi did not mention the following facts: It is reported in a Sahih hadith that the Prophet’s laughter was never more than a smile. (Reported by Ahmad) According to another hadith, he (peace and blessings be upon him) used to remain silent for long periods, and laugh little. (Reported by Ahmad) ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) laughing so heartily that his back teeth showed; he would only smile.” (Reported by Abu Dawud) Now, don’t the readers have the right to know the other side of the coin too? But then again, perhaps I am wrong about it. I would however, appreciate it, if the fatwa issuer could reply to my objections. Wassalam .

Answer by a Group of Islamic researchers- Islam online.net

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. First of all, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you have in us. We hope our efforts meet your expectations.

wearing of silk (clothes), the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.’ Although this hadith is in Sahih Al-Bukhari, its chain of transmission is not connected to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and this invalidates its authenticity. Ibn Hazm rejects it for that very reason. Moreover, the sub-narrator, Hisham Ibn `Ammar is declared ‘weak’ by many scholars of the Science of Hadith Methodology. Besides, this hadith does not clearly prohibit the use of musical instruments, for the phrase ‘consider as lawful,’ according to Ibn Al-`Arabi, has two distinct meanings: First: Such people think all these (the things mentioned) are lawful. Second: They exceed the proper limits that should be observed in using these instruments. If the first meaning is intended, such people would be thus disbelievers. In fact, the hadith in hand dispraises the manners of a group of people who indulge themselves in luxuries, drinking alcohol and listening to music. Therefore, Ibn Majah narrates this hadith from Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari in the following wording: “From among my followers there will be some people who will drink wine, giving it other names while they listen to musical instruments and the singing of female singers; Allah the Almighty will make the earth swallow them and will turn them into monkeys and pigs.” (Reported by Ibn Hibban in his Sahih) Conclusion on Permissibility of Musical Instruments: In the light of the above, it is clear that the religious texts that stand as a basis for those who maintain that singing is haram are either ambiguous or inauthentic. None of the hadiths attributed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is valid as evidence on the judgment of prohibition. Moreover, all these hadiths are declared ‘weak’ by the followers of Ibn Hazm, Malik, Ibn Hanbal, and Ash-Shafi`i. In his book, Al-Ahkam, Al-Qadi Abu Bakr Ibn Al`Arabi says, “None of the hadiths maintaining that singing is prohibited are considered authentic (by the scholars of the Science of Hadith Methodology).” The same view is maintained by Al-Ghazali and Ibn An-Nahwi in Al-`Umdah. Ibn Tahir says, “Not even a single letter from all these Hadiths was proved to be authentic.” Ibn Hazm says, “All the hadiths narrated in this respect were invented and falsified.” Proofs of Those Who Maintain that Singing is Halal:

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

A Little Bird Told me.. Our Little Bird has taken to the nest with ill health over the last few weeks but is hoping to fly into action again next month. If you have any birdy news, unofficial statements or stories to tell, please send it in to us on: news@ crescenttimes.com.au or SMS on: 0414 155 366

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The editor:

ur editorial policy is to work with the diversity of Islamic thoughts and beliefs. We prefer to stay on the middle way, considering all Islamic opinions and scholar’s writings as part of the richness of Islamic jurisprudence. Scholars agree that some elements of fiqh are uncertain and that we worship Allah using these uncertain elements and opinions. The only facts are those which are mentioned clearly in the Quraan and Sunnah or those related to Aqeedah (Tawheed). We appeal to members of our community to exercise some tolerance towards fellow Muslims when it comes to such uncertain elements of Islamic law.

First: The Textual Proofs: They base their argument on some authentic hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). One of these hadiths is the following: `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him, came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Bu`ath (a story about the pre-Islamic war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Awus). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) laid down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, ‘Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?’ Thereupon, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) turned his face towards him and said, ‘Leave them.’ When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signaled to those girls to go out and they left.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) This indicates that these two girls were not so young as claimed by some scholars. If they were, Abu Bakr would not have been angry with them in such manner. In addition, in this hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) wanted to teach the Jews that Islam has room for merriment and that he himself was sent with a moderate and flexible legislation. There is also another important lesson to learn here. It draws our attention to the fact that one needs to introduce Islam to others in a good fashion, along with displaying its moderateness and magnanimity. Moreover, we can also cite as corroborating this Allah’s words that read, “But when they spy some merchandise or pastime they break away to it and leave thee standing. Say: That which Allah hath is better than pastime and than merchandise, and Allah is the best of providers.” (Al-Jumu`ah: 11) In this verse, Allah Almighty joins pastime with merchandise. He does not dispraise any of them, He just only rebuked the Companions who left Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) alone giving the khutbah (Friday Sermon), when they all rushed to attend to the caravan and beating of the drums celebrating its arrival. Second: In Respect of Islam’s Spirit and Basics: It is a fact that Allah had prohibited for the Children of Israel some of the good things of this worldly life as a punishment for their misdeeds. Before sending Prophet Muhammad, He

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Community

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Swine Flu may affect Hajj season for Australian Muslims

Tamara Swann*

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his year’s prospective Hajji’s may have to postpone their pilgrimage if the H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu, continues to spread. There is increasing concern among the Muslim clerical and medical bodies, that the gathering of millions from around the globe would provide an ideal venue for the transmission of the virus. In May Sheikh Ali Jumua, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, and Muhammad Tantawi, the Grand Iman of Al-Azhar Mosque called for Hajj to be postponed, if the World

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Health Organization raised their level five pandemic alert to the maximum level six. Separately, Sheikh Abdel Aziz Haddad, Mufti of the United Arab Emirates, has called on Muslims to delay any pilgrimage to Mecca for the next few weeks because of the H1N1 outbreak. On the 3rd of June, Saudi Arabia and Egypt reported their first cases of the deadly virus, joining 66 other affected countries battling the pandemic including other Middle-eastern nations, Kuwait, Israel, Lebanon and Bahrain. *Tamara Swann is a Perth based freelance journalist and writer

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he Perth Interfaith Conference will bring together people from different religious traditions for discussion and critical reflection on current global issues with the aim of building more enriching relationships between people of faith. The conference has been organised by the Perth Muslim Youth Forum, in conjunction with the Muslim Students Association of Western Australia and the Perth Convention Bureau. Organiser Br Gerard, said this was a great opportunity for Perth Muslims to lead the way in interfaith dialogue and to gain further insight into their own spirituality. Program of Events: Friday 10th – Interfaith Conference Opening Dinner - Rivervale Community Hall Beginning at 7pm, tickets are $30 per person with food and drinks included, plus entertainment and motivational speakers.

Saturday 11th – A Common Word Symposium & Workshop - UWA This is a special session for adults seeking to enrich and deepen their faith. Running from 10.30am to 3.30pm, the cost is $10 per person and bookings are essential. Saturday night – Keynote Address by Dr. Anwar Ibrahim - UWA 7-9pm + 1 hr Q&A Sunday 12th – Sidi Afrooz Ali and Dr Mohammed Abdullah - UWA A free event beginning at 6.30pm featuring two discussion topics; A Just Balance – The Spirit of Service and Muslim Unity – Solution to All Problems. Open to all, however, must be over 13 years of age. For more information visit: www.interfaithconferenceperth.com

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Victorian Muslim body slams police “inaction” on Indian student attacks Nasya Bahfen Victoria Bureau

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everal hundred Indian students and their supporters have protested against a spate of violent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. Many of the attacks took place in the western suburbs, which have higher rates of crime than in other parts of Melbourne, but Indian students were targeted in other parts of the city as well. Following the Victorian government’s announcement that a walk would be held on 12 July to celebrate the city’s multiculturalism, a 21 year old Indian student from a TAFE in the outer southeastern suburb of Dandenong was knifed across the chest when he refused to hand over cash to a group of men. The police have set up a helpline staffed by Hindi speakers for Indian students who are attacked. A Victorian officer also went to India in late May to brief students planning to come to Australia on ways to stay safe. That drew the ire of the Islamic Council of Victoria, who condemned what it called an “unsatisfactory” response from Victoria Police.

CURRENT SITUATION H1N1 Influenza 09 (Human Swine Flu) On 3 June 2009, Victoria moved to a modified Sustain Phase of its influenza plan. We are now focusing our treatment on members of the community most vulnerable to influenza, such as the elderly, students at special development schools, hospital patients and people with a chronic illness. The decision to move Victoria to a modified Sustain Phase was made on advice from the Australian Health Protection Committee and the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer. Other states and territories will remain in the Contain Phase at this stage. Please go to www.health.vic.gov.au for details of the modified Sustain Phase and what it means to you. The number of confirmed human swine flu cases in Victoria had increased to 521. Schools will no longer be closed Students who are ill should be kept at home. Schools and early childhood providers that are currently closed due to H1N1 Influenza can re-open. For all information on schools go to www. education.vic.gov.au. Businesses

s Crescent Times reaches out to become the first National Muslim Australian Newspaper, we welcome profiles of: mosques, Islamic organisations and Imams across the country. Please send us your suggested profile with relevant photography for publication.

Local news and events are an integral part of our media message. Without contributions from readers in the form of email, letter or even SMS we won’t be able to cover all your news. Your contribution is most appreciated by your community.

Council executive member Nazeem Hussain said the attacks proved there was a serious problem of racism in Melbourne. The Indian press also covered the tactics used by the Victorian police to break up the student protests, including accounts by the protestors that the force used was excessive and that police had physically attacked the students. It’s estimated that international students pumped more than four billion dollars into the state’s economy last year. As India’s long established media gave extensive coverage to the attacks, the protests, and the responses by the Victorian and Federal governments and police, parents reconsidered sending their children to study in Melbourne. The Indian Society in Darwin, where there are only 250 Indian students, told the ABC its past president Dr Shaik Hakem was heading home to tell people the Northern Territory capital was a safer option. Meanwhile, Premier Brumby says all Victorians should participate in the public walk in support of multiculturalism. He told Parliament that “whatever their background, whatever their walk of life, whatever their origins” Victorians should “join us on Sunday 12th July, as we reinforce that Victoria is a great place, it is a multicultural society and it is also a safe society.”

All organisations should encourage staff who are ill not to come to work and to seek appropriate medical care if necessary. Good hygiene remains vital. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in a plastic-lined rubbish bin after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcoholbased hands cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way. For the most up-to-date information : Visit www.health.vic.gov.au Call the Influenza Hotline on 180 2007 or Call Nurse-on-Call on 1300 606 024 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days) Please call your GP if you have a flu-like illness (fever and cough and fatigue). Please call your local hospital ONLY if you are seriously unwell with flu like symptoms. DR ROSEMARY LESTER Acting Chief Health Officer Victoria

Want to be a writer? have writing

experience? please contact the editor on: editor@crescenttimes. com.au


WA news

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Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Wyndham, North West Western Australia:

My Imam Lakemba Mosque Imam:

Taj Aldin Alhilali

Afghan Camels silhouette: a new tribute for Afghan Muslim cameleers Left: Plaque at the Wyndham Memorial Below: Afghan cameleers silhouette: camels with their Afghan handler Photos:Courtesy of: Natika Hawes-Wright

Above: Imam Taj Aldin Alhilali reading Crescent Times Newspaper. His Eminence, Sh. Taj Aldin Alhilali: 1. Egyptian born Azhar graduate with a PhD equivalent in Islamic Studies. 2. Worked as an Imam, Judge and teacher prior to coming to Australia (Egypt, Lybia and Lebanon). 3. Appointed Mufti of Australia in 1989, a position he lost in 2007 as a result of political and media pressure on the Muslim community. At the time. one researcher wrote a 50+ page thesis referring to the treatment of the Imam as “Lynching by the Media”. 4. Migrated to Australia in 1982 and has been the head of the Lakemba Mosque ever since.

Photo: Crescent Times 2009

5. Over the years, Imam Hilali has protected the Lakemba mosque from being taken over by rigid elements within the Muslim community, including two notable large scale efforts that he confronted head-on and managed to avert, preserving the moderate nature of the mosque. 6. Imam Hilali courageously risked his life to rescue Australian Hostage in Iraq Douglas Wood in 2005. 7. Imam Hilali’s three daughters are married and all hold tertiary qualifications and professional jobs , his son is presently working as in the IT field.

Perth, WA: Little Lebanon Cafe under attack

Little Lebanon Café in Wanneroo Road, Joondana is facing closure on 16th of June 2009 following a decision by the City of Stirling. The decision found that the current use of the premises is unauthorised and went on to refuse permission for the use to continue, stating that the use does not conform with the relevant provisions of the City’s District Planning Scheme No. 2. The unauthorised use of the site as a restaurant was first brought to the City’s Compliance Department attention via a complaint from a local resident. This led to an investigation being conducted by City Officers and subsequent lodgment of a retrospective development application to the City on 18 February 2009. Little Lebanon Café lodged the development application for a restaurant after a major renovation took place on the premises in winter 2008. The previous use of fast food outlet (Baba’s Kebab and Bell’s Kitchen) was classified as a ‘D’ (discretionary) use under the City’s Planning Scheme. The owner of the restaurant, Ghassen Beydoun, is unhappy with the City’s decision to stop him operating a restaurant

Above: Front of Little Lebanon Cafe, Joondana, WA. Photo: Crescent Times 2008 on the premises as he believed he had complied with all the relevant local planning laws. His development has provided a valuable cultural hub where all Muslims, Druze, and Christians can meet and enjoy middle eastern Arab culture and company. “It was obviously a racist, discriminatory decision” Mr Beydoun said. Further he stated that one of the council members told friends to stay away from the café because “it is full of drugs and hashish”. It seems that the availability of the traditional Arab shisha - which uses scented

Crescent Times has previously reported that the Afghan cemetry in Wyndham needs updating regarding the misconption that camels were “buried with their Afghan masters.” Wyndham Shire has just launched Australia’s most recent recognition of the contributions of Muslims to Australian life, in the form of the “Afghan Camels Silhouette”. Wyndham’s story is one of true multiculturalism and pioneer spirit. The molasses - has confused certain members of society! In considering the application for use of the site as a restaurant, the City noted security problems at the site and complaints that were received from neighbours that there had been violent incidents at the premises. A police contact has confirmed to Crescent Times newspaper that “there is no such report in the police records regarding this particular business.” Mr Beydoun said that the shire security came once and issued a fine regarding sound speakers that were installed in the back of the premises that apparently disturbed some back fence neighbours but this matter was cleared up in December 2008. Mr Beydoun told Crescent Times that it was believed that the use of the property as a restaurant had been approved because he received Council approval to convert the two shops, previously Baba’s Kebabs and Bell’s Kitchen, into a restaurant. Since this approval Mr Beydoun has spent

Indigenous people of this area, Chinese traders, grocers and farmers, Afghan cameleers and the European settlement of the East Kimberly region - sparked firstly by the gold rush in the mid 1880’s and subsequently the pastoral industry - all contributed to build Wyndham’s rich history. The camels and their Afghan handlers form an important part of Wyndham’s history and the heritage of the East Kimberly region.

over $200,000 in renovations, furniture, shop fitout and ornaments. Somewhat confusingly, it seems that this approval was to build a restaurant and a separate application was required to actually operate a restaurant on the premises.


Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Community

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Sydney Muslim Think Tank:

Muslim and Christian leaders stress the importance of raising children with love and compassion CT, NSW bureau Sydney, 22 May 2009, The Islamic Friendship Association of Australia Inc. as part of its “think tank” events brought together a number of prominent Australians for an evening of discussion with The Honourable Linda Burney MP, Minister for Community Services. The only indigenous Australian to gain a ministerial portfolio in the present NSW Labor government, Ms. Burney previously worked in Education and has had a solid association with the South West of Sydney for many years. In his now customary style, Keysar Trad the founder of Islamic Friendship introduced the 32 guests to the minister as he stressed the importance of her portfolio and our responsibility as leaders to ensure that everyone in Australia appreciates the need to show love and compassion to children. Minister Burney addressed the challenges facing children in Australia and the work of her department to protect children and the department’s work with parents, schools and communities. The gathering also heard from Sh. Taj Aldin Alhilali, the former Mufti of Australia, Sh. Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, the chair of the

Australian Institute of Islamic Culture, Dr. Nahla Al Ghazzawy, the chair of the Australian Council for Women’s Affairs, His Grace Bishop Kevin Manning, the Catholic Bishop of Parramatta. The rest of the guests then engaged in the discussion each contributing valuable insight into issues facing families and the community. The meeting raised a number of points with the minister, including the need to maintain and enhance the foster-carer program that keeps children with families of their own faith tradition.

Above from left: Keysar Trad introducing the minister, to his right are: Minister Linda Burney MP, Bishop Kevin Manning and Magistrate Jim Coombs, Middle: Minister Linda Burney receiving flowers from Keysar Trad (Right) Photos: Crescent Times 2009

Br. Keysar pressed the issue of society’s need to ensure that Muslims are protected from vilification because of our religious identity. He said: “This is not to say that people cannot robustly debate religious teachings, religious teachings should always be open for discussion, what we need is to protect people who identify with a particular religion from vilification because of their association with that religion.” Mr. Trad cited numerous incidents where Muslim women, men and

young people have been discriminated against, vilified and harassed because of inadequate legal protection in NSW. He pleaded with the minister to make representation to her governing Labor party so that NSW can catch up with the other Eastern States and protect its citizens from vilification on the grounds of religion. Br. Keysar thanked Hajj Mohamed El Mouelhi and Halal Helpline for sponsoring the dinner.

Young Filmmakers Inspired

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l-Hidayah students from years six and seven recently participated in the Panasonic Kids Witness News (KWN) Inspiration Session held at the Subiaco Arts Centre., Perth WA. Twenty students from Al-Hidayah attended the special training workshops to learn from industry professionals how to produce a Above: Al-Hidayah teachers and students getting tips on how to take the perfect film shot. Photo: Courtesy Al Hidayah School winning short-film entry for 2009. Jack McCoy, one of Australia’s best known surf film-makers, provided where attendees went away with invaluable tips on how creative advice for students. Shane to make a great short film.” The KWN is a national short film program which McLachlan, a Director and Editor with 30 years experience offered encourages students to think more deeply, explore their students technical advice, while creativity and develop communication skills through Producer, Sarah Garnett gave some the use of technology. The program integrates subjects such as English, Computer Studies, and Social Science project management tips. The Inspiration Sessions helped ensuring the program satisfies education requirements. develop skills required to create a Students all around Australia will direct, shoot and star well-produced film and introduced in a five minute video, involving all aspects of filmmaking students to new ideas and including determining the subject matter, scriptwriting, filming and editing. technologies. Al-Hidayah was the “WA Primary School Winner” for School Principal, Abdullah Khan said that “This was a fantastic 2008 in the prestigious New Vision Awards. The school’s opportunity for our students to attend short film entry was titled, “A Day in the Life of a Muslim a workshop sponsored by Panasonic, Student”. Click the link below to watch the video.

Feel free to send medical or health questions to Crescent Health Dr. Aisha Crescent Times’ doctor. Questions can be emailed to: doctor@crescenttimes.com.au or posted to: P.O.Box: 628 Mirrabooka, 6941 WA


International

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AFIC, Australian Uighurs urge acceptance for Uighur Guantanamo detainees

he Australian Federation of Islamic Councils says the federal government should say yes to the request by the United States to resettle seventeen Uighur detainees currently being held in Guantanamo Bay. China has publicly denounced the request, calling the detainees terrorists and saying it wants them returned to be dealt with by Chinese law. The United States and China are two of Australia’s most important trading partners, and the Federal government is in the difficult position of trying to avoid disrupting either bilateral relationship. This is the third time the US has asked Australia to take the men, who have been cleared by American authorities of being “enemy combatants”. The detainees have been held without trial for seven years. They were reportedly living in Afghanistan when Pakistani authorities caught them and handed them to the US military. While the federal opposition has urged the government to reject outright the US request,

foreign minister Stephen Smith says each detainee’s case would be examined individually. AFIC President Ikbal Patel says Australia’s well established Uighur community of around two thousand people would help the detainees settle into the country. The Australian Uighur Association and the East Turkestan Association of Australia say the community would welcome the men. Rights groups warn the detainees would almost certainly be tortured, if they were to be sent back to China. The Uighurs are a Muslim ethnic minority of Turkic descent, whose homeland is China’s resource rich north-western province of Xinjiang. Alleging discrimination and oppression by the Chinese government, the East Turkestan Independence movement opposes Beijing’s rule over the nine million Uighurs in China. But the Chinese government classifies Uighur separatists as terrorists, and despite ethnic, religious and cultural differences insists that Xinjiang is a part of China.

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Obama speech in “Reel Bad Arabs” Cairo: his documentary by Jack Shaheen aired on ABC1 and T Remarks on a ABC2 in the first week of June presented Professor Shaheen’s New Beginning and work on the stereotyping of Arabs

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resident Barack Hussein Obama took to the stage in Cairo and made a speech that has the potential to change the future of the Muslim and non Muslim worlds. He managed to deliver a speech that contained the traditional Muslim greeting, quoted verses from the Qur’an, referred to the creation of a Palestinian state and mentioned Hamas without calling it a terrorist organisation. Even one year ago, such a speech by an American President would have been unthinkable. The President’s speech covered the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nuclear weapons, democracy and transparency of government, religious freedom, women’s rights - including the right to wear hijab – and economic development and opportunity. Only time will tell whether these brave words will be translated into action but the speech represented the first real acknowledgement of the Muslim world’s concerns and desires.

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and Muslims in American film and television. In his research of about a thousand films from 1896 to the present that included Arab characters or references, Shaheen found that around 12 gave positive depictions, 52 were neutral, and some 900 were negative. The documentary gave viewers the opportunity to see some of these negative portrayals first hand and described how, in many cases, these portrayals reflected US government foreign policy of the time. In addition, Islamophobia and stereotyped images of Muslims - and Muslim women in particular - in film and television were revealed. Professor Shaheen noted: “It seems to me that the more Arab women advance, the more Hollywood keeps them in the past.”

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

Contributors in this issue: Nasya Bahfen - Zabrina

A. Bakar - Tarek Chamkhi - Jamal Daoud - Linda Delgado - Hanan Dover - Mohamed El Mouelhy - Eugenia Flynn Hyder Gulam - Joanne McKeown - Debora McNichol - Adam Parker - Yvonne Ridley - Tamara Swann - Keysar Trad - Irfan Yusuf


Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Page 7

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Above: The Smart Irrigation System Photo: Courtesy Dr Ehab Ibrahim

environmental conditions and delivers the correct amount of water that the plant requires, avoiding the over watering common with many previous systems. This invention, the “Smart Irrigation System”, has been designed in order to provide an advanced irrigation system that is simple, cheap, effective and easy to install, as well as responsive to the important external factors which affect the irrigation process such as light intensity and soil moisture level. This invention is intended for general domestic use as well as public gardens and greenhouses to control watering systems by taking surrounding environmental conditions into account.

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Opinion

Page 8

The illusionist of the White House

Editorial:

Yvonne Ridley*

I Media outlets to reduce racism

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trust my wife’s expertise in Anglo Australian name calling as she derives from an Anglo Irish Australian family whose elders arrived in this country against their will in 1788. I tease my wife sometimes that I am a more authentic Australian than she is as I arrived of my own free will, with a permit and even permanent residence to live in this continent months before I got here. I have another advantage as well - a printed citizenship certificate while she doesn’t have anything! Well, when it comes to serious matters such as racism and hatred I trust her interpretation when she tells me that some people believe that the racist term “wog” originally meant: “wealthy oriental gentleman”. Following my first visit to the Emirate of Bankstown in West Sydney, where you could without doubt find lots of wealthy oriental men and women - well I mean lots of my fellow wogs - I started to realise that racism is mostly to do with social jealousy between different races, rather than with skin or eye colours, religions or where they came from. When I hear racism from Arab Lebanese, Asians, Greeks or Italians I hear hurtful name calling and vilification against Anglo Australian. Racism is a two way social, economic and ethnic jealousy. Irfan in his article has got it right: many of us commit the sin of discrimination either by action or reaction. I may agree that word such as wog either applied to a skinny wog or fat wog, has become more a form of social teasing between the different racial elements of society, than really a racist insult. But what if it is accompanied by swearing, or other racial or religious slurs? Certainly then we will need to stand up and take action. Crescent Times newspaper was born last November as a dream to serve our Muslim community following the racism against Muslims experienced in the media under the Howard government. While as an editorial team, we are doing fantastic harmonious work together, our Muslim businesses, have to do their part too, through advertising or even donation. We are committed to distribute the newspaper free to our readers.The fact is that we all have a role to play in ensuring the success of this newspaper as a voice for our Muslim community. We are launching another two projects for the benefit of our community insha Allah. Firstly, The Muslim Pages, the first national Muslim business directory, which may help to finance the newspaper in the long term. Secondly, the first Australian Muslim life style magazine: Hijrah which we hope to launch in January 2010 insha Allah. Again, we must work together to make these much needed publications as success. Our editorial team appreciates all your suggestions and contributions regarding these proposals above. Wasalamu alaykom. Tarek Chamkhi Editor in Chief

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

wonder how many of you have woken up to the fact that America’s latest leader is really a political Houdini ... an illusionist on a presidential scale. In front of our very eyes he has morphed from a gentle intellectual and strong defender of human rights into a war-mongering bully who sponsors targeted assassinations and orders pre-emptive strikes with casual ease. It took George W. Bush years before he dared to unveil his true intentions and invade Iraq, displacing three million people in a war which cost the lives of thousands of US soldiers and the slaughter of countless civilians. Whereas the smooth-talking Obama has achieved the same in just a few months since he arrived in The White House by launching an illegal war on Pakistan ... but he’s using someone else’s army instead of his own. He is twice as clever as the previous White House incumbent and far, far more deadly. Obama is quite possibly one of the world’s most skilful manipulators and his greatest illusion so far is fooling the public as well as the media. While blatantly using Pakistan’s army as a cheap source of military labour he holds the country’s leader Asif Ali Zadari in suspended animation, trapped helplessly in an almost hypnotic state, induced by the promise of millions of dollars and the support of the world’s biggest military machine. Of course we must lay some blame at Zadari’s feet for allowing himself to be used like a magician’s assistant instead of acting with the dignity and honour his office, country and people demand. Obama is far more lethal than his predecessor - and yet his transformation from Mr Nice Guy to something more sinister seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the world’s watching media which appears to be intoxicated by the powerful charisma emanating from his rich, but smooth seductive tones.

He has already reneged on promises over closing down Guantanamo, ending military tribunals and releasing to the public the entire archive of shame which captured the torture and abuse of the previous administration’s War on Terror in video and film from 2001 onwards. Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee remarked recently over one of his u-turns: “President Obama has recently granted immunity to CIA agents ... if the desire to get at what went wrong is so blatantly covered up under cover of “national security concerns”, there will be no end to this. And once again, the warmongers will get away with another odious and criminal cover-up”. He has the power to make Guantanamo’s vile prison disappear and for a few glorious weeks human rights activists across the world waited with baited breath for the cages of Cuba, Bagram and elsewhere to fly open. Just how difficult is it for the media to dip into their own archives and remind Obama about the pledges he made on the campaign trail and hold him to account? His first promise on the White House website was that his administration would be the most transparent in US history. Sadly these grand statements have not been followed through. But this journalistic amnesia is all too convenient - what happened to his determination to bring home all combat troops from Iraq within 18 months? Is there no journalist from the White House lobby prepared to remind him of how he said during televised presidential debates that getting Osama bin Laden was “our biggest national security priority”? Perhaps the hypnotic Obama Effect has wiped their computer hard-drives and their memories but if you listen to his very first TV interview as the Commander-in-Chief of America he said Osama was more than a symbol. His actual words were: “He’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets,” adding

LEBANON: March 14 Marches Ahead Mona Alami - Beirut - IPS

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he June 7 election in Lebanon has provided another dramatic turn of events in the country’s tumultuous political arena. While early opinion polls had pointed to a landslide sweep for the March 8 opposition that prominently includes Hizbullah, the Western and Arab backed March 14 coalition won the majority of parliamentary seats in a surprise victory. Since the last parliamentary election in 2005, Lebanon has been torn between the two movements March 14 and March 8. The March 8 pro-Iranian and pro-Syrian coalition includes the Shia Hizbullah and Amal parties, the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP) and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). Lebanon’s anti-Syrian March 14 movement is comprised of the Christian Phalange party and Lebanese Forces (LF) as well as the Druze Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and the Sunni Future Movement. The Jdeidani family, who came from Sweden to vote, mirrors the internal rift that divides Lebanon. “We are eleven brothers; some of us support General Michel Aoun (who leads the FPM), while the rest are with the LF,” Jean Jdeidani told IPS. People waited hours under the scorching

sun on Sunday to cast their ballot. “I have been waiting since seven in the morning,” Alia, a Future Movement supporter who was queuing to vote in the eastern village Saadnayel said late in the day. “I am here to show the world I want an independent Lebanon.” As the polls closed at 7pm, the ministry of the interior reported an unprecedented turnout. It surpassed 54 percent, according to interior minister Ziad Baroud, way ahead of the 2005 turnout of 45.8 percent. “Some Beirutis waited hours to vote in the Beirut 3 district, an area traditionally known to be a March 14 bastion,” said Future MP Mohamad Kabani. He said this year’s 40 percent turnout in the district was a massive improvement on the 25 percent witnessed in 2005. Kabani said the significant improvement in turnout was in part a reaction to a speech by Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah where he said “May 7 was a glorious day in the Resistance’s history.” More than 70 people died in clashes between pro-government and opposition gunmen in Beirut and around in May of last year. The turnout now showed that the Lebanese want “a strong and independent state,” Kabani said.

that “capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al-Qaida.” Having secured the votes from red neck territory by saying Obama will get Osama, he now says that killing or capturing the al-Qaida chief is no longer necessary to “meet our goal of protecting America.” However, American Armenians are not so gullible and quite a few were shocked out of their trance following the US President’s recent visit to Turkey when he executed with the greatest of ease yet another presidential flip flop. “As President, I will recognise the Armenian genocide,” he declared loud and proud during his campaign, but when he arrived in Turkey he sort of muttered, when asked about the hugely sensitive subject: “My views are on the record, and everyone knows my views.” And then he refused to elaborate and state them! “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” said Obama before he took the keys to the White House - may be that’s why, when I watch the US President perform under the glare of the spotlights on the world stage, I can see something of the night lurking around his presidential shadows. There are a few of us who are immune to the charms of the new president. Like me, they believe that the sheep’s clothing has vanished and what we now have is a dangerous wolf stalking the corridors of power on Capitol Hill. Yes, there’s a new act in the White House these days but while Harry Houdini built his reputation performing death-defying escapes and magic tricks his political Doppelganger is certainly the master of dark arts and mass illusion. This president has gone from charming to harming and few have noticed. *Journalist Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the human rights organisation Cage Prisoners at www.cageprisoners.com and a member of the RESPECT political party as well as being a presenter of the weekly political show The Agenda on Press TV But statistician Abdo Saad, director of the Beirut Centre for Research and Information, described the election as the most disgraceful in the history of Lebanon. “I have been saying for days that any government that would emerge from the current elections - whether opposition or majority led would be an illegitimate one due to the massive vote buying that has been taking place in recent weeks,” he said. Saad said the turnout of 70 percent seen in the Keserwan region was due to expats bribed into coming back to vote. He said it was finally the vote in Zahleh in the east of Lebanon that shaped the new Lebanese parliament. A Christian area, the city is represented in parliament by seven MPs, and the March 14 coalition won all of the seats. In the end, March 14 retained its parliamentary majority with 71 deputies (including two independents) while the opposition March 8 group won 57 of the 128 seats. “The smear campaign used by March 14 against Hizbullah, which was accused of being Syrian and a threat to Lebanon, seems to have worked,” said FPM MP Alain Aoun. But the elections alone will not decide the fate of Lebanon. In the next few days, the composition of the next government, and whether or not it includes the opposition, will weigh heavily on the country’s stability and peace.


Opinion

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

President Obama’s ground breaking speech Keysar Trad*

U

rgent invitations went out to so many last week to attend a momentous event: President Obama’s speech from Cairo. The host, in Sydney, was the US Consulate and most of the guests were from the Muslim community. The speech covered many issues including Afghanistan, Iraq, corrupt despotic regimes who use democracy to get to power and then become repressive, it covered the right of Muslim women to wear the scarf and the president also made sure to mention those Muslim countries that had elected a woman to the top job and these certainly outnumbered their liberal Western counterparts. The president also offered programs to improve education in the Muslim world and business contacts between both. President Obama stressed the importance of peace and dialogue, drawing on the civil rights struggle of African Americans which empowered African Americans and enabled them to achieve their aspirations. To be honest, even before becoming president, I found Obama to be a very inspiring orator, I watched many of his speeches on the net, the slogans, the well timed deliveries, the well chosen words, the clever concepts and the ability to address the needs of the audience concisely.

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here is no doubt that Australians had hoped for a lot of change at the last Federal election. The fact that John Howard lost his own seat in the last election is clear evidence that Australians had voted for total change in that election. This includes change in foreign policy. The Rudd promise throughout the election campaign to withdraw the troops from Iraq was an early promising indication that there would be a fundamental difference between the incoming government and the outgoing regressive one. But what happened later left everyone with deep disappointment. Yes, the new Rudd Labor government took a decision to end the combat mission of the Australian troops in Iraq. But apart from this superficial change, there is not much that has changed. We should remember that the Australian participation in the Iraq war with less than 800 soldiers (out of more than 150,000 combat foreign troops) was never more than a symbolic one. The new Rudd government did not make any fundamental changes to other policies important for our community and other Non-Anglo communities. The government did not depart from the close association with aggressive American policies. The Rudd

FOCUS:

The president acknowledged the suspicions that exist of America amongst Muslims and he pleaded, that as he promised to combat unfair stereotyping of Muslims, that Muslims also combat the unfair stereotyping of Americans. Whilst acknowledging the right of Israel to exist within secure borders, President Obama unlike some of his predecessors showed much courage in refusing to simply hand over Jerusalem to Israel but insisted that this city should be open to Jews, Christians and Muslims. He also acknowledged the rights of Palestinians to a homeland and he may well have been the first president in recent history not to refer to Hamas as a terrorist organisation in his speech, notwithstanding that he failed to acknowledge that it was the democratically elected representative of the People and insisted on the PA as the partner in negotiations. Whilst the president criticised the rockets and bombings that had struck women and children, he did not give the same treatment to the intentional bombardment of women and children by the Israeli military. Whilst acknowledging, albeit in an indirect way that the US should not have invaded Iraq, President Obama disappointingly insisted on the Afghan invasion and occupation. Yes, president Obama’s speech signals a move to greater balance, however, some areas clearly indicate that there is a need for greater understanding, in the forefront of these are the Palestinian issue and Iraq, Afghanistan and much of Africa. As a first step, the positives in this speech were numerous and certainly pave the way for greater mutual understanding and appreciation. * Keysar Trad is the president of Islamic Friendship Association of Australia Inc, and NSW editor of Crescent Times.

Jamal Daoud*

Page 9

It’s Not Free For Me Linda Delgado*

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friend of mine owns a Muslim marketplace. She imports many items to provide a wide selection of products in her store. Recently she added a discount to all items for sale. A Muslim husband-wife couple came to shop. At the checkout the husband argued about the bill offering her less money than what was owed. When the owner said each item was already discounted, the wife then demanded a free gift. Why did this couple demand something free? The owner didn’t get the products free. She had to pay for them in order to be able to sell them. She has a family to help support. When Muslims go to a secular store they don’t demand or expect to receive something free or demand a high discount. I publish books and sell them. Muslims write to me saying they don’t have money for books and ask for free books. When I tell them I can’t afford to give free books they act insulted and generally send me emails quoting the benefits of me giving charity. Many of these same people own a computer and pay for Internet service, have at least one television in their home,

and pay for cable service. They rent movies and buy computer games for their children without expectation that these items are free or discounted. When their Islamic school sponsors a book fair and promotes only books from secular book publishers instead of Muslim publishers/retailers, they buy these books without complaint or demand for free books. Why do these Muslims pay for all these secular services and “things” but when asked to pay a fair price for Muslim books or products, they expect a high discount or ask for it to be given free? It costs me thousands of dollars to publish a book. It costs money to buy mailing supplies and mail books. These expenses are not free for me or the authors. Islam teaches that a worker should be paid a fair price for his/her work. Why don’t all Muslims practice this? *Linda Delgado - AKA Widad is a revert, mother of three and has 8 grandchildren. Widad is the author of the award winning Islamic Rose Books series, and ownerpublisher of the Muslim Writers Publishing business: www.MuslimWritersPublishing. com.

Australian foreign policy: one step forward, two steps backwards!

government, for example, did not depart from the policy of participating in the so-called “war on terrorism”. The government resisted uncovering any document about the manufactured conspiracies in this area. On the contrary. The new Labor government refused to abandon or to fundamentally “reform” the “Anti-Terrorism” laws. The government also has not taken any serious steps to improve the transparency of trials of terrorist suspects. We also remember that during the latest Israeli barbaric invasion of Gaza, the Rudd government did not take a fundamentally different stance on this issue. Maybe the Rudd government urged “all parties” to stop “the cycle of violence immediately”, unlike the Howard’s government support for Israel to continue its invasion. But the Rudd government did blame Hamas for staging the war. Then we saw how the government had decided recently to resort to the same Liberal regressive politics of branding Muslims as Terrorists. The government decided recently to re-list Hizboulah as a terrorist organisation. There is no indication that the new government is taking any step to reassess the situation and lift national resistance organisations, like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Lashker el Taybeh from the list of terrorist organisations. We also note that the government decided

to increase Australian participation in the war in Afghanistan, regardless of the clear failure of this invasion to achieve any of its declared objectives. What concerns us too is that there is no real alternative political force in Parliament House. We did not see any MP or senator standing up to demand a reverse of the Howard’s destructive measures and laws. The war on Afghanistan, Islamophobia including participating in the “war on terrorism” campaign and listing of national resistance forces is not facing any serious opposition from any federal politician. It is very clear that without any strong Muslim Federal politician in Canberra, these policies and practices will continue unabated. It is unexpected that a privileged Anglo-Saxon politician would even understand the suffering of Muslims in the ghettos of Bankstown, Auburn and Lakemba. The same is true in regard to the issues of the other marginalised communities. Of course the new Labor government has made slight progressive changes in all issues and whatever the new Labor government is doing that is unsavoury, it is incomparable to what we went through under the medieval Howard government. And maybe this is what the Labor government is counting on in refusing to go further to reverse the devastating policies introduced by its predecessor.

The parties that shared the marginalised communities’ votes (especially the Labor and the Greens) think that we (marginalised people) do not have any other options. They clearly believe that we would not dare not to vote for them, as the other option is to bring back the medieval devil. They clearly did not get the message from the last few elections. In the last few elections, marginalised voters sent a clear message that there are a lot of options. These options include: 1. There is always room for new political forces 2. We also can boycott voting (voting informally or not voting at all) We believe that marginalised communities should be more strict in holding these parties (the Labor and the Greens) accountable to their promises. They were the ones that succeeded in being elected to the parliament and the government by claiming that they are progressive and are fighting for our rights. But at the same time we should always remember that the cause of the problem will never be part of any solution to that problem. *Jamal Daoud is a community worker and human rights activist. He writes regular articles in Arabic newspapers about multiculturalism, Islamophobia, human rights and other social justice issues. He is co-founder of the Social Justice Network.


Society

Page 10

PLANET IRF:

After latest racist incidents across the country:

Racism is two way misunderstanding and disrespect

Irfan Yusuf*

W

e often get told that Australia is a terribly racist country. The evidence? Well, we have race riots on our beaches where people draped in Australian flags assault those who resemble Jesus too much. Our suburbs often won’t allow Muslims to establish schools. Our criminals enjoy assaulting Indian overseas students. And our fat wogs can’t help but address the skinnier ones with “Chk chk – boom!!”. Should we believe that our nation really is racist? Or is it just a loud minority? After the recent Land & Environment Court decision over the Camden Muslim school, I felt tempted to point the finger at Camden locals who cheered at the court’s decision and who left comments on the Camden Advertiser like this one: “Camden will now not look like Lakemba in just a few years from now and our cultural heritage has been preserved...for a while longer at least. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ( John 14:6) Not the pirate and false prophet Mohammad, or his moon-god Allah, but Jesus. And it is because of Him that

Life Storyteller

Zabrina A. Bakar*

O

ne day I went to visit my uncle who had just came back from a long pilgrimage trip. The whole time I was there, he excitedly related his experiences of the wonderful and glorious journey he had, Alhamdulillah. What is amazing about my uncle is that just about a year ago, in the middle of the night, he suffered a major heart attack and as a result of that, had a pretty severe stroke which paralyzed the whole right side of his body. I remembered visiting him many times and saw his tears. He looked so helpless then. He couldn’t even get the words to come out right. My aunt had to interpret what he said and then convey it to others. He became totally dependent and powerless - a state which I had never seen him in before as he is a man of

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

we can enjoy the life we have today. Despite the spin from Council, ‘religion’ had everything to do with it, to ensure we didn’t end up with an ideological regime that seeks to destroy the West, all cloaked and veiled in ‘religion. ” But just as my finger was about to be raised, I realised that three fingers were pointing right back at me. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I’m three times as racist as every other Australian. What it does mean is that I should be prepared to recognise my own ability to discriminate against and mistreat people on the basis of factors beyond their control. It also means I have to recognise how my racism and the racism within those who share my layers of identity actually contribute to the sum total of racism in Australia. In my own religious community, I tolerate racism. I happily pray at mosques whose management committees deny membership to other Muslims on the basis of their ethnicity. I am largely silent over the racism exhibited by imams and committee members toward AngloAustralians, Muslim or non-Muslim, as well as toward Muslims whose origins aren’t from the same part of planet earth. I have also been guilty of tolerating imbecilic comments made about other races, especially Jews. I know that one of the Mothers of the Believers, one of our Prophet Muhammad’s wives, was of Jewish heritage. I know that Madina’s most senior rabbi became a follower of the Prophet without ever having to face slurs about his heritage. But I also know that some Muslims in Australia prefer to take their cue from tyrannical governments of Muslim

majority states where anti-Semitism is used in official newspapers and media to divert people’s attention from corruption and the absence of liberty. Indeed some Muslims, including religious leaders, use events overseas as an excuse to spread hatred not just of Jews but also of members of other religious congregations and even of other Muslim sects. And then there are our double standards when it comes to fighting racism. It seems many Muslims are interested in racism when it affects them personally or when it affects a group overseas they feel some affinity to. But what about joining in solidarity with victims of racism with whom we have no affinity with other than our basic humanity? For instance, when was the last time you saw or heard non-Indigenous Muslims in Australia showing solidarity with Indigenous people? When was the last time you saw a major Muslim group involve itself in a meaningful fashion in issues facing Indigenous Australians? The insularity of many Muslim religious institutions is in itself a kind of racism. At the very least, it ensures that those claiming to represent Muslims are seen as only publicly worrying about racism when it affects their “own”, however defined. * Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney based lawyer, writer and columnist. He is the opinion editor of Crescent Times.

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Are you Benny? power and authority. Then, just about a week after the stroke, he decided that he wanted to go for the pilgrimage the very next year. He knew that he needed to pass the minimum medical and physical examination. However, with his current state, it was next to impossible to do so. But, I guess he decided not to make his condition a hurdle for him - as Robert Fulgham once said, “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. “ Yup, for him, his condition was just an inconvenience. And he knew that inconvenience could be overcome. So, once the doctor allowed it, he started his physiotherapy exercises. He was asked to perform a few exercises for the duration that he could endure. By that, the therapist meant like 15 minutes. But my uncle went on for hours. He pushed himself to the edge. He would sweat just by lifting his right paralyzed arm. He didn’t allow anyone to help him. If he was on the bed, he would do some leg exercises. He would also try to walk very slowly, push hard, pull something heavy just to make sure his muscles were always moving. Sometimes his

leg gave way and he fell. But he didn’t care. He was determined. I remembered that Our Lord has promised us in His own Glorious words, Indeed those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and, further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): ‘Fear you not! (they suggest), Nor grieve! But receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), that which you were promised!’ We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter: therein shall you have all that your souls shall desire; therein shall you have all that you ask for!’ A hospitable gift from One Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful! (Surah Fussilat 41: 30-32) I read and re-read these Holy Verses over and over again. Don’t you feel like His very Words alone could make us charge the unknown territory with full confidence? His Instruction was simple, you agree? Stand still and be focused in whatever that we do. Be steadfast and stay positive. Always think of good things. And with that, we shall have what our hearts desire and all that we asked for! SubhanAllah! Amazing, you agree? Let me share with you a story about a farmer and his donkey named Benny. Once, a man accidentally drove his car into a deep ditch on the side of a road. Luckily a farmer passed

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by with his big old donkey named Benny. The man asked for help and the farmer said Benny could pull his car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched him to the man’s car bumper. Then he yelled: “Pull, Nellie, pull!” But Benny didn’t move. Then he yelled “ Come on, Pull Ranger!”. Still Benny didn’t move. Then he yelled really loud: “Now pull, Fred.... pull hard!” But,Benny just stood there. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Ok, Benny... now pull!” And Benny pulled the car out of the ditch. The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer, ‘Why did you call your donkey by the wrong name three times?’ The farmer replied ‘Old Benny is blind. If he thought that he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try!’ Ya Allah! A classic case of mind over matter, right? Let us reflect and ask ourselves one simple question my friends - Have we ever been, or are we still, behaving like Benny? Think about it. * Sis Zabrina also known as Zabrina A. Bakar, is a Life Storyteller, motivational and inspirational writer and speaker; and author and creator of Islamic motivational book Life Open Secret book series http://www.LifeOpenSecret.com. She maintains an active blog at http://www. WisdomThruWords.blogspot.com. and social networking platform a Web 2.0 at http://www. LifeStoryteller.ning.com


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National

Page 12

Overexposed

Debora McNichol*

T

he older I get, the more I appreciate my sisters. Neither Denise nor Diana are Muslim, but we love each other and enjoy our occasional reunions. It’s funny, though, how our values have diverged as we’ve gotten older. Or perhaps our values are similar enough, but our perspectives have changed. A couple of years ago, Denise and I were watching the news at our favorite gathering spot, Chez Mom. One of the pieces concerned an internet video showing footage of the cheerleaders at a high school football game. The game itself was ignored. The camera focused on the girls’ rear ends and legs, watching them - in voyeur fashion - adjusting their uniforms and underwear. The camera panned in and out, looking for everything that made those young girls human, vulnerable, victims, meat. The parents and Denise were outraged that a depraved man had the audacity to shoot the video and then circulate it on the net. I was not outraged. I was stumped. How, I argued with my sister, could these parents be outraged without taking responsibility for having exposed the girls to such a creep in the first place? Certainly, no one would argue that taking the video for softporn purposes is not despicable. But when parents ignorantly pimp out their own girls, providing the material and opportunity, don’t they lose their right to be indignant?

I was reminded of the cheerleaders recently while reading about the prevalence of high school “sexting.” Naïve teens, in love for the first time, send pictures of themselves in various states of undress to their boyfriends via cell phone. Boyfriends forward the pictures to their friends for any number of reasons: for bragging rights, upon break-up, or out of sheer stupidity. The girl is devastated and loses her reputation in her school and in the community. The damage happens in a second. Jessica Logan, an American high school student, committed suicide over sexted pictures that made their way around her hometown. She was berated and humiliated for her indiscretion. And though she understood that she was herself responsible for her picture being published, the pressure proved too much for her to bear, and she took her own life last July. To her credit, before her death, Jessica used her misfortune to make others aware of the dangers of sexting. Unfortunately, Jessica probably will not be the only self-made victim of sexting before the world wises up. A recent American study of one thousand teenagers showed that a full one fifth of them had sent less-than-modest pictures of themselves either via cell phone or online. Australia is not immune to sexting, and incidents are increasingly common. We’re

finding out that sexting is not limited to still pictures. Adelaide Now recently reported that a small group of teens, two of them only thirteen-years-old, were recently caught filming a sex act on a cell phone and sending it out to friends. Cell phones, the internet, and other technologies being relatively new inventions for us, we cannot imagine all the ways they can be used for harm. Our kids can. Our kids may not understand, however, that sexting is not only morally corrupt and prohibited by Islam, but also illegal. This is pornography, after all, even if it is sent willingly by the teenager’s own hand. Alhamdulillah, Muslims are probably more aware of the dangers to our children than anyone can be and probably do more to protect our children than most. Yet we cannot hold a false sense of security that tells us that our kids are safe because they’re our kids and they attend Islamic schools. Cell phones do not become dysfunctional on school grounds, and even innocent children can receive unsolicited porn. We must be vigilant and thoughtful to protect our children, insha Allah. *Deb McNichol is an American Muslim, mother, wife, writer, lawyer, and editor in North Carolina and Virginia, USA. Visit her editing business website www.SawaLad.com.

Freedom of Religion versus Religious Vilification Laws

H

aset Sali an Australian Muslim who born in Shepparton in Victoria. His parents migrated to Australia prior to World War II from Albania. Haset is a Monash University Law Faculty pioneer, with a Bachelor of Laws Degree and a Bachelor of Jurisprudence Degree including studies in history, international law, political philosophy economics and accounting. Haset is a foundation Member of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and served as a president and for many years, acted as Senior Honorary Legal Advisor of AFIC. He recently co-established with other religious leaders, the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty, mainly to fight against the religious vilification laws introduced in VIC and to lobby the federal Government toprevent introduction of similar laws nationally. Crescent Times approached Haset Sali to clarify the motivation of his action against vilification laws when many other Muslims see such laws as a necessity to defend ourselves as a minority. He replied “Muslims in the time of our Messenger Muhammad [peace be upon him] were advised by him to leave Mecca to avoid persecution by the disbelievers and move to Abyssinia [Ethiopia] a Christian country. We live in a Christian country like them and we have the freedom to work with other believers in God to ensure religious freedom is maintained. Hence I am happy to do this”. He added that the Holy Quran actually outlines guidelines

for our conduct. He explained that there are three such important guidelines: Firstly “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Good stands out from evil; whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the trustworthy handhold He [God] will never break; for God hears and knows all things ” 2/256. Secondly, regarding the interaction with the People of The Book [ Jews and Christians]: “ Neither your desires [Muslims] nor the desires of the People of The Book [ Jews and Christians] can prevail over God’s Will. Whoever does evil will be punished and they will not find any protecting friend or helper against God. Whoever does good works whilst believing and having Faith in God such will enter Heaven and not the least injustice will be done to them. Who is better in religion than those who commit their purpose to God whilst doing good for mankind and follow the tradition of Abraham the true in Faith? For God did choose Abraham as a friend.” 4/123125. Thirdly: ”they [all people] are asked to do no more than this: Worship only God; be sincere in their [Faith and] devotion to Him; be true [honest, genuine and loyal] establish regular prayer and practice regular charity. This is true religion”. 98/5. CT asked ”As Muslims in Australia are under threat daily from racial and religious vilification, a set of laws to protect them should surely be recommended? As a lawyer what do you think is the best protection against Islamophobia and racism? He replied:

“Muslims can be under threat anywhere in the world even in Australia and the best response is to live by the three guidelines set out above. If persecution is practised against any Muslim there are many laws that combat such conduct including Commonwealth and State Anti Discrimination Laws. In the meantime we need to concentrate on setting a good example inside and outside Australia”. He added that: ““No legislation can eliminate discrimination if people are determined to practice it.” CT asked, as a human rights activist what solution would you propose to protect your fellow Muslims from red neck xenophobic racist events such as the Cronulla riots, redneck journalists and politicians? Mr Sale replied: “In Australia we have freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Extremists will ultimately bring themselves undone. All we need to do is respect the law, other people’s rights and be calm”. With regard to the discriminatory decision regarding the proposed Camden Islamic School, Mr Sali noted: “Camden Muslims are not Members of AFIC and they have not asked me to help them. The first thing they need to do is spell out that they follow the Holy Quran and especially the 3 above guidelines. Patience and respecting the rights of others is a must. If discrimination is practiced against them they can assert their rights before the Land Court or other appropriate Courts.”

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Shariah compliant mortgage lender MCCA gets AFSL

M

uslim Community Co-operative Australia (MCCA) has been granted an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), marking its first steps towards building a wealth management practice that offers financial planning services. MCCA, which until now has been limited to home finance and various forms of investment, is now licensed to deal in “shariah compliant” mortgage funds and property trust schemes – meaning they will be run in accordance with Islamic law. According to managing director Chaaban Omran, the shariah compliant funds are set to eventually become the key investment mandate for Australia’s first shariah-compliant Islamic superannuation fund. In addition, the wealth management practice will in due course apply for a dealer’s licence and offer financial planning services to the Australian community “as an alternative to conventional products”, repackaged to offer a “more sophisticated version of ethical investment”, Omran said. He added that under the supervision of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), MCCA has a new mix of staff to prepare for a stricter compliance regime. “The unlisted public company together with the AFSL is certainly on the right track to corporatisation.” Omran said the AFSL will not only allow MCCA to embark on a wealth management path, but also assist them in the establishment of Australia’s first Islamic bank. He noted that local and international banks have approached MCCA as interest in Islamic finance and banking is increasing.

Source: Amal Awad - Money Management and MCCA.

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National

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

Sakeenah Hanan Dover:*

T

he Australian Muslim Community lacks the provision of drug and alcohol (D&A) awareness and prevention campaign, and related services, for the Muslim community. A culturally-appropriate response from the Muslim community is needed where identifying, recognising, and responding to the needs of the community should be made a priority. Often struggling parents of children with D&A related issues are left to fend for themselves in desperation looking for support as most mosque and community centres do not have the facility to cater to such individuals. Shame, is also a common concern amongst Muslim D&A users and their family members whereby they believe that accessing help from their local community would tarnish the reputation of the family. There is no current research on the number of Australian Muslims experiencing drug dependency, but most of the awareness of this concern comes from Muslim mosque, community, and youth groups that frequently express their concerns about the rising problem within their community and families that they support. There is an increasing situation where families are calling upon Muslim youth groups

Page 13

Drug Addiction: How are we responding as a community? and Muslim community leaders and imams to respond to the call of educating the community about the dangers of drugs and alcohol because there were increasing stories of youth drug dependency. Furthermore, Muslim community youth workers try to implementing prevention and early intervention strategies, through education, information, and spiritual mentoring, in order to assist the individuals. Most of these youth workers are not trained or educated in youth work but are forced to address the issues that are becoming increasingly prominent. Most of the youth workers or mentors are volunteers and are learning during their roles about the effects of drugs and alcohol. They lack the health understanding and knowledge of biochemical functions of drug and alcohol dependency. The D&A dilemma is seemingly seen as a “male” problem, but more cases of Muslim females experiencing drug and alcohol issues are also emerging. Even when Muslims enter jail because of drug related offences, there are no culturally appropriate service within the jail and

correctional services that can cater to the unique needs of Muslim inmates. Despite the best efforts of new generation type youth organisations and groups, the reality is that they are underresourced, inexperienced in the areas of drug health education and addiction, yet they must take responsibility for supporting troubled youth and those who are on drugs or drink alcohol to abstain from this destructive behaviour, based on both religious and human values. What we need is a culturally appropriate project that has religion and spirituality as an aid of intervention and prevention. To achieve this, we need to accept that we have these growing concerns and then have the courage to address and implement programs of support to those struggling with D&A related use and dependency. *Hanan Dover is a forensic psychologist and regular contributor to Crescent Times. You can reach her on hanan.dover@crescenttimes.com.au

Australia wide community events:

NSW:

Advanced Islamic Studies Women Only

Date: Saturday 13th of June Time: 10.00am to 12:00pm Location: Conference Room, Auburn Mosque, Gelibolu Pde, Auburn Cost: Free Duration: Once a week for ten weeks Auburn Gallipoli Mosque is pleased to offer this popular course, which will give you a thorough introduction to classical Islamic sciences. This course covers spiritual development based on core Islamic teachings, theology & knowledge of God, to theological and legal interpretations of Islam & Shariah to the character of the Prophet Muhammad (p), science of Hadith and much more.

Daar Aisha Short Course Children for Allah

Date: Sun 14 June 2009 Time: 2pm - 830pm Location: 74-76 Haldon Street Lakemba Children for Allah: Rights of parents, rights of children, techniques from Sirah, Islamic Upbringing from birth, toddler, school, teenage years and adulthood. Registration Essential - Women only. Call on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday to register 02 9759 6222 : info@ daaraisha.org

Ladies ONLY Talent Night

Date: Saturday 13th June Time: 6pm – 11pm Location: Lidcombe Community Centre 3 Bridge Street, Lidcombe Cost: $12 to participate OR $15 to just sit there and enjoy yourself. Organised by Affinity Intercultural Foundation. To participate: Send sister Jo your music, song

or whatever it is you are planning on doing. You might consider poetry, recitation, singing a nasheed, dancing a traditional dance - the choices are limitless. For further info contact Jo Hassan - jhassan@affinity.org.au

Mizaan Living – Indoor Rock Climbing

Date: Sun 14 June 2009 Time: 815am Location: Climb Fit, Unit 4/12 Frederick St, St Leonard’s Cost: $25 (includes entry, climbing harness and climbing shoes) What to bring: Water, snacks, comfortable exercise wear and sneakers if you prefer not to hire climbing shoes Additional Information: Children welcome under adult supervision (Parents/adults have to belay children under the age of 12, cost $10 + harness hire) Web link: http://www.climbfit.com.au/ Enquiries: Email: farah@alghazzali.org Tel: 0410104616 Registration is essential Mizaan is an initiative of al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Developmentworking towards bringing “balance” back into our lives. As part of its “learn & practise” health & well being program, Mizaan invites you to join our next adventure, indoor rock climbing.

Sounds Of Light: Australia’s Largest Islamic Concert

Date: 12 July 2009 Time: 330pm-8pm Location: Acer Arena Tickets Ticketek

Website www.soundsoflight.com.au

MSA Unigoal

Date: Sunday 12th July 2009 Time: 0730am for an 0800am start Location: Condell Park Sports Centre, Third Avenue, Condell Park The fourth annual UniGoal Indoor Soccer tournament for past and present Muslim University students as well as local High School students. This one day indoor soccer competition will consist of past and present students and their friends and family, of diverse backgrounds, emerging from universities all throughout NSW. For more information and to register teams: contact Muhammad on: 0401 158 149 or email: msa_unigoal@yahoo.com

VIC:

Sounds Of Light Australia’s Largest Islamic Concert

Date: 11 July 2009 Time: 6pm-10pm Location: Dallas Brooks Centre Tickets Ticketek Website www.soundsoflight.com.au

P

lease send your community events, news and announcements to Crescent Times to publish for FREE. Email: news@ crescenttimes.com.au

Halal help line Mohamed El-Mouelhy*

Gelatine, to eat or not to eat, that is the question!

L

ately Muslims in Australia have been confused about the information they are getting about gelatine. Some say gelatine is Halal if it is derived from Halal slaughtered beef hides and/or bones, others say it doesn’t matter if the animals were slaughtered by Muslims or not. To top it all there is a movement now that says gelatine made from pork hides and bones is Halal for consumption by Muslims! The reason they say is because the gelatine is the result of transformation. Gelatine is not a naturally occurring protein, but is derived from the collagen found in animal skin, bone, sinews and connective tissue. Raw materials intended for medicinal use and food production are generally from skins and bones of pigs or beef. In Australia off cuts are used i.e. ears, tails, face hides etc. They are washed in a lime solution and chemicals are added to dissolve the hair. Traces of meat are then removed before the hides are split. The top layer is leather and bottom layer is used in gelatine production. Animal hides are then soaked in a caustic soda solution for about three weeks to break down the protein so it can be easily extracted. The hides are then washed and acid is added before washing to remove salts etc. Hot water is added to the washed hide pieces to break them down to form gelatine before fresh hot water is added to make further extractions. The gelatine solution is drained and purified then it is evaporated, dried and sterilised. In Australia, gelatine is available mostly in powder form or with sugar and flavour added. Gelatine is used in the preparation of medicine, throat lozenges, pessaries and rectal suppositories. Gelatine is the main ingredient in all hard and flexible capsules. Many older tablet formulations still contain gelatine as a binding agent. Gelatine is easily digested and is used in cases of malnutrition and ulcers. In the food industry, gelatine is used in confectionery, ice-creams, jellies, chocolates, sweets, cold pastries, desserts, thickened cream and some meat products. A group of, in my view, misguided people regard pork derived gelatine as Halal because they claim it changes state. Gelatine is an extract and does not change state. In Islam every part of the pig is forbidden also the sale and purchase of Haram substances is also forbidden. If the source of gelatine is Halal then its usage is permissible, the skin is hydrolysed, washed, melted and extracted, purified, evaporated, sterilised, chilled and dried. Alkaline treatment removes certain characteristics which is an alteration not a transformation. The gelatine retains most of the characteristics of collagen therefore transformation does not take place. Muslims should avoid choosing Haram and doubtful ingredients if a comparable medication is available in tablet or liquid form. In food, gelatine can be substituted with vegetable gum which many Muslims call vegetable gelatine! It can be mixed in cold water and sets within minutes. Mohamed El-Mouelhy is the founder of Halal Helpline. He can be reached at: info@halalhelpline. org


Page 14 continued from front page

National

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

The ups and downs of Lakemba

Tarek Chamkhi her native language because she was forbidden to speak it, even here in her ancestral country. The English language domination of Australia and the dark period of the “White Australia” policy obviously did not work with the later new comers such as the Italians, Europeans, Turkish, Lebanese and other Arabs and Asians. In Lakemba it seems that the shopkeepers are able to analyse your skin, race and language in a few seconds and switch to the relevant language to communicate with you. All smooth and multi coloured as the coral reef, friendly and warm. The Lebanese Australian businesses are dominant in Lakemba but not the end of the story. You also find some Greek, Turkish, Egyptian, Syrian and Palestinians amongst the shopkeepers. I can tell readers that there is nothing unusual or bizarre in Lakemba to justify labelling it as a “ghetto”. Indeed I found Sydney Road in Coburg, Melbourne much more crowded and Arab culture dominant than Lakemba. I have to say that the area surrounding Lakemba is vast and full of similar streets, including the suburbs of Greenacre, Punchbowl, Bankstown, and even further towards Auburn which is a Turkish dominant suburb. As an Arab Australian you feel the warmth and familiarity of all these suburbs. The urban myths about teenage hoons with

Above: Lakemba Street, where most shops have signs in Arabic along with English. Photo: Crescent Times 2009 their sports cars spinning their wheels and burning rubber to disturb your calmness in the middle of the night appeared to be proven correct. There are some maniac irresponsible drivers. However, I understand that such driving behaviour is common in most crowded suburbs in both Melbourne and Sydney and has less to do with a particular race or background than it has to do with the common disease of “showing off ” which has invaded most modern societies. The other trend I observed following the last few years of social change in the Western suburbs of Sydney, especially after the Cronulla

riots, is the relocation of many Asian Muslims, of Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Pakistani background to live with their brothers and sisters of faith in this area. For wise observers it is obvious that none of the races will be in a position to take over Sydney. Sydney is for all, a real multicultural city, which makes it an impossible target for any plans of future dominance OR ethnic cleansing. for that matter. When I visited the Sydney Sunday markets and the next door Olympic Village area, it was clear for me that we are in a real multicultural country. I saw more hijabi ladies there than

I would see in a similar market in Tunisia or Lebanon. I saw a funny huge flaming fire prepared for a barbecue next to the lake in the Olympic Park that I would not see anywhere in Lebanese parks. Well, there is no frightening, unknown “kangawallafox” lurking in Lakemba or in white Australian or European dominant suburbs for that matter. At the airport in my way back home, I joked with the Anglo Australian who handled my oversized bag: “Is safe today mate! No TNT or Kalashnikov inside at all! All safe goods” He found it a hilarious joke to be making at the start of his shift on a fresh wintry day. “Have a good day mate!” he replied in a very friendly way. Visiting Sydney for the first time after visiting most of the rest of Australia was a good experience. But I have to say that my home is nicer! For all Sydney residents I advise that Australia is a continent full of wonders and stunning views from the North to the South, the East to the west. Advice for all Australians: please get out of your cocoon and experience the real taste of Australia. I am certain that stereotypes will be decreased significantly when the wider community sees hijabi ladies everywhere they go for their weekends, annual trips or post superannuation getaways. I remember a friendly guy in Kings Canyon in central Australia asked me if my wife (who was likely one of very few hijabi ladies who visited the area in its history - if not the only one), was the same Muslim lady he saw on TV! We should definitely get out more!


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Melbourne news

First Victorian Muslim police officer Maha Sukkar

Nasya Bahfen: CT Victoria bureau

V

ictorian police officer Maha Sukkar has urged more members of ethnic communities to consider a career in the police force, especially Muslim women. Senior Constable Sukkar emigrated to Melbourne nine years ago and has been a police officer for four years. “It’s the best thing I ever did,” she told a group of around fifty representatives of the state’s multicultural media. Senior Constable Sukkar, along with Victorian Police Commissioner Simon Overland and other members of the state police force’s multicultural liaision and media units spoke to journalists and editors from ethnic press and broadcasting outlets, at a morning tea in Melbourne on June 9. She’s the first (and currently the only) serving officer to wear the hijab or headscarf. Senior Constable Sukkar was granted permission to amend the standard Victorian police officers’ uniform when she graduated from the Police Academy as a thirty year old, in 2004. She told the Crescent Times that officers with second language abilities were actively sought by Victorian police. “They might be needed in translation, or in liaising with communities,” she explained.

Above: Senior Constable Maha Sukkar,Fatima Dennaoui and Nasya Bahfen Photo courtesy of Victorian Police.

C

rescent Times was invited to meet the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland amongst Melbourne’s multilingual media today to further strengthen police ties with culturally diverse communities. Dr. Nasya Bahfen, the Crescent Times Victorian editor represented our readers there, on Tuesday 9th June 2009. More than 50 members of Melbourne’s multilingual media attended the informal meet and greet with Mr Overland which was another in a long line of Victoria Police initiatives to develop strong ties with culturally diverse communities. “There is a shared responsibility

between police and the media to provide important messages to the public and to have an open dialogue to understand where the other is coming from, and finding suitable solutions to problems,” Mr Overland said. “So it was crucial to network with multilingual media today to ensure that we foster an ongoing relationship. “At times Victoria Police investigators need to communicate messages directly to people for whom English can be a barrier to receiving clear and concise information.”

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

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National

Native Of Oppressors Matters and Oppressed

Eugenia Flynn*

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lave is the memoir of Mende Nazer narrating the circumstances of her life before, during and after her enslavement as a black Nuba (a tribe in Sudan) by Arab Muslims. I read this memoir a few weeks ago and was struck by Nazer’s sense of humanity. I never once felt that Nazer moved toward racism or Islamophobia despite her enslavement by Arab Muslims. Always in the memoir, Nazer dealt with the humanity, or lack thereof, of the individuals in her life – she never saw them as just their race or religion. Therefore, Nazer never saw her oppressors’ actions as a result of their Arabness or Islamic faith. Contrastingly, her enslavers were more than happy to consign Nazer to her race and perceived lack of Islam (even though she actually was a Muslim). Talking with a friend I was reminded that this kind of slavery and oppression at its core is purely and simply shirk – forcing the oppressed to worship other than Allah; that is to worship, in either a literal or less tangible sense, the oppressor. And whilst not exactly the same circumstances, I am drawn to the

similarities between Indigenous Australians and the native Sudanese people like Nazer and her tribe the Nuba. Funnily enough, when you look hard at the world you see that these similarities are everywhere. Like at the Eighth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. I attended this Session just after reading Nazer’s life story and was constantly reminded that Muslims continue to be involved in the ongoing oppression and even slavery of Muslim and non-Muslim Indigenous Peoples right around the world. Indigenes from Niger and Algeria spoke of the oppression they faced from Muslim oppressors and I felt and continue to feel a sense of obligation to these people. I do so as a Muslim who wishes to see the Oneness of Allah recognised around the world and refuses to allow oppression and slavery to perpetuate shirk. I do so in recognition that every other Muslim should also fight against oppression and slavery. Join me in the fray? * Eugenia Flynn is an Aboriginal (Tiwi and Larrakia) and Chinese (Teo Chew) woman. She reverted to Islam in 2002 and in 2007 founded the Indigenous Muslim Support Network, which she continues to run. Eugenia aims to see Indigenous Australians healthy, strong and free and is the Deputy Chair of the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia. She can be contacted via email: genie_fly@yahoo.com.au.

Young Australian Muslim Leaders Explore Islam in Indonesia Hyder Gulam*

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uring late May 2009, along with four other young Australian Muslim leaders, I travelled to Indonesia to meet with Indonesian community, education and religious leaders, civil society, academics, Above: from Left: Hyder Gulam, Iman Dandan, Shameema Kolia, government officials and Hussam Elmaghraby, Mohammad El-Leissy. media representatives. The Photo: Courtesy of Hyder Gulam purpose of the trip was to further a bilateral exchange program aimed MEP has brought out over 60 Indonesian at strengthening links and understanding of Muslims to Australia, and over 30 Australian Islam in both Australia and Indonesia; the Muslims have visited Australia during the he Australia-Indonesia Muslim Exchange seven years of the program. Program (‘MEP’). As most would know, the Republic of The MEP is an initiative of the Australia- Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of over Indonesia Institute (AII) with support from the 17,000 islands in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Cultural Section and AusAID at the Australian It has an estimated population of around 237 Embassy in Jakarta, the Islamic Council of million people, is the world’s fourth most Victoria, the Asia Institute at the University populous country, and has the largest Muslim of Melbourne and Paramadina University of population in the world. Indonesia is home to Jakarta. MEP was established in 2002 by the two of the largest Muslim organisations in the Australian Government through the AII. The world – Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama

Page 17

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rescent Times was established to support and serve the Muslim community. The journey is long and the financial hardship of the start is hard to overcome despite the huge success of our editorial content and on readership level.To secure the printing cost of the newspaper, and to deliver a free copy for you we need your financial support. Donation details: * Send cheques to “Crescent Times” P. O. Box: 628 Mirrabooka, 6941 WA * On line transfer to Crescent Times bank account: BSB: 016498 A/N: 481145891 Your support is essential in our journey to establish authentic Australian Islamic media. (‘NU’), with a combined membership of 70+ million. Indonesia is also one of Australia’s closest neighbours, and is the location of the largest Australian Embassy in the world. Indonesia is important not only for trade, but from an Islamic perspective, is an example of tolerant Islam. Those familiar with Professor Abdullah Saeed and Bilal Cleland respective texts on Islam in Australia, would know that the Indonesian fishermen have had extensive trade links with the Australian Aboriginal People since the 12th-16th Century, long before colonisation. The 2009 Australian MEP to Indonesia reflected the broad cultural diversity of Australia’s Muslim community, comprising of three male and two female participants from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth with ethnic backgrounds from Egypt, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan and South Africa. As a minority religion in Australia, the MEP were very keen to see how Islam co-existed with other religions, when it was clearly the majority faith. Although I was born in Singapore to Pakistani parents, and had visited Bali previously, this was my first visit to the main island of Indonesia, Java. Coupled with my previous opportunity to have worked in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) as a lawyer, I was very keen to see how Islam was practised in Indonesia. I also wanted to see how Islam was managing to maintain cultural values for the Indonesian people and still grow and flourish in the archipelago. I was impressed by how NU and Muhammadiyah worked in their communities: social work, civil society and human rights included. In the case of NU, I noticed how the work extended to disaster services and in particular educating communities that although natural disasters cannot be stopped, its effects could be tackled and in many circumstances avoided – for example, landslides do not always have to occur in nature or for that matter dams bursting as well. As for the way that Islam is practiced in Indonesia, I feel that it is at the forefront in many ways in terms of intellectual pursuits. Islamic schools (both madrassahs and peseantrans ) do teach Arabic, Indonesian and English but they also teach the sciences including biology. As well, mechanics is taught and this is an example of how Islam in Indonesia is working together for the future of Indonesia and of

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the religion itself. I was impressed by the real emphasis on education amongst all Indonesians, and the promotion of education and leadership for females. Quite a number of the Principals of the peseantrans I visited were female, and were highly qualified - with a minimum of a Masters degree. Many of these schools had more than 50% females studying and teaching. I view Indonesia at the forefront of Islamic thought and discussion and Inshallah with more English translations being made available, these thoughts can (and should) be shared with the rest of the world. Islam in Indonesia fits in very well with the culture and the two have grown together over many centuries. I think Indonesia’s tolerant and gentle way will win out and help Indonesia to develop and grow through education, democracy, economic growth and by decreasing poverty levels. In summary, I would recommend any Australia Muslim between the ages of 21 and 40 years of age attend the MEP. Not only do you learn about Indonesia, and how Islam is practiced there, but you also learn about yourself and the practice of your own faith. As I have seen from Indonesia, the practice of Islam places the onus of the observance of faith onto one’s self. To me, Indonesia, represents a viable counterpoint to the Islam that is practiced in other parts of the world. Islam here is tolerant, open, progressive and fair. * Hyder Gulam is a Melbourne based lawyer.


Classified

Page 18

Open letter to Camden Church Leaders

Adam Parker*

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was absolutely amazed to the point of misbelief when I read in the Sydney Morning Herald and other newspapers last April 2009 that Camden’s Christian Churches had joined forces to oppose the Muslim school at Camden. The tipping point was the celebration of the residents over the planning court decision to object the school based on religious vilifications and hatred. See letters to the editor in Camden Advertiser, including this awful comment: “Camden will now not look like Lakemba in just a few years from now and our cultural heritage has been preserved...for a while longer at least. Jesus said: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ( John 14:6) Not the pirate and false prophet Mohammad, or his moon-god Allah, but Jesus. And it is because of Him that we can enjoy the life we have today. Despite the spin from Council, ‘religion’ had everything to do with it, to ensure we didn’t end up with an ideological regime that seeks to destroy the West, all cloaked and veiled in ‘religion. ” In all my various relations, I have always held a deep respect for people all races and religions. Far too often non-religious people blame religion for the problems of the world. My mother was Scottish and a Presbyterian,

CAROUSEL MEATS

I was educated at a Methodist Mission School and my wife comes from a committed Anglican family. Consequently, more than half of our family is Christian and so are more than half of our friends. We have always enjoyed a close, loving relationship throughout our lives. I was, in the main responsible for making the arrangements for laying both of my parents in-law to rest, and for that matter assisted with many of my Christian friends in similar difficult times. When I read the article in the SMH, I felt betrayed. Indeed, it reminded how Jesus (May peace be with him) was also betrayed. Like with Judas Iscariot, these were also supposedly followers of Jesus (mpbh). The reasons given stink of absolute hypocrisy and bigotry. I wonder where these reverend fathers get their ideas that any part of Australia was ever western or Christian? At least Muslims asked for permission to come in, unlike many of those who denigrate our faith. I was just an ankle biter when a Christian boy in his early teens, living in our neighbourhood, became an orphan. My mother, with no regards for religion, and with every regard for God; whipped off her apron, walked down the road and came back with young Claude. He grew up like a brother to us, within a Muslim home, without any attempt to convert him to our faith. Today he is in his mid eighties and we still have contact – he still Christian; I, Muslim.

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To all intents and purposes, we still regard ourselves as brothers. I could go on, but sufficient to say, that the Qur’an teaches us that there is no compulsion in religion. After castigating the people who ill treated Jesus (mpbh), the Qur’an goes on to say, “and nearest amongst them in love to the believers thou wilt find those who say,” We are Christians”: because amongst them are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world and are not arrogant” Chapter 5 Verse82. When will they, the reverend fathers who so avidly took up pen and paper against the Muslims realize is that Islam is the only religion other than Christianity who accepts and respects Jesus (mpbh). We Muslims pray five times a day and just as Jesus fell on his face when he prayed, so do we. Jesus was circumcised, so are our men. Jesus did not eat pork, and we do not. We even still try to dress like he did, and our womenfolk keep their heads covered as Mary did. I have served on the Islamic Council of WA, for many years as well on local Muslim School boards. During these years, I along with others on our Boards exchanged meetings with Christian leaders. We attended harmony meetings as well as inter faith gatherings. Our schools have also been involved in exchanging visits from different schools from different faiths. These were all done so that we could understand each other and live in peace and harmony as fellow Australians.

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Crescent Times No 8 June 2009 I am now asking myself how I can trust our Christian counterparts when these meetings and gatherings are conducted. Their betrayal goes to the heart of the situation. They speak about communities such as Bankstown and others in a negative way. Is there no questioning, beyond religion as to what creates the Bankstowns of this world? Is Socio/Economics a factor which draws people together? What about issues of background, language, etc. And are they common only to Muslims? Is the solution to all this to be found in imposing more unreasonable and discriminatory laws against Muslims? Would they, the reverend fathers also push for an Australia without Muslims? If not, would they like an apartheid Australia where Muslims are confined to certain clearly demarcated areas? Let us have it all out in the open. As Muslims, we do not hold Christianity answerable for what Hitler did, nor do we hold Christianity answerable for what the proponents of apartheid did in South Africa, or the Ku Klux Klan in the USA – yet their activity was all done in the pursuit of their Christian beliefs. I am hoping that the leaders of Camden’s Christian Churches will wake up to the fact that their actions were in grave conflict with true Christianity. That like true Christians, they will repent, and do everything in their power to undo the damage which they have done. Failing which I hope they are prepared to face the fruits of their actions in the hereafter! God is just, after all! * Adam Parker is one of Perth’s Muslim and has served the Muslim community for decades, including being involved in ICWA, school boards and charity work.

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Community

Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

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Prayer Schedule June 2009 Melbourne, Victoria Day Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue

Fajr Sunrise Dhuhr 5:54 7:26 12:18 5:54 7:26 12:18 5:54 7:27 12:19 5:55 7:28 12:19 5:56 7:28 12:19 5:56 7:29 12:19 5:57 7:30 12:19 5:57 7:30 12:20 5:58 7:31 12:20 5:58 7:31 12:20 5:59 7:32 12:20 5:59 7:32 12:20 5:59 7:32 12:21 6:00 7:33 12:21 6:00 7:33 12:21 6:00 7:34 12:21 6:00 7:34 12:21 6:01 7:34 12:22 6:01 7:35 12:22 6:02 7:35 12:22 6:02 7:35 12:22 6:02 7:35 12:23 6:02 7:36 12:23 6:02 7:36 12:23 6:02 7:36 12:23 6:03 7:36 12:23 6:03 7:36 12:24 6:03 7:36 12:24 6:03 7:36 12:24 6:03 7:36 12:24

Asr Maghrib 2:51 5:10 2:51 5:10 2:51 5:09 2:51 5:09 2:50 5:09 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:50 5:08 2:51 5:08 2:51 5:08 2:51 5:09 2:51 5:09 2:51 5:09 2:51 5:09 2:52 5:09 2:52 5:10 2:53 5:10 2:53 5:11 2:53 5:11 2:54 5:12

Prayer Schedule June 2009 Perth, Western Australia Day Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue

Fajr Sunrise 5:43 7:08 5:43 7:09 5:44 7:09 5:44 7:10 5:45 7:10 5:45 7:11 5:45 7:11 5:46 7:12 5:46 7:12 5:47 7:13 5:47 7:13 5:47 7:13 5:48 7:14 5:48 7:14 5:48 7:14 5:49 7:15 5:49 7:15 5:49 7:15 5:49 7:16 5:50 7:16 5:50 7:16 5:50 7:16 5:50 7:17 5:50 7:17 5:51 7:17 5:51 7:17 5:51 7:17 5:51 7:17 5:51 7:17 5:51 7:17

Dhuhr 12:15 12:15 12:15 12:15 12:16 12:16 12:16 12:16 12:16 12:17 12:17 12:17 12:17 12:17 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:18 12:19 12:19 12:19 12:19 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:21 12:21

Asr Maghrib 3:02 5:21 3:02 5:21 3:02 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:01 5:20 3:02 5:20 3:02 5:20 3:02 5:20 3:02 5:20 3:02 5:20 3:03 5:21 3:03 5:21 3:03 5:21 3:03 5:21 3:04 5:22 3:04 5:22 3:04 5:22 3:05 5:23 3:05 5:23 3:05 5:23

Prayer Schedule June 2009 Sydney, NSW Day Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue

Fajr Sunrise Dhuhr 5:24 6:51 11:53 5:24 6:51 11:53 5:24 6:52 11:54 5:25 6:53 11:54 5:26 6:53 11:54 5:26 6:54 11:54 5:27 6:54 11:54 5:27 6:55 11:55 5:27 6:55 11:55 5:27 6:55 11:55 5:28 6:56 11:55 5:28 6:57 11:55 5:29 6:57 11:56 5:29 6:57 11:56 5:29 6:58 11:56 5:30 6:58 11:56 5:30 6:58 11:56 5:30 6:59 11:57 5:31 6:59 11:57 5:31 6:59 11:57 5:31 6:59 11:57 5:31 7:00 11:58 5:31 7:00 11:58 5:31 7:00 11:58 5:32 7:00 11:58 5:32 7:00 11:58 5:32 7:00 11:59 5:32 7:00 11:59 5:32 7:01 11:59 5:32 7:01 11:59

Asr Maghrib 2:36 4:55 2:36 4:55 2:36 4:54 2:35 4:54 2:35 4:54 2:35 4:54 2:35 4:54 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:35 4:53 2:36 4:54 2:36 4:54 2:36 4:54 2:36 4:54 2:37 4:54 2:37 4:55 2:37 4:55 2:37 4:55 2:38 4:56 2:38 4:56 2:38 4:56 2:39 4:57 2:39 4:57

continued from page2 Isha 6:38 6:38 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:37 6:38 6:38 6:38 6:38 6:38 6:39 6:39 6:40 6:40 6:41

Isha 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:42 6:43 6:43 6:43 6:43 6:44 6:44 6:44 6:44 6:45 6:45 6:45 6:46

Isha 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:17 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:18 6:19 6:19 6:19 6:19 6:19 6:20 6:20 6:21 6:21 6:21

Almighty referred to him in the earlier scriptures as, “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul.” (Al-A`raf: 157) Thus, Islam left nothing good or sound but declared it to be halal (lawful). This is a sign of mercy to this Ummah, moving along the line of its comprehensive and eternal message. Allah Almighty says, “They ask you (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you.” (AlMa’idah: 4) If we are to delve deeply into this matter, we will find that love for singing and melodic voices are almost a human instinct. We can observe an infant lying in his cradle soothed and sleeping by the sound of a lullaby. Mothers and nannies are always in the habit of singing for babies and children. Moreover, birds and animals respond to nice voices and rhythmic melodies. Thereupon, if singing is thus a human instinct, it is not for Islam to defy humankind’s instincts. Islam came to refine and promote the human instinct. Ibn Taymyiah says, “Prophets were sent to polish and discipline man’s instinct and not to change or modify it.” This is pursuant to the hadith that reads, “When Allah’s Messenger came to Madinah, he found them (i.e., the people of Madinah) celebrating two days. He said, ‘What are these days?’ They replied, ‘We used to rejoice in these days during the preIslamic era.’ He (pbuh) said, ‘Verily, Allah Almighty has given you two alternative days which are much better: these are Al-Adha and Al-Fitr days (`Eids).’” (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i) Moreover, if singing is to be considered rejoicing and play, these are not haram; this is in pursuant to the famous idea that man needs some time to relax a bit and rejoice. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said to Hanzalah who thought himself to be a hypocrite for his attendance to his wife and children and the change that affected him when he was apart from Allah’s Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “O Hanzalah! Part of your time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and part of time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation).” (Reported by Muslim) `Ali Ibn Abu Talib says, “Amuse yourselves for some time, for if hearts are exposed to too much strain, they turn blind.” Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “I refresh myself with some amusement in order to make myself stronger on the path of right.” Imam Al-Ghazali answered someone who asked him: “Isn’t singing some kind of play and rejoice?” He said, “Yes. But, all that exists in this present life is mere play and rejoice. All that takes place between a husband and his wife is play, except sexual intercourse that is the direct cause of reproducing children. This has been reported from Allah’s Messenger and his honorable Companions.” In fact, leisure time is refreshing to the heart and alleviates its tensions at the same time. Excessive strain and efforts render the heart bored and blind. Amusing the self refreshes and renews its strength and vigor. Having leisure time is a form of treatment for diseases of the self, weariness and boredom. But, leisure should not be excessive. This will go against the whole issue of rejoicing hearts to make them able to go on. These proofs on the permissibility of

singing are extracted from the texts and rules of Islam, and these are sufficient to clarify the issue. In addition to this, the people of Madinah, who were very pious and God-fearing, the Zahiriyyah, who were very literal regarding the textual proofs, and the Sufis, who were very strict and rigid, were all quoted to have declared the permissibility of singing. Imam Ash-Shawkani says in his book “Nayl Al-Awtar”, “The people of Madinah and those who agreed with them from among the Zahiriyyah and the Sufis maintain that singing is permissible, even when it is accompanied by a musical instrument such as the lute or the flute”. Abu Al-Fadl Ibn Tahir narrates, “The people of Madinah never disputed over the permissibility of playing the lute.” All these scholars consider singing that is accompanied by musical instruments permissible, but as for singing that is not accompanied by musical instruments, AlAdfuwi says, “In some of his jurisprudencerelated books, Al-Ghazali narrates the consensus of the scholars on its permissibility.” Also, Ibn Tahir narrates the consensus of the Prophet’s Companions and those who succeeded them on this very topic. Ibn AnNahwi states in Al-`Umdah that singing and listening was deemed permissible by a group of the Companions and the Followers. Conditions and Terms: There are some conditions and terms that should be observed regarding listening to singing, as follows: 1. Not all sorts of singing are permissible. Rather, the permissible song should comply with the Islamic teachings and ethics. Therefore, the songs praising the tyrants and corrupt rulers disagree with Islamic teachings. In fact, Islam stands against transgressors and their allies, and those who show indifference to their transgression. So, the same goes for those songs that imply giving praises to such attitude! 2. Also, the way the song is performed weighs so much. The theme of the song may be good, but the performance of the singer – through intending excitement and arousing others’ lusts and desires along with trying to seduce them – may move it to the area of prohibition, suspicion or even detest. The Glorious Qur’an addresses the wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “O you wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspire (to you), but utter customary speech.” (Al-Ahzab: 32) So, one has to show caution to music when there is softness of speech accompanied with rhyme, melody, and special effects! 3. Singing should not be accompanied with something that is prohibited such as alcohol, nakedness, mixing of men with women that is common in pubs and nightclubs, etc. 4. Islam has declared excessiveness as prohibited in everything. The same goes for excessiveness in leisure and recreation even though these things are permissible ! This indicates that the emptiness of the mind and heart has to be observed and tackled during man’s short-term life. One should know that Allah Almighty will ask every one about his life and his youth in particular. There are some things in which one is to be his own judge and Mufti. If there is some kind of singing that arouses his own lust or desire, and takes him away from the real life, he should avoid it then and block that very gate from which the winds of trial and seduction may come and erase his religion, morals and heart. If he does this, he will live in peace and tranquility. Warning against playing with the word “haram” To conclude, we address the respectful scholars who tackle the word “haram” easily and set it free in their writings and fatwas that they should observe that Allah is watching over them in all that they say or do. They should also know that this word “haram” is very dangerous. It means that

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

Allah’s Punishment is due on a certain act or saying, and should not be based upon guessing, whims, weak Hadiths, not even through an old book. It has to be supported by a clear, well-established text or valid consensus. If these last two are not found, then we revert the given act or saying to the original rule: “permissibility governing things”. We do have a good example to follow from one of our earlier pious scholars. Imam Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “It was not the habit of those who preceded us, the early pious Muslims, who set good example for the following generations, to say, ‘This is halal, and this is haram. But, they would say, ‘I hate such-and-such, and maintain such-andsuch, but as for halal and haram, this is what may be called inventing lies concerning Allah. Did not you hear Allah’s Statement that reads, ‘Say: Have you considered what provision Allah has sent down for you, how you have made of it lawful and unlawful? Say: Has Allah permitted you, or do you invent a lie concerning Allah?” (Yunus: 59) For, the halal is what Allah and His Messenger made lawful, and the haram is what Allah and His Messenger made unlawful.


Fi amani’Allah

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Crescent Times No 8 June 2009

HIJRAH

Hijrah magazine will start on a bi-monthly basis, with the aim of converting to a monthly magazine in time. The magazine will focus on: *Muslim family life style, food, traditions * Australian Muslim celebrities and leaders, *Untold life stories of Australian Muslims - personal and family *Children’s education, Islamic schools *Health and family relationships *Tourism local and overseas Work inpact on Muslim life style *Fashion for men and women *Food culture, recipes and halal diet *Sport and leisure *Marriage stories and traditions *Muslim public festivals & fests *Social politics, Ummah news

s p o h s k oo llah. b d aA Australian Muslim life style magazine n a s nsh e i c We are looking for i n e 0 g 201 contributions in the following areas: a s ew ary n *Feature stories u *Interviews with well known Australian In n a J Muslims *Favourite recipes and food traditions with high quality photography *Homeland stories - if you are planning to visit extended family overseas, please write about your homeland, take high resolution photos and send it to us.

HIJR H AUSTRALIAN MUSLIM LIFE STYLE MAGAZINE

*If you are not a writer we welcome your assistance with suggestions, contact numbers of people who are able to write, contact details for subjects for feature stories or interviews *If you work in any Muslim Community organisation or Islamic school you could write about these landmark institutions and publicise their work to the Muslim community. For all above please feel free to email Tarek Chamkhi on: chamkhi@gmail.com

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Crescent Times June 2009 issue