CCN has reached its first year of publication and the time has come to renew and invite new long term sponsors for 2006. Sponsorship moneys are used to maintain the Crescents of Brisbane website and cover expenses incurred in bringing to you many of the exclusive, socially and politically relevant stories of the day (as a case in point think back to where you first heard of the Merchants of Bollywood).
In pursuit of such exclusivity the team at CCN has been forced, on more than one occasion, to succumb to "greasing a few palms" when its usually high moral and ethical stances failed to elicit appropriate responses. But whistle-blowers, government officials, scandalmongers and local gossips don't come cheap these days. Furthermore, the editor of CCN, in particular, has developed a penchant for the "good life" and can often be found splashing out at Nandos Underwood on a Chicken Fiesta supposedly entertaining "reliable sources", investing in property through Nazima Hansa and buying canned South African pilchards from Omar Khan's Global Convenience (and yes John Laws, if you are reading this, they're all major sponsors of ours - you only have to listen for the cowbells!).
But such basic necessities need insatiably more funding than the modest amounts that we extort from people just for keeping their names out of the CCN limelight.
Now, dear reader, this is where you come in. If you would like to gain instant worldwide fame and notoriety all the way from Mpumalanga to Mooloolaba, dramatically increase your turnover by no less than a thousand percent, be seen to be "doing the right thing", and, most importantly, help keep the Editor in the lifestyle he has grown somewhat accustomed to over the past year then why not become a PLATINUM SPONSOR of CCN. There is every chance you would be throwing good money away but you will never know because as the Marketing Manager of a large company once said "Half the money we spend on advertising is wasted............the problem is .....we never know which half!".
Platinum sponsors get a full years presence on the Home Page of the Crescents of Brisbane website www.crescentsofbrisbane.org; saturation coverage in CCN (well almost); subliminal mention in all of our stories; and, of course, our eternal gratitude.
If you want to be a part of the wacky, weird world of CCN then drop us a line at
Despite the rain and ensuing confusion the planned Eid Salaat on the Eid Gah at the Brisbane Muslim School in Durack went ahead, albeit with a vastly reduced turnout (as many resorted to their respective mosques to avoid the inclement weather).
However, much of the usual atmosphere of the morning prevailed under the cover of an open-sided tent. Mr. Keysar Trad of the Islamic Society of Lakemba in Sydney, Founder of The Islamic Friendship Association of Australia and Trustee of the Australian Islamic Educational Trust addressed the audience.
Earlier in the proceedings Imam Abdul Quddoos succeeded in raising the tempo of the Takbir leaving Imam Yusuf Peer to conclude with a stirring Dua that brought a tear to many an eye.
[Man-on-the-Mussallaah] Several vain attempts were made to contact the ICQ on whether the Eid Gah was going ahead as planned. It would have been most useful if their unattended mobile phone had a voice mail message stating the decision they had taken for the morning saving many of us vacillating between heading out to Blunder Road and going local.
MBN (formerly SAMAQ), a Brisbane-based initiative, will have an information stall at Eidfest on Saturday 12 November. You can visit their stand and find out how you can join them and play your part in this new look organization.
Show your Car and win a Trophy
For only $30, you can join in the fun and be in the running for one of the six trophies in the following categories:
Category 1. BEST OVERALL PRESENTATION
Category 2. PEOPLES' CHOICE
Category 3. BEST WHEELS
Category 4. BEST SOUND
Category 5. BEST PAINT JOB
Category 6. BEST INTERIOR
Winners of Category 1 and 2 will receive a prize of a $50 voucher. An independent panel of judges, members of the Australian Street Rodders Federation, will determine the winners in each of the categories.
To enter your car contact Sultan M. Deen on 0418 722 353 for an entry form.
Jas and Susan will be offering their abayas and other clothing at a huge 50% off for the one day only at Eidfest.
CCN Reaches First Milestone
Keep an eye out at Eidfest for the well-appointed and classy
Crescents Coffee Cluband join the whole CCN team at the stall to celebrate the 52nd issue as CCN turns one this week, inshaAllah.
The CCN Student Help Desk
Examinations are just around the corner and CCN would like to wish all three of our readers who might be sitting any examinations this year all the very best in their studies.
However, if they get caught out for plagiarizing or colluding then here's a strategy that they could try out - one that recently got Sipho out of some very hot water:
Teacher asks Sipho: Your essay on My Dog is the same as your brother’s. Did you copy from him?
Sipho replies: No Sir – it’s the same dog.
The Lives They Chose Sumaya Asmal of the Al-Qalam newspaper in Durban, South Africa wrote this opinion piece on ex-South African Muslims who have emigrated to Australia
Australia, a popular destination for holidaymakers who are intrigued by the splendour of the Great Barrier Reef and symmetrical excellence of Sydney’s Opera House, has in the last decade become a prime country for South African emigrants, especially those of Muslim decent. Brisbane, a city to the east of the country, which lies in the state of Queensland is home to many South African families who have now attainted permanent residency in Australia. This emigration of Muslim individuals to Australia, and Brisbane in particular, is motivated by various reasons. Many of those who are presently residing in the country express their views on a better quality of life, which their homeland ‘failed’ to offer them.
Education and healthcare in the country is free with almost 47% of one's income contributing to tax. However, labour in the country is relatively expensive and the employment of domestic workers in households is rare. It costs an average of $40 (R200) an hour to have a home cleaned by a domestic worker which is far from what South African domestic workers earn. “Its very difficult for the womenfolk, especially if they are working as well. The responsibilities are far greater than those they had back home. But unlike South Africa, everyone here, (yes, the men and kids included) assist with household chores. It’s a small sacrifice when you look at it in terms of the security and freedom that the country gives us,” said Yacoob Bassa, a businessman from Brisbane.
The inflated labour costs have nevertheless worked to the advantage of many skilled and unskilled individuals who have left South Africa. Coupled with the countries robust economy and unlimited job prospects their income levels are far more desirable than what they earned in South Africa.
Brisbane has a bustling and vibrant Muslim community with families situated in close proximity, facilitating their sense of identity. With regard to Islamic education in State schools the Australian government has been extremely supportive. There are over 6000 Muslim learners in Brisbane schools; therefore the State Education Department has allocated a specific time for religious education. The community is involved in various activities such as the Islamic soccer league, Muslim playgroups, courses in understanding deen, learning programmes for sisters and Usrah for the youth. ‘Muslim Times’ is a monthly newspaper publication distributed around Queensland, providing the Muslim community with information on various topics of interest, normally unattainable from other local newspapers. “Together with the continued support of the Australian government and the sincere efforts of the Muslim community we are able to sustain our religion and live good quality lives,” explains Hajji Abdul Rahman Deen, public relations chairman for
the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC).
Many South Africans reside in Australia for two years, which is a prerequisite for receiving permanent residency in the country. Some families return to South Africa, whilst others choose to remain in the country. “My move was prompted by the unstable political situation in South Africa during 93/94. I don’t think I could ever live in that country again. I would be too afraid. Here I know that my children will not be exposed to the ruthless episodes of violence that plague South Africa. This is my home now,” says an ex South African citizen.
On the other hand many South Africans living in Brisbane are ambivalent; and the tears of yearning family members living in South Africa fuel their uncertainties. “Everything is wonderful, the safety, the cleanliness, the financial security…'but I pine for my relatives in South Africa, especially my mother. We really miss home during happy occasions and in times of sorrow. I myself was unable to attend my father’s funeral last year, ” said Moonira a pre school teacher in Brisbane. It is not feasible to travel often to South Africa and many people visit their families once every two years. “Life in Australia is very orderly and mechanical. You will never find anything out of its place. I miss the haphazard and unpredictable life in Durban,” says Mrs Hatia a mother of four. Despite these yearnings most people are unaffected by the possible brain drain their emigration has had on their country
Australia is an island that is remotely isolated from the rest of the world. The point of concern is whether the lives of those South African Muslims living on this island will begin to resemble the far-flung continent itself or will they remain loyal to their South African heritage. The question is in itself reflective of the manner in which we embrace our social identity. Are we proudly South African Muslims?
Muslim woman carries on work of Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks, who died this week, served as an inspiration to many people. They ranged from those who took part in the 1960s-era struggle for civil rights to those who never knew her yet have lived out her legacy in various ways.
Parks is the woman who 50 years ago this December refused to give up her seat in the whites-only section of a bus in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested, jailed and fined. Her action led to a bus boycott led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped to spur changes that resulted in the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Her reach, however, was by no means limited to civil rights for blacks. Nor are those she inspired only adherents of the Christian faith.
Aminah Assilmi, vice president of the International Union for Muslim Women, is also a person who lives out her life and her mission in the transformative light that Parks shone on injustice and intolerance in the world.
"I think she continues to be an inspiration to all women, no matter the race, religion or ethic background,'' said Assilmi, who recently spoke at a dinner sponsored by the Muslim Student Association at Western Michigan University.
Assilmi is no stranger to conditions she considers unjust. One such condition, she said, is the ongoing unwillingness of people to see beyond stereotypes they hold of the Muslim faith.
"Really, it's just a process of trying to eliminate misinformation and misunderstanding,'' she said in an interview before her presentation, on Oct. 21 at WMU's Bernhard Center.
"I try to help people understand who we are as Muslims and to realize that we are all in the same boat. We are all dependent on one another and God,'' she said. Assilmi, who lives in Oklahoma, grew up a Southern Baptist. She only looked into the teachings of Islam as a way to argue with college classmates who were believers in Allah and readers of the Quran.
These people of what was then a strange faith to her were enrolled in the same theater class as she was.
Wanting to save their souls for Jesus, she said, she decided to meet them on their own ground. She began reading their holy book. But the more she read, the more she wanted to read. The deeper she got into Islam, the more she saw connections with it and her Christian beliefs.
"As I read the Quran, I thought, `wait a minute; this is not what I've been taught (about Muslims).' I found something very different,'' she said. "I saw that Islam is very peaceful. Islam is primarily about devoting yourself to the creator of the universe,'' she said. She converted to Islam in the 1970s and has since grown in her desire to share what she knows and believes with others.
Assilmi travels the country, especially in the wake of Sept. 11, trying to bring about a more balanced view of her faith, she said. She said it bothers her that too many people fail to read the Quran all the way through in order to gain a full view of the faith. She calls for a quelling of the criticism.
She didn't put it this way, but it's almost as if she feels that she and other Muslims are relegated to the back of the bus in this country.
Her message is that stereotypes and intolerance are as alive today for Muslims as they were 50 years ago in Alabama. There are the Muslims who pervert the religion for their own ends. And there are those who are too quick to judge.
" believe at some point we as human beings must make a decision to stand up for the word of God,'' Assilmi said. "God has declared that respect and love must exist between us.''
This opinion column was written by Chris Meehan, faith editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Sr. Aminah Assilmi born in Oklahoma, and is a Muslim since 1977. She has three degrees in Communications, broadcasting and Education. An International known lecturer in Islam and the chairperson of International Union of Muslim Women. A writer, mother and a grand mother.
Kelantan declares capital an ‘ISLAMIC CITY' after 40,000 attend concert
With a billboard showing the words "Declaration of Kota Bharu as an Islamic city" in the background, Mawi performs during the concert watched by thousands of Muslim youths in Kota Bharu, Kelantan
KOTA BAHRU, Malaysia - Thousands of youths packed a stadium for a singular event in a Malaysian state ruled by the Islamic opposition - the first pop music concert in more than 15 years followed by the declaration of the state capital as an Islamic city.
The gala event Saturday night in Kelantan state captured the seemingly contrary tasks facing the ruling Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party: to shed its hardline image and woo the young into its fold, while emphasizing its Islamic values to ensure the conservative core support doesn't get alienated.
"The party's very survival lies in its ability to attract young people," said Lutfi Othman, a political analyst.
When it came to power in Kelantan 15 years ago, the party banned all forms of Western-style entertainment including karaoke and mainstream music concerts, allowing only religious songs to be performed in public.
Kelantan's revered chief minister, Nik Aziz, is an elderly man who wears a loose robe, a turban and shuns modern luxuries. Over the past decade or so of his rule in this Eastern Malaysian state, he has tried to impose Islamic laws that call for stoning and amputations and separate the sexes at supermarket checkout lines. Kota Bharu, the state capital, has no bars serving alcohol and at public events men and women are separated.
Yet here he was presiding over a concert given by Malaysia's wildly popular pop idol who is a product of Malaysia's booming reality television industry, an extension of Western entertainment culture.
Asmawi, known as Mawi, is not just a pop singer. A devout Muslim who has espoused Islamic moral values, Asmawi, 24, is the perfect poster boy for moderate PAS members trying to modernise the party, which also organised a fashion show where designers paraded models wearing stylish but conservative gowns that included head scarves - although make-up was allowed, albeit open only to a female audience and women reporters.
With his elderly parents in the stands, Asmawi belted out songs approved by concert organisers beforehand. The audience of more than 40,000 was segregated - men on one side, women on another.
There were no uncontrolled gyrations among the audience normally seen at concerts. The performers were all men, and included the group Rabbani, which specialises in religious songs.
The audience (right) at the concert were partitioned by grilled structures.
Men on the right, family and young children in the middle, and women to the left. Guests of honour were seated in front.
The applause from the sea of women in tudung (head scarfs) and men in kopiah (skull caps) was very tame, nothing like the sort that you would experience in Kuala Lumpur, for instance. There were no cries or screams of adulation
After the music, 15 horsemen drew a carriage carrying a scroll that was handed to the Sultan of Kelantan, the constitutional ruler, who read it out to declare state capital Kota Bahru an Islamic city. The sky erupted with fireworks.
According to PAS, the designation would require the city to follow five tenets - knowledge, loyalty, cleanliness, prosperity and welfare.
Not everybody was impressed by the proclamation.
"The declaration of Kota Bahru as an Islamic city itself is not significant, except maybe to boost morale among the party supporters," said Lutfi, a political analyst.
"But the concert and fashion show give the party a highly publicised window to show it is becoming more moderate so that it can be accepted to the younger generation," he said.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the party central committee had agreed to having Mawi in the concert, where the male and female audiences would be segregated.
“We (the central committee) support the state government’s programme after studying the guidelines set under the state enactment to control entertainment which is in accordance with Islamic teachings.
“Mawi will cite the azan before we perform the isyak prayer, and then the concert will begin,” he told reporters before the show.
PAS is the only opposition party to rule a Malaysian state, and the only serious challenge to the ruling National Front coalition of Malay Muslim, Chinese and Indian parties that governs all other states.
A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.
Last night's first ever Inter-faith symposium at the Brisbane Muslim School went off very successfully with the Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Most Rt. Revd. Phillip Aspinall, Auxiliary Catholic Bishop, Bishop Most Recd. Brian Finnigan, Rabbi of Temple Shalom Gold, Rabbi Uri Themal, and keynote speaker, Mr. Keysar Trad, all giving their perspectives on what were the shared values that were important to Muslims, Christians and Jews.
A largely non-Muslim crowd were entertained by the School's children singing the National Anthem and Islamic songs. An Indonesian Christian choir was also at hand to provide the requisite balance.
The programme was interrupted for Maghrib and the audience sat patiently and watched as the Salaat was performed alongside them. This was in all probability the first time they had seen the ritual performed before their very eyes, and Kysar Trad was called on afterwards to explain its purpose and procedure.
Geraldine Doogue of ABC TV's Compass programme facilitated the night's proceedings and was called on to exercise all of her skills as an interviewer and presenter to fend of some very provocative questions and statements on Islam from a few members of the audience. The agent provocateurs were chided, admonished and quickly brought to book by Ms Doogue, and the initial decorum and air of conviviality that had prevailed thus far was restored in the end.
Caped Crusader in Cartoons
How many biographies can one man inspire? The jury's still out on this one. Books by or about Nelson Mandela are a growth industry.
The latest, "Nelson Mandela: a Life in Cartoons" by Stephen Francis and cartoonist Rico takes an affectionate look at Mandela.
Displaying his trademark self-deprecatory wit, Nelson Mandela pronounced himself a "comic character" as he launched a cartoon book series on his life which he said was aimed at opening up the joys of reading to his countrymen.
"You know you are really famous the day you have become a comic character," Mandela said to laughter, adding that the genre was grossly undervalued as being lightweight and of little literary value.
The first in a series of nine comics covering the life of South Africa's most famous son was launched today and the others will follow suit.
He said the advantages of comics were many, for "those like me whose eyes are not what they were, one can see pictures," adding more seriously: "My hope is that elementary reading of comics will lead the youth to the joy of reading good books."
"That joy has been mine all my life, and it is one I wish for all South Africans," he said. "If the comic reaches new readers, then the project will have been worthwhile."
The world's most famous prisoner of conscience, who spent a total of 27 years behind bars, said "one of the few advantages of prison life is one has time to read."
He said this "opened our minds and forced us to re-examine some of our view," recalling that when he entered jail, "non-sexism was hardly known," but "when I came out, I was a champion of women's rights."
Half-a-million copies of the comic will be distributed free in schools and the strip will also feature in newspaper cartoons, said John Samuel, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the elder statesman's flagship charity organisation.
Samuel said the first comic, entitled A son of the Eastern Cape, and covering the period from Mandela's birth in one of South Africa's poorest regions, the Transkei, on July 18, 1918, in a royal household, until his arrival in Johannesburg as a youth.
The CCN Corner for Smarty Pants
The correct answer to last week's Smarty Pants Eid Quiz was Taipan, and the winner, randomly drawn for CCN's Inbox, is Yusuf Omar (c/o the London Omars).
It took a team with the skills of SES volunteers to finally pin down our very sociable winner long enough to hand him his Nandos Underwood Chicken Fiesta voucher at an Eid gathering on Friday. Congratulations Master Omar!
As the CCN prize cupboard is embarrassingly somewhat bare, the Smarty Pants Competition will be put on hold until potential benefactors can be mustered and cajoled into parting with more prizes.
Thanks for keeping me informed. I really enjoy reading the articles. One example, among many, is the great effort put in by people to raise many for the earthquake victims …something not reflected in main stream media.
I have read the fantastic response to the South Asia earthquake (in last week's CCN) where a cheque of $100,000 was presented to the Fred Hollows Foundation. I noted that this achievement and massive act of kindness was not mentioned in any of the local mainstream newspapers, I do stand open to correction.
I have supplied the email address for both the Southern Star and The Reporter should you consider sending this story to the local papers. I can only imagine that if published, that this act of generosity can only create a positive reflection on the local Muslim community.
If I can be of any assistance, please let me know.
Stephen Robertson MP
Member for Stretton
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