The launch of Muslim Business Network took place in Brisbane's Springwood Towers last Sunday, and over 130 men and women, covering a broad spectrum of the different Muslim communities, attended the function.
Chaired by Mr. Shummis Rane, members of the interim committee (Dr. Hanief Khatree (interim Chairman), Mr. Dinmahomed Karrim, Mr. Abdul Omar, Mr. Rafik Sabdia) took to the stand in turn to explain the aims and objectives, organizational structure and modus operandi of the new organization.
Several attendees were invited to tender their views on the importance of establishing such an organization as MBN.
Ms Faiza El-Higzi, President of the Islamic Women's Association (IWAQ), gave an impassioned speech on the need to "leave egos at the door" if MBN was to succeed in achieving its goals. Her comments caused many to break with protocol with generous applause.
Other speakers from the floor - Mr. Fuad Fattal, Haji Ray Deen,
Mr. Yousuf Alikhan and Imam Quddoos - were equally supportive of MBN.
Some 40 new members signed up for MBN on the evening bringing the current membership to around 200.
Nominations to stand for the permanent Executive Committee were called for and and an overwhelmingly larger than expected number of applications was tendered, reflecting the desire on the part of those present to play a key role in MBN's visionary ambitions.
The new committee will come into operation at next Sunday's AGM.
Shariah and Australian law
In recent years Islam has had a bad press in Australia. And arguably, writes Jamila Hussein, Islamic law - also known as the Shariah - has had an even worse press. In a recent article in the Brisbane Institute, she examines the myths and the realities.
Jamila Hussain lectures at the University of Technology, Sydney in Islamic Law and Asian Law and Culture and at the University of Western Sydney in Comparative Law. She is Australian born, of Anglo-Irish descent and a convert to Islam.
Reports in the Australian media relating to Islamic law almost invariably focus on issues such as 'honour' killings, female circumcision (female genital mutilation), amputations for theft and the stoning of women to death for adultery in places such as Nigeria and Iran.
To many Australians, these things represent the Shariah. However, the media needs to sell. Therefore, reports of anything sensational, absurd, exotic or exceptionally cruel are more likely to attract readers than reports of everyday legal matters in other countries. Based only on the information available in the media, it is not surprising that the ordinary Australian believes that the Shariah is cruel and barbaric and has no place in Australia.
The Shariah is one of the world's great legal systems, an alternative to Australia's British derived Common Law in much the same way as the civil law system or the socialist legal systems are alternatives chosen by some countries as their law. Shariah is the sole living survivor in the modern world of a legal system based on religion. This itself is enough to condemn it in the eyes of those who regard any convergence of religion and law as anathema. But in Muslim countries, where religion is generally held in higher regard than it is in Australia, the religious basis of the law is accepted and, by many, regarded as essential.
The Shariah is as complex as the Common Law. As in other legal systems, there are differences of interpretation and emphasis resulting in different laws and traditions in different places. There is sometimes felt to be a need for re-evaluation of old rules in the light of modern conditions, provided that this can be done without abandoning the sacred principles laid down in the Quran and the Sunnah (sayings and rulings of the Prophet Muhammad). In progressive Muslim countries attempts are being made to reinterpret old rulings, although often, conservative people get the upper hand and progress is slow. However, it must be remembered that the law in any jurisdiction is slow to evolve and often lags behind social change.
Islamic banking is now well established in Australia through local Islamic financial institutions. Local Muslims can now invest and borrow in interest free transactions according to Shariah rules. In July 2003 the Weekend Australian reported that Prime Minister Howard had endorsed a shared partnership scheme between home buyers and banks which was very similar to schemes already being used by Islamic financial institutions.
There are certainly aspects of law which are quite opposite between Australian law and the Shariah. The Shariah prohibits drinking alcohol, gambling, sex outside of marriage and the taking of interest in financial transactions. Australian law permits all these things but no one is obliged to take them up, so sincere Muslims can comply with both sets of laws. On the other hand, the Shariah permits limited polygamy. Australian law prohibits polygamy but permits de facto relationships regardless of whether one party is already legally married. Second marriages contracted under religious law are regarded as de facto relationships under Australian law and so the two can co-exist in practice. There are, in any case, few polygamous marriages among Australian Muslims.
There is little demand among Australian Muslims for the Shariah to be introduced in Australia although some would appreciate the right to legal recognition of divorce in accordance with Shariah. Too often, criticism of Australian Muslims for not 'integrating' is really criticism for them not assimilating. In a truly multicultural Australia, the Shariah as a system of personal law can co-exist with the Australian legal system.
Yes Minister (Queensland style)
Our Man-on-the-Mussalaah was amongst the guests invited to Parliament House during the week by the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie. The Muslim invitees who numbering some 20 business and community leaders, Imams and social workers had a private session with the Premier where he reassured those present of his Government's commitment to multiculturalism.
This meeting was in response to articles written by his Labour members appearing in local newspapers in which they suggested that the Government re-assess the merits of multiculturalism in the light of recent events and that, according to them, multiculturalism had passed its "use-by-date". The Premier explained that a caucus meeting of Labour MPs, held the day before, returned unanimous support for his stance.
The guests were shown around Parliament House by Minister of Police, Judy Spence; and one prominent Brisbane anesthetist even got the opportunity to swap her breathing bags and mask for the scepter and crown, albeit, for an all too brief a moment.
This week the Chris Cummins MP, Minister for Small Business, Information Technology Policy and Multicultural Affairs will meet with the Members of the Queensland Muslim Reference Group to discuss progress in implementing the Muslim Community Engagement Strategy. The meeting will follow-on from meetings held in July and September last year as part of the Government’s ongoing dialogue with the community.
An – Nakheel Capital (Pty) Ltd this week launched At–Tijaarah, South Africa’s first electronic Islamic Finance Journal.
According to its editor, At-Tijaarah is aimed at assisting the revival of the Islamic principles of Buyoo (Islamic business) and Mu'aamalaat (Islamic trade and finance); propagating the true Islamic spirit of economics and finance; and serving to educate, illuminate and encourage critical discussion, thought and constructive debate regarding not only Mu'aamalat but also secular challenges faced by persons wishing to conduct their business affairs in a compliant and efficient manner.
The Sisters Learning Programme (SLP), organized by the Islamic Females Association (IFA), will resume this week on Wednesday, 8.50pm at Masjid Al-Farooq. The lecture will be delivered by SheikhAhmad Ghazaleh.
If you have any suggestions for a topic you can let IFA team know at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact their SLP co-ordinator, Aareefa on 3341 8786.
Kuraby Madrasah is conducting teenage classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30 pm. There is a class for boys which is taught by Principal Ahmad Ghazaleh. The girls’ class is taught by Muállimah Nazira Mahomady.
The subjects taught in these classes are :
Qurán recitation (Tajweed)
Akhlaq and Tahthib (Moral education)
Seerah (Biography of the Prophet SAW)
To enroll for these classes contact the Madrasah on 32197994 between 3-8 pm Monday-Friday.
From Baghdad to Cronulla: Islam and Social Justice Dr Paul White, a Muslim Revert, is a Research Officer at the University of Western Sydney and based on a campus with the highest number of Lebanese and Muslim Students in Australia. He is specializing in Middle East Studies and research social issues.
He is the author up the upcoming book ‘Treat us like humans, not animals’. The Effects of Racism on Lebanese Youth in Australia: Pathways to Just Solutions and the co-editor of and contributing author to the collection of scholarly articles Remaking the Middle East.
You can hear Dr White talk on the topic of Islam and social justice at the Darul Uloom:
There was a German, an Italian and SIPHO on death row. The warden gave them a choice of three ways to die:
1. to be shot
2. to be hung
3. to be injected with the AIDS virus for a slow death.
So the German said, "Shoot me right in the head."
Boom, he was dead instantly.
The Italian said, "Just hang me."
Snap! he was dead.
Then it was SIPHO'S' turn, and he said, "Give me some of that AIDS stuff." They gave him the shot, and SIPHO fell down laughing. The guards looked at each other and wondered what was wrong with this guy.
Then SIPHO said, "Give me another one of those shots," so the guards did. Now he was laughing so hard, tears rolled from his eyes and he doubled over.
Finally the warden said, "What's wrong with you?"
Then SIPHO replied, "Eish you guys are so stupid... I'm wearing a condom."
I really enjoy reading your very good news letters. They are so informative and interesting and although I have been away from Brisbane for 5 years now I still feel very much a part of your community.
I would like to say thanks and also keep up the great work that goes into writing and producing your newsletter.
Salaams to all that know me
I am currently still in Africa and don’t look like getting home before mid-year. We have begun the largest voluntary demobilisation and disarmament campaign for militiamen in Somalia’s history (you can see more at www.saacid.org). We are also about to sign for a very large programme with the International Labour Organisation.
My sister, Allison, has scanned and sent me a letter and some photos from Jenny Dean via email, which highlighted all the work and effort that Crescents of Brisbane and Islamic Females Association have put into collecting books and clothing for schools and refugees in Somalia. I which to express my sincerest gratitude to all those involved in this effort. I will also post the photos that have been sent to me to our internet site (under SAACID – Australia).
When I return to Australia, I will contact you and thank you personally again. I am also more than happy to meet and discuss any aspect of our work in Somalia. Thank you again for supporting those who are in need in Somalia.
SAACID Australia Incorporated
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