self-deprecating and occasional tongue-in-cheek look at ourselves and
the world around us ......
Sunday, 11 January 2009
News you won't find on CNN!
Reader's Discussion Forum
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We invite you to start up
or join in a discussion topic.
This week's readers'
topics under discussion include:
Over two thousand
protesters marched through Brisbane CBD streets
condemning Israel for exacerbating the humanitarian
plight of Gazans.
chanted anti–Israeli slogans such as: ‘two,
four, six, eight Israel is a racist state’
and ‘shame, Israel shame’ as they made their
way through two city blocks.
the intersection of Queen and Edward
streets, the vocal procession stopped for
a minute silence – remembering innocent
lives lost and released balloons in their
initially gathered at Queen’s Park and
listened to community leaders condemn the
Israeli state from its cabinet ministers to
affiliated Australian lobbyists.
Australians for Palestine
spokesman, Michael Shaik compared the Israeli state to
apartheid South Africa but he said Israeli policy on the
Gazan blockade and decades of expansionism made the
Israeli state less humane.
However, Australian -
Israeli Margaret Shalom spoke on behalf of less
publicised Jewish groups that condemn Israeli attacks
against Gazan civilians.
She condemned Zipni Livni
for politicising the attacks in the wake of upcoming
‘Stop the war at once,
stop shedding the blood of [Israeli] soldiers and
civilians for nothing. Stop shedding blood on the
inhabitants of Gaza, the ground invasion will cause an
additional disaster, a mutual massacre’, Ms. Shalom
Federal member for
Moreton, Graham Perrett also addressed the rally by
highlighting recent, federal government aid
contributions to Gaza. He also endorsed UN resolution
1860 and a two-state solution between Israel and
‘The Australian government
welcomes UN Security Council resolution 1860...the
Australian government is a strong supporter of a
two-state solution’, Mr. Perret said.
Anas Abdalla said the
presence of a federal MP at a pro-Palestinian rally was
a positive sign for the movement.
MORE than 2000 people
have marched through central Brisbane today in
protest at Israel's incursion into Gaza.
At a rally in the city one of the organisers, who
wished to be known only as Abdullah, said the large
turnout showed the growing momentum of Australia's
opposition movement to Israel's actions.
“This is very positive and a very encouraging
turnout,” he said.
He said the Israeli Government's response to Hamas
rockets was disproportionate.
“This is a civilian population of 1.5 million
people, and 65 per cent are under the age of 13.
“This is the humanitarian catastrophe that Israel
continues to violate.”
Aboriginal elder Bob Anderson compared the
Palestinians' plight to the dispossession of
Australia's indigenous peoples.
Jewish peace activist Margot Salom said she was
among a small band of Australian Jews who condemn
Israel's suppression of the Palestinians.
“I personally believe that an illegally occupied
people have the right to resist,” Ms Salom said.
Labor backbencher and Member for Moreton Graham
Perrett, reminded the crowd that Australian soldiers
had shed blood in Gaza during World War I and were
there again in World War II.
“Gaza has been turned into a place of madness,” he
said of the Israeli occupation.
“I've been horrified to read of the death toll since
the fighting began, now 800-people-plus, and more
than 3000 people injured.”
Mr Perrett backed the United Nations resolution
calling for “an immediate, durable and
fully-respected ceasefire,” and the restoration of
“I've been particularly horrified to see schools
bombed and children suffering in this conflict,” the
former schoolteacher said.
The protesters then marched through central
Brisbane, chanting and then stopping at the bottom
of the Queen Street Mall where they held a minute's
silence and released balloons in memory of the
Saara Sabbagh (front), wears
silky smudge-green patterned maxi-dress with
deeply ruffled hemline, chocolate jacklet and
underscarf with draped latte headscarf. Nadine
(left, rear), wears sunset-orange border print
maxi-dress and Toltu Tufa (right), the sage
floral maxi she modernised with Dotti denim vest
and metallic silver sandals. Photo:
Melanie Faith Dove
THE graceful maxi-dress
sashayed into fashion just in time
for summer and in certain Muslim
circles, the joy was palpable. "It's
fantastic," says youth and community
worker, Saara Sabbagh, 37,
delighted. "We're all out there,
stocking up on maxis now."
shops from Supre to Sportsgirl and
many small boutiques, summer's crop
of maxi-frocks is a rich and
colourful windfall for many Muslim
women. Not only that, many of the
prettiest are still on sale. "I got
this for, I think, $30," says
university student Nadine Sabbagh,
19. She shakes out the skirts of a
silky, flame-orange floor-grazer
that she has cleverly teamed with a
nut-brown jersey bolero and
terracotta silk headscarf.
Her friend, postgraduate
psychology student Toltu Tufa, 22,
is also a gifted editor of summer
trends. She pulls on a cropped Dotti
denim vest, giving a funky finish to
the swathe of sage-green floral
she's matched to an airy silk
headscarf, elegantly swag-draped
almost to her waist at the front.
She's sharpened the green with crisp
white sleeves and the visible
two-finger-wide arc of an underscarf
across her forehead. "I shop here
and there — all over — to find what
I want," Ms Tufa says.
The Muslim ensemble may be more
complicated than the average
string-strapped sun frock and
sandals, but she revels in the extra
challenge. She says the chain stores
are handy — particularly on a
student's budget — but also high
among her favorite haunts are fabric
outlets such as Spotlight.
"My sister can really sew, but
you can also find some beautiful
pieces you can use for scarves." She
demonstrates with a glorious length
of bronze silk shot with pink
lights. It's been pinched into a
three-dimensional textured pattern
with tiny, regular stitches and Ms
Tufa anchors it with an exotic
webbed headpiece of bronze beads.
"Gorgeous!' declares photographer
Melanie Faith Dove as Ms Tufa poses.
As an Australian Muslim, Saara
Sabbagh and her young friends are
talented cherry-pickers of seasonal
fashion trends, adapting what they
can to their definition of hijab.
For the uninitiated, at its most
fundamental level the Muslim dress
code or hijab instructs men and
women to dress modestly, mostly in
loose garments that do not
accentuate their body or overtly
"It's about desexualising the
public sphere," explains Ms Sabbagh.
(In the private sphere, the rules
relax.) "It's a boundary between the
genders that promotes respect, and
it's an extension of your inner
practices (of Islam) into the outer
world; practices like honesty, and
being loving, and being at peace
with oneself and one's faith and
one's community." She says hijab can
be interpreted in infinite ways by
personal choice and by Muslims in
various cultures internationally.
In Australia, where it's estimated
that just under 2 per cent of people
are Muslims, hijab instructs men to
wear loose clothing ("No Speedos!"
Ms Sabbagh laughs) and women to be
covered except for the face, hands
"But even that is a
personal choice," she says.
"Although hijab is a commandment in
Islam, ultimately it is a woman's
choice to embrace it or choose not
to practise it according to (her)
individual spiritual journey. There
are Muslims who choose not to wear
the scarf at all, and some who
choose to wear a complete covering,
including the face. It doesn't mean
they're more devout or that others
aren't. It's just their choice."
Like many Muslims, Ms Sabbagh, a
mother of three, is well acquainted
with the misunderstanding
occasionally triggered by those
choices in Australian communities.
"Particularly after September 11,"
she recalls, head shaking. "I
wondered — I just couldn't believe —
how a statement of faith (hijab)
could be so misunderstood."
Instead of dwelling on the
problem, she resolved to solve it
using one of her favourite
disciplines: fashion. Now, for
almost eight years, My Dress, My
Image, My Choice, a fashion show and
forum for Muslim and non-Muslim
women to talk about the issues in
their lives and draw comfort from
each other, has regularly led to
full houses of 200 to 300
"We use fashion to bring them
together," Ms Sabbagh says. And,
with further funding from the the
Department of Immigration and
Citizenship, the forum is now
travelling to Brisbane, Sydney,
Adelaide and Tasmania where similar
crowds are turning up to see how
women such as Ms Tufa, Saara and
Nadine Sabbagh and others capitalise
on the graceful and elegant
potential of hijab. Despite the
breadth of individual looks, common
to every interpretation of hijab is
an approach to fashion markedly
different to the mainstream's
obsession with flesh. It's a
difference that triggers some
curiosity — positive and negative —
among non-Muslims. In summer, for
example, how do Muslims stay cool?
In fact, they switch to lighter,
breezier fabrics and the effect is
probably cooler than the average
micro-mini. For Muslim swimmers,
there are also specialised garments
such as the Burqini, by Sydney
designer Aheda Zanetti.
Community Access Program at the University of Melbourne
gives you access to single subject study offered by the
National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies (NCEIS)
at the University of Melbourne.
NCEIS is currently offering the following subjects in
Semester 1, 2009 (Starting the week commencing Monday, 2
Understanding Islam and Muslim Societies
This is an introductory subject/unit that exposes
students to the basic and fundamental beliefs and
practices that constitute the fabric of the Islamic
world. Students will be able to explore relationships
and differences between the key teachings of Islam and
the customary practices of Muslims. In doing so,
students will study both unity and diversity in various
regions of the Muslim world. Historical and
anthropological approaches to studying a number of key
institutions and discourses in Muslim societies will
also be introduced.
Great Texts of Islam: Qur'an and Hadith
This subject/unit is an introduction, in English
translation, to the two most important texts of Islam,
the Qur'an and Prophetic Tradition (Hadith), which
Muslims regard as the primary sources of Islam. Students
will study: the origins of the Qur'an and Hadith; their
overall structure and content; major themes; approaches
to their interpretation; and their functions in Muslim
religious, social and political life. The themes and
topics covered should assist students in understanding
contemporary debates on the relevance of Islam today.
Students will also explore the relationship between text
and traditions in various Muslim societies in the
CAP gives you the choice to be either assessed or
non-assessed for the subject. If you choose to undertake
the non-assessed option for the subjects above, you may
do the course entirely online. Audio lectures and
reading materials are all available online, and students
will be given access to tutors and other students
through online forums and emails.
Assessed subjects completed under the CAP may be used as
credit when applying for a diploma or degree course at
the University of Melbourne. The CAP also gives you the
opportunity to have a taste and trial of what is on
offer in Islamic Studies prior to committing to a more
rigorous academic course of study in the field.
In Queensland Book For 150 Year Queensland Celebrations
Historical Society (QMHS)
is calling on all Queensland
Muslims willing to write
their story about their life
in Queensland for its
The book aims to highlight
the fact that Muslims have
lived in Queensland since it
became a state in its own
Muslims have contributed
socially, morally and
economically to make this
state one of the best places
in the world to live in.
Topics to cover include what
period in between or before
10 December 1859 to December
2009 you or your ancestors
came to Queensland; what
attracted you or your
ancestors to the state and
made you decide to settle
here; experiences gained in
settling in; how you were
accepted and integrated into
Queensland society; what you
have contributed to the
State itself to make it what
it is today.
For the early section, we
want stories from the early
families from all over
Queensland, the Mahommeds
and others in North
Queensland, Muslims living
in the outback, the
Albanians, the Indonesians,
Malays, Lebanese, Indians,
the Yugoslavs and so on.
We also want the stories of
the early Muslim families
including the Khans, Harcoos,
Schedues, Box, Mollahs,
Ranes, Howsans, Kaus, Deens.
We want you to write your
story so it can be recorded
for future generations and
should include anecdotes and
interesting stories and
photographs from the past.
Include a little of your
background such as the
conditions in the country of
your birth, why you left it
behind, the difficulties in
adapting to the new
environment, the help given
You can email your story or
discuss this further by
calling 0435 086 796 or 3344
The QMHS has arranged for a
free workshop and tour of
the John Oxley Library on
Saturday 17 January from
10am to 12pm.
This is an opportunity to
learn about the heritage
collection and resources of
The meeting will start at
the Ground floor Meeting
There are a limited number
of places for the workshop
and if you would like to
reserve a place please email
Humanitarian Program 09-10 - Submissions
There is an opportunity to
provide submission on Australia's Humanitarian Program
for 2009-10 and Beyond
Each year, the Government seeks the views of the
Australian public on the Humanitarian program so that
these can be taken into consideration in planning for
and building future years' programs.
The Government has developed a discussion paper, which
outlines how the Humanitarian Program currently operates
and provides information on its size and composition
over previous years. The discussion paper also outlines
possible options that are designed to improve the
responsiveness and delivery of the Humanitarian Program.
These are the introduction of a multi-year planning
framework for the Humanitarian Program and associated
with this, Australia making a longer-term commitment
internationally to particular protracted refugee
The discussion paper is available on the Department's
For more details about the
event and sponsorship details click
smoking: Is it safer than cigarettes?
Is hookah smoking safer
than cigarettes? Does the water used in the hookah makes
the tobacco less toxic.
myth that hookah smoking is safer than
smoking cigarettes. The tobacco is no
less toxic. Hookah smokers actually
inhale more tobacco smoke than do
cigarette smokers because of the massive
volume of smoke they inhale.
Hookah — also called narghile, shisha
and goza — is a water pipe. The device
has been used for centuries in the
Middle East and Asia to smoke tobacco.
Now, hookah bars and cafes are popping
up across the United States — fueled by
the growing popularity of hookah smoking
among teens and young adults.
smoker inhales through the tube, a
pressure difference forces air past the
heating source and heats the tobacco,
which gives off smoke. The smoke is
pulled away from the tobacco and passes
through the water and into the smoke
chamber — from which it is inhaled by
Although many believe that the water
in the hookah filters out all the "bad
stuff" in the tobacco smoke, this isn't
true. According to a World Health
Organization advisory, a typical
one-hour session of hookah smoking
exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the
volume of smoke inhaled from a single
cigarette. Even after passing through
water, tobacco smoke still contains high
levels of toxic compounds, including
carbon monoxide, heavy metals and
cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens).
Hookah smoking also delivers significant
levels of nicotine — the addictive
substance in tobacco.
The trend of hookah smoking has
doctors and public health experts
concerned because — despite claims to
the contrary by many users — smoking
from a hookah is just as dangerous as
A short poem by an Arab
poet, which describes the letting-go of a national
identity, and indeed the spirit of international social
The stranger asked me
what my country was
My country knows no exile, no “abroad”
I told her: My country is anywhere I meet
a stranger I can share friendship and love with
My country is an idea flowing with light
It is not bound to a flag or a piece of earth
I’ve left behind the tranquil motherlands
to those grown used to a settled life
I’ve raced the winds on every horizon
The winds and I have sworn companionship
Anti-ageing tips: Push yourself now and you could reap
the benefits later! Studies show elderly men and women
who carried out high-intensity workouts during middle
age had the aerobic power of people 10-12 years their
Invest some time in weight-training. We lose
muscle tone as we age, however, if you weight-train you
can actually gain muscle in later years depending on how
hard you work out. Maintaining muscle goes along with
maintaining the strength necessary to perform activities
of daily living and will help you stay independent for
Muscle mineral: Load up on potassium for a toned
physique. A banana a day may get you a firmer body.
Studies found those with high potassium diets retained
more muscle with age.
Mind your omegas: Omega-3 fats are good for
heart-health (these include fatty fish like salmon,
mackerel, sardines, ground flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts
and pumpkin seeds), so why not eat your way to a
(Source: University of Toronto, University of
Queensland, Journal of clinical nutrition)
All questions sent in are published here anonymously and
without any references to the author of the question.
KB's Culinary Corner
• 4 cups self-raising flour
• 125g butter
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1½ cups yoghurt
• oil for deep frying
• melted chocolate or glacé icing for
1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl
2. Rub in the butter and stir in the sugar
3. Add the yoghurt and make a soft dough
4. Roll out thickly and cut with doughnut
5. Heat oil for frying
6. Fry rings until golden and drain on
7. Dip in desired topping on one side only
or toss into cinnamon sugar
When making the glacé icing, use orange
juice instead of water
Sprinkle slivered almonds or any chopped
nuts after dipping in chocolate
Do you have a recipe
to share with CCN readers? Send in your favourite recipe to
firstname.lastname@example.org and be our "guest chef" for
The CCN Chuckle
Mula Nasruddin and
his friends Jallalludin and Kamalludin are talking over
coffee at the local cafe.
Kamalludin are talking about the amount of control they
have over their wives, while Mula Nasruddin remains
After a while Jallalludin turns to Mula Nasruddin and
"Well Brother Nasruddin, what about you, what sort of
control do you have over your wife?"
Mula Nasruddin says
"I'll tell you. Just the other night my wife came to me
on her hands and knees."
Jallalludin and Kamalludin were amazed.
then?" they asked.
"She said, 'Get out
from under the bed and fight like a man'."
University of Queensland,
323 Hawken Drive,
Event: Weekly Learning Circle: Sharh
Riyad-us-Saliheen (An Explanation of
'Gardens of the Righteous'
Venue: Prayer Room, University of Queensland
Time: 6.45pm to 7.30pm
Fiqh Made Easy
Room E215 Building 1 (Forgan Smith),
University of Queensland
Time: 6.30pm to 7.35pm
Tafseer al Qur'an (Explanation of the
Venue: Room E215 Building 1 (Forgan Smith),
University of Queensland
Time: 7.45pm to 9pm
Sunnah Inspirations is a
non-profit organisation to cater for Muslim
social support and supplying information to
Muslims and non-Muslims. They have
been doing various activities around
Australia, and have organised Da'wah
information stalls at various universities
in Brisbane. More info can be found on
their website above.
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