Crescents of Brisbane, AMARAH and the Islamic
Council of Queensland (ICQ) have joined forces
to deliver a series of workshops on the election and
parliamentary processes to the Muslim community
across the state of Queensland.
Ms Riffat Gurdezi (pictured left)has been appointed as the
project coordinator and can be contacted by
lunch-time meeting of leaders of community
groups and organizations (pictured above)
from a number of Muslim communities was held on
Sunday 3 April at the d'Lahore Restaurant hosted
by Dr Mustafa Ally, president of
Crescents of Brisbane, Ms Nora Amath,
president of AMARAH and Mr. Mohammed Yusuf,
president of the Islamic Council of Queensland
where the aims, objectives and format of the
workshop framework were introduced.
are plans to pilot the first of the workshops in
Brisbane in the next few weeks before taking
them out to places like Toowoomba, Cairns and
the Gold Coast over the coming months.
getting down to serious business!
newly invigorated Muslim Business Network
(MBN) committee has started its first term of
office with a business focus.
guest speakers are on the cards for what
promises to be an informative and entertaining
evening on Sales and Marketing:
Topic 1: The Do's and Don'ts of Business Success
Speaker: Carlos Rodriguez
Carlos is a business coach and business
advisor with over 20 years of experience in
helping small to medium size businesses grow
and achieve their potential.
He's deeply passionate about this area of
the Australian economy and prides himself in
providing sound quality business advice that
He'll be providing a wealth of advice that
will help you avoid common pitfalls in
business whilst looking for great
opportunities to succeed.
- How to “rejuvenate” Life back into
- The Business Cycle – The 5yr itch
- Understanding your market
- Understand who your clients are
- Employing/Contracting the right people
- Monitoring your business success into
- Success is a logical process
Topic 2: Social media: the good, the bad & the
Speaker: Luke Rowlinson
Luke started his first business when he was
at high school, a simple lawn mowing
business. Figuring at that time, he had to
work, and if so, why not do something
requiring little skill. Luke went on to
become an architect, specializing in
designing stadiums around the world;
thinking that, ‘More skill would give him
more income’. However Luke did not foresee
the amount of time that being an architect
would consume. Benefiting from the
perspective of those with the results Luke
was looking for; he discovered his greatest
asset was his commitment to ongoing learning
and personal growth. He has since developed
residual income streams, greater than the
top 1% of retirees in Australia enjoy;
Luke’s also been on the retired list of
architects in Australia since he was 29; and
he’s only 34.
Date: Wednesday 20 April 2011 Time: 7pm sharp (6.30pm registration) Where: Runcorn Function Centre, 124 Gowan
Road, Runcorn Tickets: $10 each
Refreshments will be served and there will
plenty of opportunities to network and meet
Mr Bill Testa of Pwc
speaks on the Australian taxation
treatment of Islamic Finance
Islamic finance symposium was held on 4 April at
the Griffith University, South Bank campus.
Organized by Dr Brett Freudenberg and
Dr Mahmood Nathie of Griffith University,
the symposium was attended by a number of
academics, community leaders, Imams and
primary objective of the seminar was to
facilitate a greater understanding of Islamic
finance, and its potential for Australia in the
light of such positive initiatives as the
Government's current tax review deliberations,
positions taken by financial institutions, the
legal and accounting professions and
collaborative research by academic institutions.
the speakers on the day were Ms Annabelle
Chaplain from the Board of Taxation, Dr
Akhtar Kalam, chairman and director of the
Muslim Community Cooperative Australia (MCCA),
Prof Michael Drew who spoke of the
potential of Muslims being victims of "ponzi-type"
schemes, and Mr. Clinton Woodhouse who
introduced the concept and plans for an
Australian Islamic Superannuation Fund.
Ms Shikin Marzuki
presents the finding of her PhD studies
on the Malaysian performance of Islamic
Ms Amalina Wan
Abdullah talks of corporate social
responsibility in Islamic Banks
newly formed Muslim Reverts Network has
been established in Brisbane with the purpose of
supporting new Muslims by offering a buddy
system, social services, Islam 101 lessons, and
Islamic awareness programs.
Extracts from an article
by Greg Sheridan in the
Australian 2 April 2011
1993, my family and I moved into Belmore in
southwest Sydney. It is the next suburb to
Lakemba. When I first moved there I loved it.
We bought a house just behind Belmore Sports
Ground, in those days the home of my beloved
Bulldogs rugby league team. Transport was great,
20 minutes to the city in the train, 20 minutes
to the airport.
On the other side of Belmore, away from Lakemba,
there were lots of Chinese, plenty of Koreans,
growing numbers of Indians, and on the Lakemba
side lots of Lebanese and other Arabs.
That was an attraction, too. I like Middle
Eastern food. I like Middle Eastern people. The
suburb still had the remnants of its once big
Greek community and a commanding Greek Orthodox
church. But in the nearly 15 years we lived
there the suburb changed, and much for the
Three dynamics interacted in a noxious fashion:
the growth of a macho, misogynist culture among
young men that often found expression in
extremely violent crime; a pervasive atmosphere
of anti-social behaviour in the streets; and the
simultaneous growth of Islamist extremism and
This is my story, our story and the story of a
There are two obvious, logical flaws in the way
Bowen treats immigration into Europe.
The first is that he puts the entire burden for
the success or failure of an immigrant
community's experience down to the attitude of
the host society and places absolutely no
analytical weight at all on the performance and
behaviour of the immigrants themselves.
Second, the problems that Bowen is talking about
are problems with Muslim immigrants, not with
immigrants generally. Chinese and non-Muslim
Indian immigrants have been immensely successful
in Britain. Indeed, being Indian in Britain is
Discussing these issues is very difficult. It
goes without saying that most Muslims in
Australia are perfectly fine, law-abiding
citizens. The difficulty with discussing Muslim
immigration problems is that you don't want to
make people feel uncomfortable because of their
Muslims are not only individuals, wholly
different from each other, but national Islamic
cultures are very different from each other.
The Saudi culture is different from the Turkish
culture, which is different from the Afghan
culture. So generalisations are dangerous.
Then there is the ever present risk of being
labelled a racist. No matter how calmly the
discussion is conducted, that is a big danger.
But the only people who don't think there is a
problem with Islam are those who live on some
other planet. The reputation of Islam in the
West is not poor because of prejudiced Western
Islamophobia, still less because Western
governments conduct some kind of anti-Islamic
Instead, it is the behaviour of people claiming
the justification of Islam for their actions
that affects the reputation of Islam.
In January, the governor of the Punjab province
in Pakistan, Salman Taseer, was murdered because
he opposed the severity of the nation's
One of his last acts was to visit a Christian
woman sentenced to death for insulting the
prophet. The governor's murderer won wide public
very well be
try to find
You can find
but there is
in the size
television recently showed a documentary on the
killing of Ahmediya sect members in Indonesia,
among the most liberal Muslim nations, because
their Muslim murderers regarded them as a
deviant sect. On YouTube you can watch scenes of
a young Afghan woman being publicly flogged
because she was seen in the company of a man who
wasn't her husband or brother.
In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive
In Iran, government thugs beat protesters to
death to safeguard the rule of the mullahs.
This list could go on and on. It may very well
be that the overwhelming majority of the world's
Muslims reject such actions. But it is fatuous
to try to find a similar pattern of Christian,
Buddhist or Jewish behaviour. You can find
extremists in every religion and from every
background, but there is no equivalence in the
size and strength of the extremist tendency in
Living next to Lakemba for nearly 15 years also
gave me a different view of how immigration can
go wrong. Our sons went initially to a state
primary school that had a brilliant principal
and did a fine job.
But as they approached secondary school a senior
teacher told us that our boys had academic
potential and it would be a tragedy to send them
to the local high school. It was riven with
violence and misogyny, drugs and gang and ethnic
If you find yourself unexpectedly in a war zone,
your instinct is to evacuate the family, so the
boys went to a private Catholic school, which
was racially and even religiously diverse,
though I don't believe there were any Muslim
kids there. It was excellent.
Lakemba and surrounding areas such as Punchbowl
had a large Lebanese Muslim population, many of
whom had come when Malcolm Fraser crazily
instituted a come-one, come-all admissions
policy for those claiming to be refugees from
the Lebanon conflicts of the 80s.
Replicating the European experience that the
second generation had more trouble than the
first, it was the sons of some of these
immigrants who figured heavily in anti-social
I was shocked to discover the growth of jihadi
culture in Lakemba. We used to go to its main
street for shopping and for food.
One day, waiting for a pizza order, I wandered
into the Muslim bookshop. I was astounded to see
titles such as The International Jew or The
Truth about the Pope, amid a welter of
anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and pro-extremist
from lots of
There is a
good deal of
from most of
The revenge attacks on white Australians after
the Cronulla riots originated out of Punchbowl.
A number of media crews were attacked when they
went to local mosques. A large number of those
charged with terrorism offences in Australia
stayed in or had associations with the area.
Due to the brilliant and fearless reporting of
this paper's Richard Kerbaj, who spoke perfect
Arabic, we found that at a number of the mosques
in the area outright hatred was being preached:
anti-Semitic, misogynist, conspiratorial. Most
of the time, these sermons didn't advocate
violence. The speakers were what Britain's David
Cameron has called "non-violent extremists".
The advent of satellite television made it
easier for these folks to live a life apart.
Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station was available on
satellite packages. Most Arab homes you went
into had Arabic TV playing in the background.
The anti-social behaviour became more acute.
One son was playing cricket with friends when
they were challenged by a group of teenagers,
whom they presumed to be Lebanese but may have
been of other Middle Eastern origin, who
objected to white boys playing cricket. A
full-scale, if brief, fist fight ensued.
One son was challenged by a boy with a gun.
Lakemba police station was shot up. Crime
increased on the railway line.
I was in the habit of taking an evening
constitutional, walking a long route from the
station to home. At some point it became unwise
to walk on Canterbury Road. A white guy in a
suit was a natural target for abuse or a can of
beer or something else hurled from a passing
Occasionally at the train station I was
recognised and my pro-Israel articles were not
popular, though nothing serious ever came of
The worst thing I saw myself was two strong
young men, of Middle Eastern appearance, waiting
outside the train station.
A middle-aged white woman emerged from the
station alone. She was rather oddly dressed,
with a strange hair-do.
The two young men walked up beside her, began
taunting her and then finished their effort by
spitting in her face. They laughed riotously and
walked away. She wiped the spittle off her face
and hurried off home. It was all over in a few
also be that
which has a
hear at the
These events in Lakemba and nearby are not
unique. Lots of people from lots of different
backgrounds commit violent crime in Australia.
There is a good deal of unemployment, combined
with a highly advanced informal culture of
welfare exploitation, often freely discussed at
the local schools, in the area. But Lakemba is
different from most of Australia.
A senior policeman from nearby Bankstown once
told me that policing in the Bankstown area was
unlike working anywhere else in Australia, and
he was amazed how much violent crime went
unreported by the media.
Does Islam itself have a role in these problems?
The answer is complex and nuanced but it must be
a qualified, and deeply reluctant, yes.
This is the only explanation consistent with the
fact other immigrant communities, which may have
experienced difficult circumstances in the first
generation, don't display the same
characteristics in the second generation.
But there is a deeper reason as well. As the
great scholar of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has
written: "The community of Islam was church and
state in one, with the two indistinguishably
This isn't just a theoretical observation. It
means that imams at mosques tend to be preaching
about politics, and doing so from a cosmology
deeply influenced by paranoia and conspiracy.
Many Australian Islamic institutions receive
funding from Saudi Arabia, but I know from my
work in Southeast Asia and Europe that the
Saudis almost always fund an extremist
interpretation of Islam.
To have concerns about these matters is not
racism or xenophobia. It is reasonable.
It may also be that when young men of Islamic
background experience failure and alienation
they are much more readily prone to
entrepreneurs of identity who offer them purpose
through the jihadi ideology, which has a large
overlap with what they hear at the mosque and
what they see on Arabic TV.
This is simply not true for Buddhists or
Confucians or Sikhs or Jews or Christians, and
to pretend so, to make all religions seem equal,
is to simply deny reality.
Islam is a deep sea with a tradition of much
spiritual goodness and genuine insight.
However, the Koran itself contains numerous
injunctions to violent jihad and suppression of
infidels. It also contains passages against
violence and against compulsion in religion.
These things are to a considerable extent
matters of interpretation but it is undeniable
that at the very least a sizeable minority of
Muslims choose an extremist interpretation.
is right to be sensitive and avoid needless
It is wrong to avoid reality altogether in such
an important area of national policy.
No one in Europe, 25 years ago, thought they
would be in the mess they're in today.
Australia has been a successful immigration
country. But the truth is not all immigrants are
the same. And it may be much easier than people
think to turn success into failure.
Commentary] In my books, Sheridan lost
the argument when he effused over Richard Kerbaj
as "brilliant and fearless".
Migliorino, Chair Federation of Ethnic
Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) wrote
retort to Greg Sheridan.
The Islamic College of Brisbane held its annual
Quran Competition during the week over Wednesday
and Thursday in the recently completed
Over 144 students from the primary and secondary
levels took part.
MohannedChouchane (pictured left)
was the overall winner of the secondary boys'
section and AymanZafar (pictured
right) the winner of the girls'.
Uzair and Tariq were amongst the judges over the
two-day long competition.
Ghazaleh and Imam Aslam added to the atmosphere
of the jalsa with renditions of recitations and
Imam Uzair and Mufti Zeeyad offered up words of
inspiration and wisdom to a captive audience.
event was well attended by the parents of the
of the school's Board, Mr. Mohammed Yusuf, said
in his closing speech: "I urge all parents to
attend such events to see the quality of Islamic
and Arabic education offered by the college to
CCN Photo Gallery
courtesy of Islam TV)
Habib Umar World Tour 2011 kicks of its
Australian leg in April and May over a 10 day
period in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.
According to his
Habib Umar bin Hafiz is the
Director of Dar Al Mustafa, a seminary in Tarim,
Yemen which is regarded as one of the foremost
contemporary centres of Islamic education in the
world. Habib Umar bin Hafiz is well known for
his Prophetic lineage and status as one of the
most important scholars alive today. His
scholarship and preaching is highly regarded by
Muslim communities from Indonesia to East Africa
to Muslim communities in Europe and North
America. Habib Umar also exerts global influence
through his leadership of the Ba’Alawi spiritual
and social movement with its roots in Yemen’s
Hadhramaut valley. Habib Umar was ranked 33rd in
this year’s list of the 500 Most Influential
Muslims published by an international group of
experts lead by Dr John Esposito under the
auspices of the Royal Institute for Strategic
Studies in Amman, Jordan.
Habib Umar founded and runs Dar al Mustafa, a
center for traditional Islamic scholarship that
currently hosts an array of international
students. The work of the seminary was featured
in a major
New York Times profile in 2009. He has
joined the ranks of the world’s leading Muslim
academics and scholars as a signatory of
‘A Common Word Between Us and You’, a
document that builds bridges between Muslims and
Christians. He recently spoke at Cambridge
University on the need to continue such
Habib Umar is noted for his outreach and
education efforts and over the past year has
made significant visits to South East Asia,
Australia, Spain, Morocco and now the United
State and Canada.
In July 2008, Habib Umar partnered with
Muslim Aid Australia as founder of
Yemen-based NGO Al Rafah Charitable Society to
address issues of poverty and hunger and lack of
sufficient health care in rural Yemen,
particularly the Hadhramaut region. In December
he convened a groundbreaking meeting of
Arabic-speaking ulama from Yemen and the region
to address the rise of theological extremism,
calling on influential scholars to return to and
promote theological moderation which
characterizes the Yemeni tradition.
"Today’s world is
one of rapid change, gross inequalities and
spiritual insecurity. At a time when belief in
anything is discouraged, mental and emotional
disorders are on the rise. It is a particularly
challenging time for both Muslims and non
Habib Umar’s message offers a ray of light in
these troubled times, bringing serenity to the
hearts of millions around the world. His words
are both profound and practical, and deeply
rooted in the heritage of his grandfather, the
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him."
See the CCN DATE
CLAIMER below for details of the Habib Umar "Tranquility
amidst Turbulence" Brisbane tour
There will also be a special live interview with
Habib Umar by Mark Davis from Dateline SBS.
a place in society
of the Toowoomba
Dr Shahjahan Khan
irrespective of a
call for it to be
banned, the burqa
has a place in
On Monday, France
became the first
country in the world
to place a ban
veils in public or
private with women
risking fines and or
imprisonment if they
do not comply.
The ban has caused
heated debate across
the globe and the
has backed calls
from West Australian
labelled the burqa
Australia’s way of
However, Dr Khan
said the issue
burqa is politically
motivated and people
continue to be fed
the terror attacks
“The whole issue is
motivated. There has
been a lot of
lies said about the
“The burqa is a
symbol of our
culture and heritage
and there are
certain elements and
movements within our
society that would
like nothing more
than to see that
symbol removed or
abolished,” Dr Khan
Supporters of the
ban say that the
burqa is a symbol of
deprived women from
their identity in
Khan said these
comments were purely
“ridiculous” made by
who use the topic to
create a level of
fear within the
“There is a very big
myth in the western
world that Islamic
“If you look at the
Muslim countries in
the world they have
all had female
leaders and have
done so for decades,
Australia has only
just got their
first,” Dr Khan
Dr Khan said the
burqa issue was a
good way for
politicians to drum
up support and take
the focus away from
the real issues.
“The burqa debate is
always raised when
people need the
attention taken away
from bigger issues.
“A piece of clothing
is not going to
solve the world’s
problems,” Dr Khan
Sunnybank Saints picked up their third win of
the season on Saturday night against Raceview
The Saints started the game with plenty of
enthusiasm and determiniation and it paid off
early. Mohammed Sabdia never gave up on the ball
and set up Farhaan Essof, who slotted home from
close range and the saints took an early 1-0
The rest of the first half was a see-saw affair
with both teams having their chances. Raceview
had the best chance, but Saints goalkeeper Adam
pulled off the save of the match to keep the
Saints up 1-0 at half time.
Sunnybank started the second half the stronger
of the two teams, and AhmedHassan
made the dominance pay as he slotted home for a
2-0 lead. The Saints kept piling on the pressure
and MohammedSabdia finally got
the goal he deserved.
He dribbled past two men before coolly slotting
for a 3-0 lead. The Saints looked comfortable
and happy to hold on to their lead as they
reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
Raceview were not done yet, and they got one
back when a free kick found its way past Saints
keeper Adam. In the last minutes of the game,
Raceview pulled back a second from another set
piece to set up a nervy finish.
Sunnybank held on for a 3-2 win and the 3 points
as they now look to build some momentum.
All teams will now have the Easter weekend off
to recuperate before getting back into the
2011 Census Jobs - Opportunity Knocks for
The Australian Bureau of Statistics
(ABS) is looking for over 5,500 Census Collectors in
Queensland from all cultural and linguistic
backgrounds to help conduct the Census on 9 August
With almost one in five Australians speaking a
language other than English at home, the ABS is
particularly looking for Collectors with bilingual
skills who can assist householders to complete their
Queensland Census Director, Sally Pritchard wants
people from all cultural backgrounds, who can speak
languages other than English to apply.
“Australia is an extremely diverse country. We need
to make sure our Collector team is representative of
our community, to help the ABS capture the full
picture of Queensland’s diversity,” Ms Pritchard
“Information collected in the Census is essential to
identifying and providing targeted services for all
cultural groups and their families.”
Census Collectors will pound the pavement to deliver
and collect more than 2.8 million Census forms to
Queensland’s 1.9 million households.
"People of all ages, from all backgrounds and with
wide-ranging experience have become Census
Collectors in the past, including students,
semi-retirees and stay at home parents," Ms
Census Collectors will receive between $1,300 and
$2,800 for the casual position and will be employed
from 1 July until 8 September.
Crescents of Brisbane's
Muslims & Services Expo & Forum
Sadly we missed the main part of the Expo .....
On a more serious note, we wish to say, well
done to the organisers for a very well organised, well
presented and informative expo.
To Fawzia Batty (MSEF Projector Coordinator and
member of the Crescents of Brisbane organizing
Team), 11 out of 10.
We found the expo a positive adjunct to our
We make dua that Allah rewards you all
abundantly for your efforts.
[Editor] Crescents of Brisbane forwarded CCN
some of the many
congratulatory messages on the Expo:
Thank you for a great event! It was a fantastic
opportunity for everyone to network and learn
what services are available. I thought it was
very professionally done.
Congrats on the event. Really enjoyed it.
thank you for arranging a wonderful event and
for allowing us to share our services. Please
convey my warmest appreciation to the rest of
your team. Insha Allah we can join you again in
your future events.
.....thank you for the great expo
a quick email to thank you for allowing us to
have an information stall at the Muslim Festival
on Saturday 9 April. You did a great job at
organising the event. It went very well and
lunch was delicious! We made a number of
contacts which we will be following up with in
the next few weeks. We would love to continue to
be involved with the Muslim communities in
Brisbane, so please keep us informed of any
future meetings, groups and events etc. Perhaps
we could organise a time to meet to discuss
future collaborative opportunities.
you for a fantastic opportunity to network and
meet other service providers working for the
was such a smooth organisation and fantastic
networking between Muslims and Non Muslims.
There was a wealth of information available
under one roof.
....... a wonderful opportunity to network as
well as showcase.
Congratulations to the Crescents Team for taking
the initiative to stage the expo between Muslim
organisations and government departments.
was a great opportunity for Muslim organisations
to find out what services government departments
offer in services and support and it was also a
great opportunity for the government departments
to understand the role Muslim organisations play
in society. With this information from both
sources, they can work together for the benefit
of the community as a whole.
information session with guest speakers was very
informative and there was also time to take
questions from the audience. The topics touched
on by the government departments were relevant
to the Muslim community. Also the Muslim
speakers were able to alert the government
representatives of newly formed organisations,
e.g. the new Muslim Burial Services, Muslim
venue was ideal, with the river in view of the
stands, plenty of room to move around and the
interaction of all involved was great.
may need a bigger area for stands once the
success of the event is known to the wider
community and more people become aware of the
importance of such an expo.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
acknowledged the contributions of American
Muslims at the annual U.S.-Islamic World
Forum in Washington, D.C., in which she
"I am proud that this year we are
recognizing the contributions of the
millions of American Muslims who do so much
to make this country strong. As President
Obama said in Cairo, 'Islam has always been
a part of America's story,' and every day
American Muslims are helping write our
her full speech
Ki-moon condemns desecration of Quran
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has
strongly condemned recent act of desecration
of the Quran in Florida, stressing that
“such actions cannot be condoned by any
In a meeting with a group of ambassadors
representing Member States of the
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to
the United Nations, Ban said: “The recent
burning of a copy of the Quran in the United
States and similar actions anywhere else
contradict the efforts of the United Nations
to promote tolerance, intercultural
understanding and mutual respect between
cultures and religions.”
The Secretary General termed the despicable
act of burning of Islam’s Book as
unacceptable and said he supported the UN
High Representative of the Alliance of
Civilizations, Jorge Sampaio, who noted in a
statement on Sunday that the “desecration of
the Qoran as of any text should be
The burning of the Quran sparked widespread
protests in Afghanistan in recent days, and
resulted in the killing of three UN staff
members and four Nepalese guards at the UN
compound in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif on
The Secretary-General thanked the
ambassadors for their condemnation of and
condolences for the attack on UN staff in
Afghanistan. He said such an attack cannot
be justified under any circumstances.
Alibhai-Brown's '16 reasons to ban the burqa'
on from her debate with Salma Yaqoob in the
Guardian, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s
column in the Independent dwells on the
burqa ban that came into force in France on
April 11th. Alibhai-Brown runs through a
preliminary list of sixteen objections (the
rest is available on the website of British
Muslims for Secular Democracy).
“Here is a list of my main
1. While modesty is required of Muslim men
and women and men are asked to "lower their
gazes", there is no injunction to hide the
hair, and the verses on coverings have
different interpretations. The Prophet's
wives were veiled to stop harassers and
supplicants. Saudis use big money to push
their fanatically anti-woman Islam in this
country. Each niqab is one more win in that
assault on hearts and minds.
Displaying her total lack of scholarly
credentials, Alibhai-Brown doesn’t cite the
opinions of the four major Sunni schools of
thought on the verses from Surah Noor that
deal with modesty and covering. Choosing
instead to label all juristic opinions on
the matter as petro-dollar fatwas really is
most ignorant. How many Muslim women who
cover justify their choice through reference
to Saudi scholars?
2. Iranian, Afghan, Saudi and other Muslim
women are bea2. Iranian, Afghan, Saudi and
other Muslim women are beaten and tortured
for the smallest sartorial transgression.
European Muslims donning the niqab are
giving succour to the oppressors in those
Are non-Muslim women living in Europe
then responsible for the mass rape of
Bosnian Muslims during the break up of the
former Yugoslavia and the ensuing ethnic
cleansing wars between the Croat, Serbian
and Bosnian states as they sought to
eradicate the “Muslim presence” in the
Balkans? Is any individual responsible for
crimes committed against another over which
they have no power or authority? And is it
proper to curtail the liberty of European
Muslim women to dress as they please by
benchmarking their freedoms against those
adopted by authoritarian and oppressive
states? What other lessons on liberty would
Alibhai-Brown have us take from Iran,
Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia?
3. They say it stops molestation and is a
mark of respect. Oh yeah? So tell me why
there are appalling levels of rape and
violence in Muslim lands. And by implication
do we, European women who don't cover,
therefore deserve molestation?
It is specious to invert the argument
propounded by wearers of the face veil to
presume that by their act of covering they
determine the meaning of the choice made by
others to not cover. When will Yasmin
understand that those Muslim women who adopt
the face veil are making a choice they feel
is right for them, they’re not making a
choice for all womankind, nor are their
reasons for choosing to cover applicable or
relevant to any other than themselves?
4. It is a form of female apartheid, of
selected segregation tacitly saying
non-veiled women are pollutants. There is
such a thing as society and we connect with
our faces. A veiled female withholds herself
from that contact and reads our faces, thus
gaining power over the rest of us.
The nature of society in an
industrialized economy is not anywhere near
as simple or rudimentary as “connect[ing]
with our faces”. Visual contact is neither a
necessary nor sufficient condition to
facilitate interaction, communication and a
sense of connection. People making use of
telephones, Skype or other communication
techniques are still able to feel a
connection without requiring visual contact.
And since we all enjoy the power of speech,
covered or uncovered, should we put stock in
visual contact alone and ignore other, more
meaningful, forms of interaction?
5. "Choice" cannot be the only
consideration. And anyway, there is no
evidence that all the women are making
rational, independent decisions. As with
forced marriages, they can't refuse. Some
are blackmailed and others obey because they
are too scared to say what they really want.
Some are convinced they will go to hell if
they show themselves. Some bloody choice.
What evidence is there to suggest that
these women don’t act out of choice? Alibhai-Brown
fails to cite any. Can you argue against a
proposition that has no basis or which is
And if “choice” cannot be the only
consideration, what others are there? Why
should a woman’s right to choose to cover be
sidelined but her right to make choices in
other regards, say work or politics, be
championed? Just to be clear, is the
argument being advanced that a woman’s right
to choose is not absolute but contingent on
the choices she exercises? And who
determines which choices are the “right”
6. It sexualises girls and women in the same
way as "erotic" garb does and is just as
An absurd suggestion as any will attest
who has seen a woman in niqab and burqa. As
for the “erotic garb” equivalence, will
Alibhai-Brown also then advocate for the
closure of Ann Summers’ shops on our high
streets? Or take up a campaign against
mainstream sexualisation of females through
7. When a woman is fully shrouded, how do we
know if she is a victim of domestic
Domestic violence is grossly
under-reported in the UK with analysis from
the British Crime Survey suggesting that
between 23% and 35% domestic abuse cases are
reported to local police forces.
Intervention to assist women who are
suspected of being victims of domestic
violence rests not solely on the ability to
see them but on relationships of trust. If
we opt to demonise women who wear face veils
can be seriously expect to be in a position
to help them should they need someone to
turn to in an hour of need?
8. God gave women femininity and
individuality. Why should we bury those
gifts? How grotesque to ask a woman to
parcel herself up and be opened up by only
Are Muslim women to have their right to
express femininity and individuality, these
God given gifts, determined by those who
fail to appreciate choices that don’t concur
with their own? A strange argument advancing
“individuality” when the option seems to be
“this way is the only way”.
9. What an insult this is to Muslim men –
the accusation that they will jump any woman
not protected with a cloth. Are we to assume
that sexuality snakes around every
male-female contact, even between a surgeon
and patient, bank clerk and customer,
teacher and pupil?
It is an insult indeed to suggest that
Muslim males would behave in such crude
ways. But since Muslim women who wear face
veils don’t believe this of Muslim males nor
explain their choice of dress based on such
a base definition of the male Muslim
character, what exactly is her point?
10. When on hajj in Mecca, men and unveiled
women pray together. The Saudis want to
The rites governing Hajj and the
non-veiling of women in the sacred precincts
is not something the Saudis control but
something determined by scripture and
traditions. Or is Alibhai-Brown suggesting
that the Saudis are re-writing religion for
Muslims who are, all 1.6 billion of them,
passive recipients of Saudi diktat.
11. The niqab is pre-Islamic, was worn by
upper-class Byzantine women to keep away
Are we to be constrained by historic
precedents and the meanings ascribed in the
past to forms or styles of dress today?
There are numerous examples of reinterpreted
fashions, from jeans to tans, where the
traditions or meanings ascribed to things in
the past are debunked in favour of different
meanings in the present.
And if the niqab really is pre-Islamic,
wouldn’t the first people to dispute the
practice be the “puritanical” scholars of
12. Muslim women in the 1920s and 1930s
threw off these garments to claim freedom –
my mother's generation. Their struggles are
dishonoured by brainwashed females.
Aside from the disparaging reference to
women who wear face veils as “brainwashed
females”, were the struggles of women of the
past for freedom really intended to engender
another form of oppression with uncovered
females dictating the terms of freedom for
others? What is the greater dishonour to
memory, replacing one form of cultural
oppression with another, or respecting the
rights of all women to choose, whether that
be to cover or not?
13. Veil supporters say they are going back
to the original Islamic texts and lives. But
they don't ride camels, and have mobile
phones and computers. So they can embrace
modernity but refuse to on this.
We would recommend Ms Alibhai-Brown read
Joan Wallach-Scott’s “The Politics of the
Veil”. She might learn a thing or two about
the veil and its being an expression of
modernity, not a rebellion against it.
14. These women who fight for their rights
to veil do not fight for the rights of those
of us who won't.
Nonsense. Women who choose to wear face
veils know very well that they exercise the
right for themselves alone. They do not look
to infer anything about the religiosity or
otherwise of women who don’t. What sort of
modesty would that be, to exercise humility
in respect of oneself and hubris in regard
15. They say it is free will, but in three
private Muslim schools in Britain, girls
have to wear niqab and are punished for not
obeying. The same is true in many families
This perhaps refers to the Sunday
Telegraph article stating that three Muslim
schools in the UK require females to observe
veiling as part of the school uniform.
Coercing individuals to adopt the veil is as
abhorrent as compelling women to remove
them. Why then does Ms Alibhai-Brown rail
against coercing women to wear veils but not
champion the rights of those who freely
choose to do so? Are women who wear face
veils guilty of exercising the wrong sort of
16. Most importantly, all these cloth
casings accept that females are dangerous
and evil, that their presence only creates
inner and outer havoc in men and public
spaces. All religions believe that to some
extent. Feminists must fight these
A repetition of the argument (see 9)
that Muslim males are sexual predators and
that women must cover to placate their
appetites. Such gross generalizations of the
reasons why women choose to adopt face veils
is unworthy of any educated individual. And
if feminists are urged to fight prejudice,
let them also fight the ignorance that lies
at the root of it.
This research by Irene Zempi of Leicester
University on the experiences of veiled
women living in Leicester might be of
interest to Ms Alibhai-Brown. Zempi states:
“Persistent staring, spitting, calling
names, throwing of eggs or stones, and
pulling women’s veils off are the
overwhelming types of anti-Muslim
hostilities, yet rarely reported to the
police. As a result, this victimisation
remains ‘invisible’ for police and local
Will we hear Yasmin speak out against this
victimisation or does she think these Muslim
women bring it upon themselves? We’d welcome
a response from British Muslims for Secular
Democracy on just what sort of “democratic”
society they’re working towards. And might
we remind them of these words from President
Obama's Cairo speech:
"It is important for Western countries to
avoid impeding Muslim citizens from
practising religion as they see fit, for
instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim
woman should wear. We cannot disguise
hostility towards any religion behind the
pretence of liberalism."
ISLAM TV this week
If you are unable to view Islam
TV here open this CCN newsletter in Firefox or
from the author
of A Million
book, the canvas
seems to grow,
there’s no limit
new novel, "Take
One Candle Light
a Room," is
man whose life
is changed by
is a travel
most of the
time. When she
returns to mark
the murder of
her close friend
pulled into the
involved in a
help him avoid
future that he
own fate will be
altered on this
journey as well:
her father will
secrets of his
past, and she
made in her
And all three
with the issues
of race that
light black skin
has eased her
way in the
father, who grew
up in the Jim
Crow South; and
the path of so
many other black
men his age.
Take One Candle,
Light a Room is
about the ways
in which we find
a place for
our families and
"So far I am
story! I love
strong women and
this book is
of racial abuse.
I enjoy the
author paints of
It is a book I
cannot wait to
get the time to
open often again
make this one of
and courage come
to tell the
story of a woman
like to see the cover of your favourite book on our book
KB SAYS:The flavours of this
dish are delicious and the smell of the house while it
is cooking is sensational. You can add an extra cardamom
pod to this recipe to give it a real rounded full
flavour and aroma. It will certainly make you popular
with the neighbours.
1kg lamb cut into cubes
2 onions sliced
3 Tab ghee/oil
2 Tab ginger garlic mix or ¾ Tab ginger and
1¼ Tab of garlic
1 stick cinnamon, 2 cloves (lavang) and 2
pods of cardamom (elachi)
1 tsp dhana jeeru mix (crushed coriander and
125 ml coconut milk
1 tin tomato or 4 fresh tomatoes pureed
½ cup chopped cashew nuts
1. Sauté onions in ghee until light brown,
toss in the nuts, and quickly stir fry.
2. Liquidize the onions, nuts, coconut milk
and tomatoes until fine.
3. Marinate lamb in yoghurt.
4. In a little oil braise the ginger garlic,
dhana jeeru, and add the cinnamon, cloves
and cardamom. When the aroma (in 2 seconds)
arises, add the lamb, quickly stir fry for
5mins, to seal in the juices, and then add
the liquidized mixture and simmer until meat
is well done and the sauce is thick.
5. Garnish with chopped green dhania and
serve hot with rotis or naanbread or steamed
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