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......a sometimes self-deprecating and occasional tongue-in-cheek look at ourselves and the world around us ......



Sunday, 14 December 2008

 .Newsletter 0214


News you won't find on CNN!



Muslims complete annual journey to Mecca


On foot and on the roofs of overflowing buses, Muslims poured into the holy city of Mecca for a final day on Wednesday, many of them saying they felt reborn and cleansed of sin as they completed the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Around midday, the Grand Mosque, Islam's holiest shrine, was packed with pilgrims performing the Tawaf al-Widaa, or the "farewell circling" of the Kaaba, walking seven times around the cubical structure while praying and reading the Koran, Islam's holy book.

Many of the nearly 3 million pilgrims came by bus or on foot from the nearby plain of Mina, where they had completed the ritual known as the stoning of the devil earlier in the day. Others sat on mats along the 5km route, reciting passages from the Koran while waiting for the crowds to ease.

Some said they felt their journey of faith, which began last week, had washed away their sins.

"I feel I'm reborn," said Iranian pilgrim Parviz Karimi. "Words cannot tell how I am feeling now. I feel I'm purified and that God has forgiven all my sins."

In prayers before leaving Mecca for home, pilgrims ask God to accept their pilgrimage, a once in a lifetime requirement for every able-bodied Muslim who can financially afford the trip.

Mecca's streets were filled on Wednesday with pilgrims buying clothes, electronic equipment and plastic bottles to fill up with the holy water of Mecca that is given to friends and relatives back home as gifts.

Some pilgrims spoke by telephone to give loved ones news that they'd completed the pilgrimage's rituals.

The pilgrimage began last week with the circling of the Kaaba, which Muslims around the world face during their five daily prayers. Pilgrims then went to nearby Mount Arafat, where Islam's seventh-century prophet, Muhammad, gave his last sermon in AD 632. Many spent three days and others two days at the stoning ritual in Mina.

The Kaaba, an ancient structure in Mecca's Grand Mosque, is Islam's holiest site, believed by Muslims to have first been built by Adam, then again later by Abraham.

According to Islamic teachings, the hajj is a spiritual journey that cleanses the soul.

"I feel more responsibility now after completing the hajj. God has washed away all my sins and I don't want to commit any more sins in the future. And that is a grave responsibility for the rest of my life," said Malaysian pilgrim Haji Abu Hassah Morad.

On the last day of the hajj, pilgrims also walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa inside the Grand Mosque, re-enacting the search by Abraham's wife, Hagar, for water for her infant son, Ishmael, in the desert. After her seventh run, a spring known as Zamzam emerged miraculously under Ishmael's feet.

The annual pilgrimage has so far been incident-free, unlike in previous years when the event was marred by fires and stampedes.

Saudi authorities set around 1,500 cameras to monitor the crowd at holy sites. Some 500 cameras watch pilgrims in the Grand Mosque as a way to manage the crowd and avoid congestion that may lead to stampedes.




CCN looks forward to welcoming back the Hajjis and Hajjianis from Queensland who will be returning during the course of the next few weeks.


Eid-ul-Adha in Brisbane



Eidgar at the Islamic College of Brisbane, Karawatha


Celebrating Eid on the KOOKABURRA-RIVER QUEEN 


Correction: DS Arabic Tutoring Centre


In last week's issue it was stated that the DS Arabic Tutoring Centre was operating from Bald Hills.


In actual fact the Centre is based in Bracken Ridge and is distinct from the Bald Hills Maddressah run by the Islamic Society of Bald Hills.


According to a spokesman for the Centre "the maddressah is undergoing some financial hardship and a request is being made to brothers and sisters in the wider community to kindly donate some money towards this valuable cause. The survival of the centre and with it, the Islamic education, and upbringing, of our 30 young students depends on it."


Donations can be made directly into the maddressah's bank account:
A/C Name: DS Arabic Tutoring Centre
BSB: 084365
A/C No: 821872981

Details of financial transactions can be provided upon request. Please contact any of the following people for more information:

Fahim Khondaker: 0402 139 997 Email: fakhon@gmail.com
Moulana Ikraam Buksh: 0432 389 541 Email: ikraambuksh@yahoo.com
Moulana Akram Buksh: 0431672263 Email: principal@kurabymosque.org.au


QPS scores with Premier’s Award announcement


A football tournament promoting inter-racial harmony has won the Queensland Police Service (QPS) a prestigious 2008 Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management.

Acting Police Minister Robert Schwarten said the “For the love of the game” program in the Metropolitan South Region was announced as the winner of the Engaging and Serving Communities Award on Tuesday night.

“The Queensland Police Service has a track record of delivering effective programs to the communities it represents. I congratulate all the officers involved on the program,” Acting Police Minister Schwarten said.

“These programs get at the root causes of crime. They give kids something to do, they promote harmony and they strengthen our communities. The Queensland Police Service continues to make Queensland a safe place to live and work.”

Metropolitan South Region Cross Cultural Liaison Officer Sergeant Jim Bellos (pictured right) established the program in 2005 after police in the region noticed increased tension between young people from several national groups.

“After speaking to young people, police realised they wanted to become involved in sport, in particular football (soccer),” Sergeant Bellos said.

“As a result, the idea for a multicultural football tournament was born in partnership with the Ethnic Community Council of Queensland,” Sergeant Bellos said.

Eight teams contested the inaugural tournament in 2005.

This year’s event – held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in Richlands, Inala and Darra – attracted 32 teams and 5000 spectators.

Since 2005, more than 6000 young people have taken part in the program, which has broadened to include an annual football game between police and the Sudanese community, and a rugby league match between the QPS and a local Muslim team.

Sergeant Bellos said the project had achieved more than its aims of promoting inter-racial harmony and addressing potential inter-racial violence.

“It has also raised the self esteem of at-risk young people and diverted them from crime by involving them in alternative activities and improving their relationship with local police.

“This initiative has emphasised the spirit of living in harmony in a multi-cultural society.”



The For the Love of the Game program is a unique sporting program, coordinated by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) which promotes inter-racial harmony through football and has been shown to effectively address serious community safety issues related to violence among disparate community groups.

The three main events incorporated in the program are:

QPS/Ethnic Communities Council Queensland football tournament.
QPS Muslim Rugby League Challenge.
'Bridging the Gap' Sudanese Football Tournament.


The QPS Muslim Rugby League Challenge was covered by CCN in CCN0134.


I didn't say I was role model: Hage-Ali


A former NSW Young Australian of the Year, who has admitted using cocaine, has denied telling arresting police she was supposed to be a role model.

Under cross examination in the NSW District Court on Thursday, Iktimal Hage-Ali also denied telling the officers: "How embarrassing, you must have all been laughing".

The 24-year-old is suing the state of NSW, claiming she was wrongfully arrested and detained in Sydney on November 6, 2006.

The arrest occurred eight days before Ms Hage-Ali, a member of former prime minister John Howard's Muslim Community Reference Group, was named NSW Young Australian of the Year, a title she later relinquished.

She was released without charge hours after her arrest, having told police she was a cocaine user, but had never supplied the drug.

Peter Bodor QC, for the state of NSW, suggested she said the following to police officers before an interview was recorded:

"I am supposed to be a role model, I am a finalist in the NSW Young Australian of the Year.

"I spoke at your multicultural day, how embarrassing, you must have all been laughing.

"Will the media find out? Will my work find out?"

Ms Hage-Ali denied saying those words.

Mr Bodor also suggested that when she was arrested at her family's home, her mother said: "Not Iktimal, she is a good one, you must have got it wrong".

Ms Hage-Ali also denied that her mother said those words.

The hearing is continuing before Judge Michael Elkaim.


Related articles:

Iktimal Hage-Ali depressed as parents disapproved of her

Drug-using Young Australian tells of depression

I didn't say I was role model - Hage-Ali

Cocaine use mixed with depression, says Iktimal Hage-Ali

Police said forget Young Australian quest: Hage-Ali


Simpsons Sneak Preview


If you can't wait for the Simpsons' Mypods and Boomsticks that was reviewed in last week's CCN0213 to get to our screens you can watch the episode by copying and pasting the following link in your browser:




Unfortunately, at this stage you will only be able to view the episode using the Mozilla Firefox browser.


Objections to Islamic school overruled


AN ISLAMIC school catering to more than 1000 students in Sydney's south-west has been approved, despite thousands of objections by locals.

The NSW Land and Environment Court yesterday granted approval for Salamah College to be built in Bass Hill, questioning whether such a strenuous challenge would have taken place had the school been built by members of another religious group.

More than 1800 objections were made when the development, which will include room for 1200 kindergarten to year 12 students, a gymnasium, school hall and separate 30-place child-care centre, when it was first advertised by Bankstown Council.

That number dropped to 1400 after further amendments were made to plans for the private school, to be built on a block adjoining Bass Hill High School.

Six hundred people wrote to the council in support of the school. However, the council objected to the development.

The solicitor representing the school, Jane Hewitt, said most of the written objections were sent on pro forma letters photocopied and signed by locals. There were comments about noise, traffic congestion and on whether another school was needed in the area.

"They didn't clearly raise the Muslim issue [but] it was always a hidden agenda," she said.

In his judgment, Senior Commissioner John Roseth said he believed the objections were largely because it was an Islamic school, and he wondered whether the same number of objections would have been made had it been the Anglican Church.

Commissioner Roseth granted approval to the development but asked for the plan to be amended slightly, including that the school hall be set back further from the road to allow landscaping.

Mohamed El Dana, the principal of its sister school Al Amanah College, in Liverpool, and who lodged the development application, said he expected the development to be completed quickly.


Related articles:

Green light given for Islamic school at Bass Hill

Court approves Islamic school in Bass Hill


Living a virtual world


Mohamed El-Fatatry (pictured left), an Egyptian working out of Finland, reckons now is a excellent time to create a world aimed at Muslims.

El-Fatary is the man behind the two-year-old Muxlim, a kind of MySpace for Muslims, visited more than 1m times a month by members in almost 200 countries. And this week his latest project, Muxlim Pal, a virtual world similar to Second Life, opened its doors to avatars.

El-Fatatry is an entrepreneur with an impressive track record for tailoring technology to the Islamic diaspora in innovative ways. More than a decade before popular photo-sharing websites such as Flickr, he was creating personal web pages where he and his friends could publish and comment on photographs, and by the time he was 16 he was teaching web development at the Emirates Institute of Technology.


Muxlim and Muxlim Pal are the latest in a series of Muslim-orientated web projects that began with the DigitalHalal portal, leading one profiler to describe El-Fatatry - still in his early 20s - as "the Linus Torvalds of the Muslim world".

The creation of a 3D virtual world, however, represents a different scale of ambition. Development-intensive, launched against the backdrop of a global recession and only weeks before Google plans to pull the plug on its own (never very) "Lively" digital fantasy world, it looks as if it could be a struggle. El-Fatatry, however, is undaunted. So far, Islam and the social web haven't had a completely comfortable relationship. YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, microblogging network Twitter and Google's own Blogger network - the brand giants of user-generated content - have all, at different times and in different Muslim countries, fallen foul of the censors.

Data relating to Muslim take-up of digital alternative worlds is scant, and anybody who doesn't identify themselves primarily by their religion won't easily be distinguishable by casual observation. Clearly there are Muslim communities in Second Life, arguably the internet's best-known virtual world; but they seem out of place. Then again, in Second Life, doesn't everything seem out of place?

What began as an experiment in the socialising potential of an immersive experience in cutting-edge technology has degenerated into an ethically ambiguous playground devoted to random sexual encounter, violence and the behavioural excesses largely denied in "first life".

Within this context, Muslim communities aren't offered the opportunity to express anything like a normal, multi-faceted lifestyle; and to encounter religious Muslims there feels like stumbling across an Amish village in Tokyo. They build virtual mosques, visit a virtual Mecca and distract themselves with an intense focus on religion.

In Muxlim Pal, the focus will be elsewhere, on what El-Fatatry calls "the Muslim lifestyle". But how does the Muslim lifestyle differ from the non-Muslim lifestyle? "Ah," says El-Fatatry. "That's it. It doesn't. We think of the Muslim lifestyle as a very rich experience which is not very different to any other lifestyle out there. But at the core are the core Muslim values."

These are the values, he says, that will continue to guide the discourse on Muxlim, keeping things polite; and they'll guide the behaviour on Muxlim Pal, too. They'll keep things nice.

Visually, Muxlim Pal's more Habbo Hotel than Second Life. But how specifically Muslim is it? "There's a mosque social yard, but that's about the only place related to religion," says El-Fatatry. "Pal City does, however, have a mall, a café, an arena where virtual concerts will be held. It will be an enjoyable experience for everyone, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims."

Culture-specific elements include a Pal's ability to pray; and female Pals can - should they wish - wear headscarves. What Pals do in the privacy of their own rooms is their business, but the technology for sexual activity isn't provided - not for religious reasons, says El Fatatry, but because he wants it to be family-friendly, Other than that, it will be entirely self-moderated.

Fringe elements

And this is what makes the Muxlim experiment so potentially fascinating. While the combination of anonymity and quick and easy publication has led many read-write web projects into a lowest-common-denominator mire, a waste of their technological potential (consider the comments section over at YouTube), the shared values of the Muxlim membership appear to have created something like an intelligent consensus.

Inevitably, the elephant in this particular room is religious extremism. Has the Muxlim network been tested by a fundamentalist element? El-Fatatry says: "When something like that does happen, users are very vigilant and they tell us. If enough people report something, the technology means it's automatically buried. If it happens time and again, the user account is removed. Honestly, they would find more freedom to go and express their views on YouTube. Here, their voice just won't be heard. When the power is in the hands of the majority to self-moderate, you have nothing to worry about."

El-Fatatry's argument is that the mainstream remains the mainstream, whatever fringe elements join or leave, and a mainstream that operates with shared core values will make Muxlim Pal a tolerant and enjoyable place. As Muxlim grows and reaches out, El-Fatatry says he expects that the world will be joined by security forces. Is he concerned? "We welcome on board anybody who'd like to come and look at Muxlim, and look at the community in there," he says. "Please come and create an account, we invite you, and you will find that this is a friendly, accommodating and very enjoyable experience that you might not find in many other places."

There is already a non-Muslim presence in Muxlim, says, El-Fatatry - 2% of the membership is not Muslim. He wants to increase that figure to 10%.

Missed opportunity

But what about that business plan? Two years ago, global advertising and marketing giant JWT conducted the first significant research into the Muslim market, focusing on Muslims in the US and UK.

Ann Mack, JWT's New York-based director of trendspotting, says that what they discovered surprised them. "Here was a global community who said they felt ignored by the big brands. They had money. They simply weren't addressed by the marketing community."

Marketers have apparently sleepwalked past what is possibly the largest and and most wealthy emerging global market. What the marketers lack, says Mack, is an introduction to that community. El-Fatatry hopes that Muxlim and Muxlim Pal will bridge that cultural gap and so provide that introduction.

While his vision is for a Pal City that's Muslim in ethics and character, he wants it to be global in brand representation. To that end, in-game advertising has been built into the model from the start, and El-Fatatry says he would be keen, for example,to open a virtual Ikea store within Pal City.

However, these are early days. Internet penetration in many Muslim countries is behind that in the developed world. But smart companies respond to a downturn by looking for emerging markets. With more than 20 million Muslims in Russia, a similar number in China, and a global presence of more than a billion Muslims, many located in countries better positioned to ride out the economic woes, a Muslim-friendly social web space seems inevitable.

And if Pal City lives up to its promise, it might provide an antidote to the often antisocial web of the developed world.




Related article

First Muslim-friendly virtual world goes online


iQuran Recitation Software for iPhone



Download and install the Quran and translations for free from the iPhone AppStore.

"Richly featured and fully interactive! Specially designed to allow easy reading with easy scrolling, iPhone style. With excellent built-in audio capabilities, iQuran utilizes these to provide a very satisfying recitation playback experience, excellent navigation and fast scrolling support with verse for verse recitation along with auto-scrolling and verse highlighting."



[CCN Editor] The only snag is initially having to download each sura from the Internet. So make sure you are using a wireless internet connection to complete this task. There is an option to download all the suras in one go.


BBQ in the Park


A BBQ to bring together the families of Muslim converts was held at the Glindemann Park in Holland Park yesterday (Saturday).


Some 80 people took the opportunity to meet and catch up with fellow Muslims.


The event was put together by Dr. Daud Batchelor and Ms. Aisha Dennis.

Ms. Bayaan Weise who maintains the Muslim Women's Convert Support Group website told our CCN reporter that ever since appearing in the CCN's Useful Links column they have been receiving over 100 visitors a day to their site.


The event was also an occasion to promote a series of courses being planned and targeted towards new Muslims.


It is envisaged the 13 topics will be covered over four alternate Saturdays (7, 21 March and 4, 18 April) from 9.30am to 4pm.


If you need further information or wish to enrol or know someone who might benefit from this program call 0413 067 160 or 0402 438 077.


Download the full details of the programme here.


Approval sought for burial plots


CAMDEN Council will apply to the Department of Health to have burials without a coffin at Camden General Cemetery, if a report is accepted by councillors.

The burials would be in the 70 Islamic burial plots council staff have recommended be allocated in the cemetery.

Councillors were due to vote on the recommendations at last night's meeting.

If the plots are allocated for Islamic burials, they will be oriented to face towards Mecca in accordance with Muslim tradition.

Burials within the Islamic lawn section would not be permitted to have headstones. Grave sites would be identified with a bronze plaque on a concrete path.

No objections were received from existing stakeholders of the cemetery to the allocation of Islamic burial plots.

Council staff did not support a suggestion from the Suburban Islamic Association that the fees be lowered for residents in the entire Macarthur region, not just Camden.




Victorian call for foster parents: Muslim families needed


LYSTERFIELD'S Isomer Mosque (VIC) will next week host an information session to encourage Muslim families to take on children in foster care.

Mercy Mission's Muslim community development program Daar Aasya and foster care agency Oz Child will run the December 21 session.

Daar Aasya program manager Mohamed Elmasri (pictured left) said the group hoped to train about five Muslim foster families to care for foster children either short or long term.

Daar Aasya estimates more than 100 Muslim children require foster care in Victoria every year, but fewer than five Muslim families are registered to offer care.

"Although there is a significant Muslim population in Victoria, there is an under-representation of Muslim foster carers available," Mr Elmasri said.

Muslim children had unique requirements when placed in foster care.

"This may include speaking the same language, understanding their normal household routines and eating similar food."

The foster care information session is at the Lysterfield Isomer Mosque, 1273 Wellington Road, Lysterfield, 2-4.30 on Sunday, December 21. Details/registrations: daaraasya@mercymission.org.au or on 0413127595.




A man at peace, as Amla gifts knowledge and runs


HASHIM Amla's beard attracts almost as much attention as his batting. Which is remarkable, given he will begin his first Test series against Australia with 1012 runs at 53.26 for the calendar year.


Fortunately, the South African batsman has been happy enough to field questions about his whiskers, and the Muslim faith they denote, as he has travelled the world gathering runs and respect for his cricket ability.


"I love it when guys ask me about Islam or my beard. To share knowledge is a duty," he told The Guardian during the recent tour of England, when he helped South Africa to a historic series win and was asked to compare his facial hair with that of W.G. Grace. "I have seen pictures of his beard but mine is definitely shorter. The optimum length for me, as a Muslim, is for the beard to be of fist-length. But it is not purely a tribute to Islam. If you go back many years the beard is a tribute to all the faiths stemming from the biblical Abraham — or Ibrahim, as we say in Islam," Amla said at the time.


"In the Christian tradition Jesus, peace be upon him, has a beard. In the Jewish tradition Moses has a beard. And in Islam we have Muhammad, whom Muslims believe is the final messenger, and he kept a beard because it was the tradition of all the other messengers before him. We see it as universal."


By the time Amla left England, with a series average of 45 and an effortless century at Lord's, he had transcended the curiosity value that comes from being the Proteas' first cricketer of Indian descent, and the only Muslim in the dressing room.


As one of three South African batsmen to have topped 1000 runs in 2008, he must be hoping for a similar impact this summer, when he will bat at first drop in the quest for his country's first series victory on Australian soil and, as a prominent and proud Islamic sportsman, carries more responsibility than the average No. 3.


"I am very much here with an open mind," Amla said this week, his green shirt notable for the absence of beer logos worn by his teammates, a request granted by Cricket South Africa since his 2004 debut.


"I really don't see myself a role model but … it would be very naive (to think) that a sportsman is anything but a real role model as well.


"I try to practise my faith to the best of my ability. If people see that in a positive light …


"Fortunately South Africa is a country that is very understanding. We do come from a difficult path with the racial prejudices that did exist … When I made the team and I put forward the request (to remove logos promoting alcohol) they were very much accommodating."


Amla is the son of a doctor and his grandparents hail from Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat.


He was anointed young, and led South Africa to the final of the under-19 World Cup before enduring a difficult introduction to the Test team, averaging 25 in his first dozen Tests. In an expansive interview this year with South African journalist Neil Manthorp, Amla said his religion was compatible with the discipline required to reach the pinnacle of international cricket.


He also said he had forgiven former Australian batsman Dean Jones for calling him a "terrorist" when he thought the commentary microphone was off during a match against Sri Lanka in Colombo in 2006.


His responses in that interview, published on the Cricket Nirvana website, revealed a maturity that helps explain why the 25-year-old is regarded as a future South African captain.


"We're only human. He (Jones) called me afterwards to apologise and, in the ways of our teaching, I forgave him. Why make an incident of it? He was genuinely sorry and I accepted that," said Amla.


"When you're playing for South Africa you know the spotlight is on you. I've always believed that when you're on the cricket field it's all about performance …


"You want to do the country proud. If people want to see me as an Indian or a Muslim, that's up to them.


"But I'm a South African trying to win a game for South Africa. I guess I do stick out."


If he can prosper in Australia, it will be his batting rather than his beard that stands out.




Related articles

Protea Hashim Amla cops world of attention on the chin

Mumbai attacks: Amla says no right thinking Muslim should be doing that

Tourists dismiss fears over racial abuse

Around the Muslim World with CCN


Secularism in Egypt  

The last 30 years in Egypt have seen a rise in Islamic fundamentalism, attacks on religious minorities, and evidence of increasing right win militancy among some Christian communities who are under attack.

And all this is occurring within a political context of the suppression of opposition parties, and flagrant human rights abuses of pro-democracy activists.

Egypt has been ruled under an emergency law since 1981, which allows authorities to ban strikes, demonstrations and public meetings; to censor or close down newspapers and other media, and to monitor private letters and phone calls.

But the internet generation in Egypt has begun to organise and create new spaces for people and ideas to meet, and they're not about to back down.

Here's Nadyat El Gawley on the growing debate around secularism in Egypt, and the passions that drive it.

Read the ABC Religion Report transcript or listen to the audio....



New Zealand MPs sworn into Parliament

Parliament's 122 MPs were sworn in during the week, 35 of them for the first time.

The proclamation issued by Governor-General Anand Satyanand, summoning the 49th Parliament, was read by Chief Justice Sean Elias and the oath of allegiance was administered by the Clerk of Parliament, Mary Harris.

All MPs declared their true allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.

Most MPs swore their oaths on the Bible while others chose to attest. Labour's Ashraf Choudhary again swore an oath on the Koran, as did other Muslim members.

Most Maori MPs took the oath in Maori, and the Maori Party's Hone Harawira read his own declaration, which included allegiance to the Treaty of Waitangi, before reading the official version.

Labour MP Su'a William Sio had wanted to take his oath in Samoan but was told it had to be in the official languages of English or Maori.

However, he was allowed to speak it in Samoan before taking the oath in English.

Read the rest.....



500 French-Muslim war graves at Notre-Dame-de-Lorette desecrated

VANDALS daubed swastikas and anti-Islam slogans on 500 graves of French Muslim war veterans in an attack President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned as "revolting."

It was the third time over the past two years that Muslim tombstones were desecrated at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette cemetery, one of the nation's biggest military graveyards, in northern France.

About 500 of the 576 Muslim graves were defaced on Sunday, the eve of Islam's Eid al-Adha feast, and the damage was discovered early on Monday by a passerby, state prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi told reporters at the scene.

Read the rest.....



Muslims must speak out

On Line Opinion

...indifferent at best and shameless schadenfreude at the worst in the main Muslim street. The latest attacks in Mumbai should signal the end of...


Full Article



French Muslim girls lose veil case at court

Europe's human rights court has thrown out a complaint by two French Muslim girls who were expelled from their school for refusing to remove their headscarves during sports lessons.

France, which takes secularism in state schools very seriously, passed a law in 2004 banning pupils from wearing conspicuous signs of their religion at school after a decade of bitter debate about Muslim girls wearing headscarves in class.

"The court observed that the purpose of the restriction on the applicants' right to manifest their religious convictions was to adhere to the requirements of secularism in state schools," the European Court of Human Rights said.

The two girls were 11 and 12 when they were expelled in 1999. After French courts ruled against them, they complained to the European court that their school had violated their freedom of religion and their right to an education.

Read the rest.....



20 young doctors graduate in Somalia, first in years

They dodged fire-fights on their way to school, manoeuvring through one of the world's most violent cities. Yet 20 men and women accomplished something that nobody in Somalia has done in nearly two decades: They graduated from medical school.


With the men wearing suits and ties and the women in Muslim headscarves, the graduates smiled for a portrait and hoisted their diplomas in the air after a six-year program. Given Somalia's chaos, it is likely the medical degrees will be recognized only in Somalia, not overseas.

Read the rest.....



When town halls turn to Mecca


For many European municipalities and a few American ones accommodating Islam is a big dilemma—but not an insoluble one.

IN CITIES all over Europe, mayors are fretting about the coming religious festivities. No, not just Christmas lights. They want to ensure hygiene and order in the slaughter of sheep for the feast of Eid al-Adha on December 8th. This remembers the readiness of Abraham—the patriarch revered by all three monotheistic faiths—to sacrifice his son. Muslims often sacrifice a lamb, whose meat is shared with family members and the poor.

In the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, where the dominant culture is that of Morocco, a circular from the district authorities reminds residents not to kill animals at home. It invites them to a “temporary abattoir” that will function for 48 hours in a council garage. Molenbeek is one of four areas of Brussels which have set up makeshift slaughterhouses, each with a capacity of at least 500 sheep. 


Read the rest.....



Hockey and hijab


Home to the auto industry—and American Islam

THE gym at Bridge Academy is full of children playing floor hockey. Boys and girls squeal as they chase the puck; a helpless teacher looks on. A homely American scene, except that most girls wear the hijab. This is Hamtramck, a town within the borders of Detroit, where the Muslim factor plays big in local politics.

In America as a whole, the fate of Muslims differs confusingly from the situation in Europe. American Muslims are in many ways better integrated and more successful. The constitutional right to freedom of religion protects their right to build mosques. But many report a recent rise in anti-Muslim prejudice, especially in parts of America where Islam is a little-known “other”. Greater Detroit is different; Islam is a formidable force in public affairs. Michigan’s first Muslim state legislator served in the 1960s. The first female Muslim legislator was elected last month. In Hamtramck, two out of six councillors are Muslim.

Read the rest.....


The CCN Readers' Book Club: You are what you read!


Thinking of forming a Book Readers Club?

Visit this link for tips for book clubs


This week





John Carroll


Book Review at Shelfari: Is the modern West lost in a crisis of meaning? Or are events like those surrounding the death of Princess Diana, signs of something else? Could they be the expressions of the drive to find a myth we can all believe in? Ego and Soul is an engaging and lucid look at where Western society is heading as we approach the new millennium. Modern preoccupations such as work, sport, computers, cars, and the celebrity cults of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley are sifted through classical themes as John Carroll finds evidence we are in our everyday lives inhaling that deepening sacred breath.



Would you like to see the cover of your favourite book on our book shelves below?

Then simply email the title and author to thebookclub@crescentsofbrisbane.org


Double click a book cover to find out what others think of the book


CCN has set up an online Book Club at Shelfari to connect with CCN book readers at:


Using the book club you can see what books fellow CCN readers have on their shelves, what they are reading and even what they, and others, think of them.

The CCN Readers' Book Club

Kareema's Keep Fit Column





Q: Dear Kareema, any tips on sticking to our fitness goals for 2009?







A: STAY POSITIVE - when you have bad days/weeks as far as your fitness regime is concerned, appreciate how much you've achieved & endeavour to work harder during your next training session!

DON'T MAKE EXCUSES - get moving & stay on track. Do whatever exercises you can whenever you have time.

GO EASY ON YOURSELF - think about working towards your fitness goals properly, not perfectly.

ALWAYS HAVE FUN - if you enjoy your workouts you'll want to keep on going.

REWARD YOURSELF - as you achieve each goal, treat yourself!!




My Health and Fitness

Tel: 0404 844 786

(Accredited Member of Fitness Queensland)



Need an answer to a fitness related matter? Send your question to Kareema at  fitness@crescentsofbrisbane.org.

All questions sent in are published here anonymously and without any references to the author of the question.


KB's Culinary Corner





Bilkish’s hints for this recipe:


* For biscuit crumbs can use “Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits”  ...about half a packet.

* You can use more lemon juice if mangoes don’t have flavour for a more tangy taste.

* Place the gelatine and boiling water over another bowl of hot water to melt. Otherwise it tends to  crystallize. Try not to use a microwave.

* Use a food processor to beat the cheese and then add sugar, then cream (not whipped).  Don’t overbeat.

* Then fold in rest of ingredients.

* A syrup made with sugar, water and passion fruit can be drizzled, to decorate the top.



Do you have a recipe to share with CCN readers?
Send in your favourite recipe to ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org and be our "guest chef" for the week.


The CCN Chuckle


Our Jallaludin was the local weatherman who, despite his training and sparkling credentials, ran into a terrible unlucky streak.

He became something of a local joke. The town’s newspaper began keeping a record of his predictions. A year later, the paper reported that he’d been wrong almost three hundred times in a single year.

Unable to handle the pressure, the weather station manager fired him.

So Jallaludin moved far away and applied for another job as a weatherman.


When he got to the question on the application about why he had left his last job, he wrote, “The climate didn’t agree with me.”

The Notice Board


Click on image to enlarge



IWAQ Youth Info

& Activity

Camp Day

IWAQ Swimming





The CCN Date Claimer






(Click on link)





14 December


Free Eid BBQ & Kids Entertainment: All welcome

Australian International Islamic College

Blunder Rd, DURACK

3372 1400


14 December


Somayo: Youth, Identity, Career Paths and Education

Supported by Al-Nisa & MYServices

Griffith University

0402 529 395


20 December


Youth Info & Activity Camp Day

IWAQ and the Queensland Police Service

Kindilan Outdoor Education and Conference Centre
Redland Bay

3272 6355


21 March


Harmony Day Fund Raiser Dinner: Milperra High School

Crescents of Brisbane, Kuraby and Chinese Lions

Michael's Restaurant

0402 026 786


17 May



Crescents of Brisbane

Orleigh Park, West End

0402 026 786

7am to 1pm


To claim your date for your event email ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org.





The ladies taleem has concluded for this year. Further notice will be given in the New Year.


Sunnah Inspirations


Contact: 0408 270 421

University of Queensland,
323 Hawken Drive, St. Lucia

Every Monday

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


Every Friday

Subject: Fiqh Made Easy

Venue: Room E215 Building 1 (Forgan Smith), University of Queensland

Time: 6.30pm to 7.35pm

Every Friday

Subject: Tafseer al Qur'an (Explanation of the Qur'an)

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.


CCN @ Facebook


Catch Crescents Community News at


Please feel free to post an entry on our Wall, start up a Discussion thread and/or become a Fan.


Useful Links


Queensland Muslim Historical Society Inc.

     Promoting the study and awareness of the rich history of the Muslims of Queensland


Young Muslims of Queensland

     Social network for young Muslims of Brisbane


Sunnah Inspirations

     Providing information about Islam - its beliefs, culture, practices, dispelling misconceptions


Kuraby Mosque


Holland Park Mosque



    Provide young Muslim women in Queensland with support and opportunities to express themselves


Gold Coast Mosque


South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA)


Muslim Womens' Convert Support Group (MWCSG)

     Network of Muslim women converts from the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas of Queensland.



If you would like a link to your website email ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org.


Write For Us

The best ideas and the best feedback come from our community of readers. If you have a topic or opinion that you want to write about or want seen covered or any news item that you think might be of benefit to the Crescents Community please e-mail



Share your thoughts, feelings and ambitions for our community through CCN.


If there is someone you know who would like to subscribe to CCN please encourage them to send an e-mail to ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org with the words “Subscribe Me” in the subject line.


Articles and opinions appearing in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Crescents of Brisbane Team, CCN, its Editor or its Sponsors, particularly if they eventually turn out to be libelous, unfounded, objectionable, obnoxious, offensive, slanderous and/or downright distasteful.


It is the usual policy of CCN to include from time to time, notices of events that some readers may find interesting or relevant. Such notices are often posted as received. Including such messages or providing the details of such events does not necessarily imply endorsement of the contents of these events by either CCN or Crescents of Brisbane Inc.