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



Sunday, 17 April 2011

 Newsletter 0336



Democracy workshops across the State


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 email at info@amarah.org.


A 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.


There 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.

MBN getting down to serious business!


The newly invigorated Muslim Business Network (MBN) committee has started its first term of office with a business focus.


Two 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 gets results.
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 your business
- 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
- Success is a logical process

Topic 2: Social media: the good, the bad & the ugly
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 others!



Islamic Finance


Mr Bill Testa of Pwc speaks on the Australian taxation treatment of Islamic Finance

An 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 financial advisors.


The 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.


Among 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 Mutual Funds.

Ms Amalina Wan Abdullah talks of corporate social responsibility in Islamic Banks  

Mr Husain Surtie, Mr Zuniad Cheniah and Mr Mahmood Twiggy Surtie

Panel discussion

Network for new Muslims


A 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.


For more details email info@muslimreverts.org.au or go to their website www.muslimreverts.org.au.

How I lost faith in multiculturalism

Extracts from an article by Greg Sheridan in the Australian 2 April 2011


IN 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 worse.

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 jihadi culture.


This is my story, our story and the story of a failed policy.



....... 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 extremely chic. 

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 extremely chic.


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 religion.

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 propaganda.

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 blasphemy laws.

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 support.

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 other religions.

ABC 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 cars.

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 other religions.




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 conflict.

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 activities.

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 literature.

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.

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 car.

Occasionally at the train station I was recognised and my pro-Israel articles were not popular, though nothing serious ever came of these incidents.

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 seconds.

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.

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 interwoven."

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.



It is right to be sensitive and avoid needless offence.

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.



[CCN Commentary] In my books, Sheridan lost the argument when he effused over Richard Kerbaj as "brilliant and fearless".

Read the full article


Pino Migliorino, Chair Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) wrote this retort to Greg Sheridan.

ICB Quran Competition


The Islamic College of Brisbane held its annual Quran Competition during the week over Wednesday and Thursday in the recently completed multi-purpose hall.


Over 144 students from the primary and secondary levels took part.


Mohanned Chouchane (pictured left) was the overall winner of the secondary boys' section and Ayman Zafar (pictured right) the winner of the girls'.


Imams Uzair and Tariq were amongst the judges over the two-day long competition.


Imam Abu Ghazaleh and Imam Aslam added to the atmosphere of the jalsa with renditions of recitations and nasheeds and Imam Uzair and Mufti Zeeyad offered up words of inspiration and wisdom to a captive audience.


The event was well attended by the parents of the school.


Chairman 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 our children."


The CCN Photo Gallery

(photos courtesy of Islam TV)



Habib Umar Tour


The 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 website:


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 dialogues.

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 Muslims alike.

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 appearances.

There will also be a special live interview with Habib Umar by Mark Davis from Dateline SBS.

Burqa has a place in society


THE founding president of the Toowoomba Islamic Society Dr Shahjahan Khan said that irrespective of a call for it to be banned, the burqa has a place in Australia’s multicultural society.

On Monday, France became the first country in the world to place a ban wearing full-faced 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 Federal Opposition has backed calls from West Australian minister Robyn McSweeney who labelled the burqa “alien” to Australia’s way of life.


However, Dr Khan said the issue surrounding the burqa is politically motivated and people continue to be fed misinformation since the terror attacks in 2001.


“The whole issue is just politically motivated. There has been a lot of misinformation and lies said about the Islamic religion since 9/11.


“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 said.


Supporters of the ban say that the burqa is a symbol of oppression and deprived women from their identity in society.

Dr Khan said these comments were purely “ridiculous” made by uneducated people who use the topic to create a level of fear within the community.


“There is a very big myth in the western world that Islamic women are oppressed."


“If you look at the largest populated 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 said.


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 said.


The Chronicle



Read what American Muslim Women think of the ban

The Batchelors burrow themselves out of Groundhog days




Umar Batchelor of Brisbane (and FAMSY fame) made the momentous decision of abandoning his exciting and fulfilling (?) job at the tax office to travel the world with his wife, Hanan.


In March they landed in Indonesia on the start of a 10-month journey that will take them westwards to destinations unknown.


You can follow their adventures at www.ourwanderings.com.



Saints Get Win After Scrappy Finish


Sunnybank Saints picked up their third win of the season on Saturday night against Raceview White.

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 lead.

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 Ahmed Hassan made the dominance pay as he slotted home for a 2-0 lead. The Saints kept piling on the pressure and Mohammed Sabdia 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 action.

The CCN Middle Link


2011 Census Jobs - Opportunity Knocks for Bilingual Speakers  

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 2011.

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 form.

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 says.

“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 Pritchard adds.

Census Collectors will receive between $1,300 and $2,800 for the casual position and will be employed from 1 July until 8 September.

Applications are open 9 April until 5 May 2011. Apply online at www.abs.gov.au/census or call 1800 420 182.

Two IWAQ positions available  

1. Front Desk Receptionist and Selection Criteria


2. Senior Administrator


Muslim Salughtermen wanted

Oakey Abattoir

Multi-Faith Centre Director 
The position of Director of the Multi-Faith Centre at Griffith University is currently being advertised. The closing date for applications is 29 April 2011.


More information.

The Inbox



RE: Crescents of Brisbane's Muslims & Services Expo & Forum (MSEF'2011)



Dear Editor,



Sadly we missed the main part of the Expo ..... the Lunch.  


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 business.


We make dua that Allah rewards you all abundantly for your efforts.


Names withheld


[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.


I 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


Just 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.


Thank you for a fantastic opportunity to network and meet other service providers working for the Muslim Community.


It 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.

It 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.

The 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 Medical Group.

The 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.

We 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.

Bosnian Readers' Update

By Safet Avdich 



Latest issue

Around the Muslim World with CCN


Clinton on US Muslims

USA: 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 said:


"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 story."



her full speech



Ban Ki-moon condemns desecration of Quran


UNITED NATIONS: 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 religion.”

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 vehemently repudiated.”

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 Friday.

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.





Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's '16 reasons to ban the burqa' (Commentary by Engage)


Following 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 objections:

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 countries.

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 not substantiated?

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” ones?

6. It sexualises girls and women in the same way as "erotic" garb does and is just as obscene.

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 fashion?

7. When a woman is fully shrouded, how do we know if she is a victim of domestic violence?

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 her husband.

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 change that.

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 from riff-raff.

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 Saudi Arabia?

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 of others?

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 and communities.

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 free choice?

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 prejudices.

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 authority.”

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."

New on ISLAM TV this week


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

This week a

CCN Reader



Take one candle Light a room


Susan Straight



A luminous novel from the author of A Million Nightingales (“With every book, the canvas seems to grow, suggesting there’s no limit to where Straight will take readers next.”— Los Angeles Times ).   


Susan Straight's new novel, "Take One Candle Light a Room," is about an orphaned young man whose life is changed by teachers.


Fantine Antoine is a travel writer, a profession that keeps her happily away from her southern California home most of the time. When she returns to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of her close friend Glorette, she finds herself pulled into the tumultuous life of Glorette’s twenty-one-year-old son, Victor.


After getting involved in a shooting, Victor— Fantine’s godson—has fled to Louisiana. Together with her father, Fantine follows Victor, determined to help him avoid the criminal future that he suddenly seems destined for.  


But Fantine’s own fate will be altered on this journey as well: her father will reveal the wrenching secrets of his past, and she will be compelled to question the most essential choices she’s made in her life.


And all three characters will come face-to-face with the issues of race that beset them:


Fantine, whose light black skin has eased her way in the world; her father, who grew up in the Jim Crow South; and Victor, whose fall into violence mirrors the path of so many other black men his age.  


Take One Candle, Light a Room is a powerfully moving story about the intricacies of human connection, and about the ways in which we find a place for ourselves within our families and the world.



Readers' comments


"relishing this book right now"


"So far I am loving the story! I love stories about strong women and this book is about survivors of racial abuse. I enjoy the portraits the author paints of her characters. It is a book I cannot wait to get the time to open often again and again!"


"Poetic prose, dynamic characters, and vibrant settings make this one of the most beautiful books every written. Tragedy, love, and courage come together with outside forces to tell the story of a woman searching for herself".



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

The CCN Bookshelf

Share a book review on Shelfari, where this reader meets fellow readers.

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

KB's Culinary Corner


Lamb Korma with Cashews 


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 cumin seeds)
1tsp salt
125ml yoghurt
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 basmati rice.


Do you have a recipe to share with CCN readers?

Send in your favourite recipe to me at kbcooks@crescentsofbrisbane.org and be my "guest chef" for the week.


Kareema's Keep Fit Column


Q: Dear Kareema, my daughter is 13yrs old and our doctor has told us that she needs to lose weight and try to be more active. Is she too young to take along to the gym with me?

A: Most gyms now are kid-friendly with special classes for mums and daughters etc.


She may be too young to do weight training, but should be ok to participate in most classes.


Keep in mind that kids need at least 1 hr of exercise a day, so don't just rely on getting her to the gym, plan to be more active daily.


Walking to and from school is a great way to start if it is close enough.


Try packing healthier options for lunch too.


Lead by example and she'll find the changes easier to manage.







My Health and Fitness

Tel: 0404 844 786


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.

The CCN Chuckle


Arnie, a typically brash and loud young American, was on a short holiday break in Mula Nasruddin's country hometown.


Arnie needed to ask for directions to the city and happened to bump into the good man himself.


He called out to Mula Nasruddin. 'Yo, feller, could you possibly tell me the quickest way to the city?'

Mula Nasruddin replied, 'Are you driving or walking, brother?'

Arnie quickly replied, 'Driving.'

Mula Nasruddin, nodded wisely, saying: 'Brother, that would certainly be the quickest way'.


Notice Board


Click on image to enlarge


Events and Functions

Muslim Business Network


Algester Mosque Brunch

Habib Umar's "Tranquility amidst Turbulence" Tour

Fear of the Other:
Asylum Seekers - Religion and Culture

Racism & Discrimination workshop

Islamic College of Brisbane

Annual Fete

Family Fun Night: Hangi - Lovo

Annual Fete 

Islamic Programmes, Education & Services

Kuraby Mosque Islamic Classes during School Holiday

Sisters House Accommodation Register

Qari's Classes

Free Adult Classes and Madressa For Children at Al-Mustapha Institute

Child Care Course

FREE Baby Massage

Classes IAIM

Brisbane  Muslim Burial Society (BMBS)

pdf version


Seerah Classes UMB

Qu'ran Reading & Islamic Studies

Kuraby Mosque


in Robina

New Muslim Classes

Window into Islam

English Tutor

AIIC performance

AIIC Gold Coast campus

Islamic College of Brisbane



"Purification of the heart" Seminar

Maths Tutoring service

From years 6-10

Math A, B and C for years 11 &12
Ahlam Haddad

Tel: 32191554

email: haddada5@hotmail.com.

Businesses and Services

The CCN April Business of the Month


(Every month CCN showcases a business here)


Authentic South African Beef Biltong

Priced from $5

Contact Imraan on 0421 741 424

Comes in traditional and peri peri flavours

Love ur Body



Nandos Mt Gravatt

Junaid Ally

Ray White

Islamic Couture

FAMSY Bookstore

AK Surtie


Hummy's Automotive

Prop: Mohammed Shabbir


Brisbane Diagnostics

Kuraby Seafood Takeaway



Mina Collection

Stick On Labels

ACCES Services

Removal Services


Calamvale Central
Compton Road

Tel: 07 3272 2299

Want an effective treatment to clean out BAD CHOLESTROL and PLAQUE from your arteries?
ArgiNox Maintain is available from Zakiya Sacur - 0433 270 770. Book your consultation now

Shop 45A Inala Plaza

156 Inala Avenue, Inala 

Carpet Lifesavers

Rawlins Taekwondo




Migration Agent


Phone: 3397 6863
Mob: 0431 446 528
910 Logan Rd

Holland Park West

Hydrotherapy & Swimming

classes for Muslim women

pdf version

InWear fashions

Kimaya Fashions

Bilal Solwa @ Reed

Healthy Life


The Quran Pen Reader

online at


Yasmeen Seedat

Accounting Services

Nazima Hansa

your one-stop real estate shop



Body & Beauty

Brochure (pdf)


Table & Chair Hire


Additional contact:

Ahmed Hassan

0433 531 593

The CCN Date Claimer


"If it's not here ....it's not happening!"l)




(Click on link)





10 April


Fun Day BBQ



48 Learoyd Road, Algester

0419 786 092

11.30am to 2.30pm

20 April


Muslim Business Network: Business Talks



Runcorn Function Centre, 124 Gowan Road, Runcorn

0422 191 675

6.30pm for 7pm

30 April


Racism & Discrimination Workshop



Griffith University, Nathan Campus

0422 585 179

10am to 3pm

1 May


Islamic College of Brisbane  Annual Fete

45 Acacia Rd, Karawatha

0402 794 253

12pm to 8pm

2 May


Habib Umar's "Tranquility amidst Turbulence" Tour


Kuraby Mosque


10am to 11.30am

2 May


Habib Umar's "Tranquility amidst Turbulence" Tour

Griffith University, Multi-faith Centre


1.30pm to 3pm

2 May


Habib Umar's "Tranquility amidst Turbulence" Tour


Kuraby Mosque


7.30pm to 9pm

8 May


Annual Family Brunch

Beenleigh Events Centre (Cnr Crete & Kent Sts, Beenleigh)

0421 326 376

11am to 2pm

21 May


Family Fun Night: Hangi - Lovo

724 Blunder Rd. DURACK

3372 1400

6.30pm to 9.30pm

12 June


Annual International Food Festival

Islamic Society of Gold Coast

The Gold Coast Mosque

0412 601 152

All day

18 June


Ladies Hair & Makeup Workshop

Springwood Community Centre

0404 296 297


29 June



Lailatul Mehraj

18 July



Lailatul Baraat

24 July


9th Annual College Fete

724 Blunder Rd. DURACK

3372 1400

from 10.30am

2 August



Start of Ramadhan

28 August



Lailatul Qadr

31 August



End of Ramadhan

1 September




3 September



Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

0418 722 353

All day

18 September



Orleigh Park, West End

0402 026 786


7 November




11 or 12 November


Dreamworld 2011


0418 722 353


27 November



Islamic New Year

6 December



Day of Ashura


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




Ladies Taleem


Taleem will take place on Thursday 11am-12pm at the residence of


Ms Sharifa Gutta

5O Caribbea Street

Eight Mile Plains

Tel 3219 0587



Queensland Police Service/Muslim Community Consultative Group


Meeting Dates:

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Wednesday 16 November 2011


Metropolitan South Regional Office
1993 Logan Road, Upper Mt Gravatt




For more information and RSVP:

Sergeant Jim Bellos at Bellos.Dimitrios@police.qld.gov.au


Girls Game Night

Sitting at home on a Saturday Night?

Want to do something constructive, but FUN?



Inspiration talk, pizza, BBQ, fun and games

Topics that are relevant, Iman-boosting and mind-capturing.
Where: AMYN Islamic Youth Centre, 16/157 North Road, Woodridge
When: Every Saturday,after Maghrib
Everyone is invited



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



Sunnah Inspirations

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

Kuraby Msque

Holland Park Mosque


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

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC)

Islamic Schools, Halal Services and a whole lot more...

AFIC Schools

www.mfis.com.au (Malek Fahd Islamic School, Sydney, NSW)
www.islamiccollegeofbrisbane.com.au (Islamic College of Brisbane, QLD)
www.icosa.sa.edu.au (Islamic College of South Australia, SA)
www.afic-lic.com.au (Langford Islamic College, Perth, WA)
www.islamicschoolofcanberra.act.edu.au (Islamic College of Canberra, ACT)

Karratha Muslims (Muslims in Western Australia)

Islam TV

Recording of lectures and events in and around Queensland

The Muslim Directory

Carers Queensland

Free service for multicultural clients who are carers, elderly and people with disabilities

Brisbane Muslim Burial Society (BMBS)

Muslim Charitable Foundation (MCF)

Co-ordinated collection & distribution of: Zakaah, Lillah, Sadaqah, Fitrana, Unwanted interestCo-ordinated collection & distribution of: Zakaah, Lillah, Sadaqah, Fitrana, Unwanted interest

Islamic Medical Association of Queensland (IMAQ)

Network of Muslim healthcare professionals

Al-Imdaad Foundation (Australia)

Australian Muslim Youth Network (AMYN)
Find out about the latest events, outings, fun-days, soccer tournaments, BBQs organised by AMYN. Network with other young Muslims on the AMYN Forum

Islamic Council of Queensland  

Umbrella body representing various Mosques and Societies in Queensland

Muslim Reverts Network

Supporting new Muslims


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.

Australian International Islamic College (Durack)

Kotku Mosque - Dubbo NSW

Islamic Society of Algester

Jamiatul Ulama Western Australia

Body of Muslim Theologians (Ulama, Religious Scholars)

Islamic Women's Association of Queensland (IWAQ)

Community based, not-for-profit organisation providing Settlement, Aged Care, disability, social activities and employment opportunities.

Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY)

Queensland Intercultural Society (QIS)

GIRU – Griffith Islamic Research Unit

          Qld Stories link or YouTube link

Gold Coast Halal Certification Services (GCHCS)

Muslim Aid Australia

Serving Humanity

Human Appeal International Australia  Always with you on the road to goodness

Al-Mustapha Institute of Brisbane  

Preserving the Past, Educating the Present to Create the Future

Islamic Society of Darra

Qld Muslims Volunteers

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 ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org.


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 libellous, 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.