At a strapping 204cm, Year 12 Macgregor State High School student, Osama El-Mezin, has set his goals to represent Australia in volleyball in the upcoming Olympics and to play overseas as a professional.
Osama plays for his local club team, Dragons and his regional team the Met Wests.
He has already represented Queensland in the Under 17s and is currently selected for the Australian Youth 89' squad.
His list of achievements to date stand taller than his towering height and include a bronze medal at the State Championships, 7th place at the Australian Volleyball Championships and a silver medal at the Queensland Schools Cup. His school recently presented him with a bronze and silver medal for his sporting achievements, and he has also earned the prestigious title of Sportsman of the Year at his school.
His other interests include basketball, tennis, going out with friends and "having a good time".
When asked by CCN what advice he could give to fellow Muslim youngsters wanting to make it in sport, Osama had this to say: "Whatever you want to achieve not only in sport but everything (else) can be accomplished ....if (you are) determined. But never let sport come in the way of your family and religion."
He also added that he owed much of his successes to his parents, DrAdel and Zorina (a director of Asfour Crystal in the Valley), and that they have been very supportive of him throughout his career.
So the next time you see the name Osama in the news don't be altogether surprised if it turns out to be about a home grown volleyball star spiking for the big time!
SOUTH AFRICA: Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman hails from the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. He gave up his career as a medical doctor to pursue the field of humanitarian aid unconditionally, which transcends the boundaries of race, religion, culture, class, and geographical boundaries.
In 1992 he founded the Gift of the Givers Foundation, Africa's largest NGO, and has since then delivered more than 160 million Rand (approximately $ 27 million) in a 13 year period to 22 countries, including South Africa. The organization is impartial and apolitical, and aims to serve with compassion, kindness, and mercy.
The image above shows Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman receiving the Paul Harris Fellow award from Rotary.
When asked if his organization participated in helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina and South Asian Earthquake this is how Sooliman responded recently in an online Q&A session on www.islamonline.net:
We were not involved in Katrina because we believed that northern countries have resources to assist themselves. We are using our resources to assist South Africa, Malawi and Africa in general.
In terms of the earthquake we according to Sky News were one of the first 5 agencies in the world to respond to Pakistan. We took over a whole hospital in Pindi, operated on 50 patients per day, sent medical teams into the mountains, flew in 5 planes from South Africa, Dubai and India carrying tents, blankets, medicines and medial equipment.
Our work was acknowledged all over Pakistan including receiving awards for outstanding service, plus warm words from the President, Prime Minister, Health Minister, Surgeon General, Chief Relief Coordinator, and media.
Meaning behind the Gift of the Givers logo
God Almighty Exists. The large "G" represents Him. He is the Originator, Protector and Sustainer of ALL Creation. He never sleeps. It is He Who humbles the mighty, and Who exalts the humble. He is without place, yet no place is devoid of Him. He is the Greatest Giver , Giving the Gift of life, sustenance, health, knowledge, intellect, wisdom and guidance.
He is Absolute Mercy, Most Compassionate to ALL humanity, represented by the little "g". The symbol represents man in kneeling position with head bowed down and hands outstretched. Man is in need materially and spiritually. But God Almighty is closer to him than his own soul; it is man who is far from Him. He grants the supplication of every supplicant.
He is Generous. He does not withhold His Gifts from the erring. He brings to birth, yet is not born. He gives to eat, yet does not eat. He has no need of anything, everything needs Him, yet when man takes one step towards Him, the Supreme Glory takes ten steps towards man; when man comes walking, He comes running and when man comes running, He comes flying.
This is a Gracious God to Whom belong the Most Beautiful Attributes.
The CCN Corner for Ladies Only
In the last issue we told you about the burqini. If you would like more information about the swimwear then contact the local Brisbane representative, Haisam Allouche, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fury in Malaysia over Islamic bill on polygamy, divorce KUALA LUMPUR - A rebellion is stirring in Malaysia over new legislation which critics say undermines the rights of Muslim women by making it easier for men to take multiple wives and claim property after divorce.
The government was forced to strike down opposition in the usually tame upper house Senate to push through the bill last week, only to face an avalanche of protest from civil society groups and ordinary citizens.
Letters pages in the usually tightly-controlled media have also been full of complaints over the “Islamic Family Law” bill which affects Malaysia’s Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of the population of 26 million people.
“Now I learn that if my husband were to marry another, he has the right to my property to support his new lifestyle!” wrote one outraged reader of the New Straits Times.
“Another provision makes it easier for men to obtain divorce ... it is hard to imagine how much easier it can be, given the current situation where men can divorce their wives for no reason and even via SMS,” said another.
Malaysian Muslim men are allowed four wives under Islamic law, but under the new amendments they no longer have to prove they are financially capable of treating all their wives equally before taking on another.
On taking a new wife, men can now seize property belonging to existing wives, and they are also given new rights to claim assets after a divorce, as well as less obligation to pay compensation and maintenance.
“They are giving more rights to the men whilst taking back the traditional Muslim women’s rights,” said Razlina Razali from Sisters in Islam, one of several activist groups in an alliance demanding that the bill be abandoned.
“It’s not justified under Islam because Islam promotes the principle of equality and justice, and traditionally it guards the rights of Muslim women,” she said.
The provisions have already been rolled out in some states, and it hasn’t taken long for the first casualties to emerge.
Zaidah Abdul Rahman, a 44-year-old mother of three, lived in the capital Kuala Lumpur for much of her two-decade marriage, but in 2004 her husband divorced her in their one-time home state of Johor Baru where the act is in force.
Soon she found her personal bank account and that of her oldest daughter frozen, and she was forced to sell her jewellery so she could pay the bills.
After giving up her career as a real estate agent because her husband wanted her to stay at home with their children, and years of being a dutiful corporate wife with many relocations, she is furious at being left with nothing.
Once well-off, her home is now in disrepair and she has been forced to take out a court order to prevent her husband from seizing her Volvo.
CCN welcome Bilal and Sarah Solwa back to Brisbane.
The recently wed couple returned this week after first meeting in Brisbane and then getting married in Durban in September.
Bilal was a member of the Crescents of Brisbane team until he had to return to South Africa a year ago.
Buying a return ticket before you left Brisbane, Bilal, wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Sarah Joseph, an English revert who founded "Emel," a Muslim lifestyle magazine.
Europeans Revert to Islam for Peace: US Paper
CAIRO, December 27, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) - Islam is a message that appeals to more and more Europeans who are “looking for inner peace and reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society”, Muslim and non-Muslim researchers told a leading US paper Tuesday, December 27.
Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe's Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women revert each year, The Christian Science Monitor(CSM)said.
Mary Fallot, who reverted to Islam three years ago after asking herself spiritual questions to which she found no answers in her childhood Catholicism, told the paper she finds the suspicion her new religion attracts "wounding".
"For me, Islam is a message of love, of tolerance and peace," Fallot said.
Only a fraction of reverts are attracted to radical strands of Islam, researchers told the paper, adding that even fewer are drawn into violence.
"The phenomenon is booming, and it worries us," the head of the French domestic intelligence agency, Pascal Mailhos, told the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde in a recent interview.
The Monitor quoted experts as saying that admittedly patchy research suggests that more women than men revert.
However, contrary to popular perception, only a minority do so in order to marry Muslim men, it added.
"That used to be the most common way, but recently more [women] are coming out of conviction," says Haifa Jawad, who teaches at Birmingham University in Britain.
Though non-Muslim men must revert in order to marry a Muslim woman, she points out, the opposite is not true.
Fallot laughed when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision.
"When I told my colleagues at work that I had reverted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend," she recalls.
"They couldn't believe I had done it of my own free will."
In fact, she explained, she liked the way "Islam demands a closeness to God."
"Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it's easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behaviour to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points."
"There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects," Nieuwkerk said.
Those reasons reflect many female reverts' thinking, experts who have studied the phenomenon told the daily.
"A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society," Dr. Jawad said.
"They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers."
Others are attracted by "a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers," suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women reverts.
"There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects."
At the same time, argues Sarah Joseph, an English revert who founded "Emel," a Muslim lifestyle magazine, "the idea that all women reverts are looking for a nice cocooned lifestyle away from the excesses of Western feminism is not exactly accurate."
Some reverts give their decision a political meaning, says Stefano Allievi, a professor at Padua University in Italy.
"Islam offers a spiritualization of politics, the idea of a sacred order," he said.
"But that is a very masculine way to understand the world" and rarely appeals to women, he added.
After making their decision, some reverts take things slowly, adopting Muslim customs bit by bit, the paper noted.
Fallot, for example, does not yet feel ready to wear a head scarf, though she is wearing longer and looser clothes than she used to.
Others jump right in, eager for the exoticism of a new religion, and become much more pious than fellow mosque-goers who were born into Islam.
Such reverts, taking an absolutist approach, appear to be the ones most easily led into extremism, the paper claimed.
Part II reviews the assets that need to be included in an estate from both an Islamic and Australian law perspective. There is significant discussion in the book on:
what to include in an estate (under Islamic law all your possessions - from property to a teaspoon - must be included in your estate);
the implications on the inheritance by your heirs of leaving out certain assets or incorrectly valuing assets;
the need to identify who owns assets - for example who owns the family home furniture, the kitchen utensils - if they belong to the husband the wife will receive 1/8 if a child exists;
property (in Australia many of the properties that are jointly held between a husband and wife are held under a joint tenancy deed which is similar to community of property in South Africa. This is an issue as the surviving spouse inherits the property and the beneficiaries of the deceased spouse lose out. This is not permitted in Islamic law);
what to do with assets held in a trust (trusts created for tax minimisation purposes may not qualify as trusts under Islamic law and hence you need to ensure that the assets are distributed correctly);
goodwill in businesses;
superannuation and life assurance.
The book contains a number of examples to explain the various issues and contains information of possible ways to resolve them.
Part III discusses in detail the shares your heirs will receive upon your death. The book contains numerous examples and these will assist in understanding and applying the rules contained in the Quran. The book discusses the shares of parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouses and brothers and sisters.
Hard copies of the above books will be available free and anyone who wants copies can contact Farida Lambat (tel: 3844 2747).
In the next issue of CCN we will give you access to the 4th and final part in the series.
The CCN Thought of the Week
“If past history was all there was to the game, The richest people would be librarians ." ~ Warren Buffett
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