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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Newsletter 0118

لسلام عليكم

Abrahamic Faiths Forum

Report by our Man-on-the-Mussallah


Delegates meeting and greeting

The Abrahamic Faiths Forum held at Parliament House during the week attracted some 200 delegates from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities.


The Forum facilitator, ABC radio presenter and part-time resident of Fez in Morocco, Sandy McCutcheon, had his task made all too easy by the rather amiable and convivial atmosphere that prevailed through the day.


The proceedings kicked off with a welcome to country by Auntie Velda, an opening address by Minister for Environment and Multiculturalism, Lindy Nelson-Carr, and prayers by Rabbi Jaffe, The Right Reverend Bishop Jonathan Holland and Imam Imraan Hussain.

Three keynote speakers, Ms Franceska Jordan, Rev Professor James Haire and Dr Mohamad Abdalla, shared their experiences and suggested ways of "promoting community harmony in times of ease and difficulties" - the central theme of the forum.


Rev Haire described his role as peace broker between Muslim and Christian militia in the Indonesian province of Ambon and the pledge of the two warring factions that they will "never allow it to happen again!".


The charismatic Dr Abdalla delivered an entertaining and informative account of his efforts to create a better understanding of Muslims and Islam. 


The Blues Brothers?

Working out at one of the four work groups

In the afternoon, the delegates broke out into four workshops to identify issues and propose strategies to deal with them. Amongst the many ideas that were offered as to ways to bring the youth from the different faiths together the suggestion of a skirmish from the exuberant Annas Abdalla was the one that almost brought the house down.


The general consensus was that the event succeeded in demonstrating that there was much common ground for the three groups to work from and that more forums of this nature were needed to create better awareness and understanding amongst the citizens of this country.  

Symposium on Queensland Muslims



The Department of Families and Community Services and Immigration (FaCSIA) is co-hosting a Symposium and Expo with the Islamic Council of Queensland to be held on Saturday, 31 March at the Mercure Hotel.

The theme centres on Queensland's Muslims. The Expo will feature booths from many government departments, Islamic organizations and businesses.


If you feel your organization would like a free booth at the Expo to highlight your achievements, contributions and involvement within the Australian context please contact XXXXX XXXXX at XXXXXXXXX



The Expo would also like to showcase Islamic inspired artwork, sculpture or designs on the day.


If you have anything from pottery and calligraphy to national costumes, etc. or any other appropriate artifacts please contact XXXX XXXXX at XXXXXXXX.


This is a great opportunity to showcase the wealth of Muslim culture to a very diverse audience of community leaders, government ministers and officials and the wider public.


The organizers of the Expo are also working on a collage of business cards of Muslim Businesses and Business men and women, trades men and women, professionals and community workers etc.


You can post your business card or business flyer to P O Box 4603, Eight Mile Plains 4113.


Sunday Sessions with the Specialists


Over the next 14 weeks specialists in various aspects of Islam will deliver lectures at Kuraby Mosque on Sunday evenings between Magrib and Isha.


Targeted toward the youthful 16 to 40 year-olds the sessions will cover a range of topics.


The full programme for the lecture series is available for download but is subject to change without notice.


For the next two Sundays Br. Abdurrahman Soko will be talking on DEALINGS BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND NON-MUSLIMS.


US mayor converts to Islam

George Galloway

MACON, Georgia: Macon Mayor Jack Ellis has converted to Islam and is now working to legally change his name to Hakim Mansour Ellis.

Ellis, who was raised Christian, said Thursday that he became a Sunni Muslim during a December ceremony in the west African nation of Senegal.

"You do it because it feels right," said Ellis. "To me it's no big deal. But people like to know what you believe in. And this is what I believe in."

Ellis said he has been studying the Quran for years and that his new religion was originally practiced by his ancestors before they were brought to North America as slaves.

At the request of his two of his daughters, Ellis said he will keep his last name the same.


Full story on Macon Mayor..........


A force to be reckoned with




The Muslim Force took on the United Muslims of Brisbane at the Sunnybank Rugby Ground in Padstow Road on Friday night.


The Force won 12-10 in a pulsating finish and Dylan Chewn was declared Man-of-the-Match.



Building Services - Multicultural Consumer Rights Project

George Galloway

Many people of non-English speaking background face specific hurdles and problems when building a house, renovating, or just undertaking repairs or maintenance work on their homes.

A project of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, funded by the Building Services Authority (BSA), has looked at:

• the building industry
• builders and their role and qualifications
• how to deal with the building industry successfully
• your rights and obligations
• how and where to complain.

Over the past four months a number of workshops and surveys were undertaken. In the feedback received so far one issue has stood out - many Queenslanders of non-English speaking background are not aware of their rights and responsibilities when using the services of the building industry, nor of the critical role of the BSA.

ECCQ believes their findings and their draft recommendations to BSA will be of great interest and value to the public.

ECCQ invites you to this discussion event to be held on:

Thursday, 22nd February from 6:30 to 8:30pm at

ECCQ House,

253 Boundary St

West End.


Building Bridges Between Cultures

By Suzanne Clarke, Courier Mail, 31/01/07


BECAUSE of the way he dresses, Dr Mohamad Abdalla is used to people's initial misconceptions. When we meet in his Griffith University office, he is wearing the traditional garb of a Muslim scholar. It gives him more than a passing resemblance to an Islamic firebrand.

But it would be wrong to assume that Abdalla agrees with extreme statements.

"I know I might look like Osama bin Laden, but I'm not, I'm Mohamad
Abdalla from Brisbane," he says, repeating the way he introduced himself to a hall full of mocking teenage boys on a post-September 11 visit to a Gympie high school. That got the boys' attention.

"Then I spoke about what our religions had in common you believe in God, we believe in God; you believe in Adam and Eve, as do we. If I cut you, you bleed, as I do. Why do we always have to concentrate on our differences?"

Abdalla grimaces when I ask the inevitable question about his opinion of recent statements by radical Muslim clerics in Australia, which have drawn the ire of politicians and the community.

"The great majority of Muslims have serious problems with people who make stupid statements like these," he sighs.

"The Prophet condemned extremism. He solved huge conflicts using non-violent methods. The problem is, they take a verse out of context like the verse of the sword and use it as an excuse. It frustrates me, because I am working so hard to build bridges of understanding."

Abdalla, together with Muslim scholars from the universities of Melbourne and Western Sydney, initiated the concept of the new National Institute of Excellence for Islamic studies, announced last week by the Federal Government.

"But it is not being portrayed in the right light," he says.

"It is not a centre for homegrown imams, simply Islamic studies in a secular context One must look at the social and economic context in which one is living - the way Islam is interpreted in Pakistan or India does not have to be the same here.

"We would love to see Muslims in Australia creating their own institutions to produce their own imams, but we don't yet have the infrastructure, we don't have the people to deliver. Imams need to be credible in the eyes of the Muslim community."

Abdalla has considerable practice at working to overcome the religious discord festering beneath the surface of Australian society.

He was plunged into this role 11 days after September 11, 2001, when Kuraby mosque in Brisbane was destroyed in a firebomb attack. At the time he was the mosque's acting imam.

"We were living 100m away from the mosque. My wife Peta woke up thinking our house was on fire," he says.

“By 3.30am the whole community had congregated. The mosque is the soul of Muslim society. Everybody was angry, but it needed to be a time of restraint.

"We forgave the man who had done it because it was a false impulse. People were angry because of what they saw on the news. How can I now retaliate against someone who doesn't know who I am?

"I thought that we could use this opportunity to build bridges. Yes, we live here, but before we had not made the effort to come to non-Muslims and tell them about ourselves."

Support flowed in from surprising quarters. Christians offered to lend their churches for the Muslims to worship, their people to protect the new mosque as it was built, and many people who were non-Muslims gave donations towards the rebuilding, as the mosque had been uninsured.

And invitations rolled in from all over Queensland to speak about Islam.

In the years since, Abdalla and others have spoken to hundreds of groups.

"I always say, don't judge the other based on what you hear about them.

Go and sit and talk with them," he said.

Mohamad Abdalla wasn't always a spiritual man. He was born in Libya to
Palestinian parents, who relocated to Jordan. He has three brothers and two sisters. Their father was a karate instructor who ran sports clubs, and when they were forced to emigrate to Australia in 1985, they lost everything.

"If we had stayed in Jordan our lives would have had a very different direction. Australia is a place I can call home and I have found significance and meaning here."

Initially his lack of English made fitting in difficult, and it wasn't until his later high school years that he began to feel comfortable.

"In the society we live in now, human value is equated with what you look like," he said.
"I wanted to dress the way I do to change people's perception of this type of dress. Don't judge people by the way they look, but by the way they behave and speak.

"I was involved in trying to stop the first Gulf war. I joined every left-wing action group you can think of, and spoke at rallies of up to 10,000 people as the spokesperson for the Arab community. It wasn't effective.

"Millions of people were rallying to try to stop the possible deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, yet this became a reality."

Abdalla gave up his studies in microelectronic engineering and sought a more meaningful role through his original faith.

"Many Muslim practices are cultural and customary. They do not have a connection with the teachings of Islam - the sprit, ethics and values of Islam are absent. I want to try and revive these.

"The Prophet Mohammed said religion is dealings. It's how you deal with others - neighbours, friends, animals, Muslims, non-Muslims, those we like and don't like."

Three years ago, Abdalla went to the local Muslim community and asked for donations towards an Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University.

"Now we study issues that relate to the Muslim community in Australia and offer a substantial scholarship. We are attracting high-calibre people like Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister of Malaysia.

"Our unit is run in a secular setting, with academic credentials and we can do highly critical research."

Abdalla hopes the Abrahamic Faiths Forum next Wednesday, organised by the State Government, will promote dialogue between leaders of Muslim, Christian and Jewish religions.

"We need to stand up for one another in times of difficulty. It happens to be the Muslim people under the spotlight at the moment, but the actions of a few does not reflect the attitudes of the larger community.


Will Smith singing Hindi

George Galloway

A few week's ago CCN gave you the scoop on Brett Lee going Bollywood.


This week it's Will Smith brushing up on his Hindi......




Note the South African Xhosa click at the end. Maybe it has something to do with his hopes to relocate to Africa. He recently told Britain's Empire magazine, "We want to move to Africa. Actually, I found a house in South Africa, but it was before 9/11 and when that happened, we thought, being Americans, it was a time to be home. But I just loved South Africa. I definitely felt like there was magic there and it was a magic I wanted my family to experience."


From the CCN Cradle

George Galloway


A pair of bookends for the Shelving Master!


Shanaz, daughter of Farouk (of Shelving & Shop Displays) and Amina Adam, gave birth to twin girls Mahdiyyah (on the left) and Maseeha in Durban, South Africa last week.


Our reliable sources tell us that Asraf, the father of the twins, still can't quite believe he's not seeing double!


Lectures for Women

George Galloway


My Sister's Keeper

George Galloway

The website MySK to view the latest article in the Parents/Teens section.


The website MySK addresses, amongst other issues, the pressures that Muslim youth encounter and how they can be assisted to deal with them.


It specifically addresses issues regarding intimacy/dating.


http://www.mysisterskeeper.com then click on the "Go to Parents/Teens Now!" link.


The CCN Centre Link


New opportunity created by ECCQ: Cross Cultural Training Unit Coordinator

Download all the details.




Seeking Migrants and Refugees from a Non-English Speaking Background

The Redcliffe City Council invites applications from Peninsula residents who are migrants and/or refugees from non-English speaking backgrounds to participate in a project based at the Redcliffe Cultural Centre in 2007.

Project participants will develop a broad range of transferable employment skills that will assist them in gaining sustainable, long-term employment.

The successful applicants will gain a paid, full-time training position for 14 weeks, commencing on Monday 19th February 2007.

The Community Jobs Plan Project is a joint initiative of the Redcliffe City Council and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations’s Skilling Queenslanders for Work program. The funding for this project is targeted at long-term unemployed people from diverse cultures, to develop their skills so they may gain employment in their field of choice.

Applications, outlining your relevant experience and addressing why you want to participate in this program, can be emailed to: nickole_kabe@redcliffe.qld.gov.au or mailed to the address below, marked Attn: Human Resources.

Further information on the position can be obtained by telephoning Nickole at the Redcliffe Cultural Centre on 3283 0439.

Applications will close Tuesday, 13 February 2007.

PO Box 66
Redcliffe Qld 4020



Muslim Youth (MY) Services is looking for 2 full-time youth workers, a male and a female to work with the Muslim community in the Greater Brisbane region. Closing date 23 February 2007. Download the position description and selection criteria.

For more information visit www.alnisagroup.com.au or contact Faiza 0421 890 838

This is a re-advertisment. Previous applicants need not apply again, they will automatically be considered for shortlisting.


Algester Mosque Model


The model of the proposed new Algester Mosque went on display at the Eesaal-e-Thawaab Fateha Shareef of Shaheed-e-Karbala, Hazrat Imaam Hussain (RA) and the other martyrs of The Battle of Karbala on Sunday 4 February.


The complex will house a mosque, a madrassah, a community hall, a library, an Imam's residence and a townhouse development.


You can contact Dado Sacur 0419786092; A. R. Deen 0418738432; T. K. Ghumra 0423719216 for more information on how you can assist with this building project.


The CCN Chuckle


Little Imthiaz had finished his summer vacation and gone back to Madrasah. Two days later his Mualima phoned his mother to tell her that he was misbehaving.

"Wait a minute," she said. "I had Imthiaz with me for three months and I never called you once when he misbehaved."


The Inbox


Dear Editor

Thank you very much for these "Pet wedding rules". My wedding is (inshallah) set for the end of this year and I am freaking out from now about all the points you have mentioned, but how can I put it in a nice way to people without offending them?

Thank you

(Name withheld)


[Editor] Include a subtle link to http://www.crescentsofbrisbane.org/Newsletter/CCN0117.asp with your invitation card. J


The CCN Date Claimer


Date Day Event (Click on link) Organizer Venue Contact Time
11 February Sunday Muslim Business Network AGM MBN Springwood Towers Hotel, Springwood 0402032506 7:30pm
14 February Wednesday Sister's Learning Programme Islamic Females Association (IFA) Kuraby Mosque 0403151473 or 33418786 After Esha
18 February Sunday The Fiji Cup Brisbane-Lautoka Football Association Chelmer Grounds (West Brisbane Football Club, Queenscroft St, Chelmer 0411443671 / 0406774755 9am
28 February Wednesday Sister's Learning Programme Islamic Females Association (IFA) Kuraby Mosque 0403151473 or 33418786 After Esha
10-11 March Saturday & Sunday National Interfaith Festival  National Interfaith Festival  Maleny QLD  www.nif.org.au All day
14 March Wednesday Sister's Learning Programme Islamic Females Association (IFA) Kuraby Mosque 0403151473 or 33418786 After Esha
17 March Saturday International Day of Action STWCO Queens Park, Brisbane 0424265730 11am
17 March Saturday Kuraby Special School Bike Track Appeal Crescents of Brisbane Inc. & Kuraby Lions Michaels Restaurant, Eight Mile Plains 0402026786 6.15pm for 7pm
28 March Wednesday Sister's Learning Programme Islamic Females Association (IFA) Kuraby Mosque 0403151473 or 33418786 After Esha
31 March Saturday Public Symposium and Expo on Queensland's Muslim ICQ & FaCSIA Mercure Hotel, North Quay, Brisbane 0402026786 9am to 5pm

7 May



QLD Police Service &  Ethnic Community Council of QLD

QLD Lions Stadium, Pine Rd, Richlands





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


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