self-deprecating and occasional tongue-in-cheek look at ourselves and
the world around us ......
Sunday, 30 November 2008
News you won't find on CNN!
into Radio CCN! SOON!
CCN has initiated
preliminary plans to set up
an online Internet Radio
Broadcast of Queensland
community news and views
from (initially) 10-10.30am
on Sunday mornings starting
early in the new year.
Local community groups,
individuals will now be able
to be heard through live
and pre-recorded community news,
discussions and commentary.
If you or your organization
would like to be a part of
the planning and production
team or you wish to
contribute any suggestions
or find out more please
Australian Muslim Achievement Awards Announced
The annual AMAA awards were announced last
night at a function held in the Bosphorous
Lounge, Auburn, Sydney.
The winner in each of the categories was:
Woman of the Year: Galila Abdelsalam QLD
Man of the Year: Dr Mohamad Abdalla QLD
Youth of the Year (16-26): Nazeem
Role Model of the Year: Hussam
Sportsperson of the Year: Safwan Khalil
Professional of the Year: Fadle El
Event of the Year: Sounds of Light
Media Outlet of the Year: Salam Cafe
Business of the Year: One4Kids NSW
Community / Humanitarian Organisation of the
Year: Affinity Intercultural Foundation
Best New Community Project/Initiative of the
Yr: Green Scarf Day NSW
Volunteer of the Year: Mustafa Ally QLD
Creative Artist of the Year: Subhi
Researcher / Academic of the Year: Dr.
Bircan Erbas VIC
Abyssinian Award: Prof. Peter Manning
Lifetime Achiever Award: Aziza Abdel
profile of each of the winners is available
it's the traffic and the
noise generated by a
proposed Islamic school in
Carrara, apparently, that
has whipped up such
passionate opposition by
On that basis I can only
assume that a proposal for,
say, the TSS Academy of
Excellence in Polo, or the
St Hilda's Lacrosse
Incubator, would generate
the same outpouring of civic
Well, it is about the
traffic and noise after all.
I mean, all those horse
floats and four-wheel drives
While I don't doubt the fact
that many of the Carrara
residents opposing this
school are worried about the
traffic jams and awful din
created by 60 students and
their teachers at a school
nestled between a church and
a hospital in the
greenfields of Carrara,
letters to local councillors
seem to indicate other
One councillor told me some
time ago letters that they
had received were offensive
They painted a picture of
Armageddon in the
greenfields of Carrara,
which would become a nest of
terrorism and sin. Some of
the letters were from
members of the Dream Centre
- a Christian church which,
according to its website,
believes in the
`resurrection of believers
unto everlasting life and
unbelievers unto everlasting
punishment in hell'.
It also talks about Satan's
`present influence over the
unbeliever'. Oh dear, there
goes my stint in Paradise.
Presumably in Carrara it's
OK to go to church and speak
in tongues, but not to teach
the traditions of your
religion if your God happens
to be Allah.
Admittedly, I have never
lived in Peshawar or Penang.
I did, however, live in a
place called Coburg for
Coburg lies in Melbourne's
City of Moreland - the
municipality with the
largest proportion of
Muslims in Australia.
Coburg is a great community.
It's diverse and open,
where only 22 per cent of
households speak English
There we had Muslim
neighbours, shop keepers and
business people who (in our
experience at least) were
warm and massively
Some attended Islamic
schools which were accepted
elements of the community,
competed against other
schools in sports and had
As far as we could tell,
they were not hotbeds of
radical Islam, schooling
students in bomb-making or
the destruction of
Some of the Carrara
residents also expressed
concern about their property
I remember the same
dire warnings of how
Melbourne's Footscray would
become a Vietnamese ghetto.
The concerned residents of
Carrara should look what has
happened to property values
in Coburg and Footscray in
recent years - both suburbs
were recently rated in the
nation's 100 hottest
Why do we so damn Islamon
the basis of the evil and
irrational acts and the
illconsidered statements of
a crazy few?
There are more than a
billion Muslims worldwide.
Former mufti Taj Din al-Hilali
is one man.
The Bali bombers were three
men, with an evil and warped
interpretation of Islam.
Why do we not reserve the
same mistrust for
Protestants whose one-time
spiritual leader in Ireland,
Ian Paisley, once called The
Pope The Antichrist' and
backed the atrocities
committed under Slobodan
Why do we not fear
Catholicism which had
something called an
Why do we not fear Irish
Catholics who once waged
such terror on the streets
And what about those Hindus
who continue the violent
persecution of Christians in
Should we fear North
Americans because Timothy
McVeigh killed 168 people
(and maimed 450) in the
I guess not, because they
are mostly, well, more like
I think the concerned
residents of Carrara have
little to fear from an
Islamic school of 60
students with a syllabus of
reading, writing, arithmetic
and some of their own
But, sorry, I forgot - it's
all about the traffic and
the noise, isn't it?
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin
helps bridge gap
A collaborative project
entitled, Bridging the
between the Islamic
Women's Association of
Queensland (IWAQ) and
Sgt Jim Bellos (Cross
Cultural Liaison Officer)
and the Queensland Police
Service (QPS) culminated
in a dinner meeting last
Friday evening at the Paloma
Reception Centre in
The aim of the project is to
continue to enhance
communication between Muslim
women, the frail and aged
and the young and the QPS.
The dinner was attended by a
number of local councilors,
the Deputy Mayor of
Brisbane, Councillor Graham
Quirk, as well as
champion of the cause and
Minister of Police, Judy
Police Commissioner, Bob
Atkinson and members of the
Police Service, community
leaders and IWAQ clients
were also in attendance.
by the QPS on strategies on
how to keep and feel safe
was followed by a troupe of
Bosnian dancers who
performed before a very
A bilingual police liaison
officer was at each table
where people from particular
language group were provided
with translations in a
number of languages.
This project is to be
extended to include a
workshop dinner for newly
arrived young Muslim
refugees that aims to
negative stereotypes between
police and young Muslims"
and will focus on
identifying key issues and
work shopping strategies to
improve community relations.
At the Queensland
presentations held in
Parliament House during the
week a number of nominated
recognized for their
The Queensland Multicultural
Awards recognise people and
groups whose outstanding
efforts over a sustained
period have helped promote
new migrants and increase
community awareness of the
value of multiculturalism.
The awards were presented by
Minister for Multicultural
Affairs, Lindy Nelson-Carr
and Parliamentary Secretary,
Amongst this year's
recipients were Ms Adele
Rice, Principal of the
Milperra State School. for
her work with refugee
students and students from
religion and culture; Ms
Gail Ker of ACCES
(employment) Services and
the University of
Southern Queensland for
its role in creating a
environment for their
students from diverse
CCN congratulates these
outstanding winners for
their valuable contributions
to multiculturalism in
At Tijaarah, South
Africa's first Islamic
finance magazine is now
available by subscription.
If you are concerned about
the financial crisis, the
global meltdown, and the
credit crunch then you can
find out about Islamic
finance, how shariah
compliant are current
investments offerings, is
there such a thing as
Islamic banking etc.
At Tijaarah has an editorial
board consisting of
and legal and financial
This is a joint initiative
between Muslims at Work and
For more information on the
Madrassah contact Moulana Ikraam
at a cultural crossroad
Muslim clerics need to work harder to
understand the needs and rights of Muslim women in
Australian society, writes Jamila Hussain
drivers around the world are known as a source of
comment and (sometimes) wisdom. So when I found myself
in a taxi driven by a Lebanese Muslim, I decided to seek
his opinion on reports in this newspaper about
discrimination against women by Muslim clerics. After
some preliminaries, he said: "Your hijab is not proper.
You have some hair showing."
"Why are Lebanese
men always so bossy?" I replied. I showed himThe
when we were stopped at a red
light. "That's nonsense," he said. "Sure,
some imams are pretty ignorant, but
they are usually the ones who have
appointed themselves and say all sorts of stupid things,
but most imams try to be helpful."
The report last week by the Islamic
Women's Welfare Council of Victoria drew some alarming
conclusions. It said some imams condoned rape within
marriage, domestic violence, polygamy, welfare fraud and
the exploitation of women.
Several anecdotes were quoted from women
who had been given incorrect and inappropriate advice by
imams. The impression overall was that imams are
uneducated, duplicitous and prejudiced against women.
A few points should be made: imams are
not "clergy" in the Christian sense. In some cases imams
are self-appointed or appointed by their congregations
without any scrutiny of formal qualifications and may,
in fact, be part-time volunteers. Some of these would
not be recognised by the Board of Imams or be allowed to
preach at major mosques, but they may have a following
among people of their own ethnic background.
In 2006 a colleague and I undertook a
survey of a representative sample of imams at major
Sydney mosques. No doubt the findings might be equally
applicable to imams in Victoria. We found that in the
major mosques, imams are likely to be educationally well
qualified. The majority had doctorates, masters or
bachelors degrees or, alternatively, had undertaken many
years of study at recognised institutions of Islamic
Many of these imams have reputations
among the community of being sympathetic and helpful
towards women's problems. What the imams universally
lacked was any training in cross-cultural issues,
particularly Australian culture, and counselling skills.
It is true that until recently the
majority of imams have been first-generation migrants,
some with a tenuous grasp of English and little
understanding of Australian life. Many come from
countries where the imam's job is simply to lead
prayers. In their home countries they are not expected
to be counsellors or welfare workers. These tasks are
undertaken by other authorities.
Not surprisingly, the views of some imams
reflect the conservative mores of their home cultures
rather than an enlightened view of modern family life.
There is clearly a need for ongoing professional
training to acquaint them with Australian law and
Australian views on matters such as domestic violence
and the proper place of women in society.
Ideally, at some time in the future local
imams will mostly be "home-grown", well qualified in
Islamic doctrine and conversant with life in Australian
society. In Sydney already, one young imam is a
qualified lawyer who surfs and plays football in his
In the Sydney survey, imams were asked
about their attitude to the participation of women in
the religious sphere and whether they spoke about
domestic violence or the duties of men towards women in
their weekly sermons. As might be expected, the answers
varied. Some were unhelpful, others appeared to
appreciate the needs of women, would encourage them to
attend the mosque and would provide educational classes
Some imams are prepared to perform
polygamous marriages, although most decline. In certain
circumstances, polygamy is legal in Islamic law.
Many Muslims see no great problem with
polygamy given that de facto relationships and even
multiple de facto relationships are legal under
A polygamous marriage under Islamic law
at least imposes obligations on the husband to treat his
wives equally and provide financial support for both
wives and their children.
Admittedly, some men do support a second
family through welfare fraud. This is not the fault of
Islamic teaching, which stresses honesty, nor is it a
problem exclusive to Muslims.
There is no doubt that Muslim women
suffer discrimination in areas such as access to mosques, religious education
and participation in community decision-making. Some of
this discrimination is conscious, and some probably
unconscious, arising out of long-held cultural
A case in point is the screen or barrier
that segregates the sexes in almost all Australian
mosques. All imams agree that this was not a practice at
the time of the Prophet. It is something that has
developed through cultural tradition. Some women are in
favour of being secluded, while others, myself included,
resent it. It is a welcome step that the Mufti, Sheikh
Fehmi, has taken in declaring that the barriers in
mosques should be taken down. Women should now be
permitted to pray behind men in the same space.
It is clear that what is urgently needed
is some kind of professional development training for
imams that will enable them to become acquainted with
Australian law and culture and the major social problems
that exist here.
It would probably not be difficult for a
university to organise and offer such a course, but many
questions arise. Who would fund it? Who would devise the
content, given the range of religious views in the
community? Could imams be compelled to attend? Perhaps
the answers will appear in the course of time.
Jamila Hussain is lecturer in Islamic law
at the University of Technology, Sydney, and secretary
of the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia.
Australia's most senior
Muslim wants men and women
to pray together.
Australia's most senior
Muslim, Sheik Fehmi Najl el-Imam, at the
AUSTRALIA'S most senior
Muslim has said he will end
segregation of men and women
in mosques, in a bold
response to Islamic women's
anger at entrenched
The Mufti of Australia,
Sheikh Fehmi Naji el-Imam,
said he would put his
proposal to the next meeting
of the Australian National
Imams' Council and consider
how women could share the
room with men during
Sheikh Fehmi said segregated
worship had been introduced
long ago, as a cultural
change, not a religious one,
and he would argue to end
"It is good to hear the
complaints of the sisters,
and to try to find some
solution to their concerns,"
he told The Age in an
"My duty is to propose, to
discuss and try to convince.
I can't guarantee the
Sheikh Fehmi said that in
the time of the Prophet
Mohammed 1400 years ago,
women were not segregated.
His announcement is likely
to attract international
attention and may spark
fierce debate among highly
In some mosques overseas,
there are no physical
barriers between men's and
women's areas but in
Australia almost every
mosque separates men's and
Sydney lecturer Jamila
Hussain this week told a
conference at the National
Centre for Excellence in
Islamic Studies that women
found facilities at some
mosques "insulting" and that
they were treated as
Last night, Ms Hussain
welcomed Sheikh Fehmi's
promise to try to end
"It's an excellent start.
But I'm a bit hesitant about
when or whether it will
happen — it will be a
She said many men would
oppose such a move and,
sadly, some women too. Imams
didn't necessarily have much
Islamic Council of Victoria
Hassan said it was a fine
initiative, and it was good
to see imams being
proactive. She said it was
in line with true Islamic
Sheikh Isse Musse, imam of
Werribee mosque, agreed that
at the start of Islam men
and women had prayed
together, "but it's not
allowed that a man stands to
the right of a woman or to
the left of a woman".
At his mosque, all pray in
the same room, with men in
rows at the front, then
children in rows, then
women. But he did not think
this was palatable to many
Muslims, especially as many
new mosques gave better
facilities to women in their
Several Muslim women spoke
out about discrimination and
disadvantage this week at
In particular, a report by
the Islamic Women's Welfare
Council of Victoria
highlighted problems with
imams, claiming some were
condoning domestic violence,
polygamy, rape in marriage,
welfare fraud and
exploitation of vulnerable
Sheikh Fehmi, who is also
secretary of the Victorian
Board of Imams, acknowledged
there were problems.
"Imams are human beings, and
every human being is
fallible, so if one imam
errs on a point we should
not generalise and say all
imams are the same."
Sheikh Fehmi also addressed
many of the criticisms in
the council report.
Islamic Posters (UK) has
just launched a NEW Poster
They are printed and ready
to be shipped.
They contain 12 High Quality
posters (like the Adhaab
poster Collection) size A3,
and they are aimed at both
Muslim and Non-Muslims -
young and old.
If you are a member of a
Masjid (Mosque), Islamic
Charity or Daawah
Organisation or any Non
Islamic organisation in any
country and you need an
English poster to promote
Islam these posters are just
They are based on 12 very
important topics such as the
Quran, the Prophet (pbuh),
the status of women in
Islam, Ahadith, Sunnah etc.
The price is only £15 plus
P&P. All proceeds go towards
the Islamic Posters Dawaah
As a Muslim woman living in
the Illawarra (New South
Wales), Hadijat Lawal
often has people ask her
lots of questions.
“They usually want to know
what it’s like to be Muslim
in Australia and how I deal
with racial and cultural
differences,” she said.
As one of Kiama Library’s
Living Books, Mrs Lawal has
the chance to challenge
stereotypical ideas about
the Muslim faith and
lifestyle and open people’s
“It’s a beautiful, soft way
of breaking barriers,” she
“I think it’s a good
opportunity to interact with
people and shed
stereotypical views and let
people see that I am a
Muslim woman and I am
She and several other Muslim
women in the area
established the Illawarra
Muslim Women’s Association,
which has been successfully
running for more than seven
“We organise information
sessions and advocacy groups
and aim to provide young
Muslim people with links to
services, individuals and
the community,” she said.
Mrs Lawal said she enjoyed
the opportunity to be a
Living Book and would try to
answer any questions that
“I don’t have a problem with
any questions, but if it’s
too close to home or
personal I answer it the
best way I can, but I also
tell people not to go in
that direction,” she said.
Other Living books include
an Asian migrant, an
indigenous person, an
environmentalist and a
At a ceremony held in Sydney
during the week, Dr Jamal
Rifi, a founding member
of Muslim Doctors Against
Violence and president of
the Lakemba Sports Club, was
named NSW Local Hero of the
Year, alongside cricketer
Glen McGrath who was named
NSW Australian of the Year.
Nordic countries have
retained their top rankings for gender equality with
Australia and New Zealand making the top ten, the World
Economic Forum said this week.
Those that have succeeded best in narrowing the gap are
Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.
These are followed by New Zealand (6), Canada (7),
United Kingdom (8), Germany (9) and Australia (10), as
countries that have made considerable progress in recent
decades in removing obstacles to the full participation
of women in their respective societies.
Economic giants China and the United States still lag
far behind despite some progress, the Forum said.
The WEF report measures the "gender gap" in four
critical areas of inequality between the sexes -
economic participation and opportunity, educational
attainment, political empowerment, and health and
China climbed 17 places from the previous year but still
ranked just 57th, with the authors highlighting glaring
inequalities in education, economic and political
The United States rose to 27 from 31 due to a higher
number of women appointed to positions of power, the
Muslim countries had some of the worst ratings with
Yemen at the bottom of the table and Saudi Arabia just
two places above at 128.
A United Nations report found earlier this year that
women in Saudi Arabia are the victims of systematic and
pervasive discrimination across all aspects of social
Saudia Arabia is governed by Wahabism, a strict
interpretation of Islam that imposes almost complete
separation of the sexes in the name of Sharia law.
As such, it is illegal for a woman to be in the company
of a man who is not in her immediate family.
THE HAGUE: The
Netherlands plans to ban from universities the face
coverings worn by some Muslim women.
The ban will apply not only to students but also to
mothers and anyone else entering university grounds, the
Education Ministry said yesterday.
Education Minister Ronald Plasterk announced in
parliament that the ban, initially intended only for the
compulsory schooling system, would now extend to
tertiary education institutions.
A spokesman said it would apply to pupils, teachers,
cleaners and parents - all women who came through the
gates of such institutions.
"It will forbid any kind of garment that covers the
face. The intention is to ensure that all people who
communicate with each other on school grounds are able
to look each other in the eye, to see each other's
faces," he said.
In his initial plan to ban garments such as the burka
and nikab in schools, Mr Plasterk cited the importance
of children being able to recognise and identify others.
The burka is a garment that covers the female body from
head to toe, apart from a slit for the eyes. The nikab
veils the face.
NICOSIA (AFP) - Sabah
Masaeed's father, a Jordanian shepherd, lost a leg when
he stepped on a landmine, so did her uncle, so now she
has become a member of the Middle East's first
all-female team dedicated to clearing landmines
on freedom of religion and belief moves forward
The Australian Race
Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, has called for
as many Australians as possible to become involved in a
discussion about the current state of freedom of
religion and belief in the country launched two months
ago, and aimed at gathering opinion by the end of
January next year.
He made the remarks at the launch of the the Australian
Human Rights Commission’s 'Freedom of religion and
belief in the 21st century' Discussion Paper in Canberra
seven weeks ago, and the Commission is keen to encourage
further submissions by the deadline of 31 January 2009.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -
Malaysia's prime minister said on Wednesday Muslims
should still take up yoga, reversing an outright ban
that has drawn widespread protests amid concerns over
growing Islamic fundamentalism in the multiracial
Malaysia's National Fatwa Council, comprising Islamic
scholars, told Muslims at the weekend to avoid yoga
because it uses Hindu prayers that could erode Muslims'
But the decision drew a sharp rebuke from many Muslims
and even Malaysia's sultans, or hereditary rulers, who
said that they should be consulted on any matters
Prime Minister Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi moved to contain the damage, telling the
national news agency Bernama that Muslims could carry on
doing yoga but minus the chanting.
"I wish to state that a physical regime with no elements
of worship can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I
believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into
polytheism," he said.
Wayward pop star Michael
Jackson has changed his name to "Mikaeel" after changing
religions and becoming a Muslim.
The singer changed his name in a ceremony at a friend's
Los Angeles home just days before he was due in court.
Jackson, 50, is facing
allegations of borrowing £4.7 million from Arab sheikh
Abdulla Al-Khalifa and failing to repay the sum by
recording two new albums, writing an autobiography and
penning a musical.
The cash-strapped star -
who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness - was convinced to
turn to Islam by producer Phillip Bubal and songwriter
A source told Britain's
The Sun newspaper: "They began talking to him about
their beliefs and how they thought they had become
better people after they converted.
"Michael soon began
warming to the idea."
Singer Yousef Islam -
formerly known as Cat Stevens before he also converted
to the religion - attended the star's declaration of
belief, known as the shahada.
Meanwhile, an itemised
list of Jackson's debts to the prince has been revealed
- including a £3.79 tub of the singer's favourite
Haagen-Daaz ice cream.
A source said: "It's the
most bizarre list imaginable. Some bills are only for £5
- but the sheikh wants every penny back."
The Libyan-based World Islamic Call
Society is to open a university in Uganda by the end of
this year. The society's secretary-general, Dr. Muhammad
Shariff, said the university, which started in Tripoli,
Libya in 1975 had opened up branches in Chad, Syria and
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, said the
university would initially operate from the training
centre at the Old Kampala Mosque, before relocating to a
I'm an avid reader of CCN, and really appreciate the
breadth of topics covered in your newsletter.
I would like to bring to the communities attention
19 vacancies for school-based traineeships in the
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. I
attached the Job Description, this tells the
student how to apply and the variety of
Q: Dear Kareema, I'm off on holiday soon and
desperately trying to lose weight. I run on a regular
basis but just can't seem to shift the weight. Please
A: Far too many of us spend too much time running
nowhere... Your muscles are just going through the
motion because they are not challenged enough! Keep
running, but surprise your muscles while you're at it.
Incorporate some high intensity moves in between your
rest periods. Slash your workout time and improve your
results by embracing interval training. Try following
this simple, yet effective plan:
** 5 minute cardio warm-up (walk or jog)
** 40 second sprint pace (challenge yourself)
** 2 minute easy pace ( comfortable pace)
** Repeat between 5 and 7 times every time you're out
Two or three high-intensity session a week is all you
need if you want to burn fat. Not only will this workout
help maintain lean muscle, it will keep your metabolism
revved for an extended period! Couple this with a
healthy diet and you're on your way to a great holiday!
All questions sent in are published here anonymously and
without any references to the author of the question.
KB's Culinary Corner
Sweet Corn Casserole
½ cup grated cheese
2 cups frozen corn or 1 tin corn kernels
½ cup fresh cream
1 tsp ground green chilies
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion sliced
1 tsp cummin
1 Tblsp ghee (clarified butter)
Cube and sauté potatoes, until done
Add, corn, fresh cream, green chilies, salt
Sauté the slice onion and cummin in the ghee
and add to the above.
Set in a casserole dish and sprinkle a
mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese on
Bake at 180 degrees for approx 15 minutes.
Ideal to serve
at barbeques or as a side dish with meat.
Do you have a recipe
to share with CCN readers?
Send in your favourite recipe to
email@example.com and be our "guest chef" for
The CCN Chuckle
Mula Nasruddin and
his friend, Jallalludin are taking a walk through the
park when a pigeon flies by and relieves himself on
"Yech!" says Mula Nasruddin. "Get some toilet paper."
"What for?” asks Jallauudin. “He must be half-a-mile
away by now."
University of Queensland,
323 Hawken Drive,
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
Fiqh Made Easy
Room E215 Building 1 (Forgan Smith),
University of Queensland
Time: 6.30pm to 7.35pm
Tafseer al Qur'an (Explanation of the
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.
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particularly if they eventually turn out to be libelous,
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It is the usual policy of CCN to include
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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.