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


Sunday, 6 May 2012

 Newsletter 0391




(l to r) Janeth Deen, Kim Marx, Freya Ostapovitch and Heather Robinson

On Monday 30th April, the first and only Muslim welfare shop finally closed its doors.


Founder of the Queensland Muslim Welfare Association, Ms Janeth Deen, was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the LNP newly elected state MP and Brisbane City Council Councillor for Stretton who arrived at the shop to help with the clean up and transport of the remaining goods.


Ms Freya Ostapovitch MP and her husband Don, Councillor Kim Marx and her husband Derrick, her team member Ms Heather Robinson, her campaign manager Ms Heidi Randall helped out during the day


Ms Deen told CCN she was very appreciate of their help: "These people have only just ended a long period of campaigning for their positions. They have not had time to recover from their hard work, yet they turned up in their team shirts and worked cheerfully to help a welfare shop which was not even in the boundaries of the Brisbane City Council, nor in their electorate."

The Welfare shop has ceased operating and the stock from the shop has been sent to the people of Fiji in two containers that have left from the Kuraby Mosque.


The QMWA Committee thanked everyone who supported the shop during the three years it operated.


Ms Janeth Deen will work with the Muslim Charitable Foundation while Ms Wilma Bothwell, who has suffered health problems, will retire.


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What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a new documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation, explores the expertly gathered opinions of Muslims around the globe as revealed in the world's first major opinion poll, conducted by Gallup, the preeminent polling organization.

Gallup researchers began by asking the questions on every American's mind. Why is there so much anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists and how do Muslims feel about them? What do Muslims like and dislike about the West? What do Muslim women really want?

Crucial policy decisions hang on these questions. They continue to generate passionate disagreements in the public square. Yet for all the heat and controversy, the actual views of the world's Muslims have been conspicuously missing from this debate.

Now, we have the missing answers and statistics, gathered, parsed, and analyzed not by pundits but by professional researchers.

As part of this groundbreaking six-year project, Gallup conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents in 35 predominantly Muslim nations, as well as smaller populations in Europe and the USA. The broad extent of the polling has delivered findings for the world's 1.4 billion Muslims with a plus or minus accuracy of 3%

Focused on the issues of Gender Justice, Terrorism, and Democracy -the film presents this remarkable data deftly, showing how it challenges the popular notion that Muslims and the West are on a collision course. Like the research, the film highlights a shared relationship that is based on facts - not fear.

Experts featured (A Partial List): Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, John Esposito, University Professor, Georgetown University, RamiKhoury, Editor of the Daily Star (Beirut), and Kenneth Pollack, Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute.




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After a six year long battle to get approval to build a Mosque in Perth (Caversham) approval was given to the Bosnian Islamic Society Perth to build an Islamic Centre in Caversham.


It is planned that for a foundation stone to be laid during the month of Ramadan.


If you need more information or like to support the project contact project coordinator Mr. Sajit Smajic on 0402 962 231 or send and e-mail to sajit.smajic@gmail.com.


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The International Food Festival at the Gold Coast Mosque gets underway today (Sunday) at 10am with the formalities starting at 11am.


The keynote address will be delivered by Mr.Robert Cavallucci MP (State Member for Brisbane Central and Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs who will also be representing the Premier of Queensland, Mr. Campbell Newman.


Amongst the other speakers will be Mr.Rob Molhoek MP (MP for Southport), Miss.Verity Barton MP (MP for Broadwater), Commissioner Bob Atkinson (Queensland Police Commissioner), Mr. Mohammed Yusuf (President of Islamic Council of Queensland) and Mr. Brian Egan (Sales Manager – Malaysian Airlines).


In addition to the exotic food, entertainment and games, attendees will go into a draw to win two return air tickets to Malaysia.


Full programme


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The third container for the victims of the recent Fiji floods was fully packed yesterday with groceries, baby goods, clothing, school books, linen, crockery and other items. MCF thanked the sponsors donors and volunteers who made this possible.


Mr Farouk Adam told CCN that the two containers that had been sent over a fortnight ago have reached their destination and have been well received by the Fijian authorities and the effected people.   


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Thousands of amateur cooks applied and only a handful were selected.


Amina El Shafei was one!



Channel 10

7.30pm today (SUNDAY)



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This year will see the 4th Annual Mothers Day fundraising brunch for the Islamic Society of Algester.


As in the past there will be lots on the menu including the much sought after PAAYA (Trotters) as well as a variety of other foods.


There will also be a lucky door prize, just for mums only!


Treat your mum on mother’s day and come along to the brunch for a fun and exciting day for the whole family.


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Like many Australians with olive skin I often get asked about my heritage. And I always get a puzzled look from people when I say that my father was born in Bethlehem.

They tend to skirt around the question of what that means because they expect someone who is part Palestinian to be a Muslim.

They often don’t know how to breach the subject of faith and how to deal with the issue of cultural diversity.

This inquisitive shyness is understandable. For those of us who have grown up in culturally diverse homes it is somewhat amusing.

As a young boy, every Sunday was dedicated to our extended family get togethers.

In the morning my “Sitty” (grandmother), my aunty and my Australian mum would make kibbe, tabouli and hummus.

Over lunch – on countless occasions – when my Uncle Eddie said that he hoped one day to grow his menswear business everybody would say “insh’Allah”.

When Uncle Jack would say he hoped to be able to go on a family holiday everyone would say “insh’Allah”.

And when my father would say he hoped, one day, his children would do well at school everyone would say “insh’Allah”.

The fact that all these things became a reality is testimony to the fact that diversity in Australia is alive and well.

And I'll let you into a secret… my father still counts in French, can talk to friends in Hebrew, and even occasionally yell at me in Arabic. I’m jealous of the seven languages he speaks.

This is the story of cultural diversity, and it is important we embrace it.

Faith and politics

When I was sworn in to Parliament in 1996 some people warned me to avoid discussing issues of religion and faith, even inside my constituency of North Sydney.

I was told that whatever you say, you will end up offending someone.

But despite this, in 1998, my second year in Parliament, I chose to tackle the combined issues of both faith and religion head on, when I took my father back to his birthplace in Bethlehem.

As you can imagine, it was an emotional journey for us both.

When he left war torn Palestine back in 1948 as a Christian educated 21 year old, he swore as he crossed the Allenby Bridge over the grand Jordan River that the land he was born in had no future for a young man.

So 50 years later as we walked amongst the refugees in Gaza and then Amman, my father sadly had his youthful anxieties confirmed. A new generation of young Arabs shared his despair that they had no hope, they had no voice, they had no freedom and so they had no future.

Of course the Arab Spring is changing this world.

We were shocked when it began with the self immolation of a young Tunisian street vendor that started the revolts which led to the toppling of Ben Ali in January last year. Tunisia is well on the way to being a successful democracy.

After Ben Ali fell, we cheered as young Christians and Muslims then took to Tahrir Square in Cairo to protest against the denial of democracy and ultimately force a long overdue regime change.

And we continue to be horrified, as I have said on a number of occasions in Parliament, when we hear reports of 12,000 Syrian deaths, caused by Bashar al-Assad’s vicious regime in Syria.

In March a video appeared on YouTube of an empty street with a lost three-year-old boy running aimlessly in search of safety, only to be shot at by Syrian snipers in a nearby building.

In a moment of courage akin to the famous defiance of a tank in Tiananmen Square, a young man ran onto the street, to create a human shield between the snipers and the toddler. A young life was saved.

This happened to a three-year-old boy – an innocent three-year-old boy.

A close observer would note there is a common narrative amongst all these movements.

Young people, motivated by their faith, were taking control of their own destiny by demanding their rights from totalitarian governments.

For me, the most powerful image of the Arab Spring was seeing young Coptic Christian protestors in Tahrir Square forming a human shield around Muslim protestors during prayer. Hours later, Muslim protestors reciprocated by guarding Christian churches during services in downtown Cairo.

I am not afraid to recognise that across the world the values of faith have made society all the more richer – and this includes the contribution Islam has made to our society here in Australia.

While I aspire to be, once again, a Minister of the State, and not of the Church, I have long argued that a secular society imbued with the values that faith engenders will be stronger not weaker.

This is because the values that the great religions teach are the burning beacon of a just, fair and compassionate society based on truth and respect for a common humanity.

We can no longer just see ourselves as citizens of a country, but we must see ourselves as citizens of the world.

The essential message of all faiths – that we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves – is contained within Islam as much as Christianity, in Judaism as it is in Buddhism.

As many Muslims tell me, Muhammad spoke in his final sermon “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you”.

I could not think of a more important lesson we can teach our children.

To judge Islam based on the actions of extremists and terrorists would be no different than judging Christianity on the actions of those who have over the centuries committed atrocities in the name of Christianity.

Whether this be the brutality of the Crusades, the destruction of Constantinople, or the defence of Apartheid by Afrikaans churches in South Africa – these are not shining moments for Christianity and those of us who are Christians would reject that these were deeds properly undertaken in the name of our religion.

I find it hard to believe that any God would call on people to stone unbelievers, invade lands to convert people to another faith, or prevent women from having the same life opportunities as men.

Yet some people throughout history have used faith to justify all of these actions.

The people that commit atrocities in the name of Islam are forgetting the fact that Islam, democracy and compassion have been linked for hundreds of years.

Bernard Lewis, Professor of Islamic History, at Princeton University recognised this when he noted that:

“The medieval Islamic world…offered vastly more freedom than any of its predecessors, its contemporaries and most of its successors”

Islam led the world in promoting freedom for hundreds of years, and there is no reason Islam will not continue to be pivotal in promoting liberty in society for centuries to come.

Islam in Australia

In Australian history, Islam has had a focal place since well before Federation.

The legendary Burke and Wills, responsible for one of the most important expeditions in Australian history, were ably guided and assisted by a number of central Asian camel traders in the 1860s.

The diaries and records of the duo pay testament to the work of these camel traders, particularly Dost Mohamed a Pashtun from modern day Afghanistan. They were highly regarded because the Afghans possessed the skills to survive for long periods of time in unforgiving and harsh desert conditions.

The colonial administration in Victoria noted at the time that:

“The camels from Afghanistan would be comparatively useless unless accompanied by their native drivers.”

They got that right! The camel drivers contributed more than just the skills of navigation and survival in harsh desert conditions. They are responsible for the introduction of Islam to Australia, and the construction of Mosques through Australia’s outback.

It was surprising for me to find out in a recent trip to Adelaide that Australia’s first mosque was built in 1861 at Marree in South Australia.

When talking to a young man last year who was part of the Young Muslim Leadership Program in Parliament House, an annual program I take delight in addressing each year, I was told of how he was preparing to go on a ‘mosque-crawl’, visiting each and every mosque throughout Australia’s central outback.

That is no mean feat considering that over the last 150 years more than 30 mosques have been built across remote Australia.

If Islam has been able to exist in Australian society peacefully for more than one and a half centuries, I have no doubt it will continue to play a significant role into the future.

I know from the likes of Melbourne Academic Susan Carland, Australia Post Chief Executive Officer Ahmed Fahour, Richmond's Bachar Houli, former Rugby League legend Hazem El Masri, and most recently Imam Afroz Ali, who eloquently and passionately spoke against forced marriages on the ABC Four Corners program the other night, that Islam in Australia is in safe hands.

Role of Faith

Finally tonight, I would also like to touch on the role of secularism in the modern world.

We have all seen faith used as a tool to justify repression of freedom of thought in the Islamic world, most recently in Syria.

For many years, some governments in the Middle East were propped up by the international community because they were deemed ‘secular’. But a closer examination of these states proves that authoritarian regimes are consistently brutal whether they are secular or not.

The defence of authoritarianism by secular regimes is that minority rights are protected when without the regime they would not. That is …authoritarianism may be bad but if we did not have it ethnic minorities would engage in conflict.

History is littered with conflicting stories; however in modern times there is no reason to believe that Christians, Muslims and Jews cannot successfully and peacefully live side by side in a Muslim majority country.

Modern day Australia is testimony to the fact that religious groups can live in harmony.

Secularism cannot be used as an excuse to subvert democracy and restricting the legitimate aspirations of millions of people. For using secularism as a reason to restrict democracy, in the way it has occurred in Syria, offends both the principle of secularism, and of democracy.

Instead, there is an important role of faith in any secular society, for restricting the role of faith in society is the antithesis of secular behaviour.

At the core of any secular state must be that the practice of any religion is a human right.

But part of the trade-off for a tolerant and democratic secular society is the requirement that we abide by the laws. They are the laws created by the Parliament and the court. They are the only laws that mandate behaviour in our country.

So whilst custom may have its place there is no room for conflicting rules that seek to mandate or restrict behaviour in direct conflict with our Australian laws.

Whilst differences in beliefs will always exist, we must focus on the common ground of all faiths and cultures, rather than the differences.

Noted Muslim theologian and Oxford Professor Tariq Ramadan, not a usual source for me, spoke recently of the challenge that diversity poses, but offers a comprehensive solution:

“The point is not to integrate systems, values and cultures with other systems, but to determine – in human terms – spaces of intersection where we can meet on equal terms.”

For the sceptics of diversity, the strongest argument is to make people aware that part of society’s many successes has been because of diversity. One of our failings over recent decades is that diversity has become such an ingrained part of Australian society that some people don’t realize that they are living in one of the most diverse societies in the world.

Of course globalisation has made diversity a more relevant part of everyday life.

Information and trade flows make diversity a way of life for more and more people.

Throughout history commerce has lowered the social barriers between people and societies.

When people have social or business relations with people of other faiths and cultures they start to realize the aspects that unite us, not divide us.

This is the power of human relationships.

For example, Australia should be taking greater advantage of the emerging insatiable demand across Asia for sophisticated financial services.

The number of High Net Worth Individuals in Indonesia, that is individuals with more than $1m in investable assets excluding property, will almost triple by 2015 to nearly 100,000. These wealthy Indonesians will hold close to $500 billion worth of wealth. This is the fastest rise in Asia.

This is a tremendous opportunity for Australian business to develop and provide a high standard range of products and services for a demanding market. By offering diverse products and Islamic banking and finance products in particular, Australia has the capacity to benefit from greater capital flows, more affordable investment and a more sophisticated and diverse financial services sector.

However, there remain regulatory obstacles, such as the issue of double taxation. The UK’s Financial Regulator, the FSA, has summarized their approach to Islamic Banking as ‘no obstacles, but no special favours’.

In Australia we should not treat Islamic Banking differently or preferentially, but we should be mindful of making Australia an attractive market for all types of financial services, provided they are in line with Australia’s high national standards and stable banking system. At very least, it is a business opportunity available to all Australian business.


The role of faith in Australian society is an underestimated commodity.

Australia is made all the richer by the role that all religions play in our society.

Forming part of the rich mosaic of Australia, Islam is contributing to Australia in its own special way.

But we cannot afford to be complacent.

When it comes to diversity, the motto of the Returned Services League rings true ‘The price of liberty is eternal vigilance’.

Australia must continue to be proud of our diversity, but we also must be vigilant to protect both our diversity and our liberty.

Thank you.



[Editor] Mr Joe Hockey is a federal opposition Member of Parliament and the Shadow Treasurer.


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Last Sunday Wisdom College In Algester celebrated International Children’s Day with a sea of colour and fun for all children.


April 23 is a national holiday in Turkey where it puts on a number of big celebrations to honour its children, and it has since become an international event. 23rd April is actually marked as the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey.


The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, declared the day to honour the children of Turkey, who were left homeless during the War, and now it has turned into a day of celebration.

All classes performed a number of songs and dances on the day, and the whole school put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the festival.


The songs were performed in English as well as the schools Language Other than English (LOTE) which is Turkish.


The LOTE teacher Miss Elanur Turk did an exceptional job teaching the children the dances and Turkish songs.


The children made all the decorations on the day and the whole school turned into a mass of colour and excitement.


The students had been rehearsing for many weeks for their first performance and were very excited to show the large gathering of family and friends on the day what they could do.


After their performance the children were given show bags and sweets, before heading to enjoy the rides and face painting.


Queensland Education and Cultural Foundation provided all the food and entertainment on the day, and as a bonus lunch was provided free of charge. The day will be an annual event on the schools calendar.


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The final telecast of the 12-week SeekersCircle class entitled Mizaan al Amal (The Balanced Criterion of Action) was hosted on Friday 4 May at the IWAQ Office. The weekly class was organised by the As-Salaam Institute, in conjunction with the Al-Ghazzali Centre based in Sydney. As a refresher, the content of the course was based on Imam al-Ghazzali's book Mizaan al Amal, in which he explains the "criteria for judging human actions to be right or wrong."


Imam Afroz Ali of the Al-Ghazzali Centre (Sydney) conducted the classes. Through the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative, these classes are made available to the public on a free (donations accepted) basis. These classes are referred to as SeekersCircles as they aim to "embody the true spirit of learning the Sacred Sciences of Islam which is traditionally a circle of students sitting and learning from a scholar."


The monthly SeekersCircle entitled The Immense Ocean is still running and all those who are interested in learning the outward and inward meanings of the Qur'aan are encouraged to attend. It is held every second Saturday of each month at 4pm, at the IWAQ office. The Facebook event is here: http://www.facebook.com/events/183561275083799/


A new weekly SeekersCircle will begin on Friday 18 May and the Character of the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) will the the subject of study. Contact Muhammad Khatree on 0401 972 865 or mkhatree@gmail.com if you are interested in attending this inspiring SeekersCircle.


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There are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today, making up approximately 23% of the world's population, or more than one-fifth of mankind.


The Muslim500 publication is part of an annual series that provides a window into the movers and shakers of the Muslim world. It gives valuable insight into the different ways that Muslims impact the world, and also shows the diversity of how people are living as Muslims today.

The 2011 Muslim500 lists the world's most influential Muslims who have impacted on their community, or on behalf of their community. Influence is: any person who has the power (be it cultural, ideological, financial, political or otherwise) to make a change that will have a significant impact on the Muslim World. The impact can be either positive or negative. The influence can be of a religious scholar directly addressing Muslims and influencing their beliefs, ideas and behaviour, or it can be of a ruler shaping the socio-economic factors within which people live their lives, or of artists forming popular culture.

Over the coming weeks, CCN will publish a personality selected from the list:


No. 19

Sheikh Salman Al Ouda
Saudi Scholar and Educator


A leading Saudi sheikh, Salman Al Ouda is a former hard-line cleric turned advocate of peaceful coexistence. He is increasingly influential due to his innovative reach in the Muslim World propagated via IslamToday.net and his persistent efforts at ministering to the needs of the global Muslim community.


Key Scholar of Salafi Network

Sheikh Salman Al Ouda is a leading scholar of the Salafi movement. Although he is not noted for propagating innovative ideas within the network, he has notable influence in the movement due to his use of multiple modes of education (the Internet, audiovisual media, and print) to educate the large body of Salafi Muslims in the Islamic sciences. Sheikh Al Ouda’s website brings together a diverse range of Islamic scholars and educators to provide guidance in Islamic thought.

Influence Through Virtual Islamic Resources
He supervises all content published on IslamToday.net—a website that offers virtual resources for Islamic education in multiple languages. His work has far-reaching impact in an age when religion is spread through media and technology, with IslamToday.net at the forefront of this trend. In response to a February 2010 ruling from the Al Azhar Fatwa Committee condemning the use of Facebook, Sheikh Al Ouda defended the social networking website, stating that he uses it to communicate with Muslims across the globe and to provide Islamic guidance online. Sheikh Al Ouda has a following of over half a million on Facebook and nearly that many views of his official videos on YouTube.


Innovative Educator
Al Ouda developed a following from weekly talks at his local mosque in Buraydah and has become an authority for Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide who access IslamToday.net—a Saudi-funded website dedicated to providing Islamic educational resources in English, Arabic, French and Chinese. He also addresses Islamic issues on the Saudi satellite channel MBC.

Ambassador of Non-violence
In an effort to distance himself from alleged connections to perpetrators of terrorism, Al Ouda is outspoken about the importance of inculcating love and mercy as opposed to violence (except in valid cases of self-defense) in the daily lives of Muslims. As a prominent member of the International Union for Muslim
Scholars, he led the delegation in talks with Arab heads of state regarding the need for them to unite in opposition to Israel’s siege of Gaza in early 2009.


The Arab Spring
He praised the Arab Spring in Egypt and condemned Gaddafi in Libya. Commenting on the situation in Libya in a telephone call with Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, Al Ouda said, ‘I think that there is no more legitimacy for Gaddafi’s regime in Libya’.



When we stumble and forget ourselves, this should make us all the more vigilant to maintain our dignity and composure in the future: to be patient, to pardon and to overlook  


Sheikh Salman Al Ouda


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Dear Editor

Assalaam Alaikum,

I wanted to bring to your attention a Paper I wrote and which has been published on the SeekersGuidance blog, on the topic of female genital mutilation. The article can be found here.

May Allah Ta’ala reward you all for your consistent and wonderful work that you all do.

Was Salaam
Afroz Ali
Founder & President-
Al-Ghazzali Centre
for Islamic Sciences & Human Development
Email: aali@alghazzali.org 
Web: http://alghazzali.org 
Mobile: +61 412 198729


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London 2012 Olympics: Champions aren't made easily, says Mohamed Sbihi

Mohamed Sbihi has pledged to feed 1,800 people in Morocco because he will miss his fast during Ramadan.

UK: Rower Mohamed Sbihi, part of the GB men's eight, is keen to be a shining role model to Muslim kids. He talks about competing during Ramadan, and rowing's posh-boy reputation


Before Trenton Oldfield decided to disrupt a rowing race as a protest against social inequality he should have studied the Team GB squad.


The various crews lining up in Belgrade on Friday at the first World Cup event of this Olympic season still contain a range of Oxbridge-educated talent – but the participants inhabit a strictly elite sport, not an elitist one. "I went into it with the prejudice it was an upper-middle class, white person's sport," admits Mohamed Sbihi, the first practising Muslim to row for Britain. "I swiftly realised it wasn't."

So much for Oldfield's Boat Race-halting thesis. Sbihi, a comprehensive-educated kid from Surbiton, is part of a GB men's eight which contains all manner of ages, cultures and physical specimens.


By the end of August, the 24-year-old son of a Moroccan immigrant father and an English mother who works in the Kingston branch of Marks and Spencer could potentially be the toast of two nations, regardless of colour, class or creed.



It says in the Koran that for every day you break fast intentionally without due cause you have to fast 30 days or feed 60 people

Mohamed Sbihi

Even before he dips his blade into Olympic waters, Sbihi's story is an inspirational one.


The tallest member of the GB squad at 6ft 8in, he played football and basketball before being identified as a potentially successful oarsman at 15 by a talent-spotting programme.


"I would never have rowed if they hadn't knocked on my school's door and asked to test all the kids."


Once in the system, though, he had a pressing problem: how to train properly while fasting during Ramadan.

For a while he coped fine. "When I first started rowing in 2003 I made it known I was going to fast regardless. At that time Ramadan was around October or November during the winter training months."


Last year, though, something had to give. Rowers are required to burn upwards of 4,500 calories per day during training. The dates of this summer's Games also coincide with Ramadan, which starts on 20 July and runs for 30 days. "It was obvious in my head I didn't want to fast. It was just a case of how I was going to do it."

A solution presented itself on a trip to visit his extended family in Morocco. They told him about the national soccer team's ex-goalkeeper and manager, Badou Ezzaki, who during his career paid for the meals of thousands of people back home in lieu of his fast.



One of the things Islam teaches you is that everyone's the same regardless of background or their faith. It's exactly the same in sport. We go through such hard times together as a group it doesn't matter where you're from, or how rich or poor you are. You're in there for one reason and that's to row the boat well.

Mohamed Sbihi


"It says in the Koran that for every day you break fast intentionally without due cause you have to fast 30 days or feed 60 people," explains Sbihi. He has duly pledged to feed 1,800 poor people in Morocco, at a personal cost of around £2,000.


"It gives me a feeling that I've done something, although I still hate missing my fast. I enjoy it, the feeling you get, the tradition of it, being around people doing the same. When I'm training and fasting I can still beat a lot of the guys on the ergonometer. The problem is there is a risk of dehydration. As a squad we're all so close. You don't want to lose your chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity."

Such are the hurdles confronting many British Muslim athletes. Amir Khan and Mo Farah have led the way and Sbihi, who recites the first verse of the Koran before each race, is equally keen to be a shining role model. "I hope I am an inspiration to young Muslim kids. Hopefully I can show they can participate in sport and be practising Muslims as well. It's a privilege but also a shame. It's great that I'm the first but why should I be? There are plenty more Muslim people in this country who could have done what I've done."


Moroccan rowing is, admittedly, not about to become the people's sport overnight. "It's exactly like it was here 50 years ago. To get to the rowing club you have to have transport. To do that, you have to have money. My family are always saying to me: 'Rowing's not very big is it? You don't see it on TV.'; Don't worry, I said, it'll be on the telly this summer, it does exist. If I can get a medal, hopefully it will reflect well on Morocco, too."

If the Games can also dissolve rowing's posh-boy reputation, Sbihi will definitely have achieved something.


"One of the things Islam teaches you is that everyone's the same regardless of background or their faith. It's exactly the same in sport. We go through such hard times together as a group it doesn't matter where you're from, or how rich or poor you are. You're in there for one reason and that's to row the boat well.

"We're 30 guys training in the same location for 49 weeks of the year. That's pretty intense. There's not many sports that do that. Every couple of months you might think: 'This is too much.'; What drives you on is the feeling you're giving 100%. It's constantly drilled into us that champions aren't made easily. It's hard work. It is tough to manage and sometimes it's nice to be back home training in your own environment. But as much as we occasionally want to do that, I know I wouldn't be a champion if I did. Producing your ultimate performance doesn't happen by chance. As Muhammad Ali used to say: 'Champions aren't made in the ring, they're made outside it.'"

Back in Rabat and Surbiton, Sbihi's friends and relatives should be rightly proud of their trailblazer.

Source: The Guardian


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‘What I’ll Miss About Islam’: A Dubai Expat’s View

UAE: I posted towards the end of last year regarding what expats might miss or not miss when they move to the UAE. There’s another post I need to do – what I would miss about the UAE were I to move back. One of the things I will miss most, when that day finally comes is Islam.

I’m not a Muslim. I doubt I ever will be. So why has it become a part of my life that I will miss?

Firstly there is the Adhan. A part of Islam we cannot see, but hear, if we are lucky, five times a day. At the right time of year, it both wakes me and sends me to sleep. It’s a fantasy call from the minaret of the nearest mosque, calling those who must to pray. The earliest is at first light, and eases me out of sleep before the shrill tone of my alarm does. I can hear two local Muezzins from my bed, both beautifully in tune, starting only seconds apart. I miss the daytime calls in the hubbub of day unless I am strolling around a sleepy mall where it echos through the marble corridors like a ghost retrieving the chosen. At night, I sway in my hammock, the children in bed, and wait for them to finish the day for me. An eerie serpentine song that reminds me every day that I live in the Middle East.

Secondly, it’s Ramadan. Some people hate it. All the cafes are closed during sunlight hours, and there are strict rules on eating in public, even for non-Muslims. But if you can put aside your own small sacrifice, you can watch an entire community of people committing to a task that is actually very, very hard. The dedication is remarkable, and although I have met those who are Muslim and yet also say “I’m not such a good Muslim”, most are vigilant.


Not only do they fast, but they donate like billionaire philanthropists. Waiters will receive a 100AED tip for a cup of coffee, people erect Iftar tents outside their homes and feed passing strangers at sundown, housewives have their drivers take them to labour camps to distribute food parcels. The town is adorned with coloured glass lamps, and although the days are quiet, the night explodes in vibrant hues and revellers. Random acts of kindness abound, and everyone joins in the Iftar feast, Muslim or not.

Thirdly, it’s the physical presence of the religion, and the beauty carried with it. How could you not love the architecture of a mosque? Each and every one is a fairytale. Yesterday I travelled to Abu Dhabi to photograph the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I could list all its qualities, but you can read them for yourself on the links. Instead, just visit my gallery here, and see the beauty of the place.

It’s magical, regal, bold, delicate, brash, refined, symmetrical, contemporary and classic. It’s one of those places where a photographer will become rooted to the spot and use an entire memory card before taking a step and finding 100 more views to capture. Perhaps it does not have the whispers of history in its walls like Hagia Sophia, or the Alabaster Mosque, but it will, in time.

Islam can be a beautiful thing to observe, even if from the outside, particularly in a reasonably religiously tolerant place like Dubai. From the sounds of prayer to the design that is imprinted on UAE everyday life as well as its history, to the people – elegant, aloof, and yet giving and thoughtful. Like its artistic Arabesque, the religion flows through life with great finesse, decorating everything around it. And that, when I finally do leave, I will miss.


Source: MidEast Posts


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DISCLAIMER: CCN publishes articles in good faith and takes no responsibility for the contents supplied by its writers.

Any complaints regarding any articles should be sent by email to ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org for us to act on.


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

This week a CCN Reader recommends

 Nabeel's Song: A Family Story of Survival in Iraq


 Jo Tatchell



In the winter of 1979 Nabeel Yasin, Iraq's most famous young poet, gathered together a handful of belongings and fled Iraq with his wife and son.


Life in Baghdad had become intolerable. Silenced by a series of brutal beatings at the hands of the Ba'ath Party's Secret Police and declared an “enemy of the state,” he faced certain death if he stayed.


Nabeel had grown up in the late 1950s and early '60s in a large and loving family, amid the domestic drama typical of Iraq's new middle class, with his mother Sabria working as a seamstress to send all of her seven children to college.


As his story unfolds, Nabeel meets his future wife and finds his poetic voice while he is a student.


But Saddam's rise to power ushers in a new era of repression, imprisonment and betrayal from which few families will escape intact. In this new climate of intimidation and random violence Iraqis live in fear and silence; yet Nabeel’s mother tells him “It is your duty to write.”


His poetry, a blend of myth and history, attacks the regime determined to silence him. As Nabeel’s fame and influence as a poet grows, he is forced into hiding when the Party begins to dismantle the city’s infrastructure and impose power cuts and food rationing.


Two of his brothers are already in prison and a third is used as a human minesweeper on the frontline of the Iran-Iraq war. After six months in hiding, Nabeel escapes with his wife and young son to Beirut, Paris, Prague, Budapest, and finally England. Written by Jo Tatchell, a journalist who has spent many years in the Middle East and who is a close friend of Nabeel Yasin’s, Nabeel's Song is the gripping story of a family and its fateful encounter with history.


From a warm, lighthearted look at the Yasin family before the Saddam dictatorship, to the tale of Nabeel’s persecution and daring flight, and the suspense-filled account of his family’s rebellion against Saddam's regime, Nabeel's Song is an intimate, illuminating, deeply human chronicle of a country and a culture devastated by political repression and war.



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

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


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KB says:  When you are invited to a BBQ and are told not to bring a thing .....this casserole dish is sure to be everyone's 'favourite'.  


Sweet Corn Casserole



4 potatoes
½ cup grated cheese
2 cups frozen corn or 1 tin corn kernels
½ cup fresh cream
1 tsp ground green chillies
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion sliced
1 tsp jeeru (cummin)
1 tab ghee

1. Cube and sauté potatoes, until done
2. Add, corn, fresh cream, green chillies, salt and pepper
3. Sauté the slice onion and jeeru in the ghee and add to the above.
4. Set in a casserole dish and sprinkle a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese on the top.
5. Bake at 180 degrees for approx 15 minutes.

Serve warm.
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 me at kbcooks@crescentsofbrisbane.org and be my "guest chef" for the week.


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Q: Dear Kareema, what are some other exercises I can do besides skipping to get my heart rate up quickly?

A: Try a few minutes of plyometric exercises such as star jumps, burpees or even a quick cycling session.
These will max out your heart rate and boost your metabolism in minimal time. Make sure to always use good posture and technique.







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.


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Q: Dear Flightstar Fozi, we are travelling in July to Canada and Europe and have an eight hour delay in Zurich airport. Can we leave the airport or what is available to pass the time ?




Flightsar Fozi: The centre of Zurich is fewer than 10 minutes by train from the Zurich airport, with services running every 10 minutes. Just stow your luggage and head into town.


Take tram no.2 or 4 to Zurich main station, on the airport website, click on the services for passengers link for information on options for storing luggage, these include coin operated lockers through to an attended left luggage office.


A good starting point for things to see and do in Zurich is at Switzerland.com.


There is an area on the site dedicated to the city and surrounds with links depending on your short time there.


That will give you plenty of ideas to amuse yourself there.

Flightstar Fozi's Travel Tips brought to you by


Need an answer to a travel related matter?

Send your question to Flightstar Fozi at  ccn@crescentsofbrisbane.org.

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


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One night Jallaludin, a well-known and wealthy War Lord of a desert fiefdom, and his wife Begumbibi decided to do something out of routine and go for a casual dinner at a restaurant that wasn't too luxurious.


When they were seated, the owner of the restaurant asked the War Lord's bodyguards if he could please speak to the wife of the War Lord in private.


They obliged and Begumbibi had a conversation with the owner.


Following this conversation the War Lord asked Begumbibi, why was he so interested in talking to her.


She said he wanted to know what she thought of his menu and mentioned in passing that in her teenage years, he had offered his hand in marriage to her but she had turned him down.


Jallaludin then said, "so if you had married him, you would now be the owner of this lovely restaurant", to which Begumbibi responded, "no, if I had married him, he would now be the War Lord of this province."


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Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are, by Allah's leave, foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.


Surah Fatir 35:32


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Be not entangled in this world of days and nights; Thou hast another time and space as well. 
                                                                                                  Muhammad Iqbal


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Notice Board


Click on thumbnail to enlarge


Events and Functions

International Food Festival - Gold Coast Mosque 6 May Fiji Fund Raiser Dinner 12 May Mother's Day Brunch Algester 13 May Yusha Evans Lecture 19 May UMB & Kuraby Mosque BBQ 20 May Palestinian Fund Raising Dinner 20 May Family Fun Night - AIIC 26 May A Journey of Health 20 & 27 May Ladies Retreat with Dr Haifaa Younis 6-8 July


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Islamic Programmes, Education & Services

AIIC Enrolments AYMN 40 Gems
Business Muslim Burial Services (BMBS) Discovering Deen Youth Club
Fathima Adat Tutoring Services
Fiqh & Tafseer Classes Sister's House Friday Lunch Cclub Hall Hire Islamic College of Brisbane Islam Basics Ccourse Kuraby Mosque Quran & Islamic Classes Equipment Hire Kuraby Mosque Madressa Al-Mustapha Institute Maths Tutoring Service Qari Hufaaz Classes AIIC Scholarships Sisters House Registration SMS Alert Services Boxing Training 1 Boxing Training 2


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Businesses and Services



ACCES Removal Services


Kuraby Mosque Hire Services

Hire Services

Ahlam Haddad Tutoring

Tutoring (Maths)


Clothing Islamic Couture


Lebanese Cuisine

Love ur Body

Beauty Treatments

Brizie Biltong


Mansur Omar

Real Estate

Bismillah Repairs & Maintenance

Repairs & Maintenance

MaXimize Accountants


Brisbane Diagnostics



Health Drink

Calamvale Physio & Sports Injury Clinic


Mo's Handyman Services

Repairs & Maintenance

Car Body Removals

Used Car Dealer

Muslim Directory Australia

Directory Services

Carpet Lifesavers

Carpet cleaning


Restaurant & Takeaway Portuguese Chicken

Centre for Easy Language Learning (CeLL)

Tutoring (Arabic)


Restaurant & Takeaway Portuguese Chicken


Traditional Indian & Pakistan Cuisine

Nazima Hansa Realty PTY LTD

Real Estate



Islamic College of Brisbane Hall Hire

Hire Services



OurWorld Travel



Migration Agency

Pappa Roti

Cake & Coffee

Fathima Adat Tutoring

Tutoring (School subjects)

Pizza Lane

Restaurant & Takeaway Pizza

Gabriel Hair Studios


Rejuven8 Body & Beauty

Beauty Treatments


Plastic Mats

Samoosa Pastry Distributors


Henna by Fatima


Shakira Kolia's Driving School

Driving School

Hummy's Automotive

Car Repairs



Hussana Australia

Halal Body Care range

Stick On Labels

Label printing

InWear Fashions

Clothing Fashion

The Quran Pen


Junaid Ally Properties

Real Estate

Yasmeen Seedat Accounting Services


Kimaya Fashions


Lily's Fashion

Wedding dresses etc. 

Personal Training with Layla

Personal Training

Marketing Co-Op

Internet Services

Angelz Dental Care



Travel Agency

Shameema's Silk Scarves


Grand Medical Centre

Medical Practitioners

Qld Islamic Book Service

Book Shop



Health Products

Personal Wellness Coach



Ummah Store

Books, Clothing, DVDs etc.


Security Systems


Boulevard Towers Surfers Paradise

Holiday Accommodation

AutoCAD Training

Personal Tuition





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Surfers Paradise Holiday Accommodation AutoCAD Tuition OFFICETEK for Intercoms,CCTVs, Alarms MaXimize Accountants Monavie Angelz Dental Care Centre for Easy Language Learning (CeLL) ACCES Removal Services Baalbak Bismillah Repairs & Maintenance Samoosa Pastry Distributors Brisbane Diagnostics Brizie Biltong Calamvale Physio & Sports Injury Clinic Carpet Lifesavers Rejuven8 Body & Beauty Haseera InWear Fashions Personal Wellness Coach Healthy Life BROWNS PLAIN efxshop Fathima Adat Tutoring Flightstar Gabriel Hair Studios Henna by Fatima Hummy's Automotive Hussana Australia Junaid Ally Properties Kimaya Fashions Kuraby Mosque Hire Services Stick On Labels d'Lahorie Personal Training with Layla Lily's Fashion Love ur Body Marketing Co-Op Muslim Directory Australia Mo's Handyman Services Nando's CALAMVALE CENTRAL Nandos MT GRAVATT Nazima Hansa Realty PTY LTD Excelanz Pizza Lane Pappa Roti Qld Islamic Book Service Yasmeen Seedat Accounting Services Shameema's Silk Scarves Siitra Shakira Kolia's Driving School Car Body Removals Ummah Store Mansur Omar EliteFX


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

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





(Click on link)





6 May


International Food Festival

Islamic Society of Gold Coast

Gold Coast Mosque, Arundel

0418 737 621

10am til late

12 May


Fiji Flood Fund Raiser Dinner

Islamic Council of Queensland

Islamic College of Brisbane, Karawatha

0450 908 786


13 May


Mother's Day Brunch

Islamic Society of Algester

Beenleigh Events Centre

0403 338 040


19 May


Yusha Evans Lecture

United Muslims of Brisbane

Islamic College of Brisbane, Karawatha

0425 811 150


20 May


Palestinian Widows & Orphans Dinner Fundraiser


Michael's Oriental Restaurant

0433 182 520

5.30pm for 6pm start

20 May


Unity in the Community BBQ

United Muslims of Brisbane & Kuraby  Mosque

Svoboda Park, Kuraby

0412 386 839


20 May


Journey of Health: Women's Health Day


AMYN Islamic Centre

0415 355 896

All Day

26 May


Family Fun Night

Australian International Islamic College

724 Blunder Rd, Durack

3372 1400


27 May


Journey of Health: Children's Health Day


AMYN Islamic Centre

0415 355 896

All Day

3 June


Annual Quran Competition

Islamic Council of Qld.

Islamic College of Brisbane, Karawatha

0450 908 786


10 June


Spa Day

Sister's House

AMYN Centre

0449 268 375


16 June



Lailatul Mehraj

5 July



Lailatul Baraat

6-8 July


Ladies Retreat with Sister Haifaa


Savannah Hotel, Broadbeach

0426 821 411

All day

21 July



Start of Ramadhan 

15 August



Lailatul Qadr

19 August



End of Ramadhan   

20 August




25 August



Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

0418 722 353

All day

2 September


Soccer Tournament: Unity Cup 2012

Ahmed Essof

Acacia Ridge Indoor Sports, 1391 Beaudesert Road

0415 323 548

All day

9 September



Orleigh Park, West End

0402 026 786


26 October




26 & 27 October

Fri & Sat

Eidfest Dreamworld


0418 722 353

All day


NB: The Islamic date changes to the next day starting in the evenings after maghrib.

Therefore, except for lailatul mehraj, lailatul baraat and lailatul qadr – these dates

refer to the commencement of the event starting in the evening of the corresponding day.


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 As-Salaam Institute of Islamic Studies

Free Monthly Tafseer Class

Telecast Live from Sydney

The Immense Ocean by Imam Ahmed Ibn Ajiba al Hasani

Date: Saturday 3 March 2012, then every second Saturday of each month
Time: 3pm - 4:30pm
Venue: IWAQ Office, 11 Watland St, Springwood
Light refreshments provided.

For more information about the course click here


 As-Salaam Institute of Islamic Studies

Free Weekly Class

Telecast Live from Sydney

Mizaan Al Amal - Balanced Criterion of Action

Date: Every Friday evening until 20 April 2012
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Venue: IWAQ Office, 11 Watland St, Springwood
Refreshments provided


For more information about the course click here


Bald Hills Mosque Weekly Tafseer


Tafseer lessons (half an hour)
Mondays and Wednesdays every week after Isha salah at Bald Hills Masjid,


All are welcome


Kuraby Mosque Tafseer & Taalim


Tafseer and Taalim for Ladies only - Every Tuesday @ Kuraby Mosque  11am to 12.30pm – Contact Apa Layla on 0405 968 665

Classes for teenage girls - 7pm to 8:30pm – Every Thursday evening – Contact Apa Layla on 0405 968 665


Queensland Police Service/Muslim Community Consultative Group


VENUE: Metropolitan South Regional Office, 1993 Logan Road, Upper Mt Gravatt

Wednesday 24 May 2012 (cancelled)
Wednesday 17 October 2012

Commencing at 5.00pm (Times may change throughout the year pending salat)



For more information and RSVP:

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


Tafseer Workshops
with Mufti Ravat


Thursday nights from 7.30 to 8.15pm and than after Esha



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Catch Crescents Community News on


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post comments on our Wall

start up a Discussion thread

become a Fan


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Sunnah Inspirations

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

Kuraby Mosque

Holland Park Mosque


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

MUSLIMS AUSTRALIA / 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.icb.qld.edu.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

Muslim Directory Australia

Carers Queensland

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

Brisbane Muslim Burial Society (BMBS)

Muslim Charitable Foundation (MCF)

Coordinated 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 (ICQ)  

Umbrella body representing various Mosques and Societies in Queensland

Current list of businesses certified halal by ICQ  7 August 2011

Islamic Friendship Association of Australia

Blog of the Association's activities

United Muslims of Brisbane

Crescents of Brisbane's CRESCAFE (Facebook)

Muslim Women's eNewsletter

Sultana’s Dream is a not-for-profit e-magazine that aims to provide a forum for the opinions of Australian Muslim women

Islamic Solutions

Articles and Audio recordings

Gold Coast Mosque

 Incorporating Islamic Society of Gold Coast Inc.

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 & 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

Islamic Shia Council of Queensland

Muslim Reverts Network

Supporting new Muslims

Muslim Funeral Services (MFS)

 Funeral Directors & Funeral Fund Managers for the Brisbane and Gold Coast communities

Islamic Society of Bald Hills (ISBH)

Tafseers and Jumma Khubahs uploaded every week.

Muslim Community & Qld floods

How the community helped out during the 2010 QLD floods

The CCN Young Muslim Writers Award (Facebook)

The Queensland Muslim Historical Society  (Facebook)

Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, Inc (MWNNA)

Peak body representing a network of Muslim women's organisations and individuals throughout Australia

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


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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.


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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.


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