Sunday, 4 January 2015

 Newsletter 0530




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




Iraqi Community Fun Day  The CCN Inbox: Letters to the Editor The CCN Food for Thought
Jones ordered to pay $10,000 for racial vilification  The CCN Classifieds An Ayaat-a-Week
Muslim Leaders Worldwide Condemn ISIS What is/was happening in other necks of the woods Events and Functions
Grand Mufti and ANIC on Palestinian statehood Around the Muslim World with CCN Islamic Programmes, Education & Services
Why halal certification is in turmoil

CCN Readers' Book Club

Businesses and Services

The all-time most popular books in the world revealed

KB's Culinary Corner

The CCN Date Claimer

Mehdi Hasan on Islamophobia and antisemitism

Kareema's Keep Fit Column

CCN on Facebook

Can you guess her religion from her hair covering?

The CCN Chuckle

Useful Links

Muslim men need to up their marriage game - and fast  

Write For Us

The Ultimate Muslim Men’s Guide to Grooming


The Sunni-Shia Divide
Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam
Expressions of Muslim faith held hostage by criminals
#Australiansforpeace - Tribute to victims of tragedies
100 Muslims, 1 Question


Click a link above to go directly to the article. Return to this section by clicking To top at the bottom, left of the article.



The Iraqi Community Fun Day is on Saturday 10 January at Svoboda Park.


There will be lots of rides, activities, fun and games for the whole family.


Also, the Iraqi national football team will be coming along with Brisbane Roar players.




If you are able to volunteer on the day please contact 0410 083 975.

All volunteers will receive free lunch and cold drink (shifts are set up 7-10am, supervising rides 10-1pm or 1-4pm).


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Alan Jones: "The words, in context, urged or stimulated listeners to hatred or, at least, serious contempt of Lebanese males''.


Broadcaster Alan Jones has been ordered to pay Muslim community leader Keysar Trad $10,000, ending a nine year battle over a radio segment found to have "stimulated listeners to hatred" of Lebanese men.

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal found comments broadcast on 2GB in April 2005 "portrayed Lebanese males as criminals and ... as posing a threat to the Australian community".

"It is simply not reasonable to malign and denigrate Lebanese males in general in the context of discussing a particular incident involving a small ground of young Lebanese men"

The tribunal found Mr Trad's complaint of racial vilification over the comments, which Jones described as being a letter from a listener, was substantiated.

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ordered broadcaster Alan Jones to pay Muslim community leader Keysar Trad $10,000


The letter said Lebanese men "simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that's taken them in". The radio segment followed a story on A Current Affair about a group of men, who Jones said "announced themselves as Lebanese Muslims", gathering at Brighton-le-Sands and The Rocks.

The tribunal found that the opinions expressed in the letter were not relevant to any argument about the public interest.

"It is simply not reasonable to malign and denigrate Lebanese males in general in the context of discussing a particular incident involving a small ground of young Lebanese men," said the judgment, handed down earlier this month.

The tribunal found that Jones used "contemptuous and hateful language" and the broadcast was "gratuitously insulting and offensive to Lebanese males".

"Mr Jones is one of the most powerful and influential radio presenters in Australia. It can be inferred that an ordinary member of his audience respected and tended to agree with his views. The propensity for them to be incited was, if anything, greater than that of a member of the general public.

"The words, in context, urged or stimulated listeners to hatred or, at least, serious contempt of Lebanese males. In our view, there can be no doubt that it would have reached the mind of the audience as something which had that effect."

Jones and Harbour Radio, which holds the licence for 2GB, were ordered to pay the damages, along with some of Mr Trad's legal costs. Harbour Radio was also ordered to review its policies in preventing racial vilification, if it hadn't already done so.

The case has been in and out of courts for years. Jones was first ordered to pay damages to Mr Trad in 2009, but the broadcaster launched two attempts to overturn that decision.

Jones was successful in the Court of Appeal, which last year ordered Mr Trad repay $10,000 to Jones and sent the matter back to the tribunal for determination.

The tribunal found Mr Trad was affected by the broadcast as a leader in the Lebanese community and the $10,000 payout reflected a "relatively mild" level of loss and damage.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald


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Many Americans Want to Know Why Muslims Aren’t Condemning ISIS

ABC News’ Laura Ingraham, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Fox & Friends and other U.S. media commentators say that Muslims are silent and complicit in the barbarian crimes of ISIS. Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said that all Muslims are the same as ISIS, and implied that all Muslims should be met “with a bullet to the head”.

Why don’t we hear Muslims condemning the barbarian ISIS terrorists?

Turns out they are loudly condemning ISIS … but our press isn’t covering it.

Father Elias Mallon of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association explains:

“Why aren’t Muslims speaking out against these atrocities?” The answer is: Muslims have been speaking out in the strongest terms, condemning the crimes against humanity committed by ISIS (or, as it is increasingly called, IS) and others in the name of Islam.

Father Mallon is right …

Vatican Radio – an official Vatican news site – reported last month:

Two of the leading voices in the Muslim world denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq, at the hands of extremists proclaiming a caliphate under the name Islamic State.

The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims.

In a statement, he officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.” The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s top cleric, the spiritual successor to the caliphate under the Ottoman Empire, also touched on the topic during a peace conference of Islamic scholars.

In a not-so-veiled swipe at ISIS, Mehmet Gormez declared that “an entity that lacks legal justification has no authority to declare war against a political gathering, any country or community.” He went on to say that Muslims should not be hostile towards “people with different views, values and beliefs, and regard them as enemies.”


Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging. “The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization,” he told Reuters in an interview.

The Independent noted last month:

Muslim leaders in Britain have condemned the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), expressing their “grave concern” at continued violence in its name.


Global Research


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Press release

His Eminence, the Grand Mufti of Australia and the Australian National Imams Council reject the latest vote by the Australian Government against Palestinian statehood.

On Tuesday 30th December 2014, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a resolution calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and a peaceful end to Israeli occupation. The veto powered US and Australia voted against the move.

The decision of the Australian government to be one of only two nations to vote against the resolution, when 13 other members of the security council voted in favor or abstained from voting is disappointing and regrettable.

“I would like to reiterate the message that we conveyed to the Honourable Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, when we met with her in September: ‘Australia must take a balanced and just approach to the Palestine-Israeli conflict.

At the moment it is blatantly one-sided,’” said the Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.

The Grand Mufti of Australia and The Australian National Imam council are concerned that such a vote will damage the relations of Australia with the free world and specifically the Arab and Muslim world.

The Australian government cannot champion human rights on the global stage yet turn a blind eye to the injustices and crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

The Australian government must therefore live up to international norms of justice by supporting the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and bring an end to the suffering of their sons and daughters.

ANIC consists of more than 250 Imams across Australia representing their respective communities. Contact: Sheikh Aref Chaker: aref@anic.org.au


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The booming international halal certification industry for food and other products, including in Australia, is in turmoil. Chris Johnston reports.

Kirralie Smith (pictured above) is a permaculture farmer from northern New South Wales and a mother of three. She is also the public face of the virulent campaign to boycott halal food and products.

Halal means permissible for Muslims to eat or use, and the Facebook page "'Boycott Halal in Australia" has 41,000 supporters.

'We are Australians. I love my footy, my cricket, my meat pies. Halal pies of course'            Mohammed Eris

Smith speaks at events organised by "Islam-critical" groups such as the Q Society, which has also been involved in local campaigns to stop mosques being built. Her "Halal Choices" website, she says, gets 80,000 visitors a month.

She says her objection is not to Islam itself but the extra cost she thinks is imposed on Australian consumers by companies paying to have products – everything from milk to pies and shampoo – certified halal.

Halal products are certified as being free from anything that Muslims are not allowed to eat or use (such as pork and alcohol). The products must be made and stored using machines that are cleansed according to Islamic law.

Large processing plants will have Muslim staff members who are accredited in some instances to bless the factory. Halal slaughtering of animals in Australia is done after they are stunned.

Smith and her supporters claim halal certification is a scam by Muslim interests to raise money for mosques and therefore for "jihad." They base this assertion on media reports in France, Canada and the United States claiming certification funds had been paid to organisations linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet neither Smith nor her unofficial patron, the Q Society, could elaborate on the Australian situation. "To the best of our knowledge no one has yet undertaken similar research," says Q Society's national president Debbie Robinson.

Mohammed Eris, the treasurer of the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia, says he is "saddened" to hear regular accusations that Muslim halal certifying bodies funnel money to terrorism. His organisation has the contract with Coles to certify supermarket products. "We are Australians," he says. "I love my footy, my cricket, my meat pies. Halal pies of course."

He says the council has funded youth groups and non-Muslim youth cancer organisations such as the Starlight Children's Foundation Australia which supports children with cancer and their families. "We practise our beliefs but with respect for the others around us."

The Australian Crime Commission told NewMatilda.com recently that no links were found between the "legitimate halal certification industry" and the "financing of terrorist groups".

Still, Smith maintains halal certification is a religious tax and jihad is more subtle than terrorism.

A significant amount of products in Australian stores are halal certified including food from SPC, Sanitarium, Cadburys, Nestle, Kelloggs, Master Foods, Mainland, La Ionica and Kraft. Supermarket chains such as Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Ritchies pay for certification for some products, as do dairy factories and meat processors.

Jamil Makhoul at his halal grocery shop in Coburg.

According to the Q Society, 75 per cent of poultry suppliers, the four major dairy companies, 60 per cent of sheep abattoirs and more than half of Australian cattle abattoirs produce certified goods.

Still, the Australian Food and Grocery Council says halal certification costs are "negligible" and "highly unlikely" to change pricing.

One of the main things that Smith and the anti-Halal movement objects to is foods or products that are deemed intrinsically halal – such as white milk, honey and nuts – having halal certification.

She claims certifiers put undue pressure on companies, blackmailing them with the threat of being branded anti-Islam or racist if they don't comply.

So far, South Australian dairy company Fleurieu has dropped its halal status – due to perceived negative publicity on anti-Halal social media pages – losing a big deal with Emirates Airlines in the process. It paid only $1000 to be certified. The costs of certification vary between $1000 for a small company to $27,000 a month for a large abattoir.

Prominent brands such as Four 'N Twenty, Kelloggs, Byron Bay Cookies, Cadburys and Pauls have been targeted in online anti-Halal campaigns but have stood firm, all stating that halal certification means they can export their product to Muslim countries.

Yet, behind the headlines, the booming halal certification industry is wracked by upheaval and recriminations both domestically and in export markets, with allegations of bribes paid by Australian certifiers to an Indonesian Halal agency.

The new Indonesian government has dismantled Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) – the country's main Islamic body and halal controller – which approves halal imports, shifting the goalposts significantly in a highly competitive $12 billion export industry.

The MUI has held a stranglehold on Australian halal exports by being able to dictate which Australian certifiers are favoured. But in one of the former Indonesian government's last acts, a new body – the Halal Product Assurance Organising Agency – was set up. It will be phased in over the next three years.

"The full impact on Australian exports will emerge only once detailed regulations are developed and implemented," an Australian department of agriculture spokesperson said. "The department will continue to work with the relevant halal-approving bodies in Indonesia to support Australian exports."

The bribery allegations were initially aired in Indonesian news magazine Tempo this year. Fairfax Media has established a Melbourne whistleblower wrote to three Australian government departments including the Federal Police in March telling them of corruption allegations between the MUI and Australian halal certifiers trying to firm up the lucrative export market in Indonesia.

The allegations include bribes paid to the MUI. Fairfax Media has seen an MUI contract sent to Australian certifiers requiring them to "contribute in activities for the halal product service in Indonesia".

A Department of Agriculture spokesman said: "The department is unable to comment on any investigation that may currently be underway."

Halal certification in Australia is dominated by four big Islamic groups – one in Melbourne and three in Sydney. They are the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, the unofficial peak body; the Halal Certification Authority Australia, the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia and the Islamic Co-ordinating Council of Victoria.

There are 21 Islamic groups approved by the federal government to issue halal certificates but many – in regional areas – service only small meat processors. The big four, all classed as not-for-profit enterprises, do the bulk of the work across meat and non-meat products.

Internationally, the halal market is valued in the trillions with 20 per cent annual growth, fuelled by a rising Muslim middle class in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia and the increasing reach of affluent Muslim travellers.

Big Australian certifiers are heavily regulated by the Australian Quarantine and Export Service (AQIS; a federal government body within the Department of Agriculture) but this covers only export products. Halal certification for domestic products, restaurants and butcher shops is unregulated. This is estimated to be about 10 per cent of the total halal market.

"I can make cheese in my little factory and get a local organisation to certify it halal," says Ahmed Kilani, who runs a Sydney halal consultancy and co-founded the website Muslim Village.

"I could set up tomorrow to certify butchers and restaurants. I can charge whatever I want. Who certifies the certifier? It should be written into the law but it isn't."

Mohammed Khan, of certifiers Halal Australia, says he has been pushing the government for tighter domestic halal standards since 2008 with no traction. He says certain certifiers enjoy a state-by-state monopoly at the expense of other hopefuls.

In contrast, the big export certifiers are audited by the Australian government and also by Islamic governing bodies in countries that receive the products.

"These are mainstream organisations. They are not start ups," says Ahmed Kilani. Just "one local scandal," he says – misuse of funds or non-halal products being certified – could have a major economic impact.

"If a product is exported to say Indonesia or Saudi Arabia then the governments of those countries have whole departments full of scholars and food scientists looking closely at what happens. They are not going to give a backyarder permission to certify."

Under Islamic law, the money the certifiers earn is supposed to cover costs and if there is any left it goes to the Muslim community organisations that the certifying company is aligned with – mosques, schools and welfare groups.

Those who control the certification rights can also fund imams and bring preachers to Australia. Sydney-based Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) set up an Islamic school in Tarneit in Melbourne's west and an Islamic centre on Christmas Island for Malaysian Muslims, says chief executive officer Amjad Mahboob.

"The international halal market is huge," Mahboob says, "and Australia being a primary producer of food items means we are relied upon so it's very important the credibility of what we do is protected at all times."

Yet that credibility has sometimes been brittle. In 2003, a court case involving Shafiq Khan, an influential figure around Sydney's Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia, saw former supporters swear he had diverted without approval more than $1 million to charities, including his own Al-Faisal College, at the expense of constituent charities. Former Prime Minister John Howard opened the college in 2000. Mr Khan negotiated a settlement and agreed to return the money to the council.

In 2009, the Victorian Supreme Court found the Islamic Co-ordinating Council of Victoria (ICCV) had defamed a competitor in the lucrative halal trade, and ordered damages be paid.

Then in 2012 a Sydney Islamic school aligned to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils was ordered to pay back $9m in NSW government funding after it was found money had been allegedly diverted to the federation the peak body for halal certification in Australia. "It is a matter that is before the court," said Mahboob. "We are disputing the [NSW] minister's findings."

This year, in a Federal Court trademark case it was revealed two Sydney kebab shops got free fake certificates from a wholesaler, which if they'd opted to buy them elsewhere would have cost $5000 each.

In Melbourne and Sydney, the certifying industry has begun to move away from predominantly Middle Eastern interests towards businesspeople from Turkey and the Balkans.

An investigator familiar with the industry said it was a "highly competitive" and "very incestuous" market. "It is riven with factions," he said.

Credibility can also be an issue to those seeking a boycott on halal products can also face. Theirs is a campaign that has been hijacked to an extent by extreme right-wing groups such as Restore Australia, the Australian Defence League and the Patriots' Defence League.

Last year, a Queensland woman was charged with food tampering after stickers stating that halal food funds terrorism were attached to coffee in a supermarket. The woman charged bought the stickers from former One Nation candidate Mike Holt -- who has raised funds for a contentious campaign to stop a mosque being built in Bendigo.

Kirralie Smith, meanwhile, says she is being courted by all kinds of small political parties to stand for Parliament.

"All of the minor parties have asked me to represent them. 'You have to be our senator,' they say, 'you have to be our candidate'. The Christian parties, the right wing parties. I really like [right-wing Christian Democratic Party politician in Sydney] Fred Nile, I think he is great. He would love me to join his party."

Early in 2015, Q Society will present a petition to federal parliament demanding the Corporations Act 2001 be changed to mean only Muslims bear the cost of halal certification on everyday products.

When pressed on the lack of evidence that Australian consumers are being ripped off by halal cartels – and that money raised funds nefarious activities – Smith says her "primary focus" is lack of choices for consumers and she is "happy to be wrong" in her claims.

"I understand it is complex. I felt deceived that companies pay halal certification fees and there was no way as a consumer and an ordinary mum that I knew."

Source: Sydney Morning Herald



Anti-Islamic sentiment in Australia is so hypocritical: Blog Post

Are you one of those people who believe Islam should be banned in Australia or protest against Halal Certification on products? Then you should read this.

I recently read an article about a South Australian Dairy Company that pulled its Halal Certification because of a social media backlash from anti-Halal protesters. As a result, they lost a $50,000 supply contract with Emirates Airlines. Are they crazy? They paid a measly $1000-00 annual fee for Halal certification that would have seen their products on the menus of Emirates flights but they pulled it because of Facebook trolls. This company made a stupid business decision allowing itself to be overrun by ill informed people and bigots with an agenda. It was a simple request by a major client. They weren’t asking for anything illegal or immoral.

Kirallee Smith is the woman at the forefront of the anti-Halal protests and thanks to her, Australian businesses are being pressured to stop the certification and in turn, lose a market share of consumers. Kirallee Smith has her reasons for being an anti-Halal certification activist. She doesn’t want to pay the fees. Other niche companies are gaining a larger market share with Halal Certification. So she launches a Facebook campaign and attracts every bigotted moron under the sun who believe Halal Certification somehow funds terrorist groups. The Australian Crime Commission has found no links to prove that at all. Despite this, Smith and her followers still believe its an Islamic tax and certification funds terrorism.

What Emirates asked for was vastly less demanding than what Coles and Woolworths want from their suppliers. Maybe Smith should focus on the way the big supermarkets screw farmers than worry about an imaginary “bogey-man’s” tax.

The rise of the anti-Halal movement is directly linked to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia that really started after 9/11 and has worsened since. Muslims have been living in Australia since the 1800’s. Halal Certification didn’t start yesterday.

Many companies also have Kosher certification which can cost companies between $550.00 to $2200.00 per annum. Kirallee and her friends don’t seem to be paying much attention to that.

And they shouldn’t either! Having one’s product certified to cater for wider markets is good business practice. First we accuse Muslims of not subscribing to “Aussie values and culture” but then we bitch and complain when a Four’n’Twenty pie carries a badge that allows a Muslim kid to enjoy one with other Aussie kids.

If simply being anti-Halal isn’t enough, we have movements like the Australian Defence League, shock jocks and commentators whose names won’t be mentioned here, politicians like George Christensen and the redneck pin up girl, Pauline Hansen suffering relevance deprivation syndrome bleating her way back into politics. All of whom are trying to convince the majority of Australians that Islam should actually be banned from Australia. If they knew anything about our constitution and freedom of religion, they’d realise how illegal their incorrect, banshee-like screeches really are.

Many Australians are following these movements not realising that they are being rather hypocritical at the same time.




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The numbers have been crunched and the list for the best selling books of all time has been revealed.

Website lovereading.co.uk collated the figures for the number of editions, translations and copies sold of the world's most popular books, including fiction and non-fiction.

The Holy Quran came out on top with over 3 billion prints, followed by The King James Bible with over 2.5 billion copies sold.

The third highest selling print is Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, a book of selected speeches and writings by Mao Zedong, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, which has been translated in 34 languages.

The most popular novel on this list was Spanish novel Don Quixote which came in at fourth place with 500m copies sold, followed by J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series at fifth place with 450m copies sold.

Homer's epic Odyssey has been translated the most amount of time into 250 languages, followed by French Children's classic Le Petit Prince.




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The Huffington Post UK's Mehdi Hasan and the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland discuss Islamophobia and antisemitism at a Guardian Live event at the Royal Institution in London on 15 September. Here, Mehdi speaks about the challenges of tackling bigotry when the tools of a usual argument – facts, case studies, statistics – do not work in the face of conspiracy theories


Source: The Guardian


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The western media often brands the hijab a symbol of oppression, yet religious women of many faiths wear head coverings.


The following quiz highlights how the hijab has been unfairly labelled oppressive when it is found in so many faiths.


Take the quiz and see if you can spot a pious Muslim from a pious Jew.




1) What is the religion of these women?



a) Muslim

b) Jewish

c) Christian

d) Sikh


Source: Judaism Islam


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As a groom demands a divorce after seeing his wife for the first time on their wedding day, author Shelina Janmohamed explains why Muslim men still aren't socialised to revere marriage in the same way as women

Social structures are still stacked in favour of Muslim men when it comes to marriage.


A new bride in Saudi Arabia faced the most unexpected turn of events on her wedding day. When her veil was lifted and the groom saw her for the first time (who had never met her before), declared: “You are not the girl I want to marry. You are not the one I had imagined.” He then demanded an ‘instant divorce’.

It goes without saying that this groom is a cruel buffoon and the story has only captured international attention because of his outrageous idiocy.

Criticism of his actions for not having met his bride prior to the ceremony and not taking the decision to marry more seriously are well-founded. In Islamic teachings, men and women are encouraged to meet before they wed; ensuring that there is physical attraction is naturally recognised as an important criterion. Islamic teachings emphasise the importance of getting to know a potential partner, their life goals, and establishing mutual interests. In waiving this part of the process, the groom was acting outside of those teachings. Social conventions may once have dictated the ‘meet on the wedding night’ tradition, but there is no founding for this in my religion’s teachings.

There is also speculation about whether this story is true, after all it plays too conveniently into our stereotypes of powerless Muslim women, and crazy Muslim men. But truth or fiction, the fact is that social structures are still stacked in favour of Muslim men when it comes to marriage - despite Islamic teachings laying the foundations of mutuality in relationships. And this unfairly rigged social reality needs to change fast.

In my own experience, growing up in this country in a sub continental Muslim culture, I vividly recall the focus and guidance given to me and my female friends from a young age about seeking a partner, marriage being ‘my fulfilment’ and how I had to learn the techniques to be a good successful wife. Of course it’s great for everyone to be taught how to build a strong relationship. The problem is that in my culture, this guidance is still given overwhelmingly to women and men receive very little if any emphasis on their role in the marriage. No wonder that a groom can then declare in front of an audience that he finds his bride unattractive. He’s probably never been taught basic relationship etiquette. For that I demand to know what the family, the community and the clerics conducting the marriage were busy offering him by way of guidance.




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By Omar Usman


Every time I solicit khutbah topic ideas from people, someone inevitably suggests istinjā (how to clean yourself after using the restroom).


Although not the typical heart-stirring, faith-boosting, spiritually-uplifting, ready-to-change-the-world type of topic – it is a pressing need. It seems many people weren't taught simple common sense.


Beyond that, there are some unique challenges Muslim men face. For example, what kind of hair product will keep you looking sharp— but is able to survive repeated wiping from wet hands during wudu?

In this guide we'll cover what you need to make sure you're following the sunnah, and we'll also cover how to take your game to the next level.



Muslim Matters


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This video is part of the Council on Foreign Relations' InfoGuide Presentation, "The Sunni-Shia Divide": http://www.cfr.org/sunnishia

An ancient religious divide is helping fuel a resurgence of conflicts in the Middle East and Muslim countries. Struggles between Sunni and Shia forces have fed a Syrian civil war that threatens to transform the map of the Middle East, spurred violence that is fracturing Iraq, and widened fissures in a number of tense Gulf countries. Growing sectarian clashes have also sparked a revival of transnational jihadi networks that poses a threat beyond the region.

Islam's schism, simmering for fourteen centuries, doesn't explain all the political, economic, and geostrategic factors involved in these conflicts, but it has become one prism by which to understand the underlying tensions. Two countries that compete for the leadership of Islam, Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, have used the sectarian divide to further their ambitions. How their rivalry is settled will likely shape the political balance between Sunnis and Shias and the future of the region, especially in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Bahrain.

Alongside the proxy battle is the renewed fervour of armed militants, motivated by the goals of cleansing the faith or preparing the way for the return of the messiah. Today there are tens of thousands of organized sectarian militants throughout the region capable of triggering a broader conflict. And despite the efforts of many Sunni and Shia clerics to reduce tensions through dialogue and counterviolence measures, many experts express concern that Islam's divide will lead to escalating violence and a growing threat to international peace and security.

Sunni and Shia Muslims have lived peacefully together for centuries. In many countries it has become common for members of the two sects to intermarry and pray at the same mosques. They share faith in the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed's sayings and perform similar prayers, although they differ in rituals and interpretation of Islamic law.


To read the full interactive report click here.


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He might have been a staunch protector of the British Empire, but the British Prime Minister had a love of the Orient and Islam


The family of Sir Winston Churchill urged him to “fight against” the desire to convert to Islam, a newly discovered letter has revealed.

The Prime Minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two was apparently so taken with Islam and the culture of the Orient that his family wrote to try and persuade him not to become a Muslim.

In a letter dated August 1907 Churchill’s soon to be sister-in-law wrote to him: “Please don’t become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalise, Pasha-like tendencies, I really have.

“If you come into contact with Islam your conversion might be effected with greater ease than you might have supposed, call of the blood, don’t you know what I mean, do fight against it.”

The letter, discovered by a history research fellow at Cambridge University, Warren Dockter, was written by Lady Gwendoline Bertie who married Churchill’s brother Jack.

"Churchill never seriously considered converting," Dr Dockter told The Independent. "He was more or less an atheist by this time anyway. He did however have a fascination with Islamic culture which was common among Victorians."

Churchill had opportunity to observe Islamic society when he served as an officer of the British Army in Sudan. In a letter written to Lady Lytton in 1907 Churchill wrote that he “wished he were” a Pasha, which was a rank of distinction in the Ottoman Empire.

He even took to dressing in Arab clothes in private - an enthusiasm he shared with his good friend the poet Wilfrid S. Blunt. But Dr Dockter thinks Churchill's family need never have worried about his interest in Islam.

"[Lady Gwendoline Bertie] would have been worried because Churchill was leaving for an African tour and she would have known Churchill had been seeing his friend, Wilfrid S. Blunt, who was a renowned Arabist, anti-imperialist and poet. Though he and Churchill were friends and dressed in Arabian dress at times for Blunt's eccentric parties, they rarely agreed."

In 1940, when Churchill was leading Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany, he gave his support to plans to build what became the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park - putting aside £100,000 for the purpose - in the hope of winning the support of Muslim countries in the war.

He later told the House of Commons that “many of our friends in Muslim countries” had expressed appreciation for this “gift”.

But while he was vocal in his admiration for Islam, Churchill was not uncritical. “The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men,” he wrote in his 1899 account of Sudan, The River War.

“Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralizes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”

Dr Dockter, who assisted the London Mayor Boris Johnson on his book about Churchill, discovered the letter while researching his forthcoming book Winston Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East.


Source: The Independent


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Maria Bhatti

Why do we let criminals define the Shahada?


There is no deity but God and Muhammad is His messenger. This declaration of faith, known as the shahada, is what transformed gunman Man Haron Monis' siege into a perceived act of terrorism. Although he had no links to IS, Monis knew that the only way he could instil fear in the global community was through the shahada.

Muslims all around the world watched with dread as they saw the shahada imprinted on a black flag and displayed for the world to see as Monis held innocent victims as hostage. But why are we letting criminals define the shahada?

The shahada is the first thing whispered into a newborn baby's ear. It represents Islam's deep commitment to monotheism. This simple declaration of faith is all one needs to say in order to convert into the religion of Islam. Muslims use the shahada as a form of remembrance (dhikr) to soften their hearts and ease their mind. The first part of the shahada "there is no deity" is used to end the call for prayer. It has also been translated as "there is no one worthy of worship" but really this negation is lost in translation. This negation provides Muslims with perspective by shifting the focus from the temporal to the eternal.

In a society where our lives are spent enhancing and protecting our individual identities through consumerism and countless self-help books, the shahada shifts the focus from "me" to "we". In The Narcissism Epidemic, Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell conduct a research study into American culture, which finds that self-obsession is on the rise and is only contributing to our unhappiness. It is the narcissism epidemic that the shahada is trying to warn people against by reminding them that the purpose of our existence is not self-worship, but the worship of God. The shahada, as a form of remembrance, provides Muslims with a great deal of ease as they forget themselves and connect to God.

After the negation is a simple statement "and Muhammad is God's messenger" providing Muslims with a living role model exemplifying how to worship God in our daily lives. There are countless sayings of Muhammad (hadith) encouraging people to build community ties, and promoting love service, kindness, humility and other virtuous traits for a more meaningful life. In his last sermon, Muhammad left the following message for humankind: "an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action."

The shahada defines my purpose of existence. It teaches me that my inner values and actions are more important than my Pakistani heritage. Thus, life is not about strengthening my sense of self by claiming superiority over others, but about embodying values of love, justice and mercy.

Terrorism, the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, the backlash against Muslims, and the "I'll ride with you campaign" are all topics that have been the subject of much political commentary since the Sydney siege took place.

As an Australian-Muslim, I feel misunderstood. I don't want anyone to ride with me. I don't want to defend myself for a crime I did not commit. I want to be able to share the passion and love I have for the shahada without feeling judged. A genuine understanding of Islam and the spiritual significance that the shahada has for Muslims has largely been ignored.

I want to stand up and say proudly "la ilaha illa-llah" (there is no one worthy of worship except Allah) because my sense of self is not defined by the superficial but a deeper connection with God who is eternal and always with me, near me and a part of me. "Muhammadun rasulu-llah" (Muhammad is his messenger) and he teaches me to serve others before myself, avoid prejudice and builds meaningful community ties. Please don't ride with me, understand me.

Maria Bhatti is an Australian-Muslim lawyer and a PhD candidate at Monash University

Source: The Age


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In this episode of '100 Muslims, 1 Question' American Muslims from all walks of life were asked: "Have you thought about death?"


These are their responses



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Muslim Youths Protect Christians In Kaduna


NIGERIA: This is what prompted more than 200 Muslim youth volunteers to have singled themselves out to protect Christians during this year’s Christmas celebration. The church services which was organised to celebrate this year’s Christmas in Kaduna, was protected by 200 Muslim Youths.

According to Vanguard, a pastor, Pastor Yohanna Buru who is a cleric of Christ Evangelical Church, Sabon Tasha, Kaduna South, disclosed this in an interview with pressmen in Kaduna. Buru confirmed that over 200 Muslims were at his church to help protect the faithful from any attack during the church service.

The cleric who is still overwhelmed by the gesture of love and care shown to the faithfuls by the Muslim youths made it known that he really appreciate their love, care and support. He also made it known that the feat is the first of its kind after the series of crises that rocked the state in recent past.

The pastor said the essence of that was to protect the Christian worshipers as part of effort to strengthen peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians in the state. He also expressed happiness over the protection given to them by the Muslim brothers.

Noting that the initiative was an indication that peace has come to stay in the state, Buru said the measure will strengthen a lasting peace between the two religions.

He also prayed God to continue to bring about peace in the country the country, praying that other citizens would emulate the gesture.

He urged Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another irrespective of ethnic or religious differences.
The cleric said that peace was a major panacea to the positive development of any nation.

Source: NAIJ

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Muslim women's bodies - the hottest property in 2014 

The last 12 months has seen Muslim women dominate the news for all the wrong reasons. Shelina Janmohamed reflects on a difficult year


When it comes to Muslim women, it’s still all about what we wear – and the last 12 months only serves to confirm this sad state of affairs. What we say, our achievements, opinions and self-determination continue to be brushed aside.


Even as women’s movements around the world continue to gather momentum, Muslim women’s looks, clothing and bodies continue ever forcefully to be policed. We continue to be reduced to one-dimensional voiceless images.

A striking photo of Malalai Kakar dressed in a powder blue Afghan burqa was hijacked by Britain First’s campaign to ‘Ban the Burqa’.

Kakar, a mother of six from southern Kandahar city, was the first female graduate of the regional police academy. She was Afghanistan’s first female police officer, a powerful symbol of what women can achieve in the face of brutal gender oppression.

Kakar was killed by the Taliban in 2008. When Kakar’s photographer saw the campaign this year she contacted Britain first to say this was not her legacy, if anything Kakar was a symbol of empowerment, and wearing the burka was something she chose to do.


Kakar had said: "I am not forced to wear the chaudari [burqa], my husband or the police force does not require it. I want to wear it because it gives me advantages. "Whatever we might think of Kakar’s choices, the important thing was that they were her choices, and what she wore did not define her achievements. Britain First, like so many public voices chose to silence her even in death.


Furthermore, Australia’s Jacquie Lambie used the image and claimed – despite Kakar’s quote – that this strong woman would have supported the ban on the burqa.


The Telegraph

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After floods, preacher says RM200k Islamic new year gig necessary to ‘appease’ God


The poster of the event called ‘Malam Cintakan Rasul 2015’ (Love the Prophet Night 2015) which will be held in Dataran Merdeka on New Year’s Eve


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — An Islamic preacher has defended a RM200,000 mass Islamic gathering planned for New Year’s Eve, saying the amount is “miniscule” in order to appease God and plead for the return of “lost blessings”, which he said had caused the disastrous floods in the country.


Blaming those who viewed the floods “too scientifically and logically”, Mohammad Asraff Ayob claimed the disaster that has displaced over 200,000 Malaysians and killed 21 was not a natural occurrence but a “test” by a wrathful God towards Malaysians.


“The sins that we have done all this while were ‘grand’ too, were they not? Allah has long been wrathful, because we have been calculative with him. We forget him. We colour our lives with vices,” Asraff posted on his public Facebook page yesterday.


According to the Quran expert and trainer, it would not suffice for Muslims to privately pray in their own homes or even together in a mosque to fix this “grand mistake”.


MalayMail Online

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Saudi TV anchors begin donning hijab


SAUDI ARABIA: The Saudi Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) has begun implementing a new dress code for its women TV anchors effective from Thursday, say sources.

The code demands that they wear black headscarves and abayas. However, their abayas would be decorated on the sides with ribbons to match the corporate colours of the channels they represent, for example blue for the Al-Ikhbariya channel.

Some observers said the SBC move is part of a makeover for the new year, while others see it as a decision to prevent the Shoura Council introducing a mandatory dress code.

The issue has divided the Shoura Council. Several members opposed it, with one saying that it would be illegal because there is no law currently that imposes a dress code for women in the country.

The members had been discussing an amendment to the country’s audiovisual law proposed by Noura Al-Odwan, a woman member of the Shoura, and backed by the culture and media affairs committee. A fine of SR10,000 has been proposed for those failing to comply.

The council has postponed the discussion for the time being because of the mixed reaction from members.

Source: Arab News

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Selena Gomez pulls down Instagram picture that infuriated Muslims because she was displaying her ANKLES during visit to Abu Dhabi mosque



ABU DHABI: Pop singer posted image on Instagram after visiting United Arab Emirates but the controversial pic was since removed
The photo in question shows her ankle and lower leg in violation of strict religious dress code inside the revered mosque




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Q: Dear Kareema, I need to de-stress but don’t want to push myself too hard as I have been out of action for a few months now. What can I do that is not too intense?

A: Give Yoga a try. Not only will it calm you, it will make you feel energised after every workout session. Other benefits include improved flexibility and a stronger, more toned body.






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


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

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: This week's recipe is rather complex and one I have not tried as yet, but someone I know could not have enough of his fill of Masala Dosa while in the sub-continent so I thought I'd share one from an expert instead.

Masala Dosa




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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Mula Nasruddin walking through the fields of his farm notices a foreigner using one hand to scoop and drink water from an unclean pond.

Mula Nasruddin shouts in his mother tongue, "(Oh dear, don't drink that water. Cows, pigs and cattle pee and s#*t in it daily)

The foreigner shouts back, "I'm a foreigner; I don't understand your bloody gibberish language. Speak English, you bloody idiot!"

Mula Nasruddin shouts back in English, "Use two hands, you can drink more!"

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Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. You do we worship, and Your aid do we seek.

Surah Al- Fatiha 1:2-5


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  When life hurts you, feel the pain.

But don't live in it.

Each day is too precious to stay sad and stuck.

~ Robin Sharma


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Notice Board


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Events and Functions



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Islamic Programmes, Education & Services

MCF CCN Tax Fixed Beauty of a Muslimah Shajarah Islamic Kindergarten Shajarah Islamic Family Day Care Slacks Creek Mosque DONATIONS National Zakat Foundation Arabic- Qur'an Classes 31-05-2014 Weekly Halaqa STARTS 22 FEBRUARY Maths, English, Chemistry tutor Easy Way Tuition Ayia Foundation Card
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Businesses and Services



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New mobile no. 0468 342 127 Brisbane Diagnostics Hummys Automotive Services Boulevard Tower Residence Accommodation Calamvale Physiotherapy & Sport Injury Clinic Carpetlifesavers Indoor Folding Mats Rejuven8 Body & Beauty Personal Wellness Coach Shameema's Silk Scarves efxshop Samoosa Pastry Shakira Kolia Driving School Tutoring Fathima Adat QLD Islamic Book Service Gabriel Hair Studio Henna Fatima Ismail Junaid Ally Properties REMAX Muslima Chick Kimaya International Quick Stick Name labels Ladies Only Personal Training Lilys Fashion Excelanz Migration Services Hussana love ur body T ax Returns 2012 Muslim Directory NAZIMA HANSA REMAX Marketing Coop Group Pizza Lane Pappa Roti Ummah Store Elite FX Web Design


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

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





(Click on link)





10 January


IRAQI Community Fun Day


Svoboda Park, KURABY

0410 083 975

10am to 4pm

11 January


Commemoration of Birth of Prophet (pbuh)

Islamic Society of QLD

Rochedale Mosque, 2674 Logan Rd 8 Mile Plains

0407 156 527

5pm to 9pm

18 January


Meelad Programme with Niaz and Dinner

Islamic Society of Algester

Islamic College of Brisbane, KARAWATHA

0418 738 432

2pm to Magrib

28 Feb & 1 March

Sat & Sun

Course: Signs of the Hour

Al Kauthar Institute


0438 698 328


15 March


2nd Toowoomba International Food Festival

Islamic Society of Toowoomba

Garden City Mosque (Toowoomba)

0421 081 048

10am to 5pm

2-7 April

Thurs to Tues

Seekers Retreat

Seekers Hub Golbal

Outside Brisbane


All week

7 June


ICB Annual School Fete

Islamic College of Brisbane

Islamic College of Brisbane, KARAWATHA

0402 794 253

All day

25 July



Eidfest QLD

Rocklea Showgrounds

0418 722 353

All day

26 Sept.



Eidfest @ Dreamworld


0418 722 353




1. All Islamic Event dates given above are tentative and subject to the sighting of the moon.

2. The Islamic date changes to the next day starting in the evenings after maghrib. Therefore, except for Lailatul Mehraj, Lailatul Bhahraat and Lailatul Qadr – these dates refer to the commencement of the event starting in the evening of the corresponding day.


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Brisbane Northside Muslimah Monthly Meeting

2pm Sunday 18 January
Location to be advised when contacted
Topic for January : Riba: what is it, what is the punishment, how to avoid it in a western society
Please contact Ayesha on 0409 875 137 or ayesha_lea@yahoo.com.au




Lutwyche Mosque

Weekly classes with Imam Yahya


Monday: Junior Class
Tuesday: Junior Arabic
Friday: Adult Quran Class


For more information call 0470 671 109

Holland Park Mosque


All programs are conducted by Imam Uzair Akbar





Tafseer Program

Basics of Islam

Tafseer Program





after Maghrib Salat


Taleem Programe at Kuraby Mosque


Every Thursdays  10.30-11.30am


Bald Hills Mosque Weekly Tafseer







after Isha


Dars Nizame (Urdu)

after Isha



after Isha


Dars Nizame (Urdu)

after Isha



after Isha



after Maghrib



after Isha


The Tafseer gets recorded and uploaded on to our website end of each week, please visit our website to download these recordings at www.masjidtaqwa.org.au.

The Tuesday and Thursdays Dars Nizame program is in Urdu, these sessions too are recorded as well as webcasted live. For webcast details please contact us via our website “contact us” page. The recordings are sent via a download link, if you are interested please again contact us via our website “contact us” page.

Queensland Police Service/Muslim Community Consultative Group


Meeting Dates & Times

Time: 7.00pm sharp
Date: Tuesday 2 December 2014
Venue: Islamic College of Brisbane - 45 Acacia Road Karawatha

Light refreshments will be available.




For more information and RSVP:

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


Tafsir & Islamic History Classes

VENUE: Al-Mustapha Institute of Brisbane, 39 Bushmills Court, Hillcrest

Every Monday & Wednesday
7pm - 8:15pm

All Brothers & Sisters are welcome.

For further information please contact Moulana Noor 0432 712 546.


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post comments on our Wall

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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

IQRA Academy Institute of Islamic Studies

Online streaming of Islamic lectures

Islamic Relief Australia

National Zakat Foundation (NZF)

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) : Masjid Taqwa

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

Sultana's Dream

Online magazine subscribe@sultanasdream.com.au

Lockyer Valley Islamic Association


Celebrating Muslim cultures

AYIA Foundation


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


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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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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.


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