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More fantasies of the Islamic Caliphate: More fantasies from Muslims with over-active imaginations: Up there, Hilali!: Tremors are said to be rippling through the Indonesian government after a recent rally of 90,000 Indonesian Muslims gave rise to new calls for the re-establishment of a Caliphate for the entire Islamic world (if not the establishment of an Islamic World Government!). (Be very afraid, any Muslims who don't quite agree with the prevailing Muslim theories of the legitimacy of any such Caliphate.) More here from Muslims with over-active imaginations, this website fears. Osama bin-Laden shares this fantasy of the re-establishment of the old Ottoman Empire Caliphate, this fantastic and now-long-dead dream. (Today's believing Christians might well recall the now-long-dead [and Catholic] fantasy of the Holy Roman Empire.) What can this website say, except, that probably, the rest of the world could not be less interested in any such broad-scale Islamic Caliphate. So will our misguided Islamic friends here just kindly drop the idea and get on with the rest of their lives? Please? At their earliest convenience. Please? (TV mid-day and evening news, Australia, 13-8-2007)
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live in days so far beyond satire: Madness continues in "Only in America":
copyrighting continues in the USA: The delusion continues, fostered by
the determined irrationalities, arrogances, ignorance and
the US legal system, that Americans can claim copyright on
whatever they like, whenever they like, whyever they like, and the rest
of the world can go hang. Now, "patented yoga has Indians in a twist".
A few American "entrepreneurs", including an Indian-born "yogi", have
tried to patent aspects of the ancient practice of yoga. (What would
Buddha think?) Hundreds of "yoga-related patents, copyrights and
trademarks have been issued in recent years" in the US, and
the Indian Government is reportedly furious with the USA. Health
ministries, commerce ministries, have become involved. An Indian
official has wondered aloud how anything connected with yoga, which has
been in the public domain for up to 6000 years, could
conceivably be patented? The mad Americans pretend that they can
distinguish between "traditional knowledge" versus "intellectual
property". Deluded US authorities have issued 150 yoga-related
copyrights, 134 patents on yoga accessories and 2315 yoga-related
trademarks. Yet yoga has only become popular in the USA since the
1970s. It has since been stripped of its cultural and religious
overtones and yoga is now a part worth US$3 billion yearly of
the general US fitness industry. The worst offender here is the
Indian-born one, aged 61, a real culture-traitor, Bikram Choudhury, who
has 900 "yoga studios" around the world - who first copyrighted a "yoga
sequence" in 1978 and trademarked Bikram Yoga in 2002. (The
Indian government has also lately been fighting to protect basmati rice
and tumeric from Western patents in recent years, rather as the French
have unreasonably had to fight to protect the word "champagne" in
respect of the marketing of effervescent wines.) Well, this website
has had enough of this madness from the US. This website with backing
from www.worldsanity.org/ has now decided to take
out a world-wide patent on common sense, put the patent out as
part of the open-source movement under a typical GNU licence, and as
hopefully to soon be ratified by UN, so enabling any responsible group
of citizens anywhere in
the world to bill the US government one million (US$1 million, repeat
US$1 million), every
time one of its so-called "corporate-citizens" abridges any notion of
sense about anything! (You'll
be able to download authoritative, stable and reliable source
codes on common sense, well-annotated binaries on wisdom,
well-secured PDFs on ordinary honesty, decency and morality, and
torrents of bit-torrents of ways to go
about it all from Linux-run servers fitted with Apache and managed as
happens by descendants of Mark Twain.) The monies so collected
will go to International
Red Cross/Red Crescent. The expenditure of these monies so-collected
will be audited (per this website's lobbying of all US members of
so that they soon pass a relevant law) by the Secretary of the US
Treasury in his spare time, as part of his fulfillment of his official,
duties. (Item, The Australian, via The
Times, 1 June 2007)
This gathering US madness continued with a story in Weekend
(11-12 August 2007), as ABC in Australia has reported that Australian
coffee makers are reacting angrily to attempts by Nestle to copyright
images of coffee-drinking. Imagine this! Image1 at issue is of black
coffee in a
white cup as seen from above. Image2 at issue is of a red coffee mug
as seen from the front. If Nestle is successful on this in Australia,
coffee makers and even ordinary cafes will risk prosecution for breach
copyright if they display such images. All this is madness, and for the
birds! So on behalf of the world's free-flying birds and their nesting
website has freely decided to sue Nestle for inappropriately embodying
the generic word "nest"
in its trademarks and also for outright theft of the French
"le". Because nature and common sense set the real
precedents in life on this planet, not the dementias of US legal
system! Is this clear? - Ed
Fundamentally about Fundamentalism: On 5 August 2007, screening of an interesting documentary (part one) on Australian ABC TV by an Englishman with a Catholic background, on Fundamentalism in the USA (Protestants of Tennessee and evangelical views as seen in contemporary US politics and re views on evolution). With some reference to jihadism, on rising Hindu fundamentalism in India, and most surprising of all, amongst Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka. The thesis of the documentary so far seems to be that fundamentalists of any persuasion seem to spring from ethnically distinct groups who share (a) a religious belief in common, and (b) a definite feeling of being beleaguered by other perhaps more numerous groups, and by the modern world in general (especially via globalism, globalisation, modern communications, modern economic ways). Assertive or defensive fundamentalism can be seen as a sign that the fundamentalist group(s) in question share deep insecurities amounting to dread, worry about the future of their ways and traditions, and that assertion of the religious outlook in question amounts to a raising of a shield against external and seemingly hostile forces. Part two will be screened in Australia on 12 August 2007.
Hatshepsut back in the news: From 1453BC: Excited archaeologists in Egypt have re-identified the remains of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, in a find said to rival that of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922. The news of the find was released by Egyptian Culture Minister Farouq Hosni and "antiquities chief" of Egypt, Dr. Zahi Hawass. Dr. Hawass secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, led the search for Hatshepsut, whose remains might - it was not sure - have anyway been kept in the form of a mummy at Cairo Museum. The particular mummy, however, might also have been the remains of Hatshepsut's wet-nurse, Sitre-In. The mummy was originally found in 1903 by British archaeologist Howard Carter (discoverer of Tutankhamun's tomb) in an obscure and undecorated tomb (Tomb 60) in the Valley of the Kings, and has been much overlooked. The identification of the mummy as that of Hatshepsut was made possible with sophisticated new DNA research and 3D modelling techniques. A wooden box known to be associated with Hatshepsut had contained a tooth, which fitted exactly the jaw of the mummy in question. Hatshepsut was about 50 when she died about 1453BC, overweight, with bad teeth, suffering diabetes and bone cancer, after a rule of about 21 years. She is thought to have "stolen" the throne from her stepson, Thutmose III. He took his revenge by obliterating references to her reign, one reason she has remained both fascinating and little-known. The study identifying Hatshepsut was funded by the US Discovery Channel. (The Australian, 28 June 2007)
How to shoot somebody in Palestine: A power struggle has erupted in Palestine between rival factions Hamas and Fatah. Fears are expressed of the outbreak of full civil war. (Although, can a non-state suffer a civil war?) Fatah forces lost control of the Gaza Strip to Hamas fighters on Thursday of the week ending 17 June 2007. That all this will seriously weaken the cause of Palestinians is obvious, and is causing concern internationally. Weekend Australian, 15-17 June 2007) (Editor's note: Somehow, when I read this news item about Palestine, there immediately dropped into my mind a recollection of a line from the immensely sad song Hallelujah, by a Canadian Jew, Leonard Cohen ... the line being; "And all I ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya ...")
Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State has said that he'd be happier if the US prison at Guantanamo Bay,Cuba, was shut down "this afternoon", as it has greatly harmed the international image of the US (which is correct). (Week ending 16-17 June 2007 in Weekend Australian)
Item: Re something this website has never heard of, from a documentary screened on SBS TV Australia on 11 June 2007. Ming dynasty period, China, re myth of a fifteenth century Chinese astrologer who launched himself into space. The ultimate flying fantasy?
Down There, Hilali! 10-11 June 2007, Following an official meeting in Sydney of Muslim Imams from around Australia, TV news reports that Sheik Hilali has stepped down from his position as Mufti of Australia, declining to be re-nominated or re-elected for the position. His successor is the present Imam of Preston Mosque, Melbourne. This website with great seriousness, happily welcomes one of the first remarks of the new Mufti, who in press conference has said that should the thoughts of any Muslim in Australia ever turn to the topic of jihad, their first thoughts should be of the defence of Australia, the country they live in. This website feels that with this single remark, the new Mufti has grasped all contemporary nettles in one hand and uprooted all the nettles and all their surrounding weeds with one single gesture, leaving healthy-made ground before us all. It would be much healthier around the world if all Imams in all non-Middle-Eastern countries heeded his advice on this point. So more power and influence to this wise old Imam from Preston, Melbourne, and long may he live. (This website welcomes the news about the departure of Hilali, but still feels that there should be no such position as "Mufti of Australia". A Mufti of any region or district of Australia, yes, by all means, but not and never, a Mufti of Australia The Continent. Any such phraseology as "Mufti of Australia" is in fact as inappropriate for the continent of Australia as it is for the religion of Islam - never have the twain met in the past and never within the terms of such phraseology should they ever meet in the present or the future - Ed) (As usual, continuing our Up there, Hilali sections)
Down There, Hilali! 10 June 2007, Following an official meeting in Sydney of Imams from around Australia, TV news reports that Sheik Hilali has stepped down from his position as Mufti of Australia, declining to be re-nominated or re-elected for the position. His successor is the Imam of Preston Mosque, Melbourne. (To reiterate, this website welcomes the news about Hilali, but still feels that there should be no such position as "Imam of Australia". - Ed)
Hilali charity probe widens: The Australian Federal Police has seized documents and will question key Islamic community figures after widening its investigations into allegations that the Mufti of Australia, Sheik Hilali, gave Australian-donated charity funds to supporters of Al-Qa'ida and Hezbollah terrorist outfits when he was in Lebanon last year. (This investigation into Hilali came to nothing, quite vindicating Hilali, it has to be said - Ed) (7-8 April 2007, Weekend Australian)
Real Men Don't Target Women: PAKISTAN'S burgeoning population of extremists had begun a calculated campaign to strike fear in the hearts of the country's women, Syed Talat Hussain wrote in Newsline (a news monthly) "Their marching bands are sending a warning across to the country's female population that the time has come for them to pick sides: either they are for Islamisation in the country or they are against it. For those who choose wisely, say the messengers, there is no fear; the rest are doomed to an uncertain future." The Human Rights Commission had noted an increase in gang rapes, honour killings, acid-throwing and other instances of degenerate chauvinism targeting women, the Pakistani monthly reported. "The most dangerous aspects of this new threat to the women of Pakistan revolve around its tone of religious fervour and the fact that its scale is truly national, cutting across provincial and class divides, making rural and urban areas equally vulnerable theatres of assaults on female rights." Instead of tackling the problem head-on, the Government was using the right wing's anti-women agenda to justify its anti-democratic policies. "It's power politics at play here: women don't really count, except as pawns to be used to win short-term goals" (Item from The Australian, March 2007)
Westerner-Muslim money attitudes? The story is published today (13 March 2007) that a hardliner Muslim cleric in Australia has been suggesting that members of his congregation pay little attention to the Australian taxation system,. but that they continue to contribute to rather traditional forms of Muslim charity-giving (or whatever we shall call it). (crikey.com gave this story the headline, “Muslim cleric tax cheats put taxpayer grants under a cloud”.) We don't want to comment here on the taxation matters, but the immediate issue allows us to raise a wider issue we have been wondering about. We consulted Karen Armstrong's book, Islam: A Short History, (Weidenfeld and Nicolson/ Phoenix, 2001) in which an important Islamic ideal, the Umma, is explained and often referred to. The Umma is part of methods to achieve the Islamic ideal of social justice, a way to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth and also matters of distributing practical compassion. The Umma, as a way of guiding a living community, involves, or does not involve, views on political and social welfare, and it can prosper or not. It is taken as a sign that Muslims are living according to God's will if the Umma prospers, governed by justice and equity, and vice versa. More so, a healthy, thriving Umma is a sign that Muslims are living in and contributing to a properly Islamic society.
And perhaps, a Christian might paraphrase some of the meaning of the Umma in terms of the standard meaning of the reception of any of the Christian sacraments, which is; proper reception of a sacrament is the outward and visible sign of an invisible and inward grace? The welfare of the Umma, which is a sum total of all material and spiritual welfare for a Muslim, could be seen as an outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible favour of God?)
And so if the Umma suffers any humiliation or defeat, it is as though Islam itself has been made to suffer, which for Muslims (understandably) is unacceptable. Armstrong suggests, that since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the encroach of western politics and economic systems in the Middle East, has in effect humiliated the Umma, which raises political as well as more purely religious issues for a caring Muslim. By the arrival-time the suicide bomber, Armstrong suspects, that Islamic countries are experiencing greater despair about the condition of the Umma. Which seems understandable, but to be practical, what might be done? This website feels that if the hardline Muslim cleric in Australia is making a recommendation which would end in short-changing the Taxation Dept., the Australian newspaper has nevertheless been rather insensitive about the background reasons explaining that such issues might even arise in Australia. Equally, the cleric involved would appear to be quite unable to sort out the historical and other issues involved regarding life-in-general in Australia, which amounts to a contempt of any useful understanding of contemporary multiculturalism in Australia. If a genuine concern was on the cleric's mind, about how a good Muslim in Australia should regard the concept and practice of the Umma, this seems a legitimate issue for a cleric to consider. What the Islamic answers might be for Australian conditions, are not for a non-Muslim to suggest. But as far as this website has read in newspapers and on the Internet in recent years, it is striking to find only in Armstrong's book, a rendition of the deep feelings a devout Muslim might have about the Umma, which obviously embodies quite good ideals about a healthy of society. This website feels that around the world, certainly since the early 1990s, around the world, Muslims in the Middle East and in Western countries have been simmering with discontent, or even more potent-but-negative feelings of a kind of vitally-negative spiritual character, leading via a weird ideological perversion to hero-worship of the suicide-bomber "martyr". It would hardly be surprising to find that Muslim apprehension about the state of the Umma underlay at least some such discontent, internationally; but internationally, no one is talking about it. But why is Muslim concern about the situation of the Umma not being mentioned in public (in English), in either the Middle East or the West? More so if the Umma can be viewed as a kind of social security system, as well as a social development fund, which seems to be just what the allegedly misguided hardline cleric in Australia has in mind, however confusedly. (?) Nevertheless, it is hard for a non-Muslim to see deeply into the situation. It does seem as though the more-purely Islamic definition of the health of the Umma will appear mostly in a society largely closed to the non-Muslim. That is, it is religiously, economically, and probably ethnically and politically, a closed system. Quite frankly, the world is not lately in a situation where any such closed system is tenable anymore, or sustainable; and certainly, the Umma is even less tenable in a western society than in the Middle East, where the Umma is said to also be in trouble. Presumably, a non-Muslim Australian imagines that if the equivalent of the Umma failed in Australia, it would be rather like the social security system being systematically eroded, its budget stripped, until it was effectively helpless to assist anybody; even its own staff, which would certainly produce persistent political problems. All in the light of which, it seems to this website that rather than a newspaper like The Australian broaching this storyline as it has, more in terms of its aggressive, watch-dog role on matters arising due to hardliner-Muslims in Australia, it would be far better if around the world, western newspapers encouraged Muslim clerics of all interpretations of Islam to hold some kind of international conference for the public discussion of such issues. How should genuine Muslims in non-Middle Eastern countries feel about such issues in the modern world? By similar tokens, it seems quite unreasonable of Westerner Muslims to cave in to resentment and feelings of victimhood, etc., if while living in the West, it so happens that they find that Western ways of life either fail to support, or act to undermine, the ideal of the Umma. A certain amount of Westerner-Muslim discontent about such issues might be understandable, but on the other hand, how many gigantic misunderstandings, and how many failures of communication, for decades now, might be involved here? This website also has the peculiar suspicion that if there is a country where Muslims are less worried and anxious about such issues, that country is India, though quite why we might feel this way, we can't exactly say. But we think it's worth thinking about. - Ed (Crikey.com and The Australian newspaper, for 13 March 2007)
Hilali and others warned to be careful: Sheik Hilali in Sydney has been chided ever-so-gently by a senior and far more experienced Muslim cleric, the Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Mustafa Ceric, who has recently been visiting Australia. Ceric, whose English is admirable, calm, measured, expertly-delivered and probably quite wise, advised Muslim imams in Australia as follows: “Be careful what you say, as a Muslim religious leader. If you slip, I can deny and disagree with you publicly, but who will believe me? It's natural for people to stereotype.” Mufti Ceric from his TV appearance in Australia on SBS TV on 13 March 2007, does seem to have a far more careful view of the use of language than does Sheik Hilali. (About which, this website is quite grateful, thank you, very much and very sincerely, indeed, Mufti Dr. Mustafa Ceric - Ed) (The Australian, 13 March 2007 and crikey.com the same day).(Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections)
Hilali's translator disparaged: Word is getting around that the inimitable Keysar Trad, long known as the friend, advisor and “translator” of Sydney's Sheik Hilali, and possibly a media junkie of the sidelines variety, is one of the world's least hot-shot translators of Arabic to English (and probably back again); and his English isn't so hot either. Crikey.com reports that ABC TV Media Watch identity, Monica Attard, has amusingly discovered that Trad has no qualifications in either translating or interpreting, and he is not a NAATI-accredited interpreter for Australia.
It would appear that the attention-seeking Hilali in recent years has put the general thrust of his remarks, in Arabic, on knotty issues, such as exceptionally brutal gang rape in Sydney, and questions of how women in Australia might better dress their devilishly enticing bodies, into the hands of Trad, this non-hot-shot linguist, for “special treatment”. (Oh well, as the Muslims say, “Whatever happens, happens.” - Ed) (www.crikey.com on 13 March 2007 and The Australian the same day) (Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections)
Taliban tactics: In Pakistan in a town called Khar, Taliban men are said to be harassing barber shops offering beard trims, blowing up a music shop or two and threatening female teachers. Taliban activists are openly challenging government attitudes and provincial and federal authorities seem unwilling to take them on. Observing US officials have wondered aloud if the rule of law is being challenged, as a matter of a challenge to state sovereignty, and one might agree the question is valid. Charming way to conduct missionary activity on behalf of a particular flavour of a religion, no? (This website recalls with extreme distaste, about the time the Taliban blew up famous large statues of Buddha in Afghanistan, TV news footage of a tall Taliban man beating a woman about the legs with a fierce stick for some infraction of Taliban rules of day-to-day life.
Of course, this website also thinks that real men from any society in the world, don't actually go about in public, beating women about the legs with fierce sticks. So we'd like to know, when are the Taliban going to start to learn the meaning of being real men? Intimidating female teachers, blowing up a music shop, they have nothing better to do in life? They have such narrow horizons, they can't be real men anymore? Is not a good way to be, at all. - Ed) (Weekend Australian, 10-11 March 2007)
Birthday boy Osama: According to Weekend Australian, 10-11 March, 2007, a day near 10 March is the 50th birthday of Osama bin-Laden. He was the 17th child of a Saudi Arabian construction engineer who had 53-54 children, which is a lot. Osama it appears is the most famous of his siblings. It is also believed that Osama is still alive.
It is believed as well that the US has spent “billions of dollars” trying to track down Osama following his involvement in the 9/11 attack, and still haven't found him. It seems that the US can and has put men on the Moon and brought them back safely, but they can't find one man somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan. So this website wonders where Osama will be on his 51st birthday? (By the way, CIA, did any of the family ring him on his 50th birthday? Hmm?)
Hicks travel voucher: In a surprise move (this website thinks), the Australian Federal Government has offered Terry Hicks, the long-suffering father of Guantanamo Bay inmate and “former Taliban fighter”, David Hicks, payment for his air travel to visit his son. David Hicks is to face a charge of “providing material support for terrorism” from a US military commission by 20 March. This website holds no brief for David Hicks' activities before he was apprehended, but the US government has failed to charge him, or deal with him legally, for far too long by now. We could add here, that on 11 March 2007 we noticed an email item to effect that under the US Constitution, Habeus Corpus can only be abridged when questions of public safety might be at issue, which we didn't know, and we wonder if any such provision is behind the US' long failure to do anything useful with Hick's situation? (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Pagans enjoying Sydney: Sydney pagans are claiming that theirs is one of the fastest-growing religions in Australia. For some ten years now they have been meeting for full-moon observances at Rotaract Hill near Seven Hills Railway Station. Now they want to establish the site as a sacred site, though they expect opposition from Christian spokesmen. Behind the move is The Pagan Awareness Network, which wants to apply for a grant to erect four stones representing the four points of the compass at the top of Rotaract Hill. Paganism is given in this story as “the generic name for a number of traditions which seek harmony and spiritual growth and experience the divine through ritual and nature. It incorporates the Wiccan movement and witchcraft, whose adherents use magic and celebrate the eight seasonal festivals a year, druids, nature-worshipping priests who claim a tradition stretching back to ancient Celtic times, and shamanists who believe in travel through spiritual realms.” Paganism is a recognised religion in Australia. A Tasmanian academic has lately assisted with an international study of teenage witches – about 90 of them - in Australia, US and UK! (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Weird cult led by South Korean under fire: News surfaces in Australia as a whistleblower in Sydney calls Global Association of Culture and Peace to account. The sect is also sometimes referred to as “Providence”, or Australian Providence. The quasi-Christian and highly secretive sect was started in 1980 by South Korean, Jung Myung Seok, also known as Joshua Jung, Joshua Lee and Paster Joshua. Till lately, the sect has met for secret ceremonies behind a shopfront in Annandale, Sydney. “Bible studies” meetings are held amongst other activities. Sect leader Jung was formally charged with rape in 2001 and was captured in 2003 in Hong Kong, but after being given bail he apparently vanished. He has also been wanted by Interpol for alleged rape, sexual abuse, fraud and embezzlement. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Talks time?: The new US commander in Iraq, General David Patraeus, has warned at a press conference that there was no military solution to the conflict and that the US needed to talk to Iraqi insurgents, as back in the US, Democrats have decided to assess a possible deadline for US withdrawal by October 2008. This news comes as a Taliban military commander, Mulla Dadullah, has warned that 2007 will prove the bloodiest year for foreign troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban is planning a spring offensive. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Researchers claim climate findings suppressed: Reference to the potential for climate change to happen faster than has been expected were watered down or removed from an international report on climate change after governments intervened, New Scientist reports. The matter apparently involved modifications to reference to positive feedback, which is where a change in climate leads to other changes. The report was for UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released in Paris in February 2007. But as might be expected there is some disagreement as to how the report might have been tampered with, or if it was in fact tampered with. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Mecca loses its charm?: How Islamic authorities arrive at decisions they make on important matters continues to mystify this website entirely. When Muslim pilgrims visit Mecca, they focus on a site where they believe Abraham once built a temple to [the monotheistic] God. The site is also near The Kaaba, “a stark black cube” which some westerners believe houses “a black meteorite” and not much else. Central to the area is The Grand Mosque. This is Islam's holiest site, but lately, one of Saudi Arabia's largest shopping malls has been built directly across from this holy site. It's complete with flashing advertisements, neon lights, an amusement park ride, fast-food restaurants, and a towering hotel, all of which redraws the skyline of Mecca. All known as Abraj al-Bair, opened in December 2006. Complaints have been made that the look-and-feel of Mecca, and hence the religious experience of haij pilgrims, will now be diminished and demeaned. The Abraj al-Bair is both a housing and hotel complex of 1.25 million square metres, definitely for the affluent. Muslim Irfan Ahmed in London has formed the Islamic Heritage Foundation, with one aim being to preserve the Islamic history of Mecca. He says, not even during the Ottoman Empire was any building allowed to tower over the Grand Mosque of Mecca. However, it has also been said that a highly conservative Salafi group seeks to eliminate historic sites out of fear such places would become objects of worship in themselves. Unbelievably, the house in which The Prophet himself supposedly lived was razed and replaced by a “dilapidated library”. Ordinary Meccan homes and buildings near the Grand Mosque were demolished in the 1970s so the mosque could be enlarged. Saudi officials say they have spent more than US$19 billion preserving the nation's Muslim heritage. (The area near the Grand Mosque is not a World Heritage site, or given any such designation? This website just shakes its head in despair. Websites advise that non-Muslims are prevented from entering both Mecca and Medina by a specific exhortation to this effect from The Prophet. So we imagine that Westerners have little to do with these developments, although as everybody knows, money talks. -Ed) (Sydney Morning Herald, 10-11 March, 2007)
Current Australian drought due to lack of fear of Allah?: Dear and Unfortunate Congregation of the notorious so-called Islamic imam, Sheik Mohammed Omran in Victoria, Australia. Please be advised, Esteemed Members of Dear Congregation, that the rest of Australia has great sympathy with you while you wonder about one day, finally getting rid of this idiot, a so-called “cleric”. It is reported on national TV after revelations by News Limited newspapers. that “Muslim cleric” Omran here has said that the current Australian drought is due to divine retribution, due to a lack of faith in Allah in Australia. It is further reported that the Islamic Council of Victoria is angry with Omran for saying this; and it has to be said, that the rest of Australia would be even more contemptuous if the said Council wasn't rather concerned (and if the El Nino phenomenon wasn't understood). Apparently, Omran thinks that out-of-control secular scientific values had caused environmental disaster. He said, “What are people now crying for? The Prophet told you hundreds of years ago, “Look after the water.” Also, Omran's organisation is apparently circulating a nutty-cleric DVD from London's Sheik Abdul Raheem Green, who wants to further Islamise western countries by way of a Muslim baby boom. Reassuringly, spokesman for Islamic Council of Victoria, Waleed Aly, has said that “extremist speech and literature was just for two Melbourne groups”. Victorian premier Mr Bracks is quietly dismissive of Omran's remarks on climate and regards them as without foundation. Which is the tip of a very deep iceberg-of-contempt that lately rolls around in Australia concerning the oddities of so-called Muslim clerics in this country. (I mean, why us? Why are nutty Muslim clerics picking on Australia so consistently? What did we do to deserve this nonsense? Why do they hate us?) Firstly, this website thinks that on the basis of the said remarks, Omran should be quietly put aside in a very expensive psychiatric hospital. (Sorry here, Dear Congregation of Omran, but if you have to pay for his psychiatric treatment, and why should Australian taxpayers pay for it, you are just collateral damage while this man needs to be lambasted by Australia, which he seems to hold in Allah-based contempt.) This website would very much like to remind Sheik Omran that after the 26 Dec. 2004 tsunami which afflicted Indonesia had occurred, idiot Islamic fundamentalists there blamed the sin levels of the people, and attributed much to the displeasure of Allah, not to the movement of tectonic plates of the earth's surface. And that after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, idiot Christian fundamentalists there blamed the sin levels of the people and the displeasure of God, not a hurricane and the malfeasance of the US government. In this case, Sheik Omran, you have just obviated and held in contempt the past 30 years of the world's scientific research on El Nino climate problems for Australia. Further, if you want to earn the entirely undying contempt of Australian farmers, in particular, go right ahead, Omran, fly to Sydney and repeat your drought-diagnosis remarks there. But don't ever go near a country town in Australia, any country town, they'll probably bundle you out of town very quickly. And if you aren't welcome in any ordinary country town in Australia, Omran, it can be taken as read that you are not actually welcome anywhere in Australia, not with the way water restrictions are right now in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and in a lot of larger country cities. So keep it up, Omran, as an Islamic blow-in here, tell us much more, helpfully, and very soon, about how to better manage our climate here in Australia, all our scientists and farmers will be absolutely riveted. And while you do, Dear Sheik Omran, can we ask you, really, who did you actually think you were actually talking to on this topic? People who actually know what it is like to live in rural Australia? Our contempt for you for these remarks, Dear Sheik Omran, almost makes our skin burst. When we'd much rather that it rained more, and as we say here in Australia, always in gratitude, when it does rain usefully, “Send her down, Hughie!” As a cultural joke, when the rain does come down here, Omran, it's not Allah is thanked here, it's Hughie. Got that. Omran? Hughie. That's what we “white folks” in Australia familiarly call the rain god here. Omran, expect many jokes about this in pubs right across Australia. Omran, talk about setting the cause of Muslim people in Australia back a few decades! With just a few sentences! What would an entire sermon be like? The “cloud-uncovered continent” sermon perhaps?
As hilarious as the Up there Hilali, “uncovered meat” sermon, we suppose. (Based on SBS TV news item night of 11 March 2007 and Sydney Morning Herald website) (Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections – and what this website badly needs by now is e-mail from worried Muslims around the world who are lately increasingly concerned about the mental health of their so-called “clerics” Ed) (Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections)
last, a better picture
of Sheik Hilali!
US policies on Iraq remain set: A former head of ASIO in Australia, now Australian ambassador in Washington, Dennis Richardson, has predicted that US troops will probably remain in Iraq regardless of who wins the 2008 US presidential elections. There is now a belief shared by both Democrats and Republicans that the war on terror is “just beginning”. Also that the original 9/11 attack has worked to shape US politics for a generation. Note: On Tuesday of the week ending 9 March, former chief of staff for US vice-president Dick Cheney, Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, and given a prison sentence of between one and three years depending on the success of any appeal he makes. (The Australian, 9 March 2007)
Early in 2007, this Lost Worlds website decides to compile a growing glossary of terms to help us understand what is going on in the world these days. Let's start with:
Economic rationalisation: We have no more than a five year plan. Inability to see into the future or to care about it in the least. Greed rationalised.
Free trade (Contemporary US variety, see Globalisation below): Fantasy-driven economics. Fantasy-driven view of international trade, not unlike trickle-down economics, or the famous Australian economic J-curve of the 1980s. Darth-Vardar Economics. Failure to realise that there is no such thing as free trade as long there are distribution costs which may well vary according to distance from the site of production and so varying pricing considerations. USA-inspired wish to erode the sovereignty of all other countries in the world in the interests of the Republican Party of USA and its corporate-driven fellow travellers and lackeys moving down the USA's Fantasy-Imperial Road.
Globalisation: Shonky bullshit re an alleged one-size-fitz-all economic outlook that even Frank Zappa would have been ashamed of. Most of all, a PR-handy but finally-meaningless propaganda tool of the corporate-driven and right-wing Republican Party of USA in its urgent search for meaningless, pro-consumerist world domination. Darth Vardar Economics writ global. A determined search for legal ways to keep exporting clever ways to keep warming up the planet. An inability to think local and to act local. One might say, in present-day environmental terms, irresponsibility on a planetary scale. Inability to understand that in Africa today, children still die from drinking unclean water, which implies a total misunderstanding of what economic development is actually for – and that it can and ought to help stop children dying from drinking unclean water, go figure that on a global scale Mr World Bank which apparently can't help! Wish to harm own home economy by moving production from most-developed countries to lesser-developed countries in search of lower wages for work force (see re world publicity on Nike in Indonesia some years ago.) Inability to see the forest for the trees due to tragic ancient custom of cutting down trees and thus obliterating forests. Obverse is fear of rising economy of China (go figure).
Hollywood: Latter-day euphemism for a cinema industry which has long ago run ideas out of town and so run out of ideas for Hollywood (which is a large, sadly down-market but much-photographed sign erected on a hillside of Los Angeles, California). Lost ability to pull artistic finger out. Internationally, encourages mindless celebrity worship to the detriment of the younger generations in all English-speaking countries. Cinematic art totally hidebound by its own traditions, which stem from no earlier than 1910, how recent is that? Talks about “film franchises” of money-spinning ideas (like a criminal-cannibal psychiatrist, named Hannibal Lector, [hannibal the cannibal, go figure how intelligent that is for internal rhyme in popular culture], instead of cinematic art, which means, McHollywood, a phrase heard much too seldom. Once the centre of useful and entertaining world cinematic output, now pointlessly devoted to remakes which are pointless except re interesting re new computer technology for managing special effects. Artistic failure to take the rest of the world seriously in the least. Related tragic loss of ability and desire to read history. Reads balance sheets instead in a what-me-worry kind of way. Produces pointless “Hollywood egos” who then become “celebrities”. In the American domestic film industry sense, tragic inability to make honest movies about how USA loses wars in recent world history, politics and military doctrines thereof (except of course for Apocalypse Now). To date, tragic inability to successfully make movie on known life of Osama bin-Laden, as CIA can't find Osama bin-Laden, how odd is this, since all those Hollywood scriptwriters been talkin' to the CIA for years for script development ideas, but this one get away on them, go figure? Them Hollywood boys sure made a lot of rapid-fire propaganda movies at the time of the Korean War, go figure. Disaster-movie wise, Hollywood death-knell may well have been in 2001 with being out-Hollywooded by 9/11 on TV networks of the world. Hollywood view, however, about TV industry is, no-blame, shit happens. May have to severely restrict movie budgets in future. Not however, as public statements go, so far known to be afraid of competition (see Globalisation above) from Bollywood in Bombay, India. (Mumbai). Getting an Oscar means you soon make even more money and not getting one doesn't necessarily mean that you won't. Opportunities for real creativity still exist, but don't hold your breath. Nicole Kidman, we love you because you are a talented Aussie from Sydney, not because you're Hollywood
Insurance industry, world insurance industry: Under dire threat from weather problems around the world. Unlikely to attract extra future investment unless premiums rise so much the game becomes pointless for premium-payers. Fails to proudly advertise its helpful pay-outs to payees around the world, why-for and whoever they are.
New Orleans, Louisiana: Tragic victim of Hurricane Katrina. Used to be called The Big Easy, is now, The Dead Easy. Birthplace of much of US music industry, re art of jazz. Once a prime tourist destination, now the pits. Tragic symbol of inability of US government to assist in a scenario of local disaster and thus the tragic symbol of the death of American can-do. Now symbol of American can't-do, a tragic and peculiarly American kind of learned helplessness. Located in a part of American once “owned” by France, and later bought by USA, at a time when no-one was interested in jazz or in black slaves being freed. Part of the lost soul of contemporary USA (R.I.P.). Parts of New Orleans were located a metre or more below sea level, go figure. Marks for intelligent town planning, zero.
Saul, John Ralston Saul: Canadian writer who helped inspire this glossary nonsense. Writes thick books of turgid criticism of modern world. Well worth reading. (Is mildly depressing but do not worry about that.)
TV news reporting (in Australia and elsewhere): The weeping for the camera thing: An unwelcome trend in searching out stories where stress and tragedy are so great, the interviewee is almost guaranteed to start crying. A friend has died of cancer. The interviewee knows they are going to die of cancer. A woman's husband had his truck speed over a cliff. A plane crashed. Genocide had occurred. The unfortunate news is not enough, the faces trembling with stress and the onset of tears also have to be shown; as though there's a belief that TV viewers don't also know how to cry, and have to be shown how to do it, and in what circumstances. It's a sadly voyeuristic trend in TV news reporting that's enough to make you cry!
TV news reporting (in Australia): Brainless immaturity: Unaccountably, disturbingly and increasingly liable to breathlessly report domestic incidents in the USA as local Australian news. Inability to perceive that Australia and USA are separated by Pacific Ocean, culture various and several time zones, due to now long-term habit of receiving genre-cheap satellite feeds from USA networks in timely fashion for next news broadcasts. A tad fashionably and due to toadying attitude to US parlance, often prone to say, problem will not go away, “anytime soon”. Due to progressive Australian domestic reduction in budgets for regional TV reporting, prognosis deemed poor. Increasingly given to tabloid-style reporting of medical amazements of voyeuristic nature (IVF gives 70-year-old woman triplets, ultra-small baby survives, cancer not cured yet, etc!). Sometimes has incisive interviews but not often enough. Relies too much on outsourcing from professional satirists and comedians for provision of needed zest. Viewers still live in hope. Has admittedly good colour, that's all.
Rethink on multiculturalism?: Thirty years ago or more, Australia adopted the Canadian model of multiculturalism, but it seems as though Islamic fervour of various kinds has prompted a rethink of what multiculturalism is all about,and can be all about. Canadians are now discussing “reasonable accommodation of minorities,” which an Australian might translate as “You've had a fair go already, mate, so stop asking for special favours.” (In Ontario, a judge had ordered the removal of a Christmas tree from the entrance to a Toronto court to “avoid offending non-Christian sensibilities.) There have been a gaggle of absurd official decisions made in Canada by persons of a variety of religious (non-Christian) viewpoints, a trend stopped in its tracks when Herouxville, a small town in Quebec, had had enough and issued a set of standards so that newcomers to the area could better understand “the social life and customs” of life in an adopted country, not that Herouxville is actually swamped with migrants, or likely to be. It is explained that in Herouxville, women drive cars, vote, sign cheques, speak for themselves, dance in public when they feel like it, dress as they see fit, walk alone in public places, undertake studies of their choice, and work at a job. (Women are not subjected to public beatings or being burned alive.) The people of Herouxville drink alcohol, listen to music of all kinds, decorate Christmas trees, and allow boys and girls to play together in many different settings. The mayor of Herouxville says that the statement reflects what a great many people are thinking but lack the courage to say in public. But Herouxville has now been lambasted in turn by Canada's left-leaning media, where commentators think Herouxville is a racist hicksville. Well, this webmaster thinks that a great many countries could learn much from Herouxville's attitude; Australia, Britain, Denmark, Netherlands, France Spain, Germany. This webmaster recalls being in Melbourne working in newspapers in 1990. In various north-eastern suburbs, social workers were becoming concerned about reports arising of five-six year old children from Muslim families turning up at school unsocialized and unable to speak English. They had not been allowed to mix and play with other children in their streets in mostly multi-cultural suburbs. Various action was taken, but the action was not what this webmaster thought was appropriate – hauling the parents into court on charges of child abuse, for offenses such as bringing a child to an English-speaking country and for years, preventing it from learning English. But there would have been community management problems if such action was taken, there were too many Muslim parents involved. Here, some Muslim parents at least are in a distinct bind. If they live in widely multi-culturalized areas, then children will be exposed to a wider set of cultural ways and outlooks than they would if they lived only in “Anglo” areas. In this sense, multi-culturalism does little for the over-fervent Muslim, so there is no point in wondering about, or doubting, the national policy on multiculturalism just because some Muslims become stroppy. To be naively idealistic, this website also observes that if Muslims arrive in say, post-1945 Britain, and take exception to the way Christmas is observed, the plain rudeness,arrogance and plain stupidity and intolerance of any complaints they make about the matter should be met with stony silence – and extra Christmas decorations, not less This website wonders what about all this from Herouxville is so hard to understand that it gives Muslim folk sets of angsty problems in Western countries. It seems to this website that Westerner-Muslims ought to make a reasonable choice between reasonable accommodation and no accommodation at all – after all, no one has a gun at their head making them stay in Western countries. Do they? When was the last time a confused, stroppy and resentful Muslim was forced to stay in Australia? Freedom in western countries, for those not convicted of crimes, also means the freedom to leave. Let's hear it too, from Muslims all over the world, and on their websites, about the contemporary glories and successes of Islamic culture, their marvellous successes in political management, their scientific advances, their marvellous music, fascinating movies, their inspiring writers, their ways to make it a better world for all. When are we going to hear more of all this? (Various from the views of columnist Janet Albrechtsen in The Australian, 21 February 2007)
Exorcism used a little too much force: Bucharest: A Romanian priest, Daniel Petru Corongeanu, has recently been sentenced to 14 years in prison for causing the death of a nun during an exorcism ritual. Four nuns have also been sentenced (five-eight years) due to complicity in the same death. The deceased was only 23, Irina Maricica Cornici, died June 2005 at the Holy Trinity Convent in the northeastern Romanian village of Tanacu. Irina it seemed had been treated for schizophrenia (she heard the Devil talking to her), but she relapsed. Romania's Orthodox Church authorities have been horrified and have banned Corongeanu from the priesthood and excommunicated the nuns. (NB: In 1999, the Roman Catholic Church issued new guidelines for exorcisms, urging priests to take into account the findings of modern psychiatry regarding cases for exorcism which seem difficult. (The Australian, 21 February 2007)
Malaysia's Muslim sex police on the job: Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian state is to recruit “spies” from the public to snoop on unmarried lovers and report them to Islamic religious authorities ... (And we just can't go on here, as in Malaysia, Islamic authorities are counting orgasms in society, already? Really? Islamic authorities in Malaysia are really this interested in orgasms? Really? -Ed) (The Australian, 21 February 2007)
How to read history sooooo selectively: (Only in America?): US president G. W. Bush has yesterday compared America's revolutionary war (etc) to the war on terror and has paid tribute to first US president George Washington for his magnificent pursuit of freedom (etc). Bush praised Washington's unshakable will in the face of adversity and disappointments, etc etc. Poor old George (Bush, not Washington), it's all in the eye of the beholder. Some people believe that George III so disapproved of Washington's activity, that George (III) coined the word “terrorist” to show his horror of situations arising in revolutionary America. This apparently was the first use of the word “terrorist” in the English language? But as we know, Washington, that terrorist in George III's mind, won his battles. Maybe it's true after all, that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter? Maybe it also depends on who thinks he's in charge? (The Australian, 21 February 2007)
This website applauds: Australian Muslim clerics gagged: In a marvellous victory for common sense and for a more classic sense of Australian-ness, Australian newspaper reports 9 March 2007, “radical clerics gagged”. “Five of the nation's most powerful Islamic clerics, including Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, have been banned from talking to the media by Muslim leaders [in Sydney] for delivering 'anti-Australian' messages. The Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) has gagged the imams from Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's southwest from media commentary – especially to Arabic news outlets – because of the 'immeasurable damage' they have caused the [Australian Muslim] community.
A letter of 8 March 2007 was sent by the LMA to its five imams, including Sheik Yahya Safi, the official Australian representative to the Mufti of Lebanon, Sheik Shady Suleiman, and Sheik Hilali. The letter demands the imams will 'pause and desist' from talking to any media outlet, in particular Sydney's Arabic community radio station, Voice of Islam. LMA president Tom Zreika said the letter was sent to end the “perceived unAustralian viewpoints given by some clerics”. Mr Zreika said that his organisation wanted clerics to remain apolitical and that their primary role was as spiritual advisers. There had been some issues of double speak (clerics saying one thing in English and something different in Arabic), and there was also a view that some of the clerics had destroyed the relationship Islamic people had once had with mainstream Australia. Also in news of 9 March 2007 is a TV report this website noticed, on a German woman, formerly a Muslim, who is being intimidated by believer-Muslims in Germany for recommending that Muslims walk away from a faith which she sees in German as trying to undermine democracy and valuable aspects of the Western way of life. It rather sounds as if Muslim believers in Germany can learn much from their brothers and sisters in Australia. The Weekend Australian followed this story up on 10-11 March 2007, indicating that “Muslim leaders are outraged that an Islamic organisation has gagged some of the nation's clerics from talking to the media, saying that the move defies 'freedom of speech'. The program manager of Sydney's Arabic community radio station, Voice of Islam, is distinctly unimpressed. (Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections; and re freedom of speech, Dear Outraged Muslims Leaders, can this website now feel free to display those annoying Danish cartoons, or not? Lodge a few selections from The Satanic Verses? No, we feel too responsible for that, actually, and we don't think we'll bother, things are clear enough, really. The cartoons are quite amateurish and childish, and The Satanic Verses is in fact a very boring novel; we know, we read it years ago. - Ed)
Unholy row about holy places: More tension has rebuilt in Jerusalem over access to the Temple Mount via a temporary wooden bridge at the western side of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the nearby Dome of the Rock. Excavation work has been underway as Jerusalem Municipality has tried to explain that a snow storm in 2004 (an act of God?), caused a pathway to collapse, leading to a need for reinforcement works on the Mugrabi Gate. Muslim protesters of the work, who have lately brought out up to 2000 riot police, fear that associated archaeological diggings are or might be part of a plot to undermine the mosque and return the Temple Mount area to Jewish sovereignty. (It is believed by Muslims that Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Dome of the Rock, while Jews might believe that one if not two major Jewish temples have been erected and/or destroyed on the site.) (Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
More hilarity with Sheik Hilali: “Muslim group gags Hilali” reads the headline, though that's not entirely accurate. On Australia Day, 26 January, Hilali was telephoned by Tom Zreika, president of Sydney's Lebanese Muslim Community, who told Hilali that following his “uncovered meat” sermon, it “was in the public interest” that he takes a break from delivering sermons at Lakemba Mosque, Sydney.
It has also lately been reported that Muslim community leaders in Sydney have been preparing “a retirement package” for Hilali. A meeting of imams is to be held in April 2007 to decide further on Hilali's official future as Mufti of Australia. Hilali's opponents have lately been suggesting that Hilali's community support has slumped as low as 20 per cent. (This website fondly hopes it slumps to zero!) (Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
“Dubious war intelligence”?: Regarding the US moves in Iraq in 2003, it now seems that, as a headline reads, “war evidence 'dubious'”. A top-level Pentagon official, Douglas Feith, (at the time being under-secretary for defence policy at Dept. of Defence), provided intelligence material of “dubious quality” to shore up the case the White House was developing for its invasion of Iraq. An early and bi-partisan 2007 report on the matters from US Defence Inspector -General has been cited as a “devastating condemnation” of Feith's role, which involved drumming up national and international support for possible US intentions. In particular, against the conclusions of the wider US intelligence community, Feith concluded that Saddam Hussein's regime was not a rival to Al-Qa'ida, but was co-operating with “The Base”. Feith's material apparently had some influence on the views of Vice-President Dick Cheney. Feith developed his views via statements made in 2002 and 2003. (Re reporting on a recent US classified Pentagon report in Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
Alleged Australian terrorist David Hicks, long held in the US' prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been much in the news this week due to rising feeling amongst Australian politicians that he has been held without being charged for an unwarrantedly long time. Now, Hick's story is added to by views that the government of India might wish to investigate him due to an alleged involvement with a terrorist group that killed thousands of people in Kashmir, India. Hicks allegedly in March 2000/August 2000 in letters to his family in Adelaide, Australia, wrote of “strange events” he was involved with in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 while presumably acting as part of Taliban forces. (Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
Willie Brigitte the mysterious: The strange story continues of alleged terrorist and westerner-Muslim convert, Willie Brigitte (a Frenchman cursed with an over-active imagination), has unfolded further in Paris with allegations that Brigitte had been linked to a terror plot in Australia to kill Australian businessman and orthodox Jewish rabbi, Joseph Gutnick of Melbourne. Brigitte's lawyer has said that it was innocuous that Gutnick's name appeared in a notebook kept by Brigitte, as Gutnick had been mentioned on TV at the time of the notetaking. Not till this week has the full case brought against Brigitte been unfolded and words used have become very melodramatic. Brigitte has been appearing before France's “top anti-terrorism judge”, Jean-Louis Brugierre. Brigitte's possibly terrorism-related activities in Australia (in May-October 2003) are/were only part of a much wider network Brigitte is taken to have been part of, perhaps connected with Pakistani extremist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), whom Brigitte visited in Pakistan in 2001. (So this website feels that it is equally innocuous that Brigitte's name appears on this webpage, just because he is mentioned in a newspaper this weekend, hmm?) (Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
Iran: Tehran has warned US that reprisals will occur against US interests world wide if Iran is attacked by US. In Pakistan, where gender politics can easily be confused with religious prescription, the number of so-called “honour killings” of women accused of displeasing their families with their choices of sexual activity has risen to 565 in the past year, double the number killed the previous year. The number for the current year could be as high as 1000. Police action on such cases has usually been limp. (NB: According to a report in Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007, in India, which has a far larger population than Pakistan, are more than 500 “honour-killings” per year, while about 500 women per year are killed due to dissatisfaction with their marriage dowries.) In southern Afghanistan, a Taliban commander has announced plans to sabotage a British-backed operation intended to soon eradicate growing of opium poppy in the area. In other world news on the front of the Westerner Muslim cursed with over-active imagination, in Britain, police have charged five Birmingham men (of Pakistani origins) with terrorism offences after news surfaced of a plot to kidnap a British soldier (who happens to be a Muslim), behead him, video the event and display the video on the Net. (A kind of bizarre Westerner-Muslim snuff movie?) A man released on suspicion of being involved with this case has shortly branded the UK “a police state”. Muslims in the UK “feel under siege”, some people are suggesting. (Really, how peculiarly original a finding is that, some Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, say they “feel under siege” in a “Western” environment, maybe these guys are perpetually in touch, telepathically? Around the world, when are these tired cliches going to be noticed as cliches promulgated around the world by so-tired, mindlessly stroppy Muslims? - Ed) In a separate case in Britain, a Westerner-Muslim activist cursed with an over-active imagination, Abu Izzadeen, aged 31, has been charged with encouraging terrorism after he had branded Home Secretary John Reid “an enemy of Islam and Muslims” in an over-imaginative speech he had given. (Sydney Morning Herald, Weekend Australian, 10-11 February-2007)
Crazed Australian fundamentalist: Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has pulpit repaired: Forty years ago, a crazed Australian arsonist (Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007) outraged the Muslim world when he lit the 5-5-metre-high pulpit of Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque (Islam's third-most sacred site). Some 20 years of painstaking craft work has been done to restore the pulpit (or, minbar), as of yesterday. The Australian was a delusional sheep farmer named Dennis Michael Rohan, who was a Messianic Christian who claimed to be a descendant of King David of Israel. The pulpit is made of cedar wood and ebony (16,000 pieces), and has survived earthquakes, the Crusades, 18 conquerors of Jerusalem, the Roman occupation and various rivalry between Jews and Muslims over the site. When charged over the incident, Rohan was deported after pleading insanity. He had also fire-damaged the mosque's roof mosaics and carvings on its southern wall. (Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007)
Muslim insurgent prison breakout: Cotabato, Philippines: Muslim insurgents using grenade launchers blasted their way into a prison in the southern Philippines yesterday and freed 49 inmates. Three guards were wounded in the pre-dawn attack on Kidawapan City prison on Mindanao island, in the latest violation of a truce between the Philippines government and the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Among the escapers was Ali Sultan, a suspected MILF member being held for allegedly bombing Kidawapan's commercial district in October 2003. (Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007)
Terror acquittal a snub for Bush: Chicago: In a legal defeat for the Bush administration's domestic war on terror, a jury yesterday acquitted two men of being leading members of the Palestinian extremist group Hamas and conspiring to support terrorism. (By eg., providing funding, recruiting, training and other aids to Hamas.) (Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007)
Raids seen as con trick to demonise Britain's Muslims: Conspiracy theories, apparently, are rife and much-discussed in a mosque in Birmingham, and a number of ordinary Muslims fail to believe that this week's arrests in Britain were made to foil a terrorist plot to visit “unspeakable barbarity” on a young British (and Muslim) soldier. The arrests operation is being seen instead as a giant con trick where innocent Muslims are demonised and a terror threat is manufactured to suit the dark designs of the West Judaeo-Christian elite. Muslims in Birmingham have been asked by their own leaders to “not lose their dignity by taking the law into their own hands” ... And apparently, the confusions continue. ( Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007)
Anger at Kabul's warlord amnesty: Human rights groups in Afghanistan have expressed outrage yesterday after warlords in the parliament granted an amnesty to all those involved in the past 25 years of conflict, including Taliban leader Mullah Omar. ... A translation of the first article in the legislation reads: “Jihad, resistance and our people's rightful wars for defending their country and religion are counted as vital national pride and must be honoured ... and appreciated by suitable privileges ... “ (Weekend Australian, 3-4 February 2007)
Iraq chaos could worsen, US agencies warn: A long-awaited US intelligence report warns of a strong danger that the chaotic situation in Iraq could deteriorate further, presenting further difficulties for President George W. Bush as he faces a hostile Senate over his plans for a (21,000+) troop surge in the war. (Actually, the US administration might even work to send a further 28,000 US troops to Iraq apart from the 21,500 “surge troops” already discussed. By now, violence and unrest from Iraqi-vs-Iraqi have been worrying security forces in Iraq more than have the activities of Al-Qa'ida.) (Weekend Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, 3-4 February 2007)
Melbourne writer and newspaper columnist Pamela Bone, somewhat influenced by a new book from British writer Nick Cohen, re-enters the fray with an article headlined, “The Left is onside with hate”, in which she tears into “lefties” for becoming apologists for militant Islam. Cohen has a new book out, What's Left? How Liberals Lost Their Way. Bone thinks, we are now as likely to see conspiracy theory writ large about “Jews controlling American foreign policy” in a western literary journal as we are in a neo-Nazi hate sheet. Have the political Right and Left changed places? Why is their outrage over US mistakes in Iraq but no outrage over terrorist outrages committed by Islamic extremists. Why is there condemnation of Israel but no condemnation of Islamists who want to see Israel wiped off the mat? Why is there so little media reporting of genocide at Darfur, Sudan, which originates with a Muslim government in Northern Sudan? Why is David Hicks getting extra sympathy when he wanted to fight for the Taliban, which believes in child marriages, stonings, exclusion of women from public life? And so on. (The Australian, 1 February 2007)
Up there, Hilali, once more with feeling: Letter writer Nathalie Samia of Sydney recalls that in 1988, Sheik Hilali said, “The Jews try to control the world through sex, then sexual perversion, then the promotion of espionage, treason and economic hoarding.: In 2004, Hilali said, “The true man is the boy who goes out to war to become a martyr like his elder brother.” (Letters to editor, The Australian, 1 February 2007)
Continuing our Up there, Hilali sections: Re
to the Australian convict heritage (adapted from item, Armidale
Express Extra, 24 January 2007)
A SPECIALIST in Australia's convict history, Dr. David Andrew Roberts of University of New England, believes that the widely reported gibe [made on Cairo TV] by the Sydney-based Muslim leader Sheik Taj al-din al-Hilali at Anglo-Australians' convict heritage would have “fallen on deaf ears” because Australia has outgrown its sensitivity about its convict origins.
"It was a typically provocative statement by Sheik Hilali", said Dr Roberts, "but he was merely following an old tradition of insulting Australians by referring to their convict heritage." [Cricket commentators in the UK routinely make similar gibes in an effort to annoy Australian cricketers visiting Britain- Ed]
Dr Roberts, who teaches convict history at UNE and produces Journal of Australian Colonial History, has published numerous works on Australia's convict past and is particularly interested in its longer-term impact on Australian society.
"Up until very recently, the surest way to offend an Australian was to bring up the subject of convicts, we were particularly concerned about British attitudes. "It was a type of national inferiority complex," he said.
In 1899, in what Dr Roberts calls “one of the most famous faux pas of Australian history”, the new British-born Governor of NSW, William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp, congratulated his subjects on what they had achieved despite their national “birthstain”.
"It was one of many incidents that showed how insecure and anxious Australians were about their convict past," Dr Roberts said. "Beauchamp thought he was paying us a compliment, but many people were seriously distressed by his remarks. In the early 20th century, history books managed to explain Australian colonial history without using the word 'convict', preferring more sanitised terms like 'pioneer' and 'early settler'. Others argued that the convicts left no lasting legacy on Australian society and culture. The convict influence was supposed to have been wiped out by the massive influx of free immigrants during the gold rushes of the 1850s. It was also assumed that most convicts were men who died single and childless, so that their 'criminal genes' were-obliterated.
"The strange censorship surrounding our convict history peaked between the two World Wars, when Australians became passionately pro-British and overly sensitive about their lowly origins," Dr Roberts said. "Organisers of the 150th anniversary of Australia Day in January 1938 were so self-conscious, that they staged a re-enactment of the First Fleet landing - without any convicts! They were trying to say that criminality was not a typical Australian characteristic. They wanted to look to the future, not the past."
But by then, Dr Roberts said, a new generation of Australian writers and artists - such as Norman Lindsay, Mary Gilmore and Dymphna Cusack - were arguing that Australia's convict heritage was something to celebrate and be proud of because it made Australia unique and distinctive.
"There was a strong, anti-British, self-confidence here,"
he said. "We were proud to be the descendants of people who were
kicked out of England by corrupt judges and aristocrats. The convicts
came to a healthy climate, and many achieved a level of prosperity
they couldn't have dreamed of back home. The convicts were the lucky
Dr Roberts said that Australia's acceptance of its convict background had improved dramatically since World War Two.
"The phenomenal rise of Australian genealogy is proof of this," he argues. "To be descended from a convict now gives one a sense of being authentically Australian. We once had the distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically destroyed its official census records, in order to conceal the skeletons in the closets of our oldest families. This long standing practice was overturned by legislation in 2000, and a recent census suggested that more than 20 per cent of Australians claimed possible descent from a convict. "That percentage is impossibly high, but it shows that convictism has become synonymous with Australianness."
Dr Roberts said there was a time when Sheik Hilali's remarks
have caused serious upset, but those times had passed.
"Convict heritage, though largely misunderstood, has become quintessentially Australian," he concluded.
Up there Hilali, continued: Sydney columnist Mike Carlton has paused wryly to meekly wonder if Sheik Hilali has not lately been completely serious, he's playing things up for laughs, he's pulling our leg. Carlton seems to have been over-impressed by yet another defense of Hilali by Hilali's spokesman, Keysar Trad, who said, “Here is a man who lives to see people laughing, even when he [Hilali] is dealing with the most serious issues, he will crack a joke. Egyptians are famous for their sense of humour.”
To which, all this website can say to Mr Keysar Trad is that Australians have a pretty good sense of humour, too, particularly when it comes to self-mockery, irony and laconic ways of taking the mickey out of idiots of all persuasions as a way of easing tensions. You are not in Egypt now, Mr Trad, you are in Australia now, get it?- Ed. (Sydney Morning Herald, 20-21 January, 2007)
Up there Hilali, continued: Next day's reactions to Australian Muslim cleric going perfectly mad in public on international TV: The Hilali comedy continues. TV reports indicate that a wide range of leaders of Muslim organisations in Australia are fed up with Hilali and his latest remarks about “Anglo-Saxon Australia” and are calling for him to go. (Actually, Hilali thinks we are “big liars”, and we wonder if this does not amount in Australian Law to deliberated ethnic vilification!) One call is for a national meeting of Imams to remove Hilali, but it seems, a national body which originally appointed Hilali as “Mufti of Australia” is in disarray, having been put into administration after the issue of a court order. There may well be no Muslim body in existence in Australia today, which actually has the power/authority to remove Hilali as “Mufti of Australia”; though matters might possibly be decided as early as February 2007. Younger and rather-outspoken Muslims (both male and female) seem to want a younger, fresher and more Australianized (grown-up in Australia?) leadership for Islam in Australia.
They seem to want to ask, should there be a review of the idea of there being a Mufti of Australia, is such a role relevant to Australia? (This website's answer to that question is, YES! The title, “Mufti” of Australia”, is not relevant, any such title should be abolished and never used again!) Leader of the Australian ALP, Kevin Rudd, thinks that Hilali is “several sandwiches short of a picnic”. Which we think can can be taken as a charmingly jocular understatement. It might also be said that Hilali has got quite a few kangaroos loose in his top paddock, he's a few beers short of a shout, he's mad as a gumtree full of galahs, he's all over the place like a mad woman's breakfast, he's just coming the raw prawn, he's quite a few rungs short of a ladder, he's got it floored in neutral, he's got too-few lights on his Christmas tree, he's three tomatoes short of a salad, a few flowers short of an arrangement, two eggs short of an omelette, he's a dozen savs short of a barbie, a few roosters short in the chookyard, he's not quite the full quid, he's several saddle bags short of a full camel load – and we wonder how the Arabic translations for these phrases will look and feel! After all, the last thing we'd like to happen on these issues, is to be misunderstood! As Sheik Hilali claims he so often is, misunderstood.) (Evening national TV news, Australia, 12 January 2007; and on a website by 13-1-2007, we find a quote, that, Chairman of the Community Relations Commission, Stepan Kerkyasharian, says the sheik is unfit to lead Australia's Muslim community. “I find it unacceptable that a person of leadership goes overseas and says things about Australia which are untrue,” Mr. Kerkyasharian said.)
Australian Muslim cleric goes quite perfectly mad in public on international TV: The inimitably comical “Mufti of Australia”, Egyptian-born Sheik Taj al-Din Hilali, “the Islamic Seinfeld of Australia”, Imam of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, has lately, reportedly, appeared on TV in Egypt making outlandish remarks. Netsurfers at this website of course will recall that in late 2006, this website made a prestigious new award to Sheik Hilali for his infamous “uncovered meat” sermon at Lakemba Mosque; The Inaugural Australian Webmaster's Fatwa for Clerical Stupidity (Muslim section). This website thinks that Hilali's latest expression of his views is hilarious, and is a better-than-perfect vindication of our reasons for issuing a fatwa on this fatuous cleric. In Australian slang terms, and he's got a very peculiar sense of humour, Hilali is as funny as a hatful of arseholes! Hilali has said, “Anglo-Saxons don't belong in Australia”. He also suggests that we Anglo-Celtics, as the multiculturals call us here, we Westerners, are “the biggest liars”. (“They are the biggest liars, the western people, especially the English people.”) He seems to mean, that Anglo-Saxons don't deserve to be in Australia, as they are the descendants of convicts, who arrived here in shackles, having been given a free passage courtesy of the British government (which is true enough), while Muslims in more recent years (since 1975 amid a civil war in Lebanon) have unfairly had to pay their own airfares to arrive here. And as soon as the news of these remarks being made, surfaced in Sydney's Lakemba area, one of his spokesmen/followers from some kind of “Muslim friendship association” based in Sydney, immediately apologised to Australians on national TV evening news! (Really, here, who needs to be friendly to whom, and about what? It seems that Hilali has been misunderstood, yet again. But, no, Hilali hasn't been misunderstood in the least! We understand perfectly, this so-called “Sheik” is quite nuts!)
And really, Sheik Hilali, if these sort of remarks are an indication of your ability to read history, we think that you now need a strong reality check, and a thorough psychiatric evaluation. It is high time that this so-called “Mufti of Australia” has his sanity seriously questioned by medicos competent to judge it. Of course (we think), the Sheik's remarks are hilariously insane and so are beyond apology; and the sooner this “Mufti” is removed from his position, the better for all concerned. Hilali surely needs replacing by a man of sanity, who is not called anything so ridiculous as “Mufti of Australia”, but, we think, someone to be known as merely the preacher (Imam) of the Lakemba Mosque, and nothing more. Any such position as “Mufti of Australia” is anyway merely a fantasy dreamed up by Sydney Muslims (Melbourne Muslims, eat your heart out); there is in fact no such thing as a “Mufti of Australia” that this website is willing for one single second to recognise! In Australian history since 1788, Hilali is the single weirdest cleric of any religion in Australia, ever to utter a word in public! This website is no enemy of Islam in Australia, but, quite frankly, no non-Middle-Eastern enemy of Islam in Australia could possibly do more to bring Islam into disrepute in Australia, than the latest shenanigans of this “Mufti”. So now, this website is even more determined about insisting that around the world, these days, Muslim clerics be called to account and given suitable reality checks. (Really, just how good are Muslim clerics at reading the history of any part of the world at all that they happen to live in? On just which planet are Muslim clerics currently living?)
One of the weirdest things Hilali said in his Egyptian interview was this: “Australian is not Anglo-Saxon, Islam is deep-rooted in Australia and it preceded the English arrival there.” This will be amazing news to all historians of Australia! There is absolutely nothing in Australian history that this website is aware of, which could justify even the beginning of any such view. We conclude therefore, that Sheik Hilali has been confabulating at length on Egyptian TV! (Evening TV news, Australia, 11 January 2007, 6.30pm-7.30pm, reported on at least three major Australian channels)
Yet another Australian Muslim with an over-active imagination: An Australian, believed to be a Muslim, has been killed fighting in war-torn Somalia. The Melbourne man, 25, is thought to have died late last months during skirmishes with Ethiopian troops, but news of actual circumstances is unclear. Australian consular officials have been in touch with the man's family. “Islamists” operating in Somalia have lately been urging “foreign Muslim fighters” to join their jihad against Christian-led Ethiopia. (Weekend Australian, 6-7 January 2007)
Another Australian Muslim with an over-active imagination: A so-called Australian, and a so-called Muslim, and a so-called Sydney “cleric”, and a so-called “Sheik”, Sheik Feiz Mohamed, now in Lebanon, has lately called up headlines as follows: Treatment has sheik wary of returning home: a dangerous divide is forcing Australian Muslims to abandon their homes, says Sydney cleric Feiz Mohamad in Lebanon. He is supposed to be Australia's most influential firebrand cleric, and he feels like an alien in his own country. He apparently believes a rising tide of anti-Islamic feeling in Australia has made at least eight families abandon their homeland [evidently Australia] for the Middle East. Feiz Mohamad, somehow a former horsebreaker (a what?), now a preacher, himself has repaired to his “ancestral village” in Northern Lebanon, though it is said he has the “most sway over Australia's Islamic youth” in Australia, being director of Global Islamic Youth Centre which has been based in Sydney's Southwest. He counts himself as one of three of the major fundamentalist Islamic clerics in Australia, the other two being Sheik Mohammed Omran in Melbourne and Sheik Abdul Salem Mohammed Zoud in Sydney (Hilali not included in the list). And many things could be said about Feiz Mohamed, but one thing he admits to is that he agrees with the basic proposition of Sheik Hilali's notorious “uncovered meat” sermon; that immodestly-dressed women are implicitly inviting rape. (Which may be true in this “cleric's “ancestral village”, but is happily not true for most of Australia, It seems that Hilali and Feiz are victims here of quite poor/invalid sociology! -Ed) (Weekend Australian, 6-7 January 2007, article by Middle East correspondent, Martin Chulov)
A special message: from Lost Worlds – The Website
Dear Sheik Feiz Mohamed,
Below is a modified version of an e-mail received by this website on 28 January 2007, two days after Australia Day, sent from a friend in Melbourne. It is not known who originally produced the message, much as it is not widely known in the West, just who is producing a lot of vehemently pro-Islamic, anti-Western propaganda that gets about. This website rather agreed with some, but not all, of the sentiments broadly expressed in the original e-mail, so we have rewritten it and added some words. It has to be said, the original e-mail was over-formatted, and was sprinkled with Australian flags (whereas, as an Australian, this website feels mildly republican and we refer to the flag as “the flag currently in use”, and rather quietly object to the Union Jack on the flag's upper left, etc), and it does seem as though this e-mail has also been modified from some propaganda originally issued in the US – a few phrases have thus been edited out, and so, this website has further Australianized the message, meaning ...
Dear Sheik Feiz M, you are perfectly within your rights, at least as far as Australians feel, to stay right there in Lebanon where you are now and never come back, God Willing, and amen to that. - Ed.
The basic gist of the Lost Worlds rewrite of the e-mail follows –
The blessing of the right to leave Australia. That's right, You are free to go – anytime – Yes, the right to leave our country - YOU have this right, all day, every day - the right to leave! We give you this right, but nor do we impose it upon you. It's your choice, still. Just maybe thank God for actually having a choice?
Read the newspapers! ... after not wanting to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights (?). After hearing that the State of South Australia changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver's license with her face covered. Some propaganda has been put about from multicultural circles, we are rather led to feel, that it is Australians, not immigrants, WHO MUST ADAPT. But we don't agree that this is a fair crack of the whip. Take it or leave it! In Australia, get on with the rest of your life or get out!
And don't try on allegedly “Islamic grounds”, to pervert what has become Australian Multiculturalism, or you will risk losing both the multi and the Australian. There is no Islamic ground in Australia, except what is owned as freehold land title by any Muslim organisation, which is more a matter of real estate than of statistics, or of culture, or of religion.
In the 1950s and 1960s, immigrants here were called “New Australians”, which was a way of indicating that they still needed practice at becoming and being Australians, and this certainly applies to some of today's Muslims of Sydney and Melbourne. As terminology, the use of “New Australian” has died out, but now it is time the phrase was returned to common usage.
I/we am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual, or their imported culture, by being ourselves. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by a majority of Australians. Not all of this “patriotism” is pretty, but nor is vehement pseudo-Islamic, bestial, political jihad pretty when it produces so many dead bodies in so many parts of the world, Madrid, Egypt, Palestine/Israel, India, Southern Sudan, Somalia/Ethiopia, Chechnya in Russia, New York, Bali, London underground, Iraq, Afghanistan, Netherlands ... the list goes on. And generally, Australians do not go around killing people! We are a very quaint people, we fail to see it as unusual that we don't kill people. Why are radicalized Muslims going around killing people, hmmm?
However, the dust from the culture-attacks had barely settled when the politically-correct crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I/we are not against immigration, nor do I/we hold any grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, might need to understand.
The well-meaning idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language, our own lifestyles and our own sense of humour.
This culture has been developed across two centuries of struggles, trials and victories, not all of them totally respectable, by millions of men and women who have sought, well, freedom. Especially, and this is what “New Australians” of adult age when they arrive, find very hard to understand, we enjoy unexpected freedoms from the major burdens of European history, not to speak of Middle Eastern histories. Most of wish to remain quite free of those burdens in the future. We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other major world language. Therefore, if you wish to become a fully-participating member of any part of Australian society, learn the language! Get used to Christianity in Australia, all varieties of it so far available, in a courteous spirit of theological democracy. We really don't want to change any of the the iconography on the walls of any of our schools due to your minority opinions. If God as distinct from Allah offends you, then I/we suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, mostly since Australians really don't much like God-botherers. In Australia, we a very lucky, in that all we know or care to know about religious warfare is from what we read in history books, about the history of other countries; and thank God, or Allah, for that restfulness of the soul!
If the Southern Cross somehow offends you, or our inevitable distance from Mecca, if our beaches are too free in spirit, or if you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of the planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care much how you did things where you came from ... we think that you are now in Australia, and we know for sure, Australia is its own country. In the long run, Australia and its climate will change you before you change it, so get used to this idea without resentment – Australia, even its non-desert parts, can be amazingly indifferent to the views and feelings of its human inhabitants, but you won't know that in less than forty years here unless you suffer a tragedy, and even less so if you continue to live in a major city, shielded from the more natural, raw Australian realities such as drought, flood, bushfires.
Bear in mind, that despite a mere paper citizenship, you are NOT YET REALLY an Australian. But we hope you are on your way to becoming Australian. We guarantee, once you are an Australian, you will feel differently ... about many many things in life, including religion. As a continent, as a place, Australia, you know, was not known to any of the writers of any of the world's Holy Books, not one of them. Does this mean anything at all to you, about anything?!
That's right, Australia has been a new territory for human beings, and its cultural newness comes with the territory. Get used to it!
This is our country, our land, our voting patterns, our beknighted government, our lifestyles, and we have our own definitions of our own sorts of happiness, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. So once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our Australians ways of life, we highly encourage you take advantage of one other of our great Australian freedoms, a freedom regrettably accompanied by an airport departure tax - THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.
If you aren't happy here, fine, then piss off. We didn't force you to come here with a gun at your head, and we wouldn't normally have a gun at your head if/when we asked you to leave – if we actually did such a thing. You asked to be here. So, accept the country that YOU accepted when you were wanting a country to be accepted by. Pretty easy really, when you think about it.
Australia in the age of sailing ships used to be the edge of the known world. It's not our fault that when you arrived here, our country and our ways seemed unfamiliar to you, that was your problem, not ours. It is very important in life, if there is a problem, to identify just who it is who has the problem, and who does not. A century or more ago, our forebears found our Australia to be unfamiliar. To many of our forebears, it was UnEnglish, or Unscots, or Unlike Somewhere Else in the world that was more familiar to newcomers here. We think, that New Australians who think that Australia is UnIslamic are rank amateurs and are ignorant whingers to boot. Of course Australia is UnIslamic, what did you expect? With any luck, it will remain UnIslamic! We resolutely fail to agree with, we might well laugh at, anyone who newly arrives in Australia and fails to see that Australia has become its own part of the world. Australia is its own kind of New World, which has influenced our outlook on life, and as such, it has to be adjusted to, including, being adjusted to by YOU. Even former citizens from Soviet Russia and the USA find Australia so - different. So all we can say to you, Feiz Mohamed, is, get used to Australia as-it-is! Or leave! How simple is that? (-Ed)
Progress in psychiatry about stroppy Muslims: More food for thought for Muslim clerics world-wide. Paul Sheehan writes,”In Europe, there is an abnormally high incidence of schizophrenia among Muslim males. A psychiatrist who has studied this phenomenon, Bellari Said, a Muslim, found that when young Muslim men were rejected [by] or frustrated [by] a liberal [Western] culture, they often turned to a fantasy of tribal honour, religious rectitude and disgust towards 'easy women'. Disgust and desire are entwined.” Which may be, Sheehan suggests, something to do with how and why younger Muslim men in the West have stronger feelings about the subjugation of women than their elders (?). Paul Sheehan reports for Australia, in an article headlined, “Fighting back against the ultimate weapon” [suicide bombers]: An article about “the war of wombs”; who controls the reproductive capacity of Muslim women, Muslim men or women? “The most potent weapon against the rise of medievalism [in Muslim societies] is the potential power of women.” There is allegedly a religious crusade being conducted, but beneath the rhetoric of holy war is a reality of sexual repression, sexual perversions and sexual control of women, generally. Sheehan here cites appalling stories of women who have been raped in their Muslim societies, then they, not their rapists, being punished. (See In The Name of Honour by Mukhtar Mai, from rural Pakistan.) Around the world per year there are about 5000 “honour killings” of women from Muslim societies who prefer to make their own choices about sexual contacts – and thereafter find life unlivable, or taken from them. Sheehan rather concludes that the USA might be better off, lately, funding education programs for Muslim women around the world. (And around the same world, Muslims clerics on such points quite lack an appropriate sense of justice, as they prefer “a culture of denialism” What the Islamic world evidently needs are some well-funded and expertly-done sociological surveys on such matters, that Muslim clerics can be invited to respond to - Ed) (Paul Sheehan reported, etc., Sydney Morning Herald 6-7 January 2007)
3 January 2007: Execution of Saddam Hussein: The disgrace continues: “The Iraqi government has launched an inquiry into how guards filmed and taunted Saddam Hussein on the gallows, turning his execution into a televised spectacle that has inflamed sectarian anger in Iraq and, on conscience grounds, caused disgust and unease world-wide.
Saddam Hussein was hanged at dawn for his role in the killing of 148 Shia civilians after an assassination attempt against him in 1982 in Dujail. The move has come as Muslims in their thousands inside and outside war-torn Iraq, lashed out at the country's Shia leaders as well as the US for executing Hussein during one of Islam's holiest festivals.
Rizkar Mohammed Amin, the first chief judge who presided over Hussein's trial, denounced the execution yesterday as illegal. Iraqi law bans executions during the Eid al-Adha festival period that marks the end of the annual haj pilgrimage to Mecca. People, of course, in Hussein's home area of Tikrit are exceptionally angry.
News of the ousted tyrant's death and of his treatment by government officials has also been blamed for sparking a prison riot mostly among mainly Sunni Arab inmates at a jail near the northern Iraq city of Mosul. But a legal adviser to prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said many of those present had been victim's of Saddam's brutality. 'We cannot help but express our feelings at times', Mariam Rayis said.”
The government of Iraq has released a video showing the hangman talking to a composed Hussein as he placed the noose around his neck. But footage of Hussein's final moments, taken with mobile phones cameras, smuggled into the death chamber by guards and broadcast on the Internet, showed guards shouting “Go to hell”, chanting the name of Moqtada and exchanging insults with Hussein before in mid-prayer he fell through a trapdoor to hang.
The taunts had continued despite an official with a sense of decency pleading, “Please no! the man is about to die.”
Robert Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Scribe, 2005, 335pp.
Jemma Purdey, Anti-Chinese Violence in Indonesia, 1996-1999. ASAA Southeast Asia Publication Series, 300pp, 2006.
Phil Rees, Dining with Terrorists. Picador, 2005, 395pp.
John T. Sidel, Riots, Pogroms, Jihad: Religious Violence in Indonesia. Cornell University, 267pp, 2006.
New York Times meanwhile has reported that US officials in Iraq were privately incensed at the dead-of-night trip to the gallows. However, it seems no accident that some of the people present at the execution had once been victim's of Hussein's brutality, and had been invited to the execution. No member of the hanged man's defence team was allowed to be present.
(Ends quotes from The Australian, 3 January 2007)
Remarks on Hussein's hanging: “The hand-held phone images [of Hussein's execution] are fundamentally disturbing” - the coldness and cruelty [of an execution] are overpowered by the dignity, in his dying, of Saddam Hussein. // “Frankly, I just feel like throwing up” // I had several thoughts when I saw the dreadful images ... I thought Hussein stood bravely as he waited to be hanged – braver than most, I venture – What sort of messages have we sent to children around the world who see such images? - I thought that it now seems inevitable that some thug, arguably more brutal than Saddam ever was, will now emerge from the nightmare that is now Iraq. // Saddam Hussein should not have been executed; to allow any person to taunt him as he faced the gallows was a debasement of all of us. John Howard, George W. Bush and Tony Blair are further disgraced. (From letters-to-editor column, The Australian, 3 January 2007)
Cartoon: On why it's all the fault of Western Democracy: Q: Where are all the people writing fiction about Islamic Fascism, huh? A: “They're all working for the government.” November 25-26, 2006, Spectrum, Weekend Australian.
Copenhagen: "Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmusen has praised his nation for defending rights to free speech and for not yielding to authoritarian forces during the Muslim uproar over 'the Prophet Mohammed cartoons” affair. He said, 'It has made a strong impression on all of us to see the Danish flag being burnt, to see Danish embassies in flames. Today Denmark enjoys respect because we ... protected the freedom of speech which is the most precious freedom that we have.' “ (Reported 4 January 2007, The Australian).
(Notice of a column by noted Australian playwright, David Williamson, The Australian, 3 January 2007):
Williamson amongst other things says, “My fantasy for 2007 is that religious extremists of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths in particular will sit down and read Richard Dawkin's book, The God Delusion, and be sufficiently impressed by its argument and evidence to acknowledge that belief in a god of any kind is a delusion that has wreaked untold damage on the world since the dawn of recorded time.” ... “Anything that purports to absolve one from making personal moral decisions based on concepts of humanity and justice has to be highly suspect. ... [Yet], Even in a free and secular society such as ours [Australia], where vigorous debate is considered an essential component of our capacity to make important decisions, there is a tendency to treat anyone who has religious beliefs as somehow beyond criticism. ... A Muslim extremist who believes that his God is greenlighting the random killing of infidels has to be viewed by any rational analysis, as an extremely malignant product of religion. Yet many so-called moderate Muslims still seem to regard these extremists as some kind of cultural heroes, or if not that, then someone whose behaviour is understandable given the supposed indignities that Christian nations have forced on Muslims. ... Adherence to a particular religion is another variant of irrational tribal behaviour, no different in essence to the nationalism that has also generated so many horror movies through the ages. ... My hope for 2007 is that the world will draw just a fraction closer to realising that we are all part of one big tribe on a very fragile planet, and that people who parrot the prejudices of their particular creed will start to realise how toxic their belief system is to any hope that the innate decency of humanity will ultimately shine through.”
(Ends remarks from David Williamson)
Somalia: Item: Somalia's interim government has vowed to pursue Islamists who have fled from their final stronghold. Their flight from the southern port of Kismayu could mark the end of a two week war against the Ethiopian-backed government. The Islamists melted away after advancing troops shelled them. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2-1-2007. Here, one well might ask, “what on earth, and before any world court, is the legitimacy for the actions of “an Islamist” - Ed).
There have been very few genuinely funny things ever said in Australia about Islamic clerics around the world, but one famous remark came before the death in 1989 of Ayatollah Khomeini - the Australian cartoonist Patrick Cook once joked that the Ayatollah wanted "to turn the Middle East into a theologically-correct ashtray".
2 January 2007: On the hanging of Saddam Hussein: This website begins its 2007 news digest with a protest about the demise of Saddam Hussein, noted fan of tyrant Josef Stalin, in Iraq. We don't believe in capital punishment, nor in special kindness to tyrants, but it would have been far better off for situations in Iraq, for the longer term, if in his case, he had been tried by a world court outside Iraq, and sentenced to life imprisonment, as a lesson to other feral leaders of governments. (All much as per the earlier-published views of the Australian international lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson.)
At least 300 members short so far - and thank God for that!
Muslim party seeks
law for Australians - By Patricia Karvelas
The Best Party of Allah in Australia applied for registration in the ACT yesterday, claiming to provide a political voice for Muslims.
Founder Kurt Kennedy, a Vietnamese-born Muslim convert and candidate in the ACT assembly elections last year, said the party wanted to "implement the laws as stated in the Koran".
"The positive part of sharia law is (about) treating everybody fairly," he said. "I don't think anybody should have any worries about it.
"If they read through the Koran, there's nothing there that will threaten them or threaten their personal life or property."
The new party had almost 200 members but needed 500 to register federally, which was the goal, he said.
"The thing is to have a profile and to defend those who believe in Allah."
People were "living in the dark" and experiencing an unnecessary level of fear of Islam.
The emergence of the Family First Party had showed him that there was a role for religious-based parties. "It's obvious what they do," he said.
"We don't want to hide behind things. We want to go out and say we are believers of Allah, we believe in his religion, we obey his laws as stated in the Koran -- there's nothing to worry about."
Australians who were not Muslims were welcome to join the party, Mr Kennedy said.
"Whether they become Muslims or not become Muslims, because they will see a sensible view not corrupted by lobby groups, a view not corrupted by hypocrisy -- like sending food-aid to Iraq but, at the same time, sending our soldiers there and bombing and killing their children as well."
Mr Kennedy could not guarantee extremists would not join his party but said he thought it unlikely that people with extremist views would want to participate in the peaceful, democratic political system.
"We have a constitution and a process where people fill in an application form and the secretary can decide whether to enlist them or reject them, like any other political party," he said.
The party would promote "moderate politics" and would be neither right-wing nor left-wing.
Admittedly, Al-Sadr's father and uncle had been murdered by Hussein's agents – this is precisely why al-Sadr's supporters should NOT have been anywhere near the scene of Hussein's execution. To prevent against accusations of “victor's justice”. It would have been far more just, and dignified for all concerned in the matter, for Hussein to be despatched in perfect, dispassionate, dignified silence, a silence uncontaminated by any remark at all. Nor should photographs have been taken of the death, or allowed to be distributed. So, revenge, not justice has won here in Iraq. It has been disgraceful, and the entire world is a loser by this trivialising of the departure of a tyrant. How, then, is the world a loser? The news of Hussein's execution was broadcast mostly in Australia on the evening news of New Year's Day, a time coinciding with a religious festival in Iraq. The organisers of the execution were obviously playing to the world gallery as well as the local gallery. Here are some of this website's specific objections to this execution-outcome. The outcome was less than justice, and for it to be permitted aids the observation that Iraq is by no means ready yet for democracy. This renders the US presence in Iraq even more illegitimate, that US interests did not – and possibly could not – take steps to ensure a dignified execution. It also means that a Muslim cleric has, one way or another, had an undue influence on a major matter of justice and politics. Worse, a cleric who is leader of a “militia”.
All Muslim clerics in the world should take note. In the Western Word, it is unthinkable, and has been now for centuries, that a mere religious cleric will ever have legitimate power to manage a militia. Nor should religious clerics anywhere in the world have the power to manage a militia. That Moqtada al-Sadr has this sort of customary role in Iraq is one of the more unfortunate hangovers the world suffers due to the remnants of so-called “Islamic civilization”. The sooner the UN starts to comment on this particular issue, the better. What needs to happen regarding this historical legacy in Muslim life, in reality a legacy of tribal life, of the more militant cleric being able to manage a militia, and to intervene in matters political, needs to be greatly curtailed; the world simply cannot afford to allow mere clerics to dictate or overly influence the outcome of events of great political import. In the case of Hussein's execution, the politically-important matter, requiring care, was the role of disinterested justice; that justice be done and be seen to be done. And so, while this website and its friends do not believe in capital punishment, and anyway, we obviously can have no influence on civil laws regarding execution in Iraq. (Not religious laws, civil laws.) We DO feel obliged to comment on questions of dignity and justice. We also do not feel especially sorry that a tyrant has gone. We do feel very sorry that he was not sent with the normal human dignity that any prisoner should be allowed to try to keep, and which in this case, the prisoner did keep, as his executioners did not. What Saddam Hussein's hangmen have done here is reduce the reputation of Islamic life even further in the eyes of the rest of the world. For yes, the whole world is watching all these things. Around the world, Muslim clerics need to be reined-in. ASAP -Ed
Other remarks about Saddam Hussein's execution: (1) The Pentagon announced specialist Dustin Donica's death less than 24 hours after Saddam Hussein was hanged; Donica died the previous Thursday, the 3000th American to die in Iraq. (The Iraq war now threatens to destroy the Bush presidency writes Michael Gawenda from Washington). (2) “Many Americans feel that ridding the world of Saddam Hussein has not been worth the lives of 3000 soldiers, more than one third of them under the age of 22 years. (3) Fury swept Sunni Muslim strongholds in the Middle East over mobile phone footage that shows Saddam Hussein being taunted by officials before he is seen dangling, neck broken and eyes open, from the gallows. Some Sunnis feel that Hussein had faced not justice, but a vendetta by the Shi'ite-dominated government. Observers of the execution had taken scenes on their mobile phones. (These old-fashioned Muslims sure do enjoy new technology!) (4) Sydney Morning Herald editorial says: “The death penalty diminishes us all – after the hanging, what now? .... the world's first televised execution of an Arab leader ... [with] a cruel ring of sectarian revenge, not the due process and justice [that] Iraq desperately needs. ... Shi'ites may be celebrating, but in Iraq's tit-for-tat cycle of kidnappings, suicide bombings and murder, the gloating manner in which Saddam was put to death will merely inflame sectarian tensions.” And meantime, the Vatican denounced the execution and its manner as “tragic”. A spokesman for Polish President Lech Kaczynski said, “Justice has been meted out to a criminal who murdered thousands of people in Iraq.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 2 January 2007).
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ANNUAL commemoration day will be held to recall Britain's role in
the slave trade, and the fight against it. The Deputy Prime Minister,
John Prescott, said he expected the day to be held in common with the
rest of Europe, In June so that modern day slavery - human trafficking
- could also be recalled and combated. Mr Prescott said the
commemoration day would provide a chance for national and local
government, as well as schools, to think how they could help
contemporary Africa. He likened slavery to the Holocaust and expressed
his deep personal regret. The British Government has refused to make a
full apology for Britain's role. Mr Prescott argued that Africa did not
want this, but it was time Britain faced up to the past. "Like the
Holocaust, we are learning to talk about the slave trade openly and
more honestly. Tragic and terrible as it was, the slave trade defied
anyone to discuss it because it was so horrendous."
He said he believed Britain was about to go through the process of self-examination that the US experienced with the publication of Alex Haley's Roots in 1976. He said: "I think this anniversary is beginning to make us think again in the same way as the US. There is a sense of shock and horror at what went on in our history, and the sheer brutality of it. It has not yet fed into the schools. Indeed, it has been kept out of the curriculum."
In the US, Congress and a growing number of elected officials in states and cities are wrestling with whether to formally apologise more than 140 years after slavery was abolished.
State legislators in Virginia, the heart of the former Confederacy, in February unanimously passed a resolution expressing "profound regret" over the state's role in slavery. Other elected bodies are considering similar measures that would express regret, apologise or create commemorative days.
Mr Prescott said it was important to ensure history is properly told, "including the good, the bad and dreadful". "The legacy of this 200th anniversary should be a permanent date when we ask whether there is more we could do, so that every year, like the Holocaust, we remind people of the horrors. Each year we should think about it and commemorate and rededicate ourselves to helping people on which such horrors were inflicted."
Mr Prescott was speaking the day before Britain was to sign the European convention. against human trafficking, publish a plan to fight modern-day slavery and host a visit by Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados, to Hull, the birthplace of William Wilberforce, who changed the law in 1807.
The Prime, Minister, Tony Blair, is to deliver a pre-recorded address to a ceremony in one of the slave ports in Accra at a ceremony tomorrow. A national memorial service will be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday and the former secretary-general of the UN, Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, will address both houses of the British Parliament in May.
Mr Prescott said the country had to express "more than regret" for its role in the slave trade, but argued that the issue of an apology was not being raised in Africa. During a recent visit to Ghana, he said, he had met children who had told him:
"Not every white man was guilty and not every black man was innocent."
That has started a debate about whether you really want the native chiefs really to apologise for selling their own people. The traders only had to go to the ports and the slaves were delivered from inside Africa. The Ghanaians said: 'We don't want apologies. We want people to think what we can do to help us. What our ancestors did was horrific, but everyone feels we need to learn and move on from that experience'." (Originally from Guardian News & Media, Los Angeles Times. From Sydney Morning Herald, 24-25 March 2007, Story by Patrick Wintour in London - Timeline for this article was: HISTORY OF A SCOURGE - 1444, First public sale of African slaves in Portugal. Slavery has been practised in China, India, ancient Greece and Rome, British colonies, Europe and the US. 1777, Vermont, then independent, becomes the first sovereign state to abolish slavery. 1807, Britain passes Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. 1862, Abraham Lincoln proclaims emancipation of slaves with effect from January 1, 1863; 13th amendment of US constitution bans slavery in 1865. 1926, League of Nations adopts Slavery Convention abolishing slavery. 1948, UN General Assembly adopts Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including an article banning slavery.
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