self-deprecating and occasional tongue-in-cheek look at ourselves and
the world around us ......
Sunday, 5 October 2008
News you won't find on CNN!
Last night an estimated
from a variety of cultures and background came together
at the second annual Eid Dinner of the Muslim
Business Network at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane.
The entertainment for the evening was
provided by nasheed artist Sheikh Ahmed
Ghazaleh, stand up comic Naziem Hussein (of
Salam Cafe fame and pictured top right), singer
Yousuf Alikhan and a repeat performance from
comedian/illusionist Matt Hollywood and guest
star Farouk Adam.
The Ambassador of Libya,
His Excellency Esmail Abu Zinin, drove up from
Canberra as the guest of honour of MBN and delivered his
short message of good wishes to the community via the MC
for the night, Naseem Abdul.
The sit-down menu
comprised a delicious variety of dishes including Dips
and Bread (prepared by Ala-Din), Beef Akhni (by the
Algester Mosque Ladies Auxiliary), butter chicken (by
Bosthans) and Mediterranean Roast Lamb (by Mohey).
Friends and acquaintances
who did not get to meet on Eid day took the occasion
presented by this function to exchange their good
Random draw prizes were
given and children were handed out lollys and hampers as
In his address as the
president of MBN, Dr. Mahomed Hanief Khatree,
told his audience that this was among the largest single
dinners ever to be held in Queensland. He also thanked
his team for the hard work they had put into staging
The month of Ramadan and
the 30 days of fasting came to an end on Tuesday and Eid
was celebrated in most parts of Queensland and Australia
The day started off around
6am with congregational prayers at over 9 different
venues and suburbs in and around Brisbane.
Dressed up to the nines
and in their best attire men, women and children from
the different Muslim community groups then got together
all over Queensland to meet and greet with each other
over breakfast, lunch or dinner and to exchange gifts
and good wishes.
Following the findings of
their recent survey, MYServices has developed the Ameer
and Ameera Youth Leadership Development Programs
aimed at equipping young men and women with specific
leadership skills that will enable them to better deal
with the challenges they face as young Australian
M.Y. Services is currently
running fortnightly halaqas for those between the
ages of 18-25.
It is a gathering amongst
a few of the older youths once a fortnight on Saturday
evenings from Maghrib to Isha.
The program is for the
older youths to be able to discuss topics about deen
and iman within their own comfort zone without
being judged negatively by others.
M.Y. Services recognises
the needs for such interaction to be done in this
fashion as it builds confidence and understanding among
those that may feel timid or shy to approach the Imams
about certain issues.
The halaqa is
operated in a casual fashion where everyone sits
together in a circle and we have one amir to
speak about a certain topic relating to deen or
iman whether it be stories of the prophets or
contemporary issues pertaining to Muslims and Islam.
Every fortnight the venue
is rotated along with the amir as well.
Whoever is the host of the
venue is also the amir for that halaqa
This system encourages the
youth to conduct research about Islam and prepare a
small talk as an amir in the halaqa.
It promotes leadership
skills as well as motivation to learn more about Islam
to each individual’s capacity.
Once a month we commit to
participate to listen to a talk by an imam already
organised within certain Mosques for the wider community
or invite a learned person, if not an Imam, to be the
amir for a session.
That way the youth are
still able to ask questions or seek advice if they
require it from a more learned figure of the community.
currently has around 20 committed members participating
every Saturday fortnight and has become a new passion
for many of the participants to attend the halaqa
http://www.youtube.com/QueenRania Jordon's Queen
Rania has played a significant role in reaching out
to the global community to foster values of tolerance
and acceptance, and increase cross-cultural dialogue.
Regionally and internationally, Queen Rania has
campaigned for a greater understanding between cultures
in high profile forums such as the Jeddah Economic
Forum, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
University, and the Skoll Foundation in the UK.
In 4 steps, Queen Raniashows you how to create your own
You Tube clips to break down stereotypes.
Movies with CCN
A Beirut beauty salon is
the setting for the ups and downs of romantic life for a
group of Lebanese women in CARAMEL, written and
directed by first-time writer/director Nadine Labaki.
And in quite a coup for her it was Lebanon’s official
entry for the Academy Awards.
LABAKI stars as Layale, the owner of the salon who is
unsatisfactorily involved with a married man.
Her salon colleagues Nisrine, (YASMINE AL MASRI) and
Rima, (JOANNA MOUKARZEL), are sympathetic and supportive
while local policeman Youssef (ADEL KARAM), is secretly
besotted by her.
Nisrine has problems of her own, she’s about to get
married and is worried that her husband will find out
she’s not a virgin and Rima is ambivalent about her own
Meanwhile salon clients Jamale, (GISELE AOUAD) and Rose,
(SIHAME HADDAD), are concerned about aging and lost
The universality of the world of women is a connecting
element of Caramel and yet the cultural specifics add
colour and interest to this charming soap opera.
The mostly non-professional performers were chosen for
the similarity their lives had to the characters they
play and it’s to Labaki’s credit that she’s able to
evoke such natural performances from them.
The film is not wildly original in its dramatic
trajectory but it does highlight the plight of these
women who are on the cusp between a traditional society
and modern western life.
commendable addition to the
growing number of films centered
on children in post-9/11 Islamic
societies, "Son of a Lion" packs
emotional punch and engaging
political discussion into the
tale of a sensitive boy who
wants to go to school rather
than follow his fundamentalist
father into the gun-making
Cast with non-professionals
living in the Northwest Frontier
of Pakistan, the picture
represents a promising debut by
Aussie Benjamin Gilmour.
Dusty locale is a home to
Pashtuns, an ethnic Afghan group
that enjoyed positive Western
press while ousting Soviet
occupiers from Afghanistan
before being reviled as the
largest contingent inside the
Though it's unclear whether he's
part of the latter regime,
widowed father Sher Alam Afridi
(Sher Alam Miskeen Ustad) is
proud of his record fighting the
Europeans and is determined to
raise son Niaz (Niaz Khun
Shinwari) according to strict
Eleven years old and painfully
aware of being illiterate, the
shy boy shows little enthusiasm
working at his father's gun shop
and testing the weapons they
manufacture by hand. Dutifully
running errands that include
buying hashish for his
grandfather, the lad is happiest
visiting Agha Jaan (Agha Jaan),
a friendly poet who reads
letters written to Niaz from the
big city of Peshawar by his
cousin Anousha (Anousha Vasif
Scared to confront his father
about wanting an education and
receiving little support from
his traditionalist grandmother (Fazal
Bibi), it's up to Anousha's
open-minded father, Baktiyar
Afridi (Baktiyar Ahmed Afridi)
to take up the cause. Holding up
enrollment papers he's hopefully
obtained, Baktiyar is unable to
convince his unyielding brother
to sign on the dotted line.
Result is a family squabble that
finds Niaz running away to
Peshawar where he makes a
forlorn figure outside a school
gate before being taken home by
Finely tuned screenplay written
by Gilmour in close
collaboration with cast members
and community representatives
balances the domestic conflict
with scenes of Sher Alam and his
friends discussing the state of
things. In tea houses and
barbershops, the men express a
wide variety of opinions on
everything from Osama bin Laden
to the war on terror and,
inevitably, the regional role of
These illuminating insights into
how ordinary people in this
region view the world deliver a
vital understanding of the
cultural factors surrounding
Niaz's desire to look outward
and better himself.
At the hour mark, the boy
musters the courage to tell his
father he does not want to do
what has been expected of him
since birth. Careful not to make
a monster of the father,
narrative maps out a convincing
path for him to form an
understanding of the life his
son wants to lead.
A pivotal moment arrives when
Sher Alam takes a long, hard
look at a photo portrait of Niaz
holding a rifle; another when he
discovers his son has helped
save the life of Pite (Khaista
Mir), a bully who has tormented
and humiliated Niaz.
Key to the film's success is its
simplicity. Gilmour, an
ambulance officer by trade,
achieves fine results from an
untrained cast whose expressive
performances make the tale feel
authentic at every turn. Nicely
framed compositions with a
minimum of travelogue add to the
feeling. Score by Amanda Brown
mixes traditional instruments
and modern rhythms to lovely
Kerbaj of The Australian and author of
numerous less-than-favourable articles on Muslims and
Islam, including the hatchet job on GIRU recently over
the Saudi funding to the Griffith University Centre, has
now moved to London to take up a post at The Times.
Sydney based, Irfan
Yusuf does a fitting
'eulogy' on Kerbaj and the legacy he leaves in his
Feast Bazaar is a ten part
journey into the labyrinth of mysterious souks, the
colour, culture and customs, of two of the most
intriguing countries in the Islamic world.
Following on from the
success of his first series, Feast India, English-born
chef Barry Vera gets to the heart of Moroccan and Syrian
cuisine, and on the way discovers far, far more... Feast
Bazaar screens on SBS on Wednesdays at 5.30pm.
Episode 5 - Imperial Fez (Morocco)
The Imperial city of Fez
is a puzzle of streets with no name.
Where buildings have crutches, donkeys wear tyres, and
not long ago you needed a visa to get in, and lots of
luck to find your way out.
It’s Morocco’s capital of fine food and culture, and
boasts the world’s oldest university, where a Pope
learned about nought.
Cutting Edge SBS
Tuesday 30 October: Investigated the spread of
Islamic extremism throughout British prisons and asked if
today's prisoners will become tomorrow's terrorists.
Reporter Amil Khan
uncovers the radicalisation and recruitment of young
prisoners to jihadist Islam.
He hears from former
prisoners who claim they were taught behind bars that
Islam justifies crimes against non-Muslims.
Khan hears how those
prisoners, on release, are directed to mosques and
contacts who further their extremist beliefs.
Former gang members tell
Khan that when young prisoners return to the streets and
a life of crime, they do so with a renewed sense of
justification from their new-found religious ideology,
an ideology they then spread to their gang members.
Khan meets current prison
officers who say they are unable to cope with the
problem and examines the prison service's attempts to
tackle it by employing religious experts to bring
prisoners back from the brink. (From the UK, in English)
If you missed the program
here's Part 1 (of 5 parts)
A group of young ladies
will be getting together again at next week's Eidfest to
do a fundraising stall for the National Breast Cancer
Foundation (NBCF), sponsored by Professionals Sunnybank.
Last year's effort raised over $3000 for the Foundation.
This year's team will
comprise of Nooree Moola, Ruhee Moola,
Nadia Saleh, Noora Faraj, Mehnaz Adam,
Sumaiya Meman, Laila Moola, Ruqayya
Issadeen, Maryam Issadeen and Faaiza Elias.
There will be fairyfloss,
popcorn and NBCF merchandise on sale, as well face
painting and colour hair spraying.
The Muslim Marriage
Toolbox workshop series is approaching fast.
Flirting with Palin earns
Pakistani president a fatwa
A leading religious leader condemned Asif Ali Zardari's
comments to Sarah Palin at the UN.
Pakistan - After the flirtation came the fatwa
With some overly friendly comments to Gov. Sarah Palin
at the United Nations, Asif Ali Zardari has succeeded in
uniting one of Pakistan's hard-line mosques and its
feminists after a few weeks in office.
A radical Muslim prayer leader said the president shamed
the nation for "indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and
repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short
Feminists charged that once again a male Pakistani
leader has embarrassed the country with sexist remarks.
And across the board, the Pakistani press has shown
What did President Zardari do to draw such scorn? It
might have been the "gorgeous" compliment he gave Ms.
Palin when the two met at the UN last week during her
meet-and-greet with foreign leaders ahead of Thursday's
vice presidential debate with opponent Sen. Joe Biden,
the Democratic vice presidential nominee.
But the comments from Zardari didn't end there. He went
on to tell Palin: "Now I know why the whole of America
is crazy about you."
"You are so nice," replied the Republican vice
presidential hopeful, smiling. "Thank you."
But what may have really caused Pakistan's radical
religious leaders to stew was his comment that he might
"hug" Palin if his handler insisted.
Though the fatwa, issued days after the Sept. 24
exchange, carries little weight among most Pakistanis,
it's indicative of the anger felt by Pakistan's
increasingly assertive conservatives who consider
physical contact and flattery between a man and woman
who aren't married to each other distasteful. Though
fatwas, or religious edicts, can range from advice on
daily life to death sentences, this one does not call
for any action or violence.
Last year, the mosque that issued the fatwa, Lal Masjid
(Red Mosque) in Islamabad, condemned the former tourism
minister, Nilofar Bahktiar, after she was photographed
being hugged by a male parachuting coach in France.
Clerics declared the act a "great sin" and, though less
vocal about it, similar sentiments were shared by many
among Pakistani's middle classes. The Red Mosque gained
international infamy in July 2007 after becoming the
focal point of a Pakistan Army operation.
For the feminists it's less about cozying up to a
non-Muslim woman and more about the sexist remarks by
"As a Pakistani and as a woman, it was shameful and
unacceptable. He was looking upon her merely as a woman
and not as a politician in her own right," says Tahira
Abdullah, a member of the Women's Action Forum.
Dismissing the mosque's concerns as "ranting," she,
however, adds: "He should show some decorum – if he
loved his wife so much as to press for a United Nations
investigation into her death, he should behave like a
mourning widower," in reference to former Pakistani
premier Benazir Bhutto, a feminist icon for millions of
The theme of decorum was picked up by English daily
Dawn, whose editorial asked: "Why do our presidents
always end up embarrassing us internationally by making
The incident bears some resemblance to yet another charm
offensive by a senior Pakistani politician. Marcus
Mabry's biography of Condoleezza Rice includes a passage
in which he relates a meeting between former Pakistani
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Ms. Rice, in which Mr.
Aziz was said to have stared deeply into the secretary
of State's eyes and to have told her he could "conquer
any woman in two minutes."
There are some, however, who see things as having been
blown out of proportion.
"It was a sweet and innocuous exchange played as an
international incident on Pakistani and rascally Indian
front-pages with one English daily [writing] it in a
scarlet box, half-implying Mrs. Palin would ditch
Alaska's First Dude and become Pakistan's First Babe. As
if," wrote columnist Fasih Ahmed in the Daily Times.
For most, it will soon be forgotten in a country dealing
with terrorism, rising food prices, and a struggling
economy. "We don't care that much how they [politicians]
behave – what really matters is keeping prices down,"
says Nazeera Bibi, a maid in Lahore.
A timely warning, no doubt,
to anyone harbouring
ambitions of taking similar
liberties with our Anna at
the Premier's Muslim
Community Reception in
Parliament House on
British Muslims suffer
from 'victim mentality': Labour MP
LONDON (AFP) — British Muslims need to
overcome their "victim mentality" and focus
more on improving their lives than
protesting about issues like Iraq, a Labour
MP said Wednesday.
Khan, one of four Muslim members of
parliament, said Muslims need to do more to
integrate into British society, for example
by learning English, denouncing sexism, and
condemning forced marriages.
"We need to take responsibility for our
own lives," he said in a booklet for the
Fabian Society, a leading left-of-centre
thinktank, adding: "Muslims need to
recognise childcare is as important as
"We need to take more responsibility for
our own families, ignore those who propagate
conspiracy theories, and above all we need
to leave behind our victim mentality," he
Relations between Britain's 1.6 million
Muslims and non-Muslims have been strained
by the so-called "war on terror" mounted
after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and
July 2005 suicide bombings which killed 52
people in London.
Khan, a lawmaker representing the south
London constituency of Tooting and an
assistant government whip -- a junior member
of the government -- said Muslims should not
let concern over British foreign policy
deter them from seeking to improve their
"I challenge British Muslims to accept
that, as strongly as they feel about Iraq or
counter-terrorism measures, poverty and
inequality... do most damage to life chances
and prevent potential being fulfilled," he
And he added: "Even if your passion is
foreign policy, your ability to help people
thousands of miles away is made much greater
if you are an active citizen and player at
home in the UK."
In the 80-page booklet, Khan said all
mosques in Britain should consider letting
women in, urged Muslims who do not speak
English to learn it, and called on them to
condemn forced marriages and honour
"We must all agree that honour killings
are murder and forced marriages are
kidnapping. These traditions have no place
here or anywhere," he said in the booklet,
entitled "Fairness, Not Favours."
He added: "The requirement to learn
English is not colonial. English is a
passport to participation in mainstream
society -- jobs, education and even being
able to use health services."
But Mohammed Shafiq, head of Muslim youth
organisation the Ramadhan Foundation, said
Khan was out of touch with ordinary Muslims.
"To suggest we are obsessed with foreign
policy, when Muslims are being killed around
the world, when over a million people have
been killed in Iraq ... that's an obsession
I'm proud of.
"I think any Muslim would be proud of it
too," he added, saying: "It's time for the
government and ministers like Mr. Khan to
really address the real failure of 10 years
of missed opportunity."
Islamic sharia courts in
Britain are now 'legally binding'
Islamic sharia law courts in Britain are exploiting a
little-known legal clause to make their verdicts
officially binding under UK law in cases including
divorce, financial disputes and even domestic violence.
Bucharest — Romania's new
Muslims are taking a central role during the holy
fasting month of Ramadan, offering iftar meals and
building bridges with fellow Muslims.
"This is the first time in
Romania when reverts are directly in charge with
activities for Ramadan," Robert Hoisan, the Bucharest
representative of the Muslim Association of Romania,
"For example, in this Ramadan, we are organizing evening
meals for breaking the daily fast in different places
inside the country."
How do busy professionals in the UK juggle work life
with the demands of Ramadhan?
Ayub Mal (pictured right in photo) has been a
police officer with Lancashire Constabulary for six
He said: “From the moment I started working for them, I
found them to be very accommodating towards my religious
needs including fasting during Ramadhan.
“My sergeants have all been very helpful, allocating me
time to eat at Sehri and Iftari time, usually allowing
to me to attend the local mosque.
When I work nights I have been able to change my shifts
allowing me to read my Taraweeh (late prayers).
"Unfortunately due to the nature of the job there are no
guarantees, sometimes its not always possible to eat
after Iftari or at Sehri.”
Sergeant Abid Khan (pictured left in photo)
who joined Lancashire Police 13 years ago said: “Fasting
and being on duty used to be a lot tougher but things
have changed dramatically over the past few years.
“There is now a greater understanding of Ramadhan and
what it entails with supervisory officers having an
increased awareness of the needs of Muslim officers who
are fasting. This has not always been the case but
recently non-Muslim officers have reminded me that it
was close to Iftari or Sehri time.
“I’m not sure this would have happened in the past.”
Readers' Book Club:
You are what you read!
A CCN Reader
Behind the Exclusive Brethren by Michael
'Shocking and compelling. Michael Bachelard has written
an eye-opening account of power and cruelty in a tiny
Christian sect that enjoys a privileged existence in
Australia.' - David Marr, Sydney Morning Herald
Out of nowhere in 2004, an obscure religious sect burst
onto the political stage in Australia. Almost unheard of
until then, the Exclusive Brethren was suddenly spending
up big in election advertising in support of
conservative political parties. But its members were shy
to the point of paranoia about who they were -
preferring, as they said, to 'fly under the radar'.
Brethren members assiduously lobbied politicians, but
did not vote. And they were very close to the then prime
minister John Howard.
What exactly was their interest in politics? Why did
their activism suddenly blossom almost simultaneously
across the world, from Canada and the United States to
Sweden and Australia? And how did a small, fringe group,
whose values are utterly detached from those of most
Australians, infiltrate the highest office in the land?
Michael Bachelard uncovered the facts about this
secretive sect for more than two years while working as
an investigative reporter at The Age. The results of his
inquiries are the most comprehensive book ever written
about the Exclusive Brethren. It details their origins
in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth century, their
fractious history, their extraordinary use of scripture
to control members and dissidents, and their lucrative
business and financial arrangements. It's a fascinating
story of influence and power exercised across several
continents. But it's a very human story, too - of
damaged lives, of broken families, and of hurt and anger
that stretches back decades.
Would you like to see the cover of
your favourite book on our book shelves below?
All questions sent in are published here anonymously and
without any references to the author of the question.
KB's Culinary Corner
TUNA AND MUSHROOM PIE - (Makes 1 pie)
250 ml cake flour - 250 ml grated cheddar cheese - 125 g
1 onion, chopped - 15 ml cooking oil - 2 extra large
eggs, beaten - 250 ml milk - 200 g can tuna chunks,
drained - 285 g can creamed mushrooms – 5ml green
chillies, 15 ml chopped fresh chives or 5 ml dried
chives, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste -
fresh chives to garnish.
1.BASE: Mix flour, cheese and butter by using a food processor or rub
in with hands. Press firmly into a greased 23 cm pie
2. FILLING: Saute` onion in oil until soft. Whisk the eggs and
milk; add onion and all the other ingredients.
3. Pour into pastry base and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree
c for about 35 minutes.
Garnish with fresh chives and serve
Do you have a recipe
to share with CCN readers?
Send in your favourite recipe to
firstname.lastname@example.org and be our "guest chef" for
The CCN Chuckle
Man-on-the-Mussallaah, went to a retirement home to
interview an aged Mula Nasruddin - an intrepid explorer in
He asked Mula
Nasruddin to tell him the most frightening experience he
had ever had.
Mula Nasruddin said, "Once I was hunting Bengal tigers
in the jungles of India. I was on a narrow path and my
faithful native gunbearer was behind me. Suddenly the
largest tiger I have ever seen leaped onto the path in
front of us. I turned to get my weapon only to find the
native had fled. The tiger leapt toward me with a mighty
ROARRRR! I soiled myself."
Our Man-on-the-Mussallaah sympathizing said, "Under those
circumstances anyone would have done the same."
said, "No, not then - just now when I went ROARRRR!"
University of Queensland, 323 Hawken Drive,
Contact: 0421 731 797
Time: 6.45pm to 9.00pm
Sunnah Inspirations is a
non-profit organisation to cater for Muslim
social support and supplying information to
Muslims and non-Muslims. They have
been doing various activities around
Australia, and have organised Da'wah
information stalls at various universities
in Brisbane. More info can be found on
their website above.
free to post an entry on our Wall, start up a
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