The local Brisbane Egyptian community last
Sunday celebrated the fall of the Mubarak regime
with a get-together of friends and supporters
with typical Egyptian hospitality and fervour.
There was undisguised joy and pride on the faces
of the 300 men, women and children who attended
the Svoboda Park gathering at the favourable
turn of events in their former homeland.
Amidst the waving of the national flags and
cries of "Long live Egypt" several
speakers took to the microphone, amongst them
Mr Stephen Robertson MP, the Minister for
Natural Resources, Mines & Energy, and Trade,
who congratulated the Egyptians on the overthrow
of the regime and acknowledged the contributions
the local community had been making to
Queensland Amnesty president, Mr David Forde
called for the release of all political
prisoners in Egypt and pointed out that the
removal of one person would not bring regime
change especially after 30 years of emergency
rule which had deprived the people of their
civil, political and human rights.
Put together at very short notice by Dr Adel El-Mezin, the celebratory party
went on for the better part of the day as
members of the Egyptian Muslim, Christian and
secular communities joined as one with others to
partake in the fine fare that was on offer.
The CCN Photo Gallery
Multi-faith service in the Queensland Parliament
The opening of the new
session of the State Parliament on
Tuesday was preceded the day before with
a multi-faith gathering of religious
leaders at Parliament House.
Amongst the members of
parliament and other local community
representatives present were religious
leaders who included Imam Yusuf Peer who
represented the Islamic faith, Canon
Richard Tutin (Christian), Mr Gianni
Kuldeep Sing Ji (Sikh), Mr John Handley
(Baha'i), Venerable Thero (Buddhist) and
Rabbi Moseh Serebryanski (Jewish).
The function was chaired
by the Speaker of the Queensland
Parliament, The Hon John Mickel MP.
The River City Clippers
concluded the proceeding with an a capella rendition of I Still Call
Islamophobia - Beyond a joke!
President of Muslims Australia (AFIC), Mr Ikebal
Patel (pictured left) commented on the
insistence of the Shadow Minister of Immigration
Mr. Scott Morrison (pictured below) that
“Muslim Migration is a growing concern” as
irresponsible and highly offensive.
"Mr Morrison seems to want to
create a track record – offend on day one, and
retract on day two, as in the insensitivity
shown by his comment in relation to the recent
funerals of the asylum seekers in the boat
tragedy," Mr. Patel said in his Muslims
Australia press release.
Mr Patel said these comments are
in quick succession to the tabling of a petition
by ACT Senator Gary Humphries calling for a
10-year moratorium on ''Muslim immigration'' as
an insult to Muslims of Australia. He went on to
The Senator’s action adds
insult to injury, when one considers this
not being the only time the Senator has
tabled similar petitions amongst the 48
tabling of it in the senate calling for a
ban on Muslim migration, and immediately
after the discriminatory comments by three
Liberal politicians against Halal meat and
other issues concerned with Islam.
Muslims in Australia are
disappointed and disheartened at the
continual verbal abuse and discrimination
meted out to Muslims.
This attitude is fast going
beyond a joke and has to stop – NOW before
racial and religious profiling becomes fair
Mr Patel added, “We ask our
parliamentarians to seriously tackle issues
affecting Australian families across the nation,
such as health care and hospital waiting lists,
equity when it comes to affordable housing,
roads infrastructure, public transport and the
list goes on..... These are the issues affecting
all of us on a daily basis and at the forefront
of our lives instead of trying to take Australia
back 150 years.
Mr Patel reminded the senators
and shadow ministers:
Australia is a democracy,
espousing the right of ANY person to enter
this country provided he/she satisfies
Australia’s tough immigration criteria.
AUSTRALIA ABOLISHED THE WHITE AUSTRALIA
POLICY IN 1966, so I beg you, please let’s
Let us respect and embrace
immigrants who choose to make Australia
their home, irrespective of race, colour or
creed. There are so many Gillard’s, Ahmed
Fahour’s, Victor Chang’s, Hazem Al Masri’s,
or Usman s Khawaja’s and Tatiana
Grigorieva’s still to be discovered out
there in the world to enrich all
That is what has made the USA
so great, and they have an annual lottery to
entice people from all over the world to
consider migrating to their great land…..now
that is a proposition worth considering…
Peter Hartcher of The Sydney Morning
Herald wrote under the heading Ugly game of race
SCOTT Morrison, the Liberal
frontbencher who this week distinguished
himself as the greatest grub in the federal
Parliament, is the classic case of the
politician who is so immersed in the game of
politics that he has lost touch with the
real world outside it.
For instance, 16 months ago the Reserve Bank
had interest rates at 3 per cent, their
lowest in half a century. Australia was
striving to stave off a savage global
downturn, and super-low interest rates were
a key part of Australia's success.
But as recovery took hold the Reserve Bank
governor, Glenn Stevens, said it was time to
begin returning rates to normal. Morrison
was the opposition spokesman on housing at
the time. He was asked on Channel Ten's Meet
the Press whether the governor was right.
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Morrison was flatly opposed: "I think
keeping interest rates low is the most
important thing we can do for the economy at
the moment." It would have been a disaster,
Australia's inflation rate
runs at about 3 per cent a year. Official
interest rates were then 3 per cent. So our
central bank, in real terms, was lending
money free. Free money, like free water or
any free commodity, is always misused and
abused. Morrison thought this was fine. He
was talking garbage.
The point of this story? Morrison is a cheap
populist, with form. On that occasion, he
was being irresponsible with the national
economy. For him it's just about clever
What are we
going to do
What are we
going to do
put it on
like a dead
This week it was race. Morrison decided to
see if he could win some political points by
inflaming racism and resentment. More
specifically, he zeroed in on some of the
most vulnerable people in the country for
political advantage. Indeed, is there anyone
more vulnerable than a traumatised, orphaned
child unable to speak English, held in
detention on a remote island?
Morrison publicly raised objections to the
government's decision to pay for air fares
for some of the survivors of the Christmas
Island boat wreck to travel to Sydney for
the funerals of their relatives.
Some were Christian funerals, others were
Muslim. But all of them were foreigners, all
of them were boat people, all of them were
dark-skinned, and to Morrison that made them
all fair game. Unable to tell the difference
between the Coalition mantra of "we will
stop the boats" and his emerging position
that "we will vindictively pursue boat
people suffering tragedy" he went on radio.
As the survivors were
gathering to mourn their dead, Morrison said
that with the government paying for the 22
air fares, "I don't think it is reasonable.
The government had the option of having
these services on Christmas Island. If
relatives of those who were involved wanted
to go to Christmas Island, like any other
Australian who wanted to attend a funeral
service in another part of the country, they
would have made their own arrangements to be
The government flies people, Australians and
foreigners, on all sorts of occasions,
evacuating citizens from crises at home and
abroad, deporting failed asylum-seekers,
even flying politicians to state funerals so
they don't have to pay from their own
Morrison next day conceded
that his timing was insensitive, but didn't
retract his complaint. He denied that he had
been influenced by One Nation, even though
One Nation had been busily emailing and
lobbying politicians on the matter.
Some Liberals were so angry that they told
the Herald's Lenore Taylor about a shadow
cabinet meeting in December at which
Morrison had suggested the party capitalise
on public concerns about Muslim immigrants.
A member of the Liberal shadow cabinet later
told me: "We had all been asked to come up
with potential issues we could run with.
Scott said, 'What are we going to do about
multiculturalism? What are we going to do
about concerns about the number of Muslims?'
He put it on the table like a dead cat."
Malcolm Turnbull, Philip Ruddock and others
argued strongly against any exploitation of
President of Muslims Australia, Mr Ikebal Patel,
has congratulated the Gillard Government in
announcing the formation of a new independent
The Australian Multicultural Council as a
positive effort on the part of the government to
progress and grow Australia as a inclusive and
Mr Patel added, ”We hope the
government in trying to achieve a standard of
acceptance does not inadvertently focus its
attention on Muslim migrants only”.
Muslims Australia has stated
on many occasions that Islamic values are
consistent with Australian values and
Muslims see no impediment in living, sharing
and contributing to the ongoing prosperity
of this beautiful and bountiful land, hand
in hand with all Australian citizens, either
in times of joy, or during periods of
unfortunate despair. The colour of the tears
and blood shed during times of joy and
sorrow does not discriminate between races
and religions, and this should be the
strength of Australian Multiculturalism.
Mr Patel, went on to say,
“Multiculturalism - Australian style is unique,
our diverse ethnic communities look forward to
consultations with the Australian Multicultural
Council in making our model of Multiculturalism,
one that is envied around the world. It is now
time for Australia to redefine the whole concept
of Multiculturalism and the vibrancy that this
has brought about in all Australians lives in
areas such as cuisine, art, music, dressing up
and many other areas”.
"Minister Chris Bowen (pictured
right) has to be applauded for his very
strong leadership taken during times of extreme
opposition from various circles and the
appointment of Senator Kate Lundy is timely and
welcome," Mr. Patel told CCN.
Minister's Parliamentary Speech (Extracts)
HANSARD – WEDNESDAY 17
MOTION – Natural Disasters
Hon. S ROBERTSON (Stretton—ALP)
(Minister for Natural
Resources, Mines and Energy
and Minister for Trade)
my electorate of Stretton was physically
untouched by the January floods, that does not
mean that my constituents were untouched by the
suffering of their fellow Queenslanders.
I have often spoken of how proud
I am to represent one of Australia’s most
multicultural electorates and time and time
again over many years these multicultural
communities have been among the first to dig
deep into their own pockets to help those who
have been impacted by natural disasters.
Whether that be raising funds for
the victims of the Christchurch earthquake last
year, the Victorian bushfires of 2009, the
terrible floods in Pakistan, Cyclone Larry in
2006, the earthquakes in Taiwan and southern
China and, of course, in 2009 the terrible
tsunami that struck Samoa and other Pacific
islands as well as the earthquake that hit
Indonesia, the various ethnic, cultural and
religious groups that make up the Stretton
electorate have mobilised quickly and
efficiently to dispense comfort and aid to the
victims of these terrible natural events.
of spirit, a
and a love
of their new
Today I want to take the opportunity provided by
this condolence motion to pay special
recognition to these multicultural groups. Over
the years I have marvelled at the generosity of
spirit and giving of the Taiwanese community.
These new Australians first
started to migrate to our country in the late
1980s under the Hawke government’s business
Entrepreneurial by nature,
successful businesspeople in their country of
origin, this community has established itself as
a vital and visible component of the outer south
side of Brisbane. The variety of community
groups they have established separately and
together have raised hundreds of thousands of
dollars in flood aid.
Over the past few years Australia’s business
migration program has delivered to my electorate
new constituents from other parts of the
world—from India, Pakistan, South Africa, Fiji,
Zimbabwe, Botswana, Egypt, Lebanon, Bosnia,
Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates.
Predominantly Muslim by religion,
this community has also demonstrated a
generosity of spirit, a commitment to helping
their fellow Queenslanders and a love of their
The Islamic Council of
Queensland, the Muslim Charitable
Foundation, the Islamic College of
Brisbane at Karawatha and the various
mosques and Crescents of Brisbane
have all raised significant funds for the cause
and often in cooperation with other non-Muslim
organisations such as the Lions Club of Kuraby
and I understand that their fundraising efforts
have not finished.
I have deliberately not mentioned individuals as
there are too many to list and no doubt I will
leave some out. But I will mention one:
Sayed Dawoodjee (pictured left), a
trustee of the Kuraby Mosque, who one week
before the floods hit Brisbane made a
significant donation on behalf of the Kuraby
Mosque to the Premier and me for the victims of
the Central Queensland floods. Then one week
later Mohammed’s own business, Rocklea Cold
Storage and Distribution, was inundated
completely and its future is now in question.
When I visited Mohammed at his Rocklea business
his concern was not so much for his own future
but for the 70 small businesses that rely on his
cold stores to store and distribute their
It is this concern for our fellow
man in time of distress and hurt that has
typified all of the efforts of my wonderful
multicultural electorate of Stretton.
I recognise and thank them all,
including the many other community organisations
and individuals, and simply say that it is an
absolute honour to represent such a generous
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International Statistics conference in honour of USQ
academic Dr Shahjahan Khan
The 8th International Conference
on RECENT ADVANCES IN STATISTICS: “Statistics,
Biostatistics and Econometrics” was held on
February 8-9, 2011 at National College of
Business Administration and Economics (NCBA&E),
The conference was organised by
the Islamic Countries Society of Statistical
Sciences (ISOSS) in collaboration with the NCBA&E
in honour of USQ academic and ISOSS President,
Dr Shahjahan Khan (University of Southern
Queensland, Toowoomba) for his outstanding
contribution in leading ISOSS as an
international professional organisation of
statisticians through organisation of a number
of international conferences and promoting
Delegates from various countries
of Australia, Europe, Middle East, South Asia
and USA presented their recent research outputs
in diverse areas of statistics. A total 320
participants from Pakistan and other countries
took part in the conference deliberations. In
various scientific sessions 142 research papers
were presented highlighting recent advances in
statistics, biostatistics and econometrics.
Unfortunately, many Western participants were
unable to present their submitted papers due to
travel restrictions to Pakistan. A large number
of statisticians who could not join the
conference sent their messages of appreciation
emphasising the great contributions of Dr
In his address of honour Dr
Shahjahan Khan highlighted how the perception of
statistics has changed from a mere tool of
calculation of numbers to making decisions in
the face of uncertainly and taking the role of
strategists for government and business. He
emphasised more visible and dominant presence of
statistics to the solution of complex issues the
humanity faces today. Statisticians are uniquely
positioned to contribute significantly in
addressing the burning problems of our time.
Statistics has come up with solutions to many
problems where other disciplines have failed
Dr Munir Ahmed (left),
former Minister Mian Shamim Haidar
presenting the crest of honour to Dr
Shahjahan Khan, University of Southern
Opening session (from
left) Dr Abdul Ghapor Hussin (Malaysia),
Dr Munir Ahmed (Pakistan), Mian Shamim
Haidar (former minister of Pakistan), Dr
Shahjahan Khan (Australia), and Dr Ahmed
A Bahnassy (Saudi Arabia)
A section of
participants in the inaugural session of
family fully integrated
The following letter to the
editor was published in the Gold Coast Sun (Wed
ALLOW me to respond to "redneck"
remarks made by B. Mazlin and Chuck
Brooks (Sun, February 9) that "these
(Muslim) people rarely share any
Australian values and invariably
come to this country congregating in
their own Islamic groups".
I am a Muslim with a Muslim wife and
three Muslim sons.
I am a fifth generation Australian,
my ancestors arrived here in 1830.
My sons attend Surfers Paradise
State School with other Muslim
My sons play rugby league with
My sons compete in Little Athletics.
I own a business dealing with
non-Muslims as my customers.
We celebrated Australia Day at
Burleigh Beach and flew the flag.
The majority of our friends are
Is that enough involvement in
"Australian society", Messrs Brooks
You wouldn't have noticed the above
because we don't feel we have to
justify ourselves, we don't fit your
stereotype or walk around with "I am
a Muslim" tattooed on our forehead.
We condemned the 9/11 attacks, as
did 99 per cent of Muslims.
We don't agree with the compulsory
the hijab but believe in freedom of
Your attacks on Muslims are
ill-informed and racist and akin to
those against Chinese in 1850s,
Italians in 1950s, Vietnamese in
1980s and so on.
This country is big enough for
everyone, even Chuck Brooks and B.
secret to Coca-Cola out?Is the secret to Coca-Cola out? Is the secret
to Coca-Cola out? Is the secret to Coca-Cola out?
ingredients such as 20 drops of
orange oil, 30 drops of lemon
oil and 10 drops of nutmeg oil,
it sounds more like a home
remedy than a top-secret
an American radio program claims
it has uncovered the exact
recipe for Coca-Cola in the
pages of a 1979 newspaper.
The blend of oils - also
including coriander, neroli and
cinnamon oils - and alcohol is
reported to be the formula for
the so-called "Merchandise 7X",
which gives the famed soft drink
its distinctive flavour.
The Sydney Morning
Multicultural flood fund raiser
The Queensland Muslim Welfare
Assoc. (QMWA) has joined with other
multicultural and religious groups for the Flood
Relief Floodraising event to be held on 5th
March from 4 - 7pm at the Queensland Police
Service Academy, Rudd St, Oxley.
QMWA will have a table in one
section of the hall. All those attending the
event have been requested to come in clothing
from their own ethnic group or religion. There
will also be a table to display items relating
to the culture or religion. Halal food will be
Tickets sell at $50 per person - all children
are free up to the age of 12 years. Tickets can
be obtained from Janeth by calling 0435 086 796
A request has been made for an auction item from
the Muslim community.
Deputy Mayor, Graham Quirk will
be the auctioneer.
Mohammed Azhari who hails from
from Brisbane is currently studying Islamic
studies in Damascus, Syria and is a part-time
lecturer at The Dialogue of Civilizations
Department in the Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro Institute
SOUTH AFRICA: The
Muslim Marriages Bill 2010 is currently
generating vigorous debate among various
sectors and groups of the Muslim community.
Six out of seven members of U.U.C.S.A, the
umbrella body representing major Ulama
bodies of South Africa have opted to engage
with the Ministry of Justice and
Constitutional development while, the
Jamiatul Ulalma KZN has opted to reject the
The Bill has
been approved and recommended by the SA Law
Reform Commission and adopted by the
Department of Justice and Constitutional
The Bill makes provision for the recognition
of Muslim marriages, specifies the
requirements for a valid Muslim marriage,
regulates the registration of Muslim
marriages, recognises the status and
capacity of spouses in Muslim marriages,
regulates the proprietary consequences of
Muslim marriages and the
termination of Muslim marriages.
Ms Waheeda Amien wrote on behalf of the
Recognition of Muslim Marriages Forum, which
was published in the Muslim Views (December
2009), she said:
have always been able to practice Muslim
family law in the privacy of our homes
and community; our marriages have never
been legal. Thus, Muslim spouses are not
always able to enjoy the same benefits
that spouses who are married in court
enjoy e.g. division of pension benefits
upon divorce. We are also not always
able to legally enforce our Islamic Law
rights and we cannot hold the ‘ulama
accountable for discriminatory
Professor of Law Howard University School of
Law and Outstanding Professor of Law
University of Western Cape wrote under the
title Religion and the State, the Case
Against the Muslim Personal Law Bill:
Over the past decade, an
intense debate has raged within the
Muslim community on the question of
legislating Muslim Personal Law (MPL).
At its core, the debate implicates can
one reach the “correct” interpretation
of religion and who has the legitimacy
to render that interpretation. The
rancor has occurred before any law has
been passed or any decision rendered by
any court as to what MPL means. The
government has now put forward a Bill
Our constitution guarantees freedom of
religion. It further permits the state
to recognise religious marriages. Under
apartheid, Muslims did not enjoy the
same degree of legal acceptance, which
resulted in great hardship to Muslims
married under Islamic law. Any attempt
to redress this inequity is laudable.
There is however a great difference
between redressing this inequity by
recognizing Muslim marriages, versus
what the MPL Bill represents namely the
state legislating on matters of
religious doctrine, with the penalty of
sanctions for departure from the Bill.
Tribute to Egypt
artists Patriarch, Ghazi, Kaotiq record
"Higher" a tribute song to the people's
revolution and overtaking of Egypt rule. As
one of the most important and historic days
in Arab World history the song shines light
on the undying resolve of the Egyptian
people as well as calling for a tribunal to
put the dictator and human rights violator
Hosni Mubarak on trial.
Mahfouz, a woman behind Egypt’s
much has been written about women's rights
in Muslim countries, even citing this issue
as a justification for the western military
invasion, but the western feminist movement
remains largely silent about the current
pro-democracy uprising in Egypt.
As a result of miniscule coverage in the
western press, perhaps many don't know that
Asmaaa Mahfouz – a 26-year-old Egyptian
woman – was and is a leading figure in
Egypt's three-year old democracy movement.
A founding member of the April 6 Youth
Movement – an Egyptian Facebook group
started in the spring of 2008 to support
workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra - an
industrial town north of Cairo - who were
planning to strike on April 6 of that year,
Ms. Mahfouz graduated from the business
management school of the American University
of Cairo in 2008.
Upon graduation, Mahfouz emerged as an
activist on social media pages throughout
Egypt. In 2008, Ms. Mahfouz and other
activists connected with the April 6
Movement used the internet to mobilize
support for a general strike. As a result,
Mahfouz and her family were subjected to
harassment by Egyptian security forces.
Subsequently her job as an accountant at Al
Shaimaa export and import firm was
suspended, due to her political activity in
the current protests.
She is considered one of the most important
symbols of the January 2011pro-democreacy
uprising in Egypt – to the degree that the
new Egyptian government that formed after
the uprising requested to meet with her, but
The Canadian Charger
The Q&A program on ABC TV will be hosting the
show from the Brisbane Powerhouse on Monday 21st
Q&A is the show where members of our audience
get to ask the questions of Australia’s
politicians and opinion-makers.
We would like to invite friends of Crescents
Community News (CCN) to join us in our upcoming
This week’s panellists are:
• Queensland Premier Anna Bligh
• Shadow Minister for Regional Affairs and Water
• Newly appointed Climate Commissioner Tim
• And indigenous businesswoman Gina Castelain
Audience Producer, Q&A, ABC TV
I am totally appalled at your total silence on
the Egyptian Revolution except for mentioning
the Celebration party today.
You have not even carried any articles on the
revolution in Tunisia & the uprisings in Yemen,
It seems either you are afraid of the truth or
ignorant of what is happening in the Muslim
The hadith of our beloved Prophet Muhammad--may
peace & blessing be upon him & his family- said
"If one part of the body is sore, the rest of
the body feels the pain".
SHAME ON YOU!!!
We conducted a simple Google search using the
keywords "Egypt" and "revolution" and found
97,300,000 hits. A search on "Tunisia" and
"uprising" revealed 2,740,000 hits. "Yemen,
Algeria, Jordan uprising" found 580,000 hits.
We particularly recommend the following
excellent commercial sites for insightful and
in-depth analyses of the situation:
Whilst these plethora of reports many have
escaped some readers, where they do fall short
is in their coverage of the impact this
political upheaval has had on our local
community and the solidarity and elation local
Egyptians and others felt by courageously
standing up for their beliefs and principles in
the Brisbane CBD, first in protest and support,
and then in celebrating at the Park.
We hope that CCN's unique and exclusive coverage
both last week and this helps to portray, in
some small way, to our local, national and
International readership a side of Brisbane and
Australia that falls within the competence and
scope of our calling, insha'Allah.
We invite CCN readers who might have missed the
excellent Friday khutbah by Dr. Mohamad Abdalla
on Lessons from Egypt to view the Islam
TV broadcast below where he asks the rhetorical
question: "Is there also a Mubarak in some of
I would like to send you a sincere thank you for
all the support over the past few months of my
(Durban to Damascus) journey.
The traffic to my blog on Monday mornings from
the CCN newsletter accounted for at least 70% of
the people who visited my site.
And I'm sure all your readers duaas and warm
wishes delivered me home safely.
17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she
will be married within the year. But when her beloved
father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone
and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are
forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young
woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan,
where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich
rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas
the Great. Despite her lowly station, the young woman
blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in
a craft dominated by men. But while her talent
flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim.
Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the
young woman finds herself faced with a daunting
decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything
she has in an effort to create a new life.
"Anita Amirrezvani has written a sensuous
and transporting first novel filled with the colors,
tastes and fragrances of life in seventeenth-century
Isfahan...Amirrezvani clearly knows and loves the ways
of old Iran, and brings them to life with the cadences
of a skilled story-spinner." -- Geraldine Brooks, author
"An engrossing, enthralling tale of a
girl's quest for self-determination in the fascinating
other world that was seventeenth-century Iran." -- Emma
Donoghue, author of Touchy Subjects and Life Mask
About the author
November 13, 1961 in Tehran, Iran.
After my parents separated when I was two, I was raised
by my mother in San Francisco. When I was thirteen, I
began going to Iran on my own and spending time with my
father’s side of the family. In San Francisco, my family
was an intimate group that consisted of me, my mother
and my aunt; in Tehran, a family dinner party was like a
town hall meeting, huge and festive. I had eleven
cousins and before long, two little brothers.
My father took me on a trip to Isfahan when I was
fourteen, even though he was busy building his business
and didn’t have much time for leisure. Because I loved
art and architecture, he agreed to take me for two days.
I remember being mesmerized by the great square of
Isfahan and by the painted plasterwork on the staircase
of our hotel, a former caravansary.
I decided to take a year off between high school and
college and spend it in Iran. That year, 1979, turned
out to be the fateful year of the Islamic Revolution.
That summer, we heard gunfire and watched the sky turn
black with smoke from fires. On my seventeenth birthday,
the city was under an evening curfew. We went out for
lunch and had cake at home. Less than ten days later, my
father and stepmother decided the situation was unsafe.
We packed up my brothers, who were one-and-a-half and
three, and left for what we hoped would be a short time.
The following fall, I started at Vassar College. I
attended for two and a half years and then transferred
to the University of California at Berkeley, where I
majored in English. I loved school.
I’ve been a writer and editor all my life. Before
selling my novel, I worked for ten years as a dance
critic and arts writer at two newspapers in the San
Francisco Bay Area, as well as an arts publicist. I felt
very lucky to be able to write about dance, which
unfortunately is getting less and less print coverage as
newspapers downsize. I still write reviews now and then.
Here is a recent one.
With my family, I visited the historic city of Bam
before it was leveled in the catastrophic earthquake of
2003, which killed more than 26,000 people. To those who
have not visited this wonderful city, it is difficult to
explain the magnitude of the tragedy.
It took me about five years to get to the end of the
first draft, and I didn’t tell anyone I was working on a
novel until then. As part of my research, I spent a lot
of time reading about Iranian history and literature in
university library stacks. I also asked my father and
stepmother to take me to Isfahan on two separate
occasions in order to be able to describe the settings
in my novel. One of my fondest memories is sharing hot
tea and cookies with them at a teahouse on one of
Isfahan’s historic bridges while watching the river rush
like to see the cover of your favourite book on our book
KB SAYS:The recipe for this
deliciously moist chocolate cup cake has been provided
by Farzanah Hatia our young guest chef for today.
I happened to be around just as she was finishing off
the topping and I can tell you that it was deliciously
moist, had a melt-in-your-mouth texture and was oh so
very chocolatey! This young lady will do her Mom proud
and as the saying goes "like mother like daughter".
1 ½ cups castor sugar
1 cup oil
1½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup boiling water
1. Beat eggs well till fluffy while
gradually adding in the castor sugar.
2. Add in the oil, and beat till just
combined. Do not overbeat
3. Sift together the dry ingredients
4. Fold in the dry ingredients and boiling
water alternately into the egg mixture,
using a metal spoon.
5. Pour into cupcake cases and bake in 170
degrees oven for 15 minutes
200g milk chocolate
200g fresh cream
1. Heat fresh cream until boiling, either in
microwave or on stove top
2. Add broken chocolate into the heated
cream and mix well until combined.
3. Spread over the cupcakes which have
reached room temperature.
4. Top with grated peppermint crisp or for
the chocolate lovers grated chocolate making
it a double chocolate topping.
Q: Dear Kareema, I have four young
children and find it hard to get to the gym. What is the
best piece of indoor
equipment I can invest in for overall cardio workout,
apart from the humble treadmill?
A: To set up a small home gym I suggest a set of
multi-weight dumbbells or resistance bands, a swiss-ball
and a ROWING MACHINE. It's low impact and works both
upper and lower body, and the torso/core on every
stroke. It also lends itself to a mix of programs that
will keep you motivated, eg. interval training or toning
the muscles. Make sure you have the right technique so
your lower back and knees are always protected.
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