Visiting Brisbane on holiday Magistrate, Member of the British Empire, Justice of Peace and Police Liaison Office, Mr. Suleman Nagdi was in great demand to share his wealth of experiences in a host of community activities in which he has played a part in in his home town of Leicester England.
Mr. Nagdi set up the Muslim Burial Council of Leicestershire (MBCOL) and has written a comprehensive book on the subject
entitled "Guidelines for Muslim Burial and Bereavement".
He has been at the centre of dialogue and engagement to promote Muslim concerns, particularly since the July 7 bombings in London.
Suleman is an active member of the Leicester Council of Faiths, made up of Baha'is, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.
"I firmly believe that the future of a peaceful flourishing Europe lies in building bridges between different communities of varying faith and culture and giving them equal opportunity to contribute
and enrich society as a whole", he told our CCN reporter.
Suleman grew up in Zimbabwe and has lived the past 30 years in Leicester which has a Muslim population of 50 000.
At the Powerhouse
The Wages of Spin
Does it matter that we went to war on a lie?
This is political theatre for the 21st century, with no easy answers.
With their trademark biting irony, Sydney’s version 1.0 revisit the spinning of the case for Australia’s participation in the war on Iraq, and its consequences for our democracy. Sounds dry? Wait till you see the Defence Minister negotiating a bed of nails, blindfolded, as he’s quizzed about WMDs.
An intense hybrid of performance and electronic media, The Wages of Spin transforms the stage into a live TV studio to expose key players, sexed-up intelligent reports and the scandal of a nation.
“The Wages of Spin is mandatory viewing.” - RealTime 2005
“If you value freedom and democracy, do not miss The Wages of Spin.” - Canberra Times, 2005
On his recent visit to Australia, Dr. Anwar Ibrahim delivered lectures to wider audiences on such diverse topics as Shakespearean drama, democratic politics, liberal democracy and human rights.
Although Anwar is well known in Muslim circles for having spent his six years in jail memorising the Koran in Arabic he also finished the complete works of Shakespeare four times.
He frequently uses lines from Shakespeare in his speeches, arguing Shakespeare's message contains fundamental values shared by people of all faiths and of no faith in particular.
During an address to the Canberra Islamic Centre, Anwar incorporated his image of King Lear as the Islamic ideal of a just ruler.
Anwar felt comfortable surrounded by Canberra's multi-ethnic Muslims, poking fun at the idiosyncrasies of different Muslim ethnic groups. But he had serious messages, reminding his audiences of the necessity to engage with the broader multicultural Australian community.
He says countries like Australia and New Zealand are reviving the classical Spanish Islamic tradition of multi-racial and multi-religious societies, known as convivencia.
"I use the example of Malaysia. It is a multi-racial and multi-religious society. Islam is only relevant to Malaysia if it is understood in a way that reinforces our multi-racial character."
Anwar is scathing of Muslim communities who choose to live in cultural cocoons, refusing to interact with other communities. In Istanbul last month at a conference of European Muslim leaders, Anwar urged EU Muslims to see themselves first and foremost as Europeans, not confining their political activities to pursuing predominantly Muslim issues.
He castigated Muslims who only seem to agitate about human rights violations committed against other Muslims.
"Where are the Muslims campaigning for the freedom of Burma's opposition leader, our sister Aung San Suu Kyi? Or must we wait for her to adopt Islam before we help her?"
Anwar now sees himself as a bridge linking the Islamic and Western worlds and is excited about what he calls the "great wave of democratic Islam" sweeping such countries as Indonesia and Turkey.
London: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was conferred an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University at Leicester on Thursday for his contribution to the movie business in India.
Receiving the honorary degree of Doctorate of Arts, he said, "This is a very humbling experience. It is an honour for the Indian film industry."
According to a university spokesperson: "Our graduation ceremonies are the highlight of the academic year, when we celebrate the success of our graduates. An important part of this is the awarding of honorary degrees to individuals who have achieved distinction in their fields and who will provide inspiration to our graduates and students.
"Amitabh Bachchan is a well-known figure in the creative industry and his energy and professionalism will be an inspiration to our graduates and students across the board, and especially to those wishing to pursue careers in this sector."
The university earlier conferred an honorary degree on the former South African President Nelson Mandela for his charity work.
After the ceremony, Mr. Bachchan met the Asian diaspora. He was accompanied by Amar Singh, Samajwadi Party MP; and Keith Vaz, MP, Leicester East.
At the Walker stadium, a No. 9 T-shirt of the Leicester City Football Club was presented to Mr. Bachchan.
The Scottish National Party says it is on course to have Scotland’s first Muslim Minister of Scottish Parliament (MSP) sitting in Holyrood (Scottish Parliament).
Bashir Ahmad, who arrived in Scotland from Pakistan at the age of 21 and became a member of the Party’s National Executive Committee since 1998 was named on June 20 as a candidate for the Holyrood.
Glasgow Councillor Ahmed, a prominent SNP campaigner, launched the Scots Asians for Independence in 1995 to gain support for the SNP within the Scottish Asian community. Describing his candidacy as “so great” Ahmed told The Muslim News that he was “so happy” to be selected. He also said his candidacy was welcomed by the community who congratulated him whenever they saw him, and pledged to do “whatever I can for the Asian community”.
He said that he would like to see more Muslims in public life, but also that it was “already happening” in Scotland, suggesting that integration was not a problem. Ahmad praised the SNP for attempting to give a voice to the unrepresented ethnic minorities in Scottish Parliament. When asked why it may have taken so long to put forward an Asian or Muslim candidate, he laughed, saying that Scotland is “my country”, banishing any thoughts that the SNP had been in any way discriminatory in the past or present.
Questioned on the odds of Ahmad realistically securing a seat in a Labour stronghold, a spokesperson for the Deputy Leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, said there was a “definite probability” of Ahmad gaining the seat as he has been placed second on the election list in the Proportional Representation system.
However, the two sitting MSP candidates in Glasgow are Labour so the probability of Ahmad winning a seat would be small. He is also standing for the First Past the Post election system but again, the constituency is a Labour stronghold. The spokesman also told The Muslim News that they were ‘delighted’ to have him as a candidate, continuing on to say that it was a good move for the SNP who are trying to represent “all faiths, all races, all over the world” who choose to come and live in Scotland.
He further stressed this point, saying that “for the first time, someone from his community has the chance to stand up and represent them,” describing Ahmad as a very “successful councillor” having fended off stiff Labour competition to be put up for election in the first place. Asked whether the SNP would be able to triumph in the Labour-stronghold of Glasgow, he confidently replied that they were “performing very well”, particularly amongst the Asian community.
Dr Ebtekar (3rd from left) with son (2nd from left)
Dr Massoumeh Ebtekar, the former Vice President of Iran, met with a small group of locals at the Tandoori Village during the week.
Dr Ebtekar spoke on the progress that women in Iran were making in all fields and the part they were playing in turning the country into a technologically advanced nation.
Getting you to a Mosque on Time
The Jamiatul Ulama (Council of Muslim Theologians) in Johannesburg is building up a database of Mosques in South Africa that will be fed into a GPS (Geographical Positioning System) navigational device for locating places.
This will enable travelers to get to prayer facilities as easily as possible. Accurate Salaat times will also be generated from the GPS data worked out in the process.
The CCN Centre Link
If you are looking for work, are a newly arrived migrant or refugee, been in Australia less than 2 years and live in Annerley or surrounding areas then the information session by the Multicultural Development Association Inc. could be very useful to you.
The Migrant and Refugee Employment Project started in 2002 and has assisted more than 500 migrant and refugee jobseekers. One of our main aims is to assist newly arrived migrants and refugees, those who have been in Australia for less than 2 years. They can help you prepare resumes, look for work, get into training and other services.
Date: Wednesday, 2nd August, 2006
Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Venue: Multicultural Development Association Inc.
Ground Floor, 57 Old Cleveland Road
Limited places available, if you would like to attend please call Nghi on (07)33949300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Project is funded by the State Government’s “Breaking the Unemployment Cycle” Initiative.
Teen to host TV program on Islam
Peaches Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, is to move in with a devout Moroccan Muslim girl for a new TV series about religion.
She is to present Channel 4 documentary A Beginner’s Guide to Islam.
The 17-year-old travels to Morocco to learn more about the faith.
She will live with a devout 18-year-old girl in her family home, attend a “taking the veil” party and be invited to witness the sacrifice of a sheep.
Geldof sets out to prove that Islam does not deserve its “bad reputation”.
The hour-long programme will find out “what the Islamic world makes of this precocious London party girl”, according to Channel 4.
The three-part series will also feature ex-EastEnder Paul Nicholls exploring Hinduism in India and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli investigating Scientology.
A programme spokeswoman said: “The contributors will come face-to-face with three of the world’s most talked-about religions, exploring their unfamiliar rituals and testing regimes.”
IN A bid to stamp out extremism, the Federal Government will spend $35 million over four years tackling social disadvantage, promoting community integration and fostering moderate Islamic voices.
The National Action Plan for social cohesion, which focuses on Muslim Australians, will include mentoring, employment assistance and boosting participation in local sports.
The plan, which came out of last year's London bombings aftermath, was "a very serious attempt to stop extremism getting any sort of toehold", Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Robb said yesterday.
It would also build social cohesion by arming Muslims with the skills they needed to counter misperceptions about Islam in the wider Australian community, he said.
The plan includes $8 million to set up an Institute of Islamic Studies at an Australian university, a telephone counselling program for the Muslim community, $4.4 million for a program to bring Muslim communities and law enforcement agencies together and $15 million worth of programs to help disadvantaged Australians integrate with the broader community.
She made it big in the movies in the 1950s and 60s, married 'James Bond', Sean Connery, but later turned her back on stardom to embark on a life of spiritual discovery. From Gurdjieff to Sufism, her awakening has been profound.
An Aussie from Queensland, Diane Cilento went to America and Britain where she was an acclaimed actress of film and stage. Britain is also where she began her spiritual quest, in the 1960s in J.G. Bennett’s esoteric school of Philosophy, which finally led her to the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey and to Sufism.
Rachael Kohn interviewed Diane on her program, The Spirit of Things, on ABC Radio National. You can read the full transcript here.
Here are a few snippets from their conversation:
Rachael Kohn: It’s not many Western Sufis who could do it, but Diane Cilento made the ultimate commitment.
Diane, you went on a pilgrimage recently to Mecca. Why did you want to do it?
Diane Cilento: I was invited, and I wasn’t actually going to go at first, and then I knew I had to. And I really was very pleased that I did. It was quite an experience.
Rachael Kohn: Who went with you?
Diane Cilento: I went with my daughter, and the group of people that she lives with, who are an extraordinary group of people who live in Sydney, and theirs is a, I suppose you’d call it a tekya, a school of Sufism. But they’re Islamic, they’ve got a Sheikh who is Egyptian, very nice and extraordinary man, who was strangely enough in the United Nations as well. And he invited all of us, and of course you can’t go as a single woman, unless you’ve got a male person to look after you. My son-in-law did that, but I didn’t take any notice of it much, I just went around anyway. I mean I’m certainly not nubile still, so it didn’t really matter.
Rachael Kohn: Didn’t you have any qualms? I mean it’s a pretty huge affair isn’t it? Loads of people?
Diane Cilento: Yes, yes, loads. I mean more than you’ve ever seen in your life. I think about a million people go in and out of that Kaaba every day, it’s just incredible. But, no, I didn’t have any qualms at all.
Rachael Kohn: Even given the Wahabism of Saudi Arabia and so on?
Diane Cilento: Well that is pretty scary in a way because they’re very, very strict, and they wear those very – they’re known as the Black Bags, the Crows. But I actually happened to have a book on prayer, and they confiscated it and opened it at the page which happened to be that picture of the nude man in the middle, is it da Vinci? That one, and they went, ‘Aargh, haram, haram’ and threw it across the place. They didn’t do anything to it. I went and picked it up afterwards. But that’s the sort of stricture, construction that there is there, and that’s really I suppose to me, it has nothing to do with Islam, it’s a sort of a sharia which had nothing with the prophet Muhammad peace be on him. Nothing.
Rachael Kohn: What were you wearing?
Diane Cilento: I was wearing my hijab, which took me a while to get used to, especially as the temperature was 45, and I did lose a few pairs of sandals, because they were made of leather, I mean anything like that, leave outside it’s all gone afterwards. So I learnt not to do that.
Rachael Kohn: How long was it?
Diane Cilento: I was there for three weeks. It was very extraordinarily momentous. You forget, it’s like a dream. You forget about time, you don’t know what day it is, or what time it is, because they do the circumambulation in the middle of the night, because it’s too hot to do it.
Rachael Kohn: So that’s the Kaaba, the great black stone.
Diane Cilento: The Kaaba is covered with beautifully embossed damask, it smells, if you put your nose against it it smells of attar of roses. People are trying to kiss this black stone. I didn’t go near there, it was a bit like a sort of football scrum, but I did the whole circumambulation and went to see the feet of Abraham and I thought it was an extraordinary experience. It takes quite a while, and I did it more than once, I did it quite often.
Rachael Kohn: How long does it take to actually do that circumnavigation?
Diane Cilento: Depends how near you are. If you get pushed out to the edge, you’re obviously walking three times as far as anybody else. It is extraordinary to see thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people so filled with joy and shouting and crying and laughing, and I mean it was so strange in one way, because they don’t do it, there isn’t anybody who goes there and does it for money, if you see what I mean. It’s something that comes out of people’s desire for something.
Rachael Kohn: Well Saudi Arabia certainly makes a lot of money on it.
Diane Cilento: They do, yes, but the princes of – well, I won’t go into all that. But they obviously do, but each race that goes, Indonesians and Persians and Iranians, they all wear different things, you can tell who they are. The Africans are so simply wonderful, like great plumed birds, and they don’t take any notice of any of that sharia, you know people telling them anything, they just, bom! they’re on. But it just is different from anything I’ve ever done, and I’m very happy to have done it.
News Flash! J
In an attempt to stop the spread of bird flu, President George W. Bush has just bombed the Canary Islands.
Turkey is next!
The CCN Date Claimer
Saturday & Sunday
Explaining Your Religion to Others: Made Simple!
ISGC BBQ & Fund Raiser
Islamic Soc. of Gold Coast
Gold Coast Mosque
MBN Breakfast Seminar
Muslim Business Network
Southside Sports & Community Centre
Interfaith Dialogue Meeting with Catholics
Griffith University Multi-Faith Centre
The Multi Faith Centre, Griffith University
Migrant And Refugee Employment Project
Multicultural Development Association Inc.
Ground Floor, 57 Old Cleveland Road, Stones Corner
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