self-deprecating and occasional tongue-in-cheek look at ourselves and
the world around us ......
Sunday, 15 June 2008
News you won't find on CNN!
Entertains, Educates, Elucidates and Expounds on Islam
The Sheikh Yusuf Estes one-man-band lecture tour rattled
and rolled into Brisbane this week.
He had hardly got time to set foot on Queensland soil
when he was whisked off to all parts of Brisbane on a
grueling whistle stop schedule of talks and interviews
that would have made Kevin Rudd green with envy.
As for our ubiquitous Man-on-the-Mussallaah it proved
quiet a challenge to stay the distance,
having, instead, to be content, on occasions, with
surfing the plethora of Estes websites and videos to
supplement his quest for Texan-styled pastoral care and
Where our Man-on-the-Mussallaah did make it to the
designated venue he found the talks entertaining,
informative and educational.
He learnt the etymology of
Arabic words and their contextualized meanings; he
discovered why Islamic terrorism was an oxymoron and a contradiction in
terms; and, along with the Sheikh's captive audience,
quietly smiled at some of the light-hearted responses to
the obligatory questions that invariably get asked off
only the most learned and distinguished Islamic scholars and intellectuals: Do
Muslim men have to grow beards? Do the women have to
wear the hijab? Is music haram?
The good Sheikh clearly does not suffer faulty
equipment. At one Mosque he offered to start up a
collection to purchase a better sound system when the
microphone kept failing on him. He went on to suggest
that the headset would have been more appropriate for a
rapper. And then immediately proceeded to give the
audience a suitable demonstration.
In Mosques that had two levels the men got to endure the
isolation that women normally experience when visiting
speakers and khutbas are typically delivered from
upstairs. Sheikh Estes could not make the stairs to the
upper level and spoke from the ladies section below
leaving the hundreds of men to vacantly stare at the Mimbar for
the length of the talk.
Our Man-on-the-Mussallaah has it on good authority that
at the ladies only sessions the Sheikh did not
consider it necessary to isolate himself from the ladies
further than the protection that the hijab had already
now Brothers and Sisters the Sheikh has left the
building. But you can still catch him on his last public
performance at the City Hall on Saturday. And make sure
you get your tickets!
wear a hijab
Learn how to wear a hijab in
different styles in two easy lessons, courtesy of the
Softly spoken and with a maturity beyond her years, Homa
Forotan has captured the hearts of all those who meet
As the Suncorp Young Queenslander of the Year, the
21-year-old Afghani refugee has been given a platform
from which to spread her message of tolerance and
"(Winning this award) helps portray a positive image of
immigrants and refugees; many people have misconceptions
that refugees are all deprived people without an
education or that they don’t work hard," she said.
"It also portrays a positive image of my faith, Islam,
which has been very negatively portrayed in the media."
Ms Forotan was nominated for speaking at schools to
encourage tolerance and acceptance and tutoring refugee
Ms Forotan’s teenage years were filled with upheaval and
When she was 14, her family escaped the harsh regime of
Afghanistan’s Taliban by fleeing to Pakistan.
"It was hard to move along because the government was in
the hands of the Taliban ... they would stop us to
inspect the car," she said. "You either give them money
or they torture you - not the females but the males."
It was four years before Ms Forotan, her mother and
siblings arrived in Australia.
"It was the moment I had always wished for; I saw my
father waiting for us at airport and it was a nice
reunion," she said.
She said Brisbane’s multiculturalism helped her adapt to
her new life.
"I didn’t feel left out because everyone is different,
it’s very diverse and multicultural," she said.
Believed to be the first refugee to achieve an OP1, Ms
Forotan is in her second year of a biomedical science at
the University of Queensland.
Mavis, Gina and Deb (left to right in
picture) of ACCES Services accepted 120
Mink Blankets donated by Crescents of Brisbane to be
passed on to the local refugee community.
"The families truly appreciated the
kind gesture and have expressed their delight in
receiving the beautiful blankets to keep them warm this
winter," said Mavis and Gina. "They are truly grateful."
Movies with CCN
SOME stories shake a nation, others
slip away. Consider the cases of the Tampa and the SIEV-X.
In August 2001, Prime Minister John Howard's turning
back of the 400 Afghans on board the Tampa divided the
country, contributing to his electoral victory in
In October that same year, another boat load of asylum
seekers en route to Christmas Island drowned at sea. The
lives of 353 people on board - mostly women and children
- were lost. It was the largest maritime disaster since
World War II, and yet the fate of these people barely
disturbed the life of the country they were aspiring to
Basry was one of the 45 refugees who survived the
disaster. She spent 22 hours in the water, much of it at
night and for some of that time believed herself to be
the only living person left in the sea. While she was in
the water, Amal did not know if her 16- year-old son
Amjed, who had boarded the 19.5-metre fishing boat with
her in Indonesia, and who had given her a life jacket,
was alive or dead.
Documentary maker Steve Thomas first met Amal at an
exhibition of paintings by artist and activist Kate
Durham, in which Durham imagines the sinking of the SIEV-X.
At this event, Amal gave a speech describing that night.
"(It) was so moving that everybody was in tears,
including me," Thomas recalls. "And somehow her making
that speech against the backdrop of those paintings,
which were extraordinary things... just made me think
'someone has to tell this story'. And it appeared that
nobody was. I approached Amal, and in her usual
generosity of spirit she said 'sure'. And it grew from
The film he made is called Hope, which is what the name
Amal means. Throughout we are reminded that the reason
Amal and her son attempted the perilous journey by sea -
indeed the reason all of the Iraqis, Afghans and
Iranians boarded the SIEV-X - was because they had hopes
for a better life.
Amal recalls the questions Iraqi children asked her
about Australia before they set out on their sea voyage.
What will it be like? "Like paradise," she told them.
Could they have a Playstation? "Of course," she said.
"They had small dreams," Amal told Thomas later. One
hundred and forty-six children died on the SIEV-X,
alongside 142 women and 65 men. Of the 45 survivors, 33
were men. Amal believes one reason she lived was because
she spent the night holding on to the body of a woman
who had drowned. She spoke to this woman, wondering
aloud what her hopes and circumstances might have been,
and thanking her for her help.
Amal only realised she was not the sole survivor when
she called out for help after seeing three lights in the
distance sometime during the night. The lights did not
come closer, but other voices called out with her; a
sprinkling of people who had managed to cling to life.
The asylum seekers were not rescued until the next day,
when they were spotted by Indonesian fishermen.
To date, the lights have not been explained and the
enigma has led to much speculation about what happened
to the SIEV-X. (SIEV-X stands for Suspected Illegal
Entry Vessel - the X stands for unrecorded.)
"It is clear that the SIEV-X was under surveillance
before it departed," says Thomas. "It is clear that this
was the most heavily surveyed area of the ocean between
Indonesia and Australia. "But the film is not an
investigative film and it's the part about the film
about which I am least qualified to speak."
After they were rescued, Amal and her fellow survivors
returned to Indonesia where they stayed for seven months
while authorities decided what to do with them. She was
one of only seven allowed to live in Australia (the
remainder settled in New Zealand and Scandinavia).
Amal came to live in Melbourne, settling in Broadmeadows.
When she set out on her journey her husband Abbas had
just been released on a temporary protection visa from
the Woomera detention centre. He had been in no position
to bring her to Australia, but equally Amal and her two
sons had no future in Iran where they had gone after
fleeing Saddam Hussein's government. Amal's Shiite
family had suffered under Saddam's regime: one brother
had been murdered for not fighting against Iran; one was
killed in the Gulf War; a brother-in-law was murdered
for plotting against Saddam and her husband was arrested
Amal's family was wealthy and educated, but when another
of Abbas' brothers disappeared they felt they had no
choice but to leave Iraq, which they did, settling in
Iran in 1997. Australia offered the opportunity for
citizenship and a new future, which was not possible in
In Iran her sons could not go to school for instance.
Amal decided to make the journey despite its many
uncertainties. She only had enough money for two fares,
and her older son Ahmed, offered to stay behind in Iran
- the plan was to send for him later (he is now living
Amal's was a journey of hope that went terribly wrong.
After her many hours in the sea, she tried to drown
herself but found that even with death all around it is
not so easy to die. When she eventually found herself in
Australia, against all odds, she believed one reason
might be because she could tell people, in her eloquent
English, what had happened on the SIEV-X.
"When I met Amal, here was a woman who was not going to
be shut up," says Thomas. "She has a strong voice and
she was going to speak out despite the fact that she was
on a temporary protection visa, and many refugees on
temporary protection visas are afraid to speak out. Amal
never took that position. She spoke out about the boat,
about the uncertainties of the boat, of the sinking. She
took it upon herself to make sure that the SIEV-X
disaster was not forgotten."
Thomas, who teaches documentary making at the Victorian
College of Arts, said he was affected by Amal's story
"in ways that I didn't necessarily understand at the
"I had been feeling for some time - and I think a lot of
documentary makers have been feeling - that our voices
are being taken away by the intervention of broadcasters
and commissioning editors who, you know, pretty much
show a lack of respect for the filmmaker's voice. "So
there was I kind of feeling my voice was being
diminished in my filmmaking. And here was Amal who had
this very strong voice (and was) speaking out about what
had happened to her. And it feels to me in hindsight
that in a way I was getting my own voice back through
giving expression to her voice."
Hope, which will premiere on Friday as part of the
Melbourne International Film Festival, was funded by
individual private donations, contributions and
investments. Thomas says the Australian Film Commission
put in some money, but no other film funding body has
been interested in the project. The documentary was also
influenced by Amal's interest in the fi lmmaking
process; she would suggest approaches he might take. "I
started out making a film about Amal and ended up making
a film with Amal," says Thomas.
Amal never gave up her hope. Thomas said he felt shame
about Australia's treatment of refugees, but once Amal
was granted a permanent visa, she was filled with
optimism about this country. "Amal had this great belief
and hope in Australian democracy because of what she had
experienced in Iraq. And so she would say 'I'm a free
woman in a free country'."
(l to r) Mohammed
Lallee, Mohammed Peer and Musa Jasaat
Shoeab Patel, who draws on
soccer skills learnt from his old home town team of
Bolton Wanderers in the UK, runs Sunday training
sessions for children between 6 and 13 years of age.
The free training sessions take
place at Svoboda Park every Sunday at 10.00 to 11.30am.
The first session is for children between ages 10-13 and
takes place at 10.00-11.00 am. The training involves
different soccer skills, and general fitness work.
The second session between 11.00 -11.30am has been
allocated for children ages 6-9, and will concentrate
mainly on ball skills.
The children will need to come with the following:
soccer boots, shin pads and a bottle of water.
Soccer balls will be provided.
Gathering to Garner Support
Members of the local Muslim
community were invited to an information session at the
Griffith Islamic Research Unit (GIRU) at Griffith
University last Sunday.
Mustafa Kemal Omar, who
chaired the meeting, explained the role of GIRU as an
opportunity to develop expert knowledge, opinions and
recommendations in a number of key areas that affected
the Muslim community.
He made a call to the community to
support the Unit through PhD scholarships and other
forms of financial assistance.
Farzanah Ally spoke on the
practical value of adding an Islamic qualification to a
traditional degree and made an impassioned appeal to the
community to get behind GIRU.
Dr. Halim Rane (the first
out of the blocks from the GIRU stable, and with a
meritorious dissertation to boot) had been supported
through his three year candidature from community
funding and there were other potential research projects
and candidates waiting in the wings that also needed a
financial leg up.
The evening proceedings were topped
off with a dinner comprising a variety of Middle Eastern
The second Open Day of the Mosque
in Rockhampton will be held on 21 June.
The programme, organized by the
Islamic Society of Central Queensland, will include the
inauguration of the Open Day, a speech by the main
speaker Dr. Mohammad Abdalla, the Director of Islamic
Research Centre at Griffith University, and statements
from other dignitaries.
The other guest of honour will be
Prof Angela Delves, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of
Central Queensland University.
Attendees will be treated to a lunch which will include
mixed Asian dishes followed by tea/coffee and other
For more information contact:
Mr. Farooq Haq
Imam, Rockhampton Mosque
Phone: 0434371737 (mobile)
Riaz Hanif, son of Serul
Nisha and the late Muhammed Hanif and
Lailaa Hussein, daughter of Yusuf and
FehmidaHussein were married at a Nikah
ceremoney last week at the Algester Mosque by Moulana
The reception too place at the
G.O.S.P Hall where the 400 guest were served a
Lailaa's dress was designed by
Saman Piracha of Nayna Boutique.
Report by Sgt Jim
The Queen’s Birthday long weekend
was a huge success for the Queensland Police Service (QPS)
and Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ),
holding their fourth consecutive Multicultural Football
Over 4500 people attended across the two days of the
football tournament and community festival that finished
with an exciting match between the Australian and Greek
teams, with Greece winning the penalty shoot out 4-2 to
take out the ECCQ/QPS Cup in 2008.
Event Coordinator and Queensland Police Sergeant Jim
Bellos said the two day round robin style event was a
huge success and helped to break down cultural barriers.
“The tournament aims to emphasise the spirit of sharing
in a multicultural community while creating
opportunities for cultural exchange,” Sgt Bellos said.
“This year we had 32 teams compete, 8 more than last
“The finals were held on Monday along with a community
festival that highlighted the diversity in our community
through performance, food, art and crafts.
“Every year the competition grows, more and more people
are made aware of the benefits of living in harmony.”
Sgt Bellos said the tournament was put together to
create an opportunity for different communities to come
together and socialize in name of cultural exchange and
sport. We all have to live together and events such as
this help the various ethnic and cultural groups to
understand each other and showcase their backgrounds.
From this event the QPS would hope to gender further
participation with all Ethnic groups in many other
functions and activities.
a fund raising dinner held at Michael's Restaurant last
Friday, the Islamic Council of Queensland (ICQ) launched
its latest initiative in the form of an Advisory Council
(AC) to the ICQ.
A number of political and community
leaders were invited to the function including Senators
George Brandis and Sue Boyce,
Parliamentary Secretary, Michael Choi and Federal
Member for Moreton, Graham Perrett MP.
Some of the members nominated
into the Advisory Committee were Dr. Daud Batchelor,
Mr. Mustafa Ally, Ms. Yasmin Khan, Dr. Mohammed
Hanief Khatree, Ms. Galila Abdelsalam,
Dinmahomed Karim, Sultana Deen, Dr.
Mubarak Ali Noor, Mr. Masub Ayoob, and Mr.
The aim of the AC, as outlined by
ICQ's President, Suliman Sabdia, was to ensure
that the ICQ, would, in future, "devise and implement
its policies in line with the aspirations of the various
Muslim societies and associations, and according to the
wishes and vision of important members of our
The AC would set its own objectives
and goals at their first meeting.
Warns Of Invasive Body Scans At U.S. Airports
Muslim group reminds passengers of
their right to request an alternative measure
D.C., 6/13/08) The Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) today warned American Muslims and
others concerned with personal privacy of a security
procedure recently implemented by the
Administration (TSA) that scans full-body images of
passengers through their clothing, revealing intimate
body parts to screeners.
USA Today, the body-scanning machines are being used on
randomly-selected passengers at airports in Phoenix, Los
Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque, and New York’s
JFK airport. They are scheduled to be installed at
airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Miami, and
Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. this
website describes the process through which the machines
bounce harmless radio waves off the passenger’s body,
which constructs a three-dimensional image that is
projected on a monitor in the security scanner’s room.
The TSA characterizes the procedure as a “voluntary
alternative to a pat-down,” and says it blurs
passengers’ faces and does not store the images to
concerns have been raised over the level of detail shown
by the machines, which are capable of projecting graphic
images of a person’s body, revealing private body parts
and other intimate details.
working with other organizations to address the privacy
issues that this technology presents,” said CAIR Civil
Rights Manager Khadija Athman. “In the meantime, it is
important that you know that you have the option to
request a pat-down by a security officer of your gender
in a private room instead of going through the
said CAIR, in cooperation with other civil rights
organizations, is insisting that the TSA implement a
program of fully informing passengers who volunteer for
the scan of its privacy implications.
Source: CAIR American
Muslim News Briefs June 13 2008
Al Aqsa - A Family Calling
ABC1 TV Tuesday 10 June 2008
it comes to the call to prayer at Jerusalem’s sacred and
historic Noble Sanctuary which comprises the Al Aqsa
mosque and the spectacular Dome of the Rock, Naji Qazzaz
has history on his side. As a muezzin - one of a select
group chosen to perform the call to prayer - he’s
carrying on a family tradition, a calling that stretches
back more than five hundred years.
Naji Qazzaz enjoys an exalted status in Jerusalem’s
Muslim community. He believes his talent, his velvet
voice is a gift from God, “this job was offered to me by
God. I don’t do it for the money, I’ve got it moving in
my blood and my body. I could never leave it.”
Naji’s talented teenage son Firas is the latest in the
family dynasty to grace the Al Aqsa mosque with his deep
and resonant tones. Naji a humble man can scarcely
conceal his pride and admiration, “I swear to God that I
did not expect to have a son like Firas with his rich
and distinctive voice and all my relatives and the
people are so proud of him and they like him so much
more than me.”
Naji who has already featured on Israeli radio with his
readings from the Koran speaks in reverential tones
about his father - “this is a great honour that God has
bestowed upon me to walk with my father into the Al Aqsa
There’s a volatile political atmosphere in the holy
city. The Al Aqsa mosque is supervised and patrolled by
armed Israeli soldiers and police. In fact there’s a
radical Israeli group the Temple Mount faithful who want
to tear down the mosque and in its place rebuild a
Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans almost 2000 years
ago. Firas Qazzaz’s measured and mature response is
“they have hatred in their hearts for Muslims they
dislike us and they keep saying that this mosque belongs
to them. This group has no major presence or influence
in Israeli society.”
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Copies of The Crescent
The Research Committee of the
Centenary Celebrations of the Holland Park Mosque seeks
your help in locating copies of The Crescent
Newsletter which the late Imam Abdul Raheem Rane
initiated, editorialized and produced each month starting in October 1966.
If you have copies of any of the
old as well as the more recent issues we would be most
grateful if we could lay our hands on them if only for
long enough for us to make photocopies.
Omar (the haggard looking one in the picture on the
right) takes off on the 90km South African Comrades
Marathon run today (Sunday 15 June 5.30am (RSA time) and
1.30pm (Brisbane time)).
Some 50 Oasis Crescents runners
will be reading Fijir at 5.25am in congregation next to
a lined up mass of 11,000 runners limbering up to the
sound of Chariots of Fire.
This year it will be an uphill run
from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
By entering his name you can track
Anver (not Enver, not Anwer, just Anver) Omar via the
Good luck Anver! (or is that Anwar
Readers' Book Club:
You are what you read!
recommends The White
Tiger by Aravid Adiga
Unlike almost any other Indian novel
you might have read in recent years, this page-turner
offers a completely bald, angry, unadorned portrait of
the country as seen from the bottom of the heap; there's
not a sniff of saffron or a swirl of sari anywhere...
The Indian tourist board won't be pleased, but you'll
read it in a trice and find yourself gripped.' Andrew
Holgate, Sunday Times
Meet Balram Halwai, the `White Tiger': servant,
philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer... Born in a village
in the dark heart of India, the son of a rickshaw
puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and
put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coal and wipes
tables, he nurses a dream of escape.
His big chance comes when a rich village landlord hires
him as a chauffeur for his son. Arriving in Delhi with
his new master, Balram's re-education begins, as he
learns of a new morality at the heart of a new India. As
the other servants flick through the pages of Murder
Weekly, Balram begins to see how the Tiger might escape
his cage. For surely any successful man must spill a
little blood on his way to the top?
The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram's
journey from the darkness of village life to the light
of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral,
brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether
Kareema, you mentioned a little while ago that walking
is probably the easiest form of exercise to start off
with and to maintain (which I'm glad to say I've done).
Where to from here?
A: Great job! If you want to keep on building stronger
legs, it's time to incorporate some slow jogging into
your routine. You can then gradually progress to running
as the weeks go by. Remember correct posture and
technique, wear proper fitting shoes and don't
constantly run on hard surfaces. Enjoy and keep us
(Saudi Arabian Style)
Any resemblance between the gentleman in the
photo and CCN's Man-on-the-Mussalaah is
9 kilos of beef from a sirlion tip or
boneless leg of veal
9 kilos boneless lamb
500 grams of lamb fat (From tail)
1 large firm tomato
1 large green pepper
small loaves of Arabic bread
Marinade Sauce 3 bay leaves
1/2 cup of salt
3 onions chopped
3 lemons sliced
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cardamon seed
1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg
20 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
2 cups of water
1 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of olive oil
tabasco to taste
Slice the meat into
even-sized rounds (12-15 cm.) about
2 1/2 cm. thick. Crush the first
seven marinade ingredients in a
large brass mortar.
Transfer the contents
of the mortar to a large bowl and
stir in the remaining ingredients.
Work the marinade
well into the meat and fat.
Remove the meat from
the refrigerator and allow it to
come to room temperature.
A long, very heavy
spit is used to stack the slices of
meat, interspersing every 8 layers
with a slice of lamb fat.
Begin with the larger
of your slices, and decorate the top
of the spit with the tomato and
As the meat broils,
crave off the edges and serve it in
bread with sliced tomatoes, onions,
tahini sauce or yoghurt, mint,
parsley leaves and pickle slices.
Venue: University of Queensland, 323 Hawken
Drive, St. Lucia
Contact: 0421 731 797
Time: 6.45pm to 7.45pm
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.
Write For Us
best ideas and the best feedback come from our community
of readers. If you have a topic or opinion that you want
to write about or want seen covered or any news item
that you think might be of benefit to the Crescents
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Articles and opinions appearing in this newsletter do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Crescents of
Brisbane Team, CCN, its Editor or its Sponsors,
particularly if they eventually turn out to be libelous,
unfounded, objectionable, obnoxious, offensive,
slanderous and/or downright distasteful.
It is the usual policy of CCN to include
from time to time, notices of events that some readers
may find interesting or relevant. Such notices are often
posted as received. Including such messages or providing
the details of such events does not necessarily imply
endorsement of the contents of these events by either
CCN or Crescents of Brisbane Inc.