If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Egyptian Mum Part 1

My mother travels to Egypt much more frequently than I. Each year when she returns she spends hours lamenting the loss of values and growing immorality among Egypts youth- much to my amusement. My mother could have written the book on middle class morality, which often prompts people who meet her to turn to me and say "you're the black sheep aren't you."

I have become very good at pretending to be interested, showing surprise and nodding my head in agreement as she prattles on about the "fasad" that has overcome Egyptian youth.

But nothing could prepare me for this...

A week had passed since my mother had returned and I knew that the time was fast approaching when she would sit me down and begin her rant. She proceeded in her usual way "you would not believe what the youth in Egypt are getting up to these days". As usual I nodded my head in agreement and shook my head in dissaproval as she continued...

"Would you believe" she said, "that it has become common for the young girls and boys to perform a disgusting act where the girl actually puts the boys penis in her mouth!"

What could I do? I had to think quickly! I had to pretend that I shared her utter abhorrence of such lewdness and maintain my virginal status in my mother's eyes (yes, I have been married twice and given birth to two kids, but to our mothers we are always virgins, OK)

Meanwhile part of me was still coming to terms with the realisation that my mother had just used the "P" word, while the other part of me wanted to burst into laughter.

I feigned a look of disgust and then uttered a half arsed "ikhs" (the Egyptian equivalent of ewwww). I dared not look at my mother lest she look into my give away eyes and expose me for the fraud that I was!

All was silent.

A silence that seemed to last forever.

From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of my mother's face, her teeth clenched and her lips pursed and right then I knew exactly that she was thinking... 'the dirty little bitch has done it!'

The incident was never spoken of again and I must say that my mother's annual morality reports have never been the same!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Year That Was

As 2007 is almost upon us, it's timely to reflect on 2006.

The year started with my marraige in crisis. I was ready to leave after almost 7 years marraige and close to 11 years together. He could not understand why and I could not tell him. It was difficult at the time to know the exact nature of my discontent, but as time passed it became much clearer and eventually I was able to accept it, embrace it and work through it.

I have never been a romantic. Fantastical notions of soul mates, star-crossed lovers, Prince Charmings and the like have never convinced me. I do not believe that there is such a thing as Mr or Ms Perfect. I am far too selfish to give wholly of myself to another human being and far too self absorbed to want the same from him. And so, any union would only ever be a coupling of our physical lives. But deep down lingers the little girl with dark skin, big eyes and dark curls, who was always the outsider and who each night dreamed of being Cinderella.

My husband and I cohabit, we fulfill eachother's physical needs very well, we provide companionship for eachother and share in the care of our respective children (we do not have children together) and our mutual assets. But I also have my own world in which he features minimally if at all and in which he has very little interest. Once I learnt to accept this, and to understand the limits of my relationship, I was able to appreciate my marraige for what it was instead of being unhappy at what it wasn't.

I went to Egypt for 5 weeks in July and used this time away to come to terms with the fact that while I love my husband deeply, I will never share with him an intellectual or soulful intimacy in the same way that we share a physical intimacy. And that's alright, that's OK, because I really don't think that I am capable of sharing more than that- I have always known this to be who I am.

In 2006, I gave 9 public lectures, 3 radio interviews and 2 television interviews. I completed 2 and a half chapters of my Doctoral Thesis (I started in 2005), started writing my book and wrote 2 major journal articles for publication. I started and almost finished my data collection amounting to over 300 pages of transcribed interviews and focus groups. Of the 9 public lectures, 5 were invatations from people or organisations who had heard about my work and the rest were conference presentations. I spoke at two anti-war rallies and a Union rally against the government's introduction of industrial reform legislation. I also continued my job with Government two days a week. I maintained my voluntary work with a community organisation. I became involved in campaigning against domestic violence, not of my own will, but by the burden of knowledge. And I started this blog!

Am I tired? Yes, yes, I am exhausted. And yet there persists this wretched yearning to do MORE, to be MORE, to achieve MORE. A sense of urgency that burns like a fire in my being and that I fear will never subside. Why am I cursed with this need to want change? Why am I burdened with an urgent and nagging desire to make things different?

2006 was a year of dreaming. Not day dreaming but sleep dreaming. I cannot recall a night when I did not have the same dream of climbing. Climbing infinite stairs, mountains, hills, rock piles, ladders, anything and everything. Each morning after these dreams I woke both physically and mentally exhausted. Why was I always climbing? When will I reach where it is I need to go?

And so, in a few short days, we will bid farewell to 2006. I think I grew 10 years in that one year (thank God for botox!). I learnt a lot about myself in 2006. And so, in light of that, I will always remember 2006 as a year of self enlightment!

Now... bring on 2007 because I can't wait to see what that has in store for me!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Courtesy of Drima

We need to keep raising awareness of what's going on there and combatting denial and the refusal to accept that this is happening.

You can download this banner from here or from Drima.

Together we can make a difference.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Run for the Hills- She's BAAAAAACK

Oh dear, Pauline Hanson is threatening a return to politics- this time at the Federal level.

Yes, the woman whose maiden speech in Parliament referred to Australia being "swamped by Asians" who refuse to assimilate is back with a vengeance.

True to her nature, ol' Pauline is back to targetting some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This time she's decided to lay off the Asians (ofcourse since she didn't get elected last time with her ridiculous diatribe about the "yellow peril") and the Aborigines (ofcourse because her ridiculous claim that Aboriginal Australians were getting too much has been quashed by numerous reports about how they are, in fact, the most disadvantaged in Australia).

This time Pauline has decided to go for the jugular of.....

Africans and Muslims

Not one for checking up on her facts, Pauline claims that "diseased" Africans are coming into Australia with all kinds of cooties. As for Muslims, well we all know they will take over Australia by the year 2050 even though we are less than 3% of the population now. Do your maths people. It doesn't take a genius to work out that it's just impossible.

Says Ms Hanson about Africans:
"Why shouldn't Australians know that the people we bring in to this country
are there for the right reasons, and we bring them in for the right
"We're bringing in people from South Africa at the moment, there's a huge
amount coming into Australia, who have diseases, they've got AIDS,"
"They are of no benefit to this country whatsoever, they'll never be able to work."And what my main concern is, is the diseases that they're bringing in and yet no one is saying or doing anything about it." (what disease? Does she mean the disease that turns you into a red-head, foaming at the mouth, ranting racist with the brain capacity of a gnat?)

Says Ms Hanson about Muslims:
"Our governments have bent over backwards to look after them (Muslims) and
their needs, and regardless of what the Australian people think," she
"You can't have schools not sing Christmas carols because it upsets
others, you can't close swimming baths because Muslim women want to swim in
private, that's not Australian." (Newsflash Pauline, the Muslims aren't the ones complaining about Christmas carols and the government aren't the ones who ban them- do your homework)

You could take one of her fantastical rants about Asians or Aboriginal Australians from 2 decades ago and replace the words African and Muslim with Asian and Aboriginal.

Pauline, you little fiery red head you, you've had your chance and the Australian public gave you a big fat PISS OFF! You've been to jail for fraud, you've owned a fish n' chip shop, you even enjoyed a stint as an E (as in ewwww) grade celebrity when you flaunted your tush on Dancing with the Stars (stupid show that!).

So come on, just admit it. You're over. Nobody believes you. The Australian public are much smarter than you make them out to be and you just have no facts to back up your claims.

So do us all a favour and go back to making fish n' chips!

Merry Christmas

We put up our tree a couple of weeks ago. I decorated it in a theme of blue, pearl and silver (because the colour scheme goes well with my carpet) and had much fun adorning our humble tree.
As a Muslim, I've been getting a few remarks about it from other Muslims. It hasn't been too bad I have to say- most just say "well it's your house and what you do in it is your business".
I tell them that the tree signifies peace and that we are celebrating the Christmas tradition of peace on Earth- isn't that what all religions are supposed to be about? Peace and unity and good will. To me the tree symbolises an opportunity for Christians and Muslims to come together on common ground. After all, Jesus is also a prophet in Islam.
As Christmas day is a public holiday, we'll be having some friends around for lunch. A Muslim family- refugees from Iraq who have never experienced the Christmas tradition, some Catholic friends and a couple of athiests as well.
I wish everyone peace, prosperity, happiness and health. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Eid Mubarak (for Eid ul Adha coming up on 31 Dec).

Monday, December 18, 2006


An article about Iktimal Hage Ali drew several responses.
Among them this little gem...

The only reason she got the award is because she is an alcohol drinking Muslim that is, one who openly flouts Islam. The only acceptable face of Islam to the PM and other “civilised” Aussies as opposed to us “uncivilised” ones. She is an Alawi not a Muslim so please don't group her with us. She does not represent us practising Muslims in any way, form or manner nor do we wish to emulate her in any way, form or manner. Islam bans ALL intoxicants including tobacco. One who openly drinks does nothing wrong under Australian law but she has broken one of the leading tenets of Islam and unless she repents she forfeits all rights to represent us and even if she regrets it, there are plenty others who are more conversant with Islam fit to be a leader. There are hundreds of hijab clad Muslim ladies who toil morning, noon and night for the community and do not take intoxicants or mix with drugs. Such ladies will never get the coverage this dame gets but they are happy to be the unsung heroines of Australia. Iktimal had no reason to win the accolade. It was only a political decision to appease the non practising "Muslims" and the “civilised secular” Aussies. To fail to understand that Islam takes an abhorrent view of intoxicants and to then quite undemocratically select a traitor simply leaves me breathless. When will Anglos understand that it is alcohol that causes the most social destruction in Australia today. Numerous studies undertaken by academics, medical specialists and research groups funded by the government have disclosed REPEATEDLY that alcohol costs us well over $2 billion per annum in Australia. The same studies have proved beyond a scintilla of a doubt that alcohol is directly and indirectly linked to an alarming number of murders, rape, mayhem, streetfights, infant/toddler deaths, inter-gender disrespect, pub fights, violence generally, the vast majority of assaults, wife bashing, child bashing and teenage births. Even incest, road crashes and car deaths particularly teenage deaths are inexorably linked to alcohol. Just last week a 79 year old was "turned to marmalade" all bones broken and even security grill dislodged by the offender who left her blood dripping from 12 foot high, so savage was the totally unprovoked attack by a drunk.
Sima Rahman

Well Sima, I suppose YOU are the only valid representative of Muslims in Australia. I suppose your scarf makes you more moral, more ethical, more Muslim and hence more deserving. I suppose YOU have deemed yourself respectable enough to speak on behalf of an US.

These people really make me sick.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Remember Little House on the Prairie? Well, now there is Little Mosque on the Prairie, a Canadian sitcom about being Muslim in the West:

Sitcom’s Precarious Premise: Being Muslim Over Here
James Estrin/The New York Times

TORONTO - The handsome, clean-cut young man of evidently Pakistani or Indian origin is standing in an airport line, gesticulating emphatically as he says into his cellphone, “If Dad thinks that’s suicide, so be it,” adding after a pause, “This is Allah’s plan for me.”

As might be expected, a cop materializes almost instantly and drags the man off, telling him that his appointment in paradise will have to wait, even though the suicide he is referring to is of the career kind; he’s giving up the law to pursue a more spiritual occupation.

The scene unrolls early in the pilot of a new Canadian comedy series called “Little Mosque on the Prairie.”Yet that fictional moment is an all-too-possible occurrence, as witnessed when six imams were hauled off a US Airways plane in Minnesota in November after apparently spooking at least one fellow passenger by murmuring prayers that included the word Allah...

“Little Mosque on the Prairie” ventures into new and perhaps treacherous terrain: trying to explore the funny side of being a Muslim and adapting to life in post 9/11 North America...

During one recent episode being filmed at a neighborhood swimming pool, two Muslim characters who are normally veiled leave the changing room to discover that a man has replaced their usual female instructor. The horrified women lunge for bath towels to use as temporary hijabs, or veils, to cover their hair.Ultimately the solution is found when, as the script describes, “Fatima comes out dressed in the Haz-Mat Islamic swimsuit.” The costume designer unearthed a swimsuit on the Internet from Jordan that covers her from scalp to ankle and had it shipped to Canada.

The struggle over what constitutes modest dress is central to the show.
When a Muslim girl flounces into her immigrant father’s presence with her navel showing, he recoils in horror, saying,
“You look like a Protestant.”
She counters, “Dad, you mean a prostitute?”
He responds, “No, I meant a Protestant.”...

Amaar is abandoning a law career to become the new imam, or prayer leader, in the small town of Mercy. His predecessor as imam preaches sermons like, “First there was ‘American Idol,’ and now there is ‘Canadian Idol.’ All idols must be smashed.”Ms. Nawaz, [the shows creator] wanted the show to look at how a native-born imam, exceedingly rare at the moment, might deal with issues differently from the standard imported imams.

Another episode focuses on the anguished debate among strict Muslim
families about allowing their children to dress up and collect candy on
Halloween, a Christian affair built atop a pagan festival. Most North American Muslims eventually compromise because the day has been drained of religion. “Little Mosque on the Prairie” turns it into “Halal-oween,” halal being the Arabic word for anything religiously permissible.

In an earnest manner not atypical of Canadians, one goal of the show is to explain Muslim behavior, or at least make Muslims seem less peculiar, much as humor about Jews, Italians or gays helped those groups assimilate.“On the news all you ever hear are voices from the extreme end of the spectrum,” Ms. Darling said. “This gives voice to ordinary people who look just like other ordinary people.”With its small-town setting and affable cast of characters - even a talk
radio host who labels Muslims as terrorists comes across as rather lighthearted - the show unrolls a bit like “Mary Tyler Moore” or some other 1970s sitcom.

Great idea? Here are a couple more...

The Bin Laden Bunch
Here's the story of a man named Ali
Who was married with three strapping teenage lads
All of them had facial hair
Just like their mother
The oldest one was being prepared for jihad

Till the one day when Ali married Fatima
Another wife for him to secretly enjoy
What he did not know was that Fatima had children
Three daughters the same age as his three boys

When Fatima and her girls move in with Ali
Then they knew that it was much more than a hunch
That two wives, six kids and poor old Ali
Could all become the new Bin Laden Bunch

Jihad Days
Farid, a young handsome migrant from Pakistan, moves into the spare unit above the Cunningham's garage. Soon the whole town becomes smitten with this cool new stranger. Farid forms a close friendship with Richie, the Cunningham's son, and together the two get up to all sorts of adventures. Little does Richie know that Farid has come to the US undercover on a mission from a terrorist cell. Will his friendship with Richie and the Cunningham's change Farid's mind about his mission?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Iktimal gives back Young Australian of the Year Award

Well, all you whingers and whiners on Muslim Village, hope you are happy now.
Iktimal Hage Ali has had to give back her award for Young Australian of the Year and could face losing her job after being arrested on suspicion of links with drug dealers.

Even though she was not charged with anything, the poor girl may also lose her job.

I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist but I wouldn't be surprised if all those people who were so opposed to Iktimal getting the award because she does not wear hijab but does wear nail polish had something to do with this.

What a shame. What a real shame.

Monday, December 11, 2006


First of all, a big congratulations to Iktimal for being named NSW young Australian of the Year. Well done Iktimal.

Now a word for all those Muslims who condemned her for not wearing hijab and for taking a sip of champagne in celebration of her accomplishment on Muslim Village ...

We all know that the government and the media prefer to engage with women who "look Muslim"- ie wear the hijab. Those of us who don't wear it know very well that we are the invisible Muslims. Journalists will clamour over 10 non-hijabis just to talk to a hijabi, Government funding goes to Muslim women's groups and individuals who wear hijab or any form of the veil because it is seen to be politically correct - forget that some of these groups use their funding to enable women to stay in domestic violence situations.

If you do not wear hijab, you are somehow not considered to be "authentic" regardless of what you do or what you have to say.

At the same time, Muslim women who wear hijab are constantly lamenting the negative media portrayal that presents the hijab as evidence of gender based oppression in Islam and that equates Islam only with the spectre of the veiled woman peering helplessly from behind a black shroud.

We know this- all Australian Muslims know this. SO WHY DO WE DO IT TO OURSELVES?
Why are we taking on the attitudes of media and government that we are so ready to criticise and condemn? Why are we appropriating the very thing that we whinge about all the fucking time?

How dare anyone claim that Iktimal does not represent Muslims because she does not wear hijab? By that argument only hijabis are valid "authentic" Muslims and hence the hijab is the single most important symbol of Islam and what it means to be Muslim. Isn't that the same thing that we criticise in the media and government? Their obsession with the hijab as a symbol?


I'm done.


Here's the story:

A Melbourne grandmother, Christine Hawkins, decided that she would organise the "Great Australian Bikini March" to protest Sheikh Hilali's infamous 'cat meat' remarks and support Pru Goward's (Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner) call for Hilali, Keysar Trad and Sheikh Omran to be deported.

The march was planned for December 9th to coincide with the anniversary of the Cronulla riots but has since been 'postponed' to Australia Day on 26 January next year.

That's the story you will read in any of the media coverage. Here's what you might not...

Ms Hawkins approached two local councils in Melbourne for permission to stage the march. Both refused. Frustrated, she then turned to the media in the hope of exposing what she saw as an unfair decision by the councils.

She spoke to Richard Kerbaj- the journalist who broke the Hilali story. Kerbaj questioned her motives and what she hoped to achieve and then flat out refused to cover her story.

In the meantime, white supremist websites had begun publicising the event and rallying people to attend. At the same time left leaning websites criticised Ms Hawkins, her motives and her idea. Ms Hawkins however, remained steadfast in her committment to showing those horrible Muslim men just what Aussie women are made of (not cat meat I hope)!

Then the shit hit the fan. A journalist decided to do some digging and found out that Ms Hawkins is in fact part owner of the True Blue clothing company that was sponsoring the event. Ooopsy!

Suddenly, Ms Hawkins is not so steadfast anymore and began to withdraw the idea of the march- closing down the website and removing her photo and any reference to her in regards to the march. According to my source, poor Ms Hawkins said she felt "victimised, persecuted and misrepresented by both the left and right wing factions and the media". She even had to change her phone number!

Hmmm- the best laid plans of mice and men will often go astray.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Aussie Hip Hop

Gotta love Aussie Hip Hop.
Here are the words from a song I heard today.

Australians all let us rejoice
For we have no idea
We go to war for wealth and oil
Our land is gripped by fear

Compare this to American Hip Hop

Shake your money maker (huh?)
Bounce like you got hydraulics in your g-string (what?)
what about...
Move bitch get outta my way (ummmm?)

The Really Real

Raccoon has a fantastic post about Israeli soldiers.

If you were ever in doubt about how much power the media has to select and present a truth (not necessarily THE truth) through images then this will make you think again.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Funny email

Got this email and just had to share it....



Sent it to a friend who responded with...

To which another friend replied...

The Real Borat?

This guy makes Borat look like an amateur.


Bloody hilarious! I love the way he says "My tall 1.84 cm"- for more of the same you should visit some Middle Eastern dating sites- plenty of strapping young Borats to choose from there! Mmmmmmmmm

This is classic!

George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The main man in China!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
Condi: Yes.
George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the newleaderof China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's dead inthe Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader ofChina. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass ofmilk.And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at theU.N.
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars.

I'm Baaaaaack

I've been away in Canberra for a conference and had no access to the internet. Australia is so badly set up for wi-fi. When I was in Cairo recently, everthing was wi-fied- even the McDonald's restaurants. Australia is nowhere near that. I can't even get wi-fi from my home!
It's quite a contradiction, Egypt. A developing country in socio-economic terms, a shaab that seems to have embraced the Islamist message and is becoming increasingly sectarian along the fault lines of religion, a heady mix of anciently old and garishly new, of traditional and modern, of oppression and liberty. I believe there is no other place like it on Earth. It's beautiful but also confusing, frustrating and, at times, downright disheartening. Where is Egypt heading? Where does she want to go? What will become of her?

Next week I'm off to Sydney for a few days. I'll be presenting at a symposium there on the Hijab. Of course I will do my usual critique of the Western feminist take on the Hijab which has reduced it to an artificial symbol and has sought to maintain a status of defiant feminism through a masculinist discourse. But I cannot now, especially after visiting Egypt, talk about the Hijab without questioning how it has become a visual weapon in the war for Muslim minds. How Muslim have also reduced it to an artificial symbol to differentiate themselves from the religious minorities in Egypt with whom they once shared a deep and treasured bond.

I don't think that some of the people at this symposium will like what I have to say- especially those women who truly do wear the Hijab for religious purposes. But they will just have to put up with me I'm afraid.

Anyway- I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


To make sense of things I often end up finding names for phenomena that I think succintly define or describe what they mean. Here are some of them:

THE SHADOWS: where Muslim and Arab women are expected to live. The Egyptians have a saying "Del el rajul zai del el heyt". It means "the shadow of a man is like the shadow of a wall". I've heard this saying many times from my mother. Whenever I longed for the sun on my face, whenever I yearned to spread my arms and touch the sun- she would say these words and I would slink back obediently into the shadows. It is why I stayed in an abusive marraige for so long- why I kept going back to an unhappy marraige-because without the shadows I would have shrivelled up in the harsh world. When I finally left the shadows behind, I found strength and courage and the warm glow of the sun.

ENABLER: I've posted on the enablers before. They are those Muslim women's organisations who enable women to continue to live in conditions of abuse. They are so blinded by their focus on superficial symbols of Islam that they would easily leave a woman or a child to be bashed, beaten and maybe killed by her husband because of their devotion to these symbols. They are part of the women's network

THE WOMEN'S NETWORK: These are the mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers who rule the lives of Muslim women. They tell you "you don't need to do this, you just need to look after your husband and do your five prayers and be a good little obedient Muslim". They are like the enablers and they want to keep you in the shadows with them because they are afraid of the sun.

TOLERATER: toleraters are those people who smile at you through gritted teeth. They're the ones who "don't mind" you being around them. They're polite enough and some may even go out of their way to be civil. That is as long as you stay silent, smile and look grateful for every lousy morsel of attention they give you. As long as you bow politely say "yes maam, no maam" then you are tolerated. But if you dare to speak up, if you dare to question, if you dare to say "hang on a minute- I have rights- I'm human too- this is not fair" then look out because the tolerators will show their true colours. They will turn and scream "how dare you? How dare you ask for more? How dare you demand respect? We have tolerated you and you don't even belong here." There are lots of toleraters in the world. They are blind to their own bigotry.

WHYDON'TYOU: The whydon'tyuos are those people who challenge Australian Muslims at every turn to speak out, but cover their ears and turn their heads when we do. Then they turn around and scream again "Why don't you speak out against terrorism, Sheikh Hilali, rape, abuse of women, FGM etc etc". The whydon'tyous are not only blind, they are deaf too. They do not hear us when we speak. They muffle our voices but ironically they hear the crazy nutters who manipulate Islam for their own purposes loud and clear.

THE FLOCK: the Muslims who bleat and baah and do not question, do not use their heads, do not apply logic to anything. They are too busy removing photos of loved ones and lost ones from their walls. They are too busy condemning other Muslims for plucking their eyebrows or not wearing hijab. They are too busy talking about Kafirs that they have become unable to think. If they have mirrors, their mirrors are clouded with the fog of their minds.

THE HOLIERTHANTHOUS: holierthanthous can be anyone but they are usually either Western feminists or niqabis. The Western Feminists think that they have achieved equality (even though they are still struggling for equal pay and equal represention on boards and in government) and hence must speak up for their poor, muffled Muslim sisters. Ironically, their attitude serves only to disempower Muslim women. They do not reach out a hand to help you out of the shadows. They push you back and speak on your behalf. The Niqabis look at your bare arms and flowing hair and from behind their black masks they declare that they are more Muslim than you.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What's wrong with Muslims

I called my last post What's wrong with Islam- scratch that- I should have called it What's Wrong with Muslims.

It is wrong to blame religion itself for the actions of those who profess to believe in that religion. I would not blame Christianity for anything a Christian person did so why would I do that to Islam- my own religion.

Since I returned from my trip to Egypt earlier this year, I have become increasingly more cynical and increasingly less tolerant of some of the actions of Muslims. I guess it's because in Egypt I saw how Islam was being practiced as a set of artificial practices and symbols of religiousity while the true meaning of Islam was being neglected. When I came back to Australia, I saw these same things and it angered me- the corruption of the religion, the reduction of Islam to a set of meaningless artificial practices, the value attached to these artificial symbols and practices as if they are all that is required to be a good Muslim.

So what's wrong with Muslims? For a start...

1. Stereotyping. For all their talk about how they are negatively stereotyped in the Western media (which is to some extent true), Muslims are the worst at stereotyping. To them Westerners are not just unbelievers but they are all sluts, painted jezebels, bastard sons of dead beat dads and mother whores, drug addicts and alcoholics. They all behave like the actors on Bold and Beautiful.

2. The Moral Highground. My pet hate. Can't stand the moral highground from anyone. And you know what? Muslims are soooo good at taking the moral highground. There are no sex, drugs and rock n roll in Islam- these are things that non-Muslims do. We are pure, they are not. We are moral, they are not. And God help you if you are a non-Hijabi because you are the bottom of the moral food chain. She who is "courageous" enough to hide her face behind a black shroud will take one scathing look at your bare arms and declare that you are not fit to call yourself a Muslim.

3. The Victim Mentality. Woe to the Muslims of the world for God is testing us and placing adversities like the global Israeli/ US conspiracy in our paths to test our Imam. Woe to us, we are victims, we are vulnerable to the evil West who want nothing more than to demonise us and make everybody hate us. We are only victims if we choose to believe we are and to identify with that.

4. Flocking, like sheep. News Flash people- Allah has given you a brain and the faculty to use it and the freedom of will to make your own decisions. Sooooo instead of just taking for granted anything that you hear is halal, haram, makrooh etc, use your head, your brain, your heart and the things that Allah has given you to make a logical and informed decision. Just because some mad man is telling you that statues are haram in the house, or some sister in niqab is telling you that photographs of people in your house are unIslamic- doesn't mean it's true. Research it and find out for yourselves instead of baa baaing like sheep.

5. Cultural influence. Get it right. There is culture and there is Islam. Now if your culture happens to be mysoginist and condones the beating of women then that's culture- it is not Islam. If in your culture, women wear ugly black robes then that's your culture- it is not Islam. Again- use your brains to think about this one.

I think that's enough for now. I'll think about it some more and get back to ya!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What's wrong with Islam

I just had a thought! Sometimes I have them (thoughts that is) and on occassion I've had some good ones (thoughts that is).

But anyway I was thinking most rapes happen in the home. Yes the home. So when Hilali says that women should stay at home shrouded in darkness and hidden in the shadows he's actually setting them up to be raped!

It is obvious that despite his defence in his press statement that he is... wait for it because it is funny..."an advocate" for women (yes I laughed my arse off too), the whole purpose of Hilali's 'sermon' is not to protect women at all as he professes but to oppress women by keeping them barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen.

If you look at the transcript of his sermon you will see that he not only blames women for rape but for every ill befalling the human race.

I went to the Koran this evening in an effort to make sense of it all. I felt like I had to do this. I felt that I had to find some comfort and some reassurance from somewhere that this is not Islam. This is not the religion that I have chosen to follow. I needed to remind myself that there was beauty in something that sometimes seems so ugly.

The first thing I read was that Eve was not blamed for the expulsion of man from the Garden of Eden. There is no reference to Eve being tempted by Satan in the Koran. Both Adam and Eve were held equally responsible. So I thought to myself, what is it in this sick man's head that makes him interpret the Koran in such a way that he can then turn around and say that women are to blame for theft, rape and crime.

He is sick in the head and that's it. He has an intense hatred of women. He is a fool. Pity the fool but pity more those who follow the fool!

Islam is being hijacked by fools. Fools who lead fools. Men of hatred who lead men into hatred. Who will stop this? Who will speak up when there are so many fools and so much hatred?

What Hilali said

Here's the transcript.

It seems we women are to blame for everything- rape, theft, global warming, the economy, war, famine, disease, natural disasters... I'll just leave it to you to read because I am actually speechless. Try not to choke.

BELOVED brothers and sisters, we have spent this good and blessed night kneeling and prostrating, worshipping God, Lord of the Universe, through the prayer of al-Qiam, listening to the most truthful of words. And from the Sura of Al-Ma'ida (The Table), I stand before you to discuss this legal, criminal, legislative position through a Koranic judgment issued by the Supreme Koranic Court of Justice for the crime of theft.

In it, God put forward man before woman. God says, "The man thief and the woman thief, cut off the hands of both as a punishment, for that they have erred" - an example from God, for God is ... What should it be, God is forgiving, merciful, or mighty, wise? No, it has to be mighty, wise, not forgiving, merciful. Not at all. No way. For God is mighty, wise.

So, we look at the penal code in the Koran for the crime of adultery. In theft, the man was put forward before the woman. We come to the penal code in the Koran for the crime of adultery. God says, "The adulteress and the adulterer, you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes."
So why is the man put forward before the woman for theft, and the woman put forward before the man. In the code of what? Adultery.

Dear beloved, God called the Koran the Al-Dhikr Al-Hakim. He called it the Al-Dhikr Al-Hakim. A book whose verses are wise, a book whose verses are detailed. And who is someone wise? The one who prescribes the right medicine for the right illness, we call him wise. And the one who says the right word at the right time, we call him wise. And the one who acts appropriately on issues, wise. All the verses of the wise Koran, at their beginnings and at their ends, there is a connection between the body and the end. Between the context of the verse and its beginning, and then its closing, the end of the verse.

"Forgiving, merciful" has a meaning. "Mighty, wise" has a meaning. "Forgiving, patient" has a meaning. "Patient, forgiving" has a meaning. "Hearing, knowledgeable" has a meaning.
Every verse, when it ends with the mention of one of the attributes of God, has a wisdom that is legislative, rhetoric, in the body of thatverse.

This verse in particular, the verse in the Sura of Al-Ma'ida, when the Koran was revealed, and it used to get revealed to the Messenger of God, there were no recording devices to tape them. And they didn't have then telephones that can take pictures and record. And at that time, there were no cassettes, and even 99 per cent of the people didn't know how to read or write. So they relied on memorising. On intuition. On their memories. One would hear the verse spoken by the Messenger of God, so he'd recite it and chant it in prayer until he memorised it. Very few knew how to write.

One Arab man heard this verse by the Messenger of God, and while he was in his field, his orchard, at his work - he's a working man - he was reciting the verse: "The man thief and the woman thief, cut off the hands of both as a punishment, for that they have erred - an example from God." But instead of saying "for God is mighty, wise", he said "for God is forgiving, merciful".

A nomad was passing by, he was a non-Muslim. The companion of the Prophet was reciting the verse, and the nomad was passing by. He heard the verse. Immediately, naturally, and with refined eloquence, he said that it was not right. Without hearing the full verse. So that nomad asked the companion of the Messenger of God what was he saying. He answered, "I am reciting something from the Koran". But the nomad said, "Your Koran is in Arabic, but you have never had such linguistic fault. Recite it again."

So the companion recited, "The man thief and the woman thief, cut off the hands of both as a punishment, for that they have erred - an example from God." But instead of saying "for God is mighty, wise", he said "for God is forgiving, merciful". He (the nomad) said, "That is not right". The man said, "You, a nomad, (inaudible). He answered, "It's not right. And I challenge you that it is not right. These words could never have been spoken by Mohammed son of Abdullah, the master eloquent. And they could never be words revealed unto him by God.."

He said, "Let's go to the Prophet." He then said, "Oh, Messenger of God, I have recited a verse but the nomad corrected it for me." He said, "Yes, your companion says, for God is forgiving, merciful". If God forgave and was merciful, He wouldn't command the 'cutting off'. But He is mighty, wise, which is why He commanded the cutting off. The verse should end with "For he is mighty, wise". The Prophet said to him, "The nomad has corrected your mistake with the eloquence and good style and beauty of the Arabic language."

Yes, the nomad is right. "For God is mighty, wise", not forgiving. "For God is forgiving, merciful", that's in another life where forgiveness and mercy is hoped for. But in a verse where there is "cutting off", and where there is a limit imposed, God is mighty and wise, so He commanded the cutting off. But if He was forgiving and merciful, He wouldn't have commanded the cutting off.
Also, in the same context, what we heard yesterday in the verse from Al-Ma'ida, in its end, what Jesus said. "And when God asked: Oh Jesus, son of Mary! Didn't you say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside God?" He said, "Be glorified." He did not even want to repeat the accusation. He didn't want to repeat the same word. He said "Be glorified. It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then you knew it. You know what is in my mind and I do not know what is in your mind? You alone know what is hidden."

We come to the end of the verse, "I only told them what You bade me. I said, 'Serve God, my Lord and your Lord. I watched over them while living in their midst, and ever You took me to Yourself, You have been watching them. You are the witness to all things'." We come to the closing of the verse, "If You punish them, they surely are Your servants. And if You forgive them, surely You are forgiving, merciful?" Not at all.

Why wasn't the verse ended with forgiveness and mercy? Because there is a crime of polytheism. God does not forgive polytheism, and forgives everything else. These people said that God took a son, these people said that divinity united with man, and the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and they will see mercy? They will never see it, not him or his father. Not dad or mum. No one will see mercy, of those who believe in polytheism. Our Master Jesus knows that the crime is big. And there is no appeal for it. No way the judgment can be appealed. And they will never have intercession on the Day of Judgment, because polytheism is a great injustice. If it was a simple matter, the verse would have ended with "For God is forgiving, merciful". But it ended with "If You punish them, they surely are Your servants. And if You forgive them." They'll never see it. You will be wise, You will rule, then they'll cop it.

Those who disbelieve amongst the people of the Book and the polytheists, where will they go? Surfers Paradise? Gold Coast? Where? To the fire of hell. And not part-time, they'll be in it for eternity. What are these people? The most evil of God's creation on the face of earth. The issue is clear. So, the verse should be ended with what? "For God is mighty, wise." Not "For God is forgiving, merciful". In regard to polytheism with our Master Jesus, and in regard to the judgment on those who steal, rob and mess everything, God is mighty, wise. "The man thief and woman thief." Why, my Lord. I am wondering, why didn't the Koran say "The woman thief and man thief, cut off their hands"? While there is "The adulteress and the adulterer, whip them". Why didn't He say, "The adulterer and the adulteress"? It's because they are wise words. The reason for putting the man ahead of the woman in the issue of stealing is because it is the wisdom. This is reality. This is the truth.

On the issue of stealing, when the man is responsible for earning. He's responsible for the expenses, for the food and water. He is the one who has to pay the rent, he is responsible for the alimony, he is responsible for feeding his children. Maybe circumstances forced him and Satan tempted him, and there is a woman like hell behind him; she never has enough. She wants to change the furniture, change the lounge every year. And behind every man who is a thief, a greedy woman. She is pushing him. Not our women in Australia, the women of Canada. The hall up there is full. They are the women of Canada and Mexico, the ones who encourage their men - to do what? Go! Get me! And no matter how much he brings her, she wants more. She wants to change the car, and change ... Of course, the woman keeps demanding from her husband more than his ability. Either she will tell him to go and deal in drugs, or to go and steal. What's more than that? Spend as much as you have! You know your husband, upside down! If you demand from your husband more than his ability, then what does that mean? Who is the one who would have to become a mafia? A gangster? And steal cars? And smash banks? And deal in the "blue disease" (drugs)? Who is the one who commits these crimes of stealing? Who? The man or the woman? It's the man.

That's why the man was mentioned before the woman when it comes to theft, because his responsibility is to be the provider. "The male thief and the female thief, cut off their ..."
But in the event of adultery, the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time with women. Why? Because the woman possesses the weapon of seduction. She is the one who takes her clothes off, cuts them short, acts flirtatious, puts on make-up and powder, and goes on the streets dallying. She is the one wearing a short dress, lifting it up, lowering it down, then a look, then a smile, then a word, then a greeting, then a chat, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay Jail, then comes a merciless judge who gives you 65years.

But the whole disaster, who started it? The Al-Rafihi scholar says in one of his literary works, he says: If I come across a crime of rape - kidnap and violation of honour - I would discipline the man and teach him a lesson in morals, and I would order the woman be arrested and jailed for life.

Why, Rafihi? He says, because if she hadn't left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn't have snatched it. If you take a kilo of meat, and you don't put it in the fridge, or in the pot, or in the kitchen, but you put in on a plate and placed it outside in the yard. Then you have a fight with the neighbour because his cats ate the meat. Then (inaudible). Right or not?
If one puts uncovered meat out in the street, or on the footpath, or in the garden, or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, then the cats come and eat it, is it the fault of the cat or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem! If it was covered the cat wouldn't have. It would have circled around it and circled around it, then given up and gone.

If she was in her room, in her house, wearing her hijab, being chaste, the disasters wouldn't have happened. The woman possesses the weapon of seduction and temptation. That's why Satan says about the woman, "You are half a soldier. You are my messenger to achieve my needs. You are the last weapon I would use to smash the head of the finest of men. There are a few men that I use a lot of things with, but they never heed me. But you? Oh, you are my best weapon."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hilaly's Press Statement

I received these two press statements by email. The first was issued by Hilaly in defence of his comments. The second is from the United Muslim Women's Association Inc.

I'll start with Hilaly. First of all there's the high moral ground and insidious references to the "western mentality" as if it is somehow not as sophisticated as the warped Islamist mentality.

Then there is the inference that Muslim women who do not adopt so called "Islamic dress code" are destined to burn in Hell. And as if that is not enough he goes on to condemn those who do not tolerate the "moderate balanced way which I adopt to advocate for women’s issues, national harmony and co-existence, and to hold fast to the love of our Australian home, to protect it from all forms of extreme thoughts and to reject all acts of violence and any act that breaches the rule of law."

What a joke! Moderate? Balanced? Advocate? National harmony?

The fact is that this Press Release actually reiterates exactly what he said- that women should be covered lest THEY provoke men.

What's even sadder is that IT WORKED. The Press Release from the UMWA, who originally spoke out in full force against what he said, now appeases him and blames the media for blowing it out of proportion!

I agree to some extent that it has been blown out of proportion. The Sydney Morning Herald devoted a whole 8 pages to Hilaly's rant. A bit much really don't you think? But that is no excuse to appease him and accept his half arsed apology.

Read it and try not to laugh...

Explanatory Statement by the Mufti Al-Hilaly
Regarding the Recent Media Campaign

I would like to outline clearly and plainly some of the facts and basics that formulate my faith, belief and my understanding of the teachings of the true religion of Islam:

1-The crime of rape against any woman is an abominable crime; it has no justification, and the perpetrator deserves the severest punishment and would not deserve to belong to a religion or to humanity.

2-Women in Australia or any other western society are free to wear what they like, and no Muslim has the right to dictate the rulings of his religion on others. While non-Muslim women can cover or reveal whatever they choose of their bodies, Islamic Shari’a made it incumbent upon Muslim men to lower their gaze. It is prohibited for them to stare at the beauty of strange women.

3- It is my duty as a religious leader to advise Muslim women to adhere to and abide by the Islamic dress code. Having said that, Muslim women are free to comply with or reject my advice, and their reckoning will be with Allah the Almighty.

4-By saying the “exposed meat” displayed in a degrading way is a simile for a woman, making herself subject to abuse by men with diseased souls whose animalistic instincts will overcome them whereby they would abandon their humanity, mind and religion. These men are responsible for their crime.

5-The metaphor I used of the “exposed meat” was not appropriate for the western mentality. It has been quoted and misinterpreted by some groups with ill intentions. This metaphor was used in a private lesson given inside the mosque after the Taraweeh (optional night) prayers on the fourth day of Ramadan. It was meant for the Muslim attendees at the mosque and not the general public and particularly not the general women of our Australian society.

Apart from the above-mentioned facts, I would like to make it known to all my brothers and sisters in and out of Australia that:

After the Taraweeh (optional night) prayers on 27/09/2006, at the Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia, I gave a lesson to the members of the Islamic community of Australia, the title of which was: “Why did Allah, the Almighty, mention ‘man’ before ‘woman’ in the crime of theft? as is quoted in the Quran: {[As for] the thief, the male and the female, …} [Al-Ma’idah 5.38] while He mentioned ‘woman’ before ‘man’ in the crime of adultery?, as is quoted in the Quran: {The woman and the man found guilty of adultery or fornication, …} [An-Nur 24.2]”.

This lesson lasted approximately 15 minutes; 10 minutes of these were spent on explaining the meaning of the first verse, and the remaining time was spent on giving advice and guidance relating to the way a woman dresses and the methods of seduction and the beauty given to her by the Almighty Allah. I emphasised that exceeding the limits in this regard is dangerous to both men and women; and that the devil exploits these charms of seduction to tempt both men and women to commit adultery and fornication. In this case, both men and women are committing a sin. So the topic did not deal with the crime of rape.

At the end of the lesson when I was explaining the reason why ‘woman’ was mentioned before ‘man’ in the verse dealing with the crime of adultery, I said it was because she possessed the charm, the methods of seduction and all similar devices given to her by Allah to tempt the man. For that I borrowed a metaphor used by an author called Ar-Rifa’i. He said exposing the meat in an illicit way would encourage the cats to devour it. I didn’t mean by that to humiliate the immodest women; I meant to censure the person who would abandon his humanity and turn into a vicious animal; and there’s a big difference between a cat’s behaviour and that of a human’s, as the latter is commanded and responsible for their actions.

I confess that this analogy is inappropriate and unacceptable for the Australian society and the western society in general.

I am deeply saddened and distressed by the acts of some devious groups which lurk in the dark watching me, and who cannot tolerate the moderate balanced way which I adopt to advocate for women’s issues, national harmony and co-existence, and to hold fast to the love of our Australian home, to protect it from all forms of extreme thoughts and to reject all acts of violence and any act that breaches the rule of law.

Yes, I feel deeply saddened that such an ordinary lesson has been used to slander and defame me after it had been translated with the ill intention of a dubious media that wishes to incite and they present an unfair campaign, the aims of which are very well known.

Once again, I turn to all the women of Australia and the world. You are the shining lights of the world, you are more than half of the society, and you are the daughters, the sisters, the mothers and the aunts. How could any sane person think of humiliating you?

You are the cherished pearls, the dearest thing in the world. So don’t be taken as offerings at the temples of the merchants of pleasure, or advocates of decadence and corruption.

Each one of us is responsible for accounting for his or her own actions before he or she is asked about them by the almighty Allah (on the Day of Judgment). Once again I am very sorry and apologize for what resulted from an unintentional analogy.

With all my respect to the women of the world.

In due course I will take the necessary decision that shall lift the pressures that have been placed on our Australian Muslim community and that which will benefit all Australians.

The pressure of the last couple of days has had an obvious effect on my health and well-being. I ask the public to give my family and I some privacy, time and space to recover. I have also asked for indefinite leave from my duties at Lakemba mosque.


Sheikh Taj El-Deen El-Hilali
Mufti Of Australia


The current situation involving His Emminence Sheikh Taj Aldin Alhilali, Mufti of Australia, is of grave concern to the United Muslim Women's Association.

The collapse of His Emminence today highlights the stress that the media harassment of Sheikh Alhilali has placed him under. The United Muslim Women's Association sends its prayers and well wishes to His Emminence for a speedy recovery.

The manner in which this incident has been scrutinised and sensationalised by the Media has also placed all Muslim women under strain. The United Muslim Women's Association calls on all media outlets to show restraint and decency in the reporting of this matter. Regardless of the controversy itself the method of reportage has been grossly intrusive and inappropriate.

The United Muslim Women's Association further calls on all levels of government to show leadership during this critical time and to temper the language currently being used which is inflaming community ill will against Muslims generally and Muslim women in particular. It is disappointing to see our elected leaders using the current crises for political mileage at the expense of the Muslim community.

His Emminence, Sheikh Taj Aldin Alhilali, has been a long term supporter of the United Muslim Women's Association and a Champion of women's rights generally, not just those of Muslim women. He has been unstinting and unselfish in his support for the betterment of women in our society. He has, and will continue to, enjoy the support of many women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, within our community.

The United Muslim Women's Association accepts the explanation provided by His Emminence, as outlined in his Press Release of today, as to both his words and his intent. The Association considers the matter to be closed and would urge all parties, media, government and community to show responsibility and restraint in allowing His Emminence to recover his health in private.

United Muslim Women's Association Inc.

30th October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Letter to the Edior re Shiekh Hilaly's comments

My letter was published in The West Australian on Wednesday 31 October.

Dear Editor
For Sheikh Taj El Din al Hilaly to imply that Muslim women such as myself should stay at home, hidden behind their hijab or else expect to be treated as a 'piece of meat' is not only offensive but utterly disgusting. It appears the Sheikh would have us all shroud ourselves in black, walk ten steps behind our husbands and hide our faces in shame lest we unwittingly provoke lust in men who cannot control themselves. How, then are Muslim women expected to make positive contributions as Australian citizens in our society? How are we to excercise our right to education, to work, to life? Rights stated in the Quran.

I call for the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils to act on behalf of the people it is supposed to represent. I call for AFIC to publicly renounce the comments made by the Sheikh and to remove him from his role as spiritual adviser at Australia's largest Mosque.

To date, AFIC has proven itself to be nothing but a platform for individuals such as Ameer Ali to promote their own political agendas. It is time AFIC took some action and showed Australian Muslims where its interests really lie. It is time AFIC did something for the people it supposedly represents and sent a clear message to the broader Australian community that Australian Muslims reject the rantings of Sheikh Taj El Din al Hilaly.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Caliphate and You...

In anticipation of the reestablishment of the Caliphate what better way to
prepare for that coming paradise than with a quick quiz to help one get
acclimated to the new rules? This test was sent to me by email.

1. When the Caliphate is established, it will be run by which nationality?
a. Nigerians
b. Pakistanis
c. Saudis
d. Egyptians

2. Under the Caliphate, slave markets will return to what city?
a. Mecca
b. Dar es-Salam
c. Cairo
d. All of the above

3. Under the Caliphate, a woman is free to marry which of the following?
a. any man she chooses
b. any man her father chooses
c. any man her brother chooses
d. any man who offers the most money to the family

4. A woman becoming Caliph will happen when which of the following occurs?
a. hell freezes over
b. the 12th imam returns
c. the 1200th imam returns
d. one week after never

5. During the Caliphate Inauguration, Nancy Ajram will be stoned in what
a. Beirut
b. Tripoli, Libya
c. Tripoli, Lebanon
d. Too close to call

6. During Caliphate Inauguration, Amr Khaled will be where?
a. Los Angeles
b. Las Vegas
c. Jet skiing in Sharm el-Sheik
d. Disneyworld

7. Under the Caliphate, South Asians in the Persian Gulf will be treated
a. like human beings
b. like Africans
c. somewhere between Africans and Jehovah’s Witnesses
d. the same.

8. With respect to Darfur, the Caliphate will do which of the following?
a. not a damn thing
b. not a Goddamned thing
c. a & b
d. b & a

9. Please complete the following: It will take Turkey ____ year(s) to seize
control of the Caliphate.
a. 5
b. 10
c. 0, they already control it
d. However long it takes but there is no way Pakistanis will be allowed to
call the shots. Maybe a Sudanese, but that’s it.

10. Life in a Sharia paradise is
a. totally awesome
b. awesome for women since they can be fully protected
c. like Mardi Gras without the booze, boobs, and music
d. pretty chill but only if you get to wear the black turban, otherwise it
ranks below a root canal in Kinshasa.

The answer key:
1. d
2. d
3. b, c, or d
4. c or d
5. c
6. c
7. c
8. d
9. d
10. a

The breakdown:
If you got 100% correct congrats you are officially Caliphate ready.
80-90% correct you have achieved zealous convert status.
60-70% correct you are licensed to work Jeddah, Dubai and Khartoum
30-50% correct you are kafir scum. Get away from here.
0-20% correct you had better pray brother.

I got a whopping 60% correct. Was hoping to get lower!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Australia's "Mufti" calls women "uncovered meat"

So, Sheikh Taj Il Din (Australia's so called "Mufti") has managed to get himself on the front page of newspapers around the nation again. This time, the man who can only be described as a moron at best, has caused an uproar by comparing women to a piece of meat in a sermon he delivered during Ramadan at Sydney's Lakemba Mosque which attracts perhaps the largest number of worshippers of any Mosque in Australia he blamed women who "sway suggestively" and who wore makeup and no hijab for sexual attacks.

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat," he said.

"The uncovered meat is the problem.

"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hajib, no problem would have occurred."

Well Hilaly- guess that makes me a piece of meat!

Sheik al-Hilaly told The Australian that he only meant to refer to prostitutes as meat, and not any scantily clad woman without a hijab.

Yeah right- seems he is now trying to justify his stupidity.

I find Hilaly's comments not only offensive but downright disgusting. I call for the Asutralian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC)to immediately demand that Hilaly step down from his position as Mufti. We cannot have this man professing himself as 'a leader'. Australian Muslims can no longer keep making excuses for him.

AFIC, I know you have been a notoriously useless body that has done nothing for the Muslims in Australia and have served only as a platform for individuals with their own political agendas- but now is the time to take action and do something for the people you claim to represent.

Get Hilaly out!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Happy Eid ul Fitri everyone.
May the new moon bring happiness, prosperity, peace and love into all your lives.


Saturday, October 21, 2006


Congratulations to the UK for dismissing the claims of discrimination from Aisha Azmi's for unfair dismissal because she refused to remove her niqab (face veil) while employed as a techer's assistant at a Church of England school.

Read the story here

She was asked by school administrators to remove the niqab after some of her students claimed that it was difficult to understand her during English language lessons.

I used to be an English language teacher (many many moons ago) and I know that, when teaching phonetics and pronunciation, it is necessary that students are able to see your mouth movements.

Her story has sparked a huge and timely debate in the UK about the veil. What is really interesting is that she did not wear it when she had her initial job interview in front of a panel of men!

Now, I've said before that I fully support a woman's right to choose what she wants to wear- be that burqa or bikini- but I do not support the objectification of the hijab in its various forms for political purposes or personal agendas. If she can take it off for her job interview, why can't she take it off to teach her young students?

The comments by Muslims on this issue has been refreshingly reasonable with many agreeing with the court's decision and stating that the niqab is not mandated by Islam. Yay!

What really irks me though is some of the high and mighty responses from some Western women who refuse to recognise that the veil is often a woman's choice. To them the veil stands as the single, most potent symbol of gender based oppression while failing to recognise that, in the West too, many women are still fighting for equal rights.

The Western feminist discourse largely portrays Muslim women as unable to speak for themselves because of the repressive regimes under which they live. Thus the Western woman is bound to speak on behalf of her Muslim sister. This has effectively reduced Muslim female identity to an article of clothing.

The imagery is powerful. The veil is the shroud through which the muffled voices of Muslim women struggle to be heard. The emancipated Western woman seeks to symbolically, but also literally, “unveil” Muslim women as if somehow the act of “unveiling” will free them of the oppressive shackles with which they are bound.

Ironically, by focussing attention on superficial symbols such as the veil, Western feminist discourse serves to distract attention from the feminist objective of achieving fundamental social rights for women.

I welcome the open dialogue and debate on the veil but let's get away from the moral high ground that Western feminism propogates- let's keep this debate about the responsibilities that go hand in hand with rights. Women have a right to choose what they wear but a responsibility to exercise that right in the appropriate context. After all, Aisha Azmi would probably have received the same fate had she shown up to teach her class in a bikini.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Three Lives

Tonight I want to write about my three lives- the life everyone thinks I have, the life I think I have and the life I really have.- three lives.

Life 1- The life everyone thinks I have
This is my public life. A life where I am competent, diligent, professional, passionate, intolerant of incompetence and stupidity, prone to outbursts if work is not done properly, happy go lucky, committed to a cause. The life that people see at work, at University, at public functions.

Someone once told me that people find me intimidating because I seem to do everything so well- so perfectly. And yet- I don't feel like I do everything so well- so perfectly at all. I pond skim- that's what I do.

Life 2- The life I think I have
This is my private life. The life beyond the public gaze. Loving mother, devoted wife, dutiful daughter, caring friend, reliable sister.

It's the life of my waking day. My conscious life. My 'eyes wide shut' life. My driftwood life.

Life 3- The life I really have
This is my struggle. The life that creeps up on me in those minutes, hours, that I lie in bed at night before drifting off to sleep. The life of a thousand words, thoughts, ideas that live in the back of my head and that are screaming to get out. The life that hides in the shadows.

This life is full of self doubt, of questions I cannot answer, of memories that just won't go away and of secrets- big secrets- secrets too big for such a small life.

On my 25th birthday I cried. Not just shed a tear, I mean I really really cried. I cried because I realised that I had reached 25 and hadn't done any of the things I had hoped I would do in the heedy days of being a teenager, when I thought anything was possible. I hadn't written a book, I hadn't travelled the world, I hadn't forged a career in the literary world, I hadn't made my mark on anything. Instead I was in an abusive marraige, struggling with two young babies and emptiness.

Life happens. I know that now. And sometimes it gets in the way of all the plans you made when you didn't fully understand what life really was and how it could just happen right there in front of you and you'd never know. You'd never know until you woke up one day and thought to yourself 'how did I get here'.

I've embraced the tide of life since then and I've let the tide take me where it wants but I still struggle with a sense of urgency.

And I've started that book. The book about the life I really have.

Better late than never.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Freedom of Speech????

The pro-Israeli lobby is at it again. This time successfully banning an Aussie publisher and a Jewish Academic from speaking because of their views on Israel.

Author shunned for Israel criticism
Ed Pilkington, New YorkOctober 12, 2006

AUSTRALIAN author and former publisher Carmen Callil has become embroiled
in a dispute over freedom of speech in America after a party celebrating her new
book was cancelled because of her opinion about the modern state of Israel.

A party in honour of Bad Faith, Callil's account of Vichy official Louis Darquier, who arranged the deportation of thousands of Jews, was to be held at the French embassy in New York this week but was cancelled after the embassy became aware of a paragraph in the book's postscript.
In the postscript, Callil says she grew anxious while researching the "helpless terror
of the Jews of France" to see "what the Jews of Israel were passing on to the
Palestinian people. Like the rest of humanity, the Jews of Israel 'forget' the
Palestinians. Everyone forgets."

The embassy said the passage had been brought to its attention after a
guest declined the invitation because of it.

The row is the latest element in a dispute about restrictions on freedom of speech in the US in relation to comments on Israel.

A New York University academic had two speaking engagements called off
after criticism of his views.

Tony Judt, an American Jew who grew up in Britain, was to speak about the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on US foreign policy and at a separate location on "war and genocide in European memory today".

The first lecture was cancelled by the Polish consulate in New York, which owns the venue, while Mr Judt pulled out of the second after organisers asked him to refrain from direct references to Israel.

In both cases, pro-Israeli organisations and individuals had raised objections to Mr Judt's views on Israel.

Mr Judt said his views had been misrepresented.

"The only thing I have ever said is that Israel, as it is currently constituted as a Jewish state with different rights for different groups, is an anachronism in the modern age of democracies."

They sure are a powerful group. Just look at what Mel Gibson had to do to regain some credibility after his comments on Jews. Former KISS band member, Gene Simmons (the one with the tongue) made some really nasty comments about Muslims when he visited Australia in 2004, even going so far as to say "Islam was a "vile culture" that treated women worse than dogs."

Incidentally, the KISS concert was the first concert I ever went to at the ripe old age of 15 (am I showing my age now?)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Oops I (almost) did it again...

I almost did it again. I almost got really narky when someone told me I look like Nefertitti. But it is Ramadan so I held my tongue, smiled sweetly and said thankyou.

Now, it's not that I don't like Nefertitti or anything like that- it's just that I don't see the resemblance and don't understand why people always tell me that I look like her when they find out my origin is Egyptian.

The same with "exotic". Why do people alwways call me "exotic"? What's so 'exotic' about Egypt? When I think exotic, I think clear blue seas, palm trees and relaxation- not an overcrowded Metro car in downtown Cairo!

I don't know, why don't you guys make up your own minds.

Here is Nefertitti....

Here is my idea of 'exotic'...

And here is me....

What? You can't see the resemblance either? I thought so...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Secularism in the Middle East- an impossible dream?

I've been checking out some Middle East blogs lately- Sandmonkey, Big Pharoah, Hossam. I have to commend these bloggers on their vision for secularism in the Middle East but at the same time I have to wonder about the ability of Islamic states to embrace secularism.

It's something I've been thinking about lately because I have an upcoming public lecture and my topic for the talk is Islam and secularism in Australia.

The basic premise of secularism is a separation of the private (religion) from the public (affairs of the State). A nice idea but is it really possible? Although countries like the US and Australia define themselves as secular liberal democracies- just how secular are they?

Last night I watched an interview with Rupert Everett, a gay actor, who said that it is very difficult for gay actors in the US because the US is a very Christian nation. In Australia, the right wing Christian presence is becoming increasingly visible in the political arena as witnessed by the recent debate on the abortion drug RU486.

For secularism to be truly successful, religion must be wholly and solely a private affair. There can be no blurring of the boundaries between private and public. The notion of religion upon which secularism is based is one in which religion is defined as a spiritual practice- one that can be confined to the private and separated from the public. But what if a broader notion of religion is present- where religion is seen to be more a way of life than a private practice? This is precisely the dilemma facing Islam and secularism.

Secular Muslims, like myself, have no trouble confining religion to the private realm. Indeed, I have grown up with the notion that my religion was purely a private affair- something between me and God- and I thank my parents for instilling this in me.

But for many other Muslims it seems that Islam cannot be a private practice- it is, for them, a "way of life". Islam is the lens through which they view the world, the lens through which they articulate their needs, their views, their opinions- their world view is "I am Muslim therefore..." They define their identity wholly and solely as religious. But religion has no place in the public sphere of the secular state. So where does that leave them? and more importantly what does that mean for a secular experiment in the Middle East?

Secularism is brought into question where the state favours one religion over another- as Christianity is in both the US and Australia. If countries like the US and Australia are operating as pseudo-secular, how can we expect Islamic states to embrace secular democracy? There is no doubt in my mind that should secularism be introduced anywhere in the Middle East, Islam would be the religion of favour.

Is true secularism in the Mid East a pipe dream?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lifting the Veil

Ok. It had to happen sometime. I've been thinking about writing about the hijab, burqa, nikab and various forms of Islamic women's dress for some time and now's as good a time as any.

I am a Muslim woman- nobody can deny me this part of my identity. As far as I am concerned, the hijab, in its various forms, is a choice. It is not mandated by the Koran. I choose not to wear it. I believe that modesty can be displayed in many forms. I believe that I do not need to cover my hair to be modest.

I have, in the past, toyed with the idea of donning the hijab. At that time, I was feeling particularly angry and distressed by the acts of violence directed at women wearing the hijab in Australia. But when I really thought about it, the reason that I would have put on the hijab would have been to assert my identity- an act of defiance really- a statement. In doing so, I would have been guilty of what I have accused Western feminists of doing- of objectifying the hijab and reducing it to a symbol. So, to wear the hijab because I was angry would not have been the right reason.

I listened to and read the stories of hijabi women who declared that they rejoiced in covering their bodies, that the hijab gave them a sense of control over their bodies, that they felt they were being appreciated for their brains more than their looks. As much as I tried, I simply could not relate to this notion. Even when I was disturbed by the comments of some men in my workplace about my looks, I still could not relate to this notion. Even when a male colleague told me that I should "uglify" myself to be taken more seriously, I still could not relate to the notion of having to cover myself to be respected. I simply could not relate the problem back to me- if men cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner- that is their problem, not mine.

I visited Egypt earlier this year, and it was this trip that cemented my decision not to wear the hijab. It seemed to me that I was the only Muslim woman who did not wear it. Whenever I had a conversation with someone where I revealed that I was indeed Muslim, invariably I was asked why I did not wear the hijab. At first, the question threw me and I simply could not offer an answer other than that I lived in a Western country and that my work demanded a lot of public appearances where it was easier for me to get people to relate to what I was saying if I appeared to be like them.

But the more I observed the phenomenon of the hijab in Egypt, the more I rejected it. The hijab has become a fashion statement. Young women wear nude coloured body hugging tops underneath revealing halter necks, tight jeans, a brightly coloured scarf on their heads- this is the new 'hijabi'. They, like the Western feminist discourse on the veil, have objectified the hijab- it is not about maintaining any semblance of modesty or being appreciated for their brains.

I started asking women why they wore the hijab. Their responses varied:
I did not want to be mistaken for a Christian
The girls at school teased me
My hair is difficult to manage and I am too busy to go to the hairdresser every week
The cost of hair products is too high

Not a single woman I spoke to mentioned it as a religious choice. Not a single woman I spoke to "rejoiced" in covering her body.

My friend gave me some words of wisdom for which I am grateful. She said "Whenever anyone asks me why I do not wear the veil I simply reply that my hijab is in my heart"

I like that. My hijab is in my heart. And for now at least, that's where it is staying.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dead or not?

Reports of OBL's death from Typhoid are causing confusion:

SPECULATION about the death of Osama bin Laden continued to swirl across
the globe last night, but in the three capitals most likely to be the first to
know if and when he dies - Riyadh, Islamabad and Washington - there were
blanket denials of any knowledge of French reports that the al-Qaeda leader
had succumbed to typhoid last month.

Significantly, in view of claims that it was Saudi intelligence that was said to be the original source for the report, an official statement issued by the Government in Riyadh said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no evidence to support recent media reports that Osama bin Laden is dead.
"Information that has been reported otherwise is purely speculative and cannot be independently verified."
Internet monitors who track terrorist chatter also said they had come across nothing to support the reports. The Washington-based IntelCentre, which monitors terrorism communications, was quoted as saying it was not aware of any similar reports on the internet.
Officials in Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be based in the remote North Waziristan district, insisted they knew nothing that would confirm the reports of his death on August 23. Pakistan's Interior Minister, Aftab Sherpao, said: "No, we do not have any such information." The French regional daily L'Est Republicain reported on Saturday that Saudi intelligence first got reports of bin Laden's death on September 4 and that last Thursday this was passed to the French DGSE foreign intelligence service, which relayed it to President Jacques Chirac's office. Australian officials were treating the claim cautiously, with Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile warning against premature celebrations.


Bugger! Guess I have to cancel the Ding Dong the Witch is Dead Party I was planning!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm angry.
I know that's not unusual but I really need to vent.

There are a lot of Muslim community organisations here in Australia that claim to work for the well being of the Muslim communities here. One of them is a Muslim women's organisation that gets government funding to provide services to Muslim women.

While these kinds of organisations may do some good work, they are often staffed by inexperienced women who have a particular view of Islamic teachings. Very few are secular Muslims. Most wear the hijab or the burqa. That's fine. I have no problem with that- while I do not agree with it I will always defend a woman's right to wear it if she so chooses- just as I would defend a woman's right to wear a bikini if she so chooses.

The problem is that these organisations often only provide services to like minded women. Often the kinds of 'services' they provide serve, not to assist women to integrate and participate in the broader community, but to keep them in their place. I call these organisations The Enablers.

They advocate for Sharia divorce courts. Why? We have a legal system in Australia to deal with divorces regardless of religion.

They advocate for Muslim women only swimming sessions at local pools. Why? Most pools have women's only sessions but they will not mix with Western women.

They advocate for Muslim women only English language classes. Why? Nearly all higher education institutions are mixed sex.

But what really pisses me off is that they often have first hand information about women and young girls being beaten by their husbands and fathers. And they do nothing about it. They work under a shroud of silence and enable these abusive conditions to continue. They prefer to deal with problems themselves and will not admit that they simply do not have the capacity to find solutions.

I've met a lot of Muslim women who do not wear hijab and who have gone to these kinds of organisations seeking assistance. They have been treated as outsiders, as somehow less Muslim and therefore less worthy.

It's not unusual for Muslims in the diaspora to take the moral highground. Heck! Every Muslim I meet tries to make out that they are more Muslim than the Muslim I met before them! But it really starts to get serious when there are women and girls being beaten and the only people offering assistance are there to keep them where they are. It's shameful.

Ramadan Kareem

Well, it is a bit late (oops) but a blessed and prosperous Ramadan to all.

This year my Ramadan resolutions are:
I shall contemplate the meaning of my life on this beautiful Earth
I shall pray for peace in the Middle East
I shall empathise with the millions of people in the world for whom no water and no food are part of the everyday challenges of life
I shall call my parents more often and break fast with them as often as I can
I shall thank Allah each and everyday for my family and friends

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why oh why

Why do I have to read Focault? Have been avoiding it all this time and now can no longer do it. This is particularly harrowing considering I have just returned from a conference where the snotty nosed academics with oh-so-proper British accents began every paragraph with a quote from Focault or some long dead obscure French philosopher.

As they so eloquently rambled on about something that I am sure is of no consequence I looked around the room thinking I was the only stupid one who didn't understand a word of what they were saying. Then I spotted them. The Colleagues- there they were in full force to support the speaker, nodding their heads in unison like a flock of silly pidgeons and frowning where appropriate as if on cue.

Why do academics do that? Why do they take their little posse with them to their presentations and why do they talk only to their posse as if nobody else in the room is allowed into their own little world? And why do their posse have a series of prepared questions that only confound the whole bloody thing even more? Do they mean to make me feel stupid? Is is a conspiracy aimed at eradicating all the dumb asses from academia?

Gladly, I was not the only one who left the room feeling even more confused than when I had entered. A few people spotted the bewildered look on my face (was I that obvious) and mumbled as they walked past "what was that about?" Should I be taking comfort in the fact that I am not the only dumb ass?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

YEPP- I have now officially joined the 21st Century...

I am now the proud owner of an MP3 player! For someone who only got a mobile phone about six months ago (yes it's true- my excuse was I didn't want people bothering me all day), this is actually quite a big feat! Feel so ooooooh technologically savvy now, especially because it is such a tiny little thing that's able to do so much.
I bought it for work so that I could make voice files but I was even more excited by the fact that I could download all my daggy music and listen to it through headphones and no-one will ever know. Here are some of the songs I downloaded- sing along with me if you know the words (and you know you do)...

Nutbush City Limits
Supernatural Thing
Bat out of Hell (awesome to work out to)
Picture of You (yes, the old Boyzone song!)
Let it Flow from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack
Water Runs Dry (Boyz to Men- aaaaah)
No Diggity- a Blackstreet classic
Mr Boombastic

Now all I have to do is to learn how to not sing loudly along with the music coz people are starting to look at me funny...

Friday, September 22, 2006

On Speaking Out...

There are many calls for 'moderate' Muslims to speak out against terrorism. In fact, Letters to the Editor and Editorials in most of our popular newspapers often ask "why don't Muslims speak out and condemn terrorism and violence." Silence is often interpreted as a sign that Muslims the world over condone terrorism and is used by some to further support the stereotype of the ugly, violent Arab.

I came across this interesting piece in "They Dare to Speak Out" by Paul Findley...

"...the late I.F. "Izzy" Stone, a widely respected author, commentator, and self-styled radical, told me why many of his fellow Jews work so
aggressively to stifle free speech. He explained that, because Jews in
Israel seem constantly at war with Arabs, Jews in America feel that they are in the same war
. To them, free speech is a luxury that can be
sacrificed where debate might weaken US support for an Israel at war."

The same can be said of Muslims in the West. TheMilitant Islamists not only know this, but use this to their full advantage. Bin Laden's continual reference to the "Islamic nation" is not by accident. His carefully selected words are designed to
exploit the notion that Muslims around the globe are involved in the war
with Israel. And it's working.

When Mohammed Siddique Khan, the ringleader of the London bombings, a British born, second generation Pakistani said in his video message "I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters" he was not referring to Muslims in Pakistan or Britain. He was referring to Muslims at war with Israel and the US in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In my experience, everytime I've met a Jewish person, he or she will sooner or later bring up the Palestine/Israel issue. The first time this happened I was surprised. Why should I want to discuss this issue with anyone? Why should I have any interest in this issue at all? I'm not Palestinian. I'm not Israeli. But I am Muslim.

And therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the crux of the matter. Because I am Muslim, it is assumed that I have something to say on the issue even if I'd much rather talk about the mating habits of the African sand fly!