If it [the school development application] does get approved, everyragger that walks up the street's going to get smashed up the arse by about 30Aussies.
And Nile's definition of Muslim is rather broad. During the last New South Wales state election, Nile's party issued a press release entitled ''No More Muslims''.
Ned Mannoun, a Liberal candidate in Liverpool, was much luckier. The CDP were happy to hand this young candidate their preferences, despite his Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim ancestry.
Sectarian bigotry and prejudice require the suspension of reason and logic.
Let's return to the Radio National report on the recent Camden public meeting. Expecting some crowd-control problems, organisers hired security guards. The poor guards happened to look somewhat Middle Eastern. The crowd behaved even more Middle Eastern, screaming in unison: ''Let us in, Mohammed, you're already dividing us up!''
But why stop at Mohammed? How about that Mediterranean lad who wore a multicoloured jacket and became ancient Egypt's agriculture minister?
Or better still, given it's Christmas, why not the name of that carpenter's step-son who was born in the West Bank town of Beyt Lahm some 2000 years ago?
Indeed, it's likely that the carpenter's ragger wife would suffer the same fate at the hands of 30 Aussies as suggested by the Camden protestor. Certainly statues of her that adorn Catholic churches across the world never show her with an uncovered head.
Speaking of raggers, one Camden local newspaper ran a profile of an Anglo-Australian woman who had lived in the Camden area for over 15 years and who just happens to cover her head with a loosely fitting scarf. Until that article, she had been active in the local community. Now, she feels shunned. One of her adult children described her feelings.
Mum asked one of them, 'What's changed about me?' Then one of the locals said to her, 'We thought you were wearing that thing because you had cancer.' Yeah, right! Cancer for 15 years?Yes, prejudice does involve suspension of reason.
After the meeting, Fred Nile quoted a verse from the Koran that contradicted the Christian belief in Christ's divinity as a reason to oppose the school. No doubt Nile would similarly oppose a Jewish school in the area.
Yet when the ABC reporter asked Nile whether he took all verses from the Bible literally, he was left dumbfounded.
Nile, of course, didn't quote those verses of the Koran where Mary is described as having been chosen above all women throughout the ages to undergo the Immaculate Conception. Nor does he quote verses in which Mary is advised by the angel that she will give birth to God's Messiah. And it's unlikely Nile has even read those verses where Jesus's miracles are mentioned.
And so in the 2007th year of our Lord, it seems parts of Australia would still be considered unsafe for Jesus to return to.
How ironic that Christmas this year coincides with the most sacred religious festival in the Islamic calendar.
Millions of Muslims have gathered in Mecca to take part in rites dating back over 3000 years in a place they believe was consecrated by Abraham. Their relatives and friends back home will be celebrating with prayers, exchange of gifts and visits to family and friends. In Australia, the end of festivities will approximately coincide with Christmas Eve.
Meanwhile, Jewish Australians have recently completed the eight days of Hanukkah, commemorating the sacrifices of the Jewish warriors who defended their House of Worship and their faith in the Maccabean revolts some two centuries before Christ.
A calm and rational study of Abraham's triplet faiths would lead any reasonable person to conclude their similarities well exceed their differences. To believe otherwise, and to manufacture hatred between followers of these faiths, requires a suspension of reason.
Whatever some people in Camden might think, the rest of us should make sure we don't allow this Christmas to be consumed by sectarian prejudice.
Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney lawyer and associate editor of AltMuslim.com. This article was first published in The Canberra Times on Saturday 22 December 2007.
Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf
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