Thursday, August 14, 2008

LETTERS: Response to Rushdie article ...

I received an interesting letter in the mail in response to my article suggesting Rushdie isn't being terribly consistent on freedom of speech and freedom to offend. Sue D is of the view that I am part of a patriarchal system where women are silenced. Sue D clearly hasn't met my mother.

Here is the letter in full, with the writer's full name abbreviated ...

11 August 2008

The Age – 9th Aug 2008
“Rushdie no believer in free speech”

Dear Irfan Yusuf,

I hate to see you so vulnerable that you are losing your sense of humour!

(Of course S Rushdie is a hypocrite - no one cares.)

The prophet Muhammad must be turning in his grave – he would not have wanted to be held up as God or as a perfect example of a man!

As long as you attempt to maintain your patriarchal system, you will always accessible to attacks of laughter – accept this! (or change.)

I feel sorry for you poor, gorgeous, deprived blokes – you don’t have the women to speak up for you (obviously they are not guiding you from the wider international community anyway) – I tend to think this serves you right.’’

Meanwhile I’ll be waiting to enjoy ‘Noor’ on SBS (hopefully) – will it match the excellent ‘Silk Market’?

Why should I care if you Muslim-Australians choose not to contribute to civic life?

Sue D
Victoria

Sue D's claim that Aussies who feel inclined to tick the "Muslim" box on their census forms "choose not to contribute to civic life" is laughable. When she runs for local government and in a federal election, and when she has articles published in major Australian newspapers, she can lecture me on engaging in civic life.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

MEDIA: BBC report on anti-Semitism in the US ...

The BBC has produced an interesting documentary on the anti-Semitic efforts of a small group of activists intent on demonising persons (often incorrectly deemend to be) of Arab extraction. Among the champions of racial and sectarian intolerance profiled are Daniel Pipes, a regular visitor to Australia hosted by right-of-centre thinktanks.

During his last visit to Australia, Pipes caused major embarrassment to one of his hosts by allowing a national broadsheet to reproduce a speech he gave to a Sydney audience. I've written about that speech here. Pipes writes:

Indigenous Europeans could resist it and, as they make up 95per cent of the continent's population, they can at any time reassert control should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life.
This impulse can be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders's film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims. These parties include the British National Party, Belgium's Vlaamse Belang, France's National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People's Party.

They are likely to continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.

Muslim alarm is likely to follow. US author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which "US Navy ships are at anchor and US marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims".

Peters concludes that because of Europeans' "ineradicable viciousness", the continent's Muslims "are living on borrowed time". As Europeans have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing", Muslims, he predicts, "will be lucky just to be deported" rather than being killed.

Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers. European violence cannot be precluded, but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if anyone is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims.
Pipes doesn't contradict these assertions. He describes neo-fascist parties such as the British National Front as merely "political parties opposed to immigration" and mere "nationalist parties". And in a related presentation, he describes here that the chances of such a scenario happening are 47.5%

Pipes has already been exposed on this blog as falsely attributing racial remarks to an Australian Human Rights Commissioner. Instead of acknowledging his error and apologising to the Commissioner, Pipes repeated the slur.

Pipes has also been active in a hate-campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Read more about that here.

Pipes' activities in attacking a New York charter school principal have been widely reported and condemned by a number of prominent rabbis as well as other educators and academics. You can hear more about Pipes' activities in this BBC documentary entitled Soft Jihad.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf