Saturday, December 03, 2011

HUMOUR: Breaking winds on jihad ...

During the period of 2005 to 2010, when I was writing regularly and prolifically, some interesting characters were taking quite a deal of notice. For instance, the Cairns author of the Winds of Jihad blog had been following me almost obsessively. He calls himself Sheik Yermami, and the chap clearly has taken a liking for my work. Here are some descriptors he's used to describe me ...
Serial dreck-blogger ... muselmanic master of spin ... the Pretend-Christian ... Australia’s sharia-shyster ... Islamo agit prop ... If the Fed’s are not onto him yet, concerned readers should bring it to their attention. Irfan should at least be on a watch list. His incitement could have worked. The stirring could have resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of Yusuf’s co-religionists running amok, smashing stuff and killing people ... a fanatical Muslim ... We know that the Manchurian candidate Hussein Obama is a Muzz and a fraud. We know what he represents, and we don’t want any of it.
See, I told you he likes me. But even more endearing is that he has commissioned a cartoonist to illustrate me in various poses.

Here's me as presumably a member of the Taliban. Either that, or as the Indian Prime Minister in his pj's.

Here's me engaging in ... er ... a mass debate with a bunch of portraits on my wall.

Here's me engaging in similar activity, except that I have been mysteriously transformed into an orthodox Jew.

Like hey, Sheik, what's wrong with Jews?? Here's me as an SS officer.

Here's me with Waleed Aly, Anthony Mundine and certain other blokes.

Here's me visiting a mosque on Uluru. Yeah, right. As if I'm fit enough to climb that!

Here's me hanging out with some Indian barrister.

Here's my favourite.

And finally, here's Sheik Yermami's dream-come-true scenario as far as my Australian citizenship is concerned.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

BOOKS: Henry Reynolds on Tasmania

Work has taken yours truly to a small island off the coast of Mexico. It's a gorgeous place known for its delightful landscape ...

... and for the genocide committed by its early settlers.

So where did all this luscious murderous Tasmanian stuff emerge from? I decided to spend a Friday afternoon finding out.

It didn't involve much research or effort on my part. I just joined some of Tasmania's chattering classes at an upmarket bookshop in Launceston There we were greeted and seated before Henry Reynolds and another historian named Eric.

We all packed together to hear Reynolds tell us about a book he's just written on the history of Tasmania. Reynolds' work certainly isn't the first. There have been plenty of books on Tasmanian history. Go to any bookshop in Hobart or other town on the island and you'll find an entire section on Tasmaniana.

Eric suggested that Reynolds' book was like a distant autobiography of his own dealings with Tassie. Reynolds, it so happens, did most of his study in Tasmania. He then went into exile in Queensland before returning.

Reynolds says that when he was at school, most history taught was about England. Ironically, Tasmanians have had a very rich tradition of writing about the history of their colony/state.

Reynolds tells us that perhaps the reason for this is that everywhere you look, you are reminded of the island's English colonial history which has been preserved in its old buildings.

There's lots of Georgian style buildings. Tasmania was a filthy rich colony, especially during its boom times of the 1830's and 1880's.

Reynolds says he was first approached by Cambridge University Press 10 years ago to write this short history. He was given a 100,000 word limit. He starts his work by looking at European settlement in Tasmania through the eyes of its Aboriginal tribes who has lived in the island for around 300 generations. These tribes were virtually cut off from the mainland by the Bass Strait.

I was surprised to hear that as late as the 1960's, there were indigenous peoples in Tasmania who has not met white people. Reynolds he has spoken to some of these people.

... to be continued.

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VIDEO: Yep, it's time to swear!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

SPORT: Bookshop paradise

I believe in heaven. I've always wondered what it would be like. Maybe I should stop wondering and start preparing for it.

But let's wonder for a while. I'd like to think jannah/paradise is a huge library and bookshop where browsing and even shoplifting is permitted.

Books about all subjects, not just God and religion. Hopefully there will be lots of travel books, stuff on anthropology and politics. Entertaining and humorous novels. And books about sport. In particularly a sport I grew up playing in the backyard and being completely obsessed with.

And I hope Peter Roebuck will be there to sign some copies.

Suicide is a shocking thing. But cricket is wonderful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

COMMENT: A thought on Remembrance Day

This Remembrance Day our thoughts will be going to the Diggers in Afghanistan, many of whom are dying at the hands of allied troops in the Afghan National Army. Perhaps may not be quite the day to try and understand why Afghans are killing our young men.

Or perhaps it is. Perhaps we need to understand the realities of torn loyalties and how they can lead allies to stop shooting the real enemy and start finding enemies among their own.

Part of the answer may be seen in the context of colonialism. Whether we like it or not, Afghans see us as just another colonial power in a long line of colonial waves.

So what happens when nasty sentiments such as independence and freedom come in the way of a war on freedom-hating terrorists?

We might look back at history and find some answers.

(to be continued ...)

Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

MEDIA: The Bolt decision

It must have been an awful feeling for one of Australia’s most loved and hated columnist, a rare moment when he did not enjoy the limelight. But dressed in his dark blue suit and a tie that almost matched the colour of his greying hair, columnist, blogger, TV and radio personality Andrew Bolt was genuinely phased by the judgment of a single Federal Court Judge. For a man who otherwise never shies away from talking about race, Bolt wasn’t amused about being found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

Bolt described the judgment as

… a restriction on the freedom of all Australians to discuss multiculturalism and how people identify themselves. I argued then and I argue now that we should not insist on the differences between us but focus instead on what unites us as human beings.

I personally haven’t read all 470 paragraphs and 143 pages of His Honour Justice Brmberg’s judgment. But the word “multiculturalism” certainly isn’t prominent enough for it to feature in the Catchwords on the first page.

Multiculturalism does appear, however, in the 8-page summary of the judgment. In paragraph 15, His Honour remarked:

Whether conduct is reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a group of people calls for an objective assessment of the likely reaction of those people. I have concluded that the assessment is to be made by reference to an ordinary and reasonable member of the group of people concerned and the values and circumstances of those people. General community standards are relevant but only to an extent. Tolerance of the views of others may be expected in a multicultural society, including from those persons who are the subject of racially based conduct.

In paragraph 22, His Honour notes:

In reaching those conclusions, I have observed that in seeking to promote tolerance and protect against intolerance in a multicultural society, the Racial Discrimination Act must be taken to include in its objectives tolerance for and acceptance of racial and ethnic diversity. At the core of multiculturalism is the idea that people may identify with and express their racial or ethnic heritage free from pressure not to do so. People should be free to fully identify with their race without fear of public disdain or loss of esteem for so identifying. Disparagement directed at the legitimacy of the racial identification of a group of people is likely to be destructive of racial tolerance, just as disparagement directed at the real or imagined practices or traits of those people is also destructive of racial tolerance.

Is His Honour really seeking to limit freedom to talk about (let alone criticise) multiculturalism? Read the rest of the summary. Remember, it’s only 8 pages.

As for Bolt suggesting that he has always insisted on the things that unite humanity, do yourself a favour and just read the comments that he allows to appear on his blog whenever he writes about just about any subject.

Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

MEDIA: American-owned newspaper plays the Manne

It was bound to happen. That American-owned newspaper that likes to call itself The Australian has shown itself to be the 'Heart of the Nation' with a vicious and vitriolic attack on La Trobe University academic Robert Manne.

And why? Because Professor Manne wrote 25,000 critical words about the paper.

And in its response, The Oz left not a single angle uncovered, with even an exceptionally tasteful cartoon showing Manne ... wait for it ... sitting naked on the toilet and farting.

It really was intelligent stuff from The Oz. I'm just wondering whether they had to tap Manne's phone to put all this together.

Then again, to be fair, Manne probably doesn't keep his mobile in the dunny.

Perhaps the most hilarious feature of the critique was that they couldn't get regular indigenous writer Noel Pearson (or indeed any indigenous writer) to respond to Manne's criticism of The Oz's coverage of indigenous issues. Instead, Uncle Chris Mitchell from the WelovetheNTIntervention Tribe was given (or rather, gave himself) the task of responding.

Seriously, is it any wonder The Oz is fast losing as much credibility as it is readers and revenue? Perhaps they should stick to printing shonky op-eds.

I feel sorry for all the genuinely good journos and writers and photographers and other media professionals who have to share page and website space with this kind of near-psychotic babble. I mean, all that vitriol for one single politics academic?

UPDATE I: A regular writer for The Oz (who once wrote for Crikey) goes completely ballistic on his Facebook wall, describing Manne's

... grotesque and evil approach to the Malaysian solution ...


Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CRIKEY: Ten years on, 9/13 a milestone for minorities

Today is the 13th day of September -- 10 years after an important milestone for the United States and the West. Ten years ago our way of life and our freedoms, our liberal democracy and our rule of law were all assaulted and violated.

No, it didn't take place in New York or Washington. It took place at a small family-run petrol station in Mesa, Arizona. A young man named Balbir Singh Sodhi, sporting a smartly kept beard and a turban, was shot dead. He was planting flowers in the garden of his family business.

But why mention his beard and turban? Was this at all relevant to Sodhi's murder?

When the planes first crashed into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, men sporting turbans and beards were all suspected of some kind of involvement. The first pictures released by the FBI of suspected terrorist passengers included men sporting beards and turbans. Even Sydney's Daily Telegraph carried a front page showing a man, his head bowed, sporting a small beard and a blue turban, being taken into custody. The headline screamed "FIRST ARREST".

Turbans and beards were now the symbol of terror. Why? Because Obam ... whoops ... Osama bin Ladin wore a turban.

Frank Silva Roque, 44, of Harvest, Ala., was sentenced to death or first-degree murder in the death of Balbir Singh Sodhi:

Roque was convicted of killing Sodhi, a Mesa gas station owner whom prosecutors said was targeted because Roque thought Sodhi was Arab. Sodhi wore a turban and beard as part of his Sikh faith.

According to an AAP report about Roque's sentencing in 2003, after shooting Sodhi, Roque shot at another gas station where the clerk was a man of Lebanese descent, and shot at the home of an Afghan family. They were not injured.  

This was just the beginning. The New York Times reports that

... an eclectic Sikh temple called Gobind Sadan was burnt down by four teenagers who thought that the turbaned worshippers were Muslims and that the temple's sign said 'Go Bin Laden'.

Sikhs, like other minorities, have suffered a disproportionate amount of prejudice since 9/11. They have stood out due to their visible religious devotions including wearing the dastaar, a traditional Punjabi-style head dress.

Until recently, Sikhs had to remove their turbans when flying. Sikhs also have their turbans frisked at airport security, a ridiculous and humiliating practice.

Paranoia about turbans has become so great that they even became an issue in the US Presidential elections when a picture of Obama wearing traditional clothes of Somali elders was leaked by opponents.

September 11 was the day when tragedy struck the US and when men and women of all nationalities and faiths were murdered by crazed fanatics. But 9/13 is the day when minorities of all nationalities and faiths started becoming subjected to abuse and denial of liberty in the name of protecting us from terrorists who wish to abuse our way of life and deny us liberty.

It isn't just about airport searches. Men from certain minorities have been detained more readily and for longer periods of time. Paranoia was even present in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, when immigrants such as painting contractor Abdurrahman Zeitoun were detained and treated like terror suspects.

The war on terror hasn't just led to imbecilic wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents. It has created a scud missile mentality where at home our collective hatred is hardly ever directed at the right people. Just ask the Sodhi family.

First published in Crikey on 13 September 2011.
Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

RACISM: Centre for Independent Studies hosts genetics expert ...

As part of its Big Ideas Forum this year, he Centre for Independent Studies is hosting German Thilo Sarrazin, a German former banker and politician who claims Muslims are lowering German intelligence and that all Jews share certain genes.

Lovely. Janet Albrechtsen will also be sharing the podium. You can read a gushing tribute to Sarrazin in The Australian authored by Oliver Marc Hartwich, a research fellow at the CIS. Hartwich believes that Sarazzin is the victim of German political correctness.

Heck, why shouldn't a German, less than a century after the Holocaust, claim that Jews have shared features that are inherited? Why shouldn't the CIS be allowed to host someone with such rabid views? And why shouldn't those sponsoring the CIS, among them some major Australian corporations that supply goods and services to Jews and Muslims, not be able to finance the promotion of such opinions?

And why shouldn't I and my Jewish friends be allowed to name and shame these corporations? It's a free country.

Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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Friday, July 22, 2011

COMMENT: Numbered paragraphs on scandalous tapping ...

Far be it from me to revel in someone else's sorry. But seriously, the Murdoch press has caused sorrow to so many people that it's time to have a good laugh. So here goes.

[01] Here is an excellent summary and analysis of the line taken by that American newspaper that calls itself The Australian. And John Stewart looks at how The Oz's cousin Fox News ignores grossly illegal (if not criminal) conduct in the Murdoch Empire to focus on their usual cultural jihads.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Horrible Bosses - Fox News Won't Dumpster Dive
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

[02] Here are some legalistic thoughts ...

It’s midnight. I’m sitting in front of the TV with two work colleagues. One is an experienced crown prosecutor who has run major jury trials in two common law countries and has over 3 decades advocacy experience. The second is a criminal defence lawyer who has practised in three Australian states. And then there is me, a humble civil and employment litigator.

We’d just finished washing our sides off the sofa after they were split by viewing The Naked Gun. We switched onto BBC. We’re watching history being made. And we can’t help but watch with our lawyer’s glasses on. Here are some of my colleagues’ responses.

“This poor old man is passing the buck,” says the former prosecutor. “He’s trying to dodge the question. It’s not working. It’s so obvious.”

“This bloke’s the client from hell. Fancy admitting you take tax issues seriously but not hacking phones,” says the defence lawyer.

“These are simple questions. Why is he taking so long to answer them? Is Rupert’s dementia natural or deliberate?” says the prosecutor again.

To say the least, the Murdochs were clearly unprepared. The MP’s on the Committee asked simple, direct and at best only mildly probing questions that would have sent Rumpole to sleep. One female MP asked a super-gentle question. James Murdoch thanked her and praised her question. My criminal defence colleague said: “The reason he’s thanking her is because she gave him a question he’s actually prepared for”.

Unlike the Murdochs, the MP’s were on top of the brief. They seemed to know more about News Corporation than the two men claiming to run the show. One interesting thing Mr ex-Prosecutor noted is that a number of the MP’s kept referring to Rupert as “Mr Murdoch” and James simply as “James”.

And I lost count of the number of times one MP called out words to this effect: “James, I will come to you later. My question is for Mr Murdoch.”

“Why is that young fella always butting in?” It wasn’t so much a question from the former prosecutor as an observation. James Murdoch seemed to play a Saif al-Islam type of role in selling and then defending his father’s regime to the world. But my learned colleagues were left with the impression that James was just a young upstart kid trying to protect his dad from the assassin’s bullets using a water pistol.

Here’s one you don’t have to have a practising certificate to understand. The CEO/Chairman and directors of a company like News Corp would have no knowledge of serious wrongdoing, if not serious criminal activity, is quite frankly unbelievable. Murdoch explained it away by telling us that News of the World represented a mere 1% of the entire organisation. So how big must a proportion of the empire be before criminal conduct is worthy of becoming a serious issue of corporate governance?

What shocked me as an employment lawyer was the complete absence of any internal investigative and disciplinary procedures to deal with unethical (if not unlawful and downright criminal) conduct. At least that was my impression after watching Mr Murdoch (as opposed to James) giving his testimony. It was a case of “well, I didn’t know it was going on and in any event the police are now handling it.”

What kind of company sees police investigation as a substitute for serious internal disciplinary investigation?

Based on their performance before the UK Parliamentary Committee, I can’t help thinking that perhaps Lieutenant Frank Drebin of Police Squad was better at policing LA than the Murdochs are at policing their own empire.

Words © 2011 Irfan Yusuf

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

LOONWATCH: For the week ending 19 June 2011

[01] It seems New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is hiding the fact (?) that his untucking of his tackle is part of some devious form of taqiyya.

For those of you who don't know, the word taqiyya is an Arabic term used in Muslim jurisprudence. Basically what it means is that if someone pulls a gun out and threatens to shoot you if you confirm you are a Muslim, you are permitted to lie about your faith if it means you don't get shot. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

But according to some fruitloops in the mainstream Right of the United States, taqiyya is the mechanism by which Muslims, like their Jewish forebears, use deception and cunning to hide their true intentions - to take over the world. The protocols of the learned imams of ... um ... well everywhere!

Some rightwing Jews are also getting into the profoundly anti-Semitic act. Among them is Elaana Benador, who was once a darling of the neo-Cons and ran her own speakers bureau which had some of the most influential neo-Cons on its books.

Now Benador has turned her sights to former Congressman Anthony Weiner, claiming that he in fact is a secret Muslim. Her evidence goes something like this:

1. Some imam made a comment calling on Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, to counsel her husband and have patience with him.

2. Huma Abedin comes from an Indian Muslim family.

3. The imam and Ms Anedin seem to be involved in some strange form of taqiyya.

4. The imam's excuse for Weiner is the kind of excuse that would only be made for a Muslim husband.

5. Weiner must have been converted to Zombi'ism after being his neck bitten by both the imam and Ms Abedin. He also became a Muslim.

Of course, this all means that Ms Abedin now has access to the upper echelons of power. She can use this access to ensure that by next week, the White House will have a Muslim president. That is, if it doesn't have one already.

Read more about it here and here.