Saturday, December 22, 2007

OPINION: Joy to the world of non-Middle Eastern appearance

Foreign un-Australian ragger from Lakemba nurses the wounds of her son after he got smashed by patriotic Aussies acting on the orders of Hon Rev Fred Nile MLC.

There's nothing like a fair dinkum Aussie Christmas. Peace on earth, goodwill to all men. Unless if you happen to look like Jesus or his mum and you live in parts of outer Sydney.
On December 20, Radio National's AM program reported a public meeting in Camden concerning a proposal to build a Muslim independent school. One Camden local expressed his Christmas spirit in these words
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.
The spirit of these sentiments was supported by the Reverend Fred Nile, leader of the allegedly- Christian allegedly-Democratic Party, who was invited as guest speaker to the meeting. Nile's CDP isn't too fond of anyone it deems Muslim.

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''.
Nile promised his candidates would share preferences with all Liberal candidates except Muslim ones. Nile targeted one Liberal candidate, Marrickville businessman Ramzy Mansour. Poor Ramzy's Coptic Orthodox Christian faith wasn't enough for him to gain CDP preferences.

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 This article was first published in The Canberra Times on Saturday 22 December 2007.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Anonymous said...

The caption under the photo is a classic!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Irfan - much appreciated piece, and a much needed 'rebalancing act'..

Although I would not need to tell you about the Crikey remarks about Camden, here's the link for the 'audience'....

have a 'blessed' week!


Anonymous said...

It is? wtf?

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Anonymous said...

Irfan, why do you allow that useless pot-smoking drongo Doug Darby and his over-weight Sicillian moron-mate Cenatiempo to keep leaving cheap racist anonymous messages on your blog?

Anonymous said...

"You are doing your best to create sectarian hate by defacing Christian art with political comments..." Etc. A shame so many of my fellow-Christians can't see when you are making a perfectly Christ-like comment, Irfan. I think your use of Christian art in this case is so well done that I have borrowed it for my own site. Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Those anonymous comments were funny. You've used the word satan in nearly every comment.

Aint it a little obvious that the comments are coming out of the same arse?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Readers, just ignore Doug. His father left the Liberal party to join the unChristian pseudo-Democrats, and Christmas just hasn't been the same in his house. Combine that with over-use of marijuana and cocaine, and you can see why he spends his Christmas day leaving stupid messages on this blog.

Mikey_Capital said...

Pure west man.

Suggest you ditch the anonymous facility of blogger and force those that spew forth the above crap to own a slot in blogland.

Love your work in Crikey too.

Anonymous said...

I'm an Atheist and I am very much against any kind of religious belief or faith, but I must say that I am very much for treating non-violent people in a non-violent way and speaking reasonably to reasonable people. It seems like the logical thing to do, no? But these anonymous (AKA "spineless") commenters seem to be doing neither. They are speaking to someone who is obviously reasonable and non-violent in very unreasonable and violent ways. They are aggressive, racist, pugnacious arseholes and they need to be re-educated until they learn how to be nice to others. I'm sure they would assume I am an immoral, amoral fool for being an Atheist, but I clearly have good enough ability to judge morality and a good enough morality of my own to not pass undue judgement on you for a harmless, benign belief. Even though you are a person of faith and the faith you claim also happens to be labelled in the Western media as the most violent (although I think Christianity is more violent overall) religion, I can still support your ideas and give you my support.

These folks without the balls to put their names on their racist diatribe are ignorant, cowardly and loud, a bad combination.

Anonymous said...


For the record, I am neither Sicilian nor were any of my ancestors. I am Australian.

Also for the record I am not Doug Darby's "mate". You can confirm that with him if you know him, that is because you clearly don't know me.

Thirdly for the record, I have not posted on this blog for over two years having decided that giving Irfan oxygen only encourages him. In fact, I haven't even logged on to read Irfan's posts in quite some time. If he has even a shred of integrity left, he will confirm that I have not posted here and that I am certainly no friend of any Darby, although Michael and I are civil to each other.

I logged on today prompted only by spotting Irfan at midnight Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral. I was curious as to whether he would make another heretical post comparing Islam to Christianity.

Dean, you are ignorant as well as stupid and a liar to boot. Now run along so Alex can give you your next set of orders.

Andrew Elder said...

What this thread needs is a bit of faith and moderation.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, Irf, you do have a good collection of nutters in your comments.

Remarkably uncharitable and rabid, especially at this time of the year.

The problem for me is that as a christian, I don't see that the muslim denial of Christ as the Son of God actually makes us all part of the same family.

The jewish people don't recognise Jesus either, but they are still waiting for their Messiah (in my opinion, anyway). They do acknowledge Jesus as a teacher, but not as God.

In islam, so far as I can see, Jesus is merely a prophet, and not divine.

That is heresy in the christian religion, which doesn't make for happy meetings.

The central tenet of christianity is Christ. He is the Word of God made flesh, to lift man up closer to God.

If you do not believe that Jesus is the Son, then you are not a christian.

Jesus also bade men to love God, and to honour Him, and to love each other.

I don't see a whole lot of that in the comments, but unfortunately, we are also living in a land where the right of people to be offended outweighs the responsibility of people to get over themselves and be grownup about it.

Hence anon comments spouting all sorts of drivel.

There are plenty of ways to make points, but these comments aren't the smartest.

Oh well, I hope you had a happy christmas, Irf and your audience.

The new year should be fun and interesting.

Anonymous said...

watcha talkin bout willis?