Wednesday, October 03, 2007

COMMENT: An Anglican who despises Bethlehem?

Reverend Dr Mark Durie is a linguist with expertise in the languages of the people of the Aceh region of Indonesia. He has appeared as an expert witness in the Catch The Fire Ministries case, though the trial judge wasn't exactly impressed with Dr Durie's alleged expertise or his supposed independence in the proceedings.

In a letter to the Australian Jewish News on 7 September, Dr Durie has this to say about the visiting Mayor of Bethlehem, Dr Victor Batarseh ...


DR Victor Batarseh, mayor of Bethlehem (AJN 31/8), is a typical example of what Bat Ye’or has called the “dhimmi syndrome”: non-Muslims who negate themselves in serving the cause of the Islamic Umma.

Dr Batarseh’s mimetic instinct will bring nothing but grief for Palestinian Christians. Dr Batarseh, along with many others like him, is damaging his own people’s interests. While Islamisation is overwhelming and transforming once-Christian Bethlehem, its pro-jihadist mayor goes on an overseas trip to perform to the anti-Israel lobby.

His legacy to his people will be accelerated Islamisation and dechristianisation of the birthplace of Christ.

The best antidote to such duplicity is to educate Australians in the effects of dhimmitude, so that Dr Batarseh and others like him can be clearly seen for what they are.

Reverend Dr Mark Durie
Vicar of Caulfield, Vic

Dr Durie frequently drops Arabic words such as "dhimmi", "ummah" and "taqiyya" in some unusual contexts, all of which expose his complete lack of even basic understanding of the Arabic language. Still, it does provide comic relief to those of us with some background in the issues. I guess that's what happens when your knowledge of Islamic cultures is based on the nonsense at such websites as JihadWatch.

It's interesting that Dr Durie feigns concern for the people of Bethlehem only when he presumes they are under attack from Muslims. He doesn't mention a word about the apartheid wall, a structure he no doubt applauds.

Dr Durie can take pride in being one of the few Christians who supports the ongoing Israeli military and settlement program in Bethlehem. Instead of supporting the Christians of Bethlehem, Dr Durie prefers to attack the city's leaders, amongst them the parish priest Father Amjad.

With friends like Dr Durie, the people of the city of Jesus Christ don't need enemies.

One wonders whether Durie has even been to Bethlehem. A letter appearing immediately after his, authored by someone who has actually spent time in the city, shows just how shallow Durie's grossly anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab polemics are ...


HAVING personally visited Bethlehem early this year and witnessed from the Palestinian perspective how the concrete wall of the separation barrier has literally cut through private property and separated loved ones from each other, I was dismayed to read that Jewish community leaders accused the mayor of Bethlehem of politicising his trip to Australia for mentioning such basic facts (AJN 31/8).

Wherever one stands on the justification of the wall for security reasons, the harmful effects of the wall for the residents of Bethlehem cannot be denied. If we don’t, as a community, open our hearts and minds wide enough to encompass the legitimacy of claims like those of the mayor of Bethlehem – that can coexist with concerns for security – we will be forced to continually distort the truth and also look like buffoons at the same time.

Melanie Landau
Caulfield, Vic

How embarrasing for the Anglican Church that it has individuals like Dr Durie speaking on its behalf on such sensitive matters.

© Irfan Yusuf 2007

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Get Flocked

COMMENT: Jewish students join racist group?

The following letter appeared in the Letters page of the September 7 edition off the Australian Jewish News ...

I'm sure that all readers of this paper were angered by the recent race bashing on Carlisle Street. According to the victims, the thugs shouted racist slogans such as “Aussie Pride”.

For all to see on their website, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) is advertising a rally to be held by a group called SIOOz (Stop Islamisation of Oz). The group is holding a rally on the steps of the state library to protest the apparent threat of Islam and shari’a law to all Australians. SIOOz encourages people to bring banners with slogans such as “Help Muslims escape Islam”. The advertisement goes to great lengths to point out “(SIOOz) is not against Muslims, who are also prisoners of this racist, oppressive ideology. This is a battle against an evil ideology. We [SIOOZ] are Islamophobic, not Muslimphobic.”

Last year, a number of Jewish organisations, as well as some members of AUJS, took part in the Embracing Youth Project, a valuable cross-cultural program held with Muslim and Jewish youth.

A number of friendships were forged and it was a learning experience for all. Has AUJS changed its position since last year? Is AUJS serious in thinking that advertising this clearly racist rally is acceptable?

Hopefully, the only AUJS involvement in the SIOOz rally is its foolish support rather than an active role in the organisation.

Jesse Osowicki
Elsternwick, Vic
This is a very disturbing development. AUJS is the peak body of Jewish tertiary students. It purports to represent the interests of all Jewish tertiary students on campuses across Australia.

For such a senior body within the Jewish community to be actively promoting an organisation which describes itself as "islamophobic" is a worrying development. The leadership of AUJS needs to explain its involvement in "Aussie Pride" groups such as SIOOz.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf