Thursday, September 25, 2008

COMMENT: On the moderation of racist and bigotted comments on blogs Part I

This post was accidentally wrongly placed on this blog and has now been moved to its correct place here.

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EVENT: Stop what you're doing, siddown, shut up and read this ...

If you are in Melbourne, you must go to the Melbourne Fringe Festival and watch the new comedy show Who Is Abdul Smith? Because if you don't go, you ... um ... er ... well you simply won't know the answer to the question!

Here is what the bludgers promoting this show have to say ...


10 comedians battle it out to prove who is the most "multi-culti" on Australia's favourite TV show: Who is Abdul Smith?

It's an action-packed 90 minutes of stand-up, storytelling, spontaneity and song, featuring Melbourne's most diverse comedy talent:

- Mohammed El-leissy was part of Fringe 2007's Fear of a Brown Planet, nominated for Best Newcomer.

- Sema Kuyruk is Australia's first hijab-wearing stand-up comic, on a one-woman mission to bring hijab back!

- Trent McCarthy had a sell-out season with his 2008 Comedy Festival show Turning Sudanese, described by The Age as "a delightful experience, both broadening and funny".

- Ajak Kwai, a former Sudanese refugee, is a singer and storyteller who promises not to eat you!

- Simon Pampena, the Angry Mathematician, has just toured Australia with his Maths Olympics comedy show as part of National Science Week.

- Farah Faiq is a feisty Iraqi-born gal with a passion for fashion and a razorsharp wit.

- Scott Fraser is a frustrated stand-up with a rod in his leg and a chip on his shoulder.

- Simon Tengende recently premiered his play Discrit Zimbabwe, using humour to explore the troubled history of his homeland.

- Alev Girgin has never been so single in her life, looking for Mr Right among so many Mr Wrongs.

- Cameron Farshid McDonald is a half-Iranian, half-Scottish Aussie who doesn't know which part of him dislikes the English more.

- plus a different special guest each night!

Who will win? Who will lose? And who is Abdul Smith?

Momo El-leissy tells me that this show will so damned good, I should be travelling to Melbourne just to see it. He'd better be right or I'll demand a refund.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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UPDATE: More of my tendentious writing ...

A certain tabloid columnist recently described my writing as tendentious. According to the AskOxford website, the word "tendentious" means: "calculated to promote a particular cause or point of view" The bulk of what I write is opinion and review. So obviously I do promote a point of view. As for whether I promote a cause, I wonder what possible objection the tabloid columnist in question would have to the causes promoted here, here, here and here.

Anyway, here is some of the stuff I've written recently ...

The events in Islamabad shook all of us. The disgusting and cowardly attacks against civilians brought home yet again the fact that terrorism affects all people regardless of background, ethnicity and faith. My take on these dastardly acts appeared in The Age here, as well as on the Brisbane Times website here.
The New Zealand Herald published this piece I wrote about Western silence on the continued attacks by (pseudo-)Hindu militants against Indian Christians.

A recent piece I wrote for Crikey on the documentary Embedded With Sheikh Hilaly broadcast on SBS on 23 September 2008 appears here.

UPDATE I: In relation to The Age article, I received correspondence from Professor William Shepard, who taught religious studies at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. Professor Shepard is fluent in written and spoken Arabic (both classical and modern) and is regarded as a world authority on the work of Syed Qutb. Here is what Professor Shepard said ...

Good article, but let me point out that Ramadan is not one of the "sacred months" when there is to be no fighting. I believe they are Dhu-Qa‘da, Dhul-Hijja, Muharram and Rajab. I might add that it is not only the "post-modern left" have hijacked terrorism studies but also the neo-conservative right.

Thanks to Professor Shepard for his correction and comment.

UPDATE II: A Kiwi chap named Bill wrote this response to my NZ Herald article ...

I have just read the article by Irfan Yusuf your associate editor in the NZ Herald 22/8/08. May I congratulate him for his courage and honesty. I have never seen an article in a New Zealand paper criticizing Hindu and Muslim extremist and government actions against Christian minorities in Asia (especially those who have changed or wish to change their religion). It blew me away! Our politicians and Western media are too secular, anti-Christian and self-interested as well as being scared of the political and trade consequences. Coming from Mr Yusuf they carry great weight and are overdue.

I have often thought of contacting our government or some authorities in Asia over this long standing tragedy but have been warned off as it might put local Christians in danger from Islamic and Hindu government security police who constantly harass them or from violent religious extremists. If your protest is taken to heart it will go a long way to right a wrong and convince us that Islam's claim to be a peace loving and tolerant religion isn't just words. However I'm afraid I won't be holding my breath waiting as it has been allowed to become so ingrained and widespread.

Well done! I respect you for your stand for what is right.
Yes, tendentious writing indeed!

UPDATE III: In relation to the Crikey piece, one chap named Tony had this response on the Crikey website ...

The Hilaly 'documentary' was an exercise in opportunism which didn't work for either the sheikh or the interviewer because both were so clearly inept in the art of ingenuous communication. What positive outcome this show could possibly have delivered remains a mystery, as does the steady decline of the SBS ethos to report intelligently on our multicultural society. I can hear dopes prattle incomprehensibly any day of the week. Both these clowns should retire.
I guess all this controversy about the program will do wonders for the ratings. Once again, SBS will be laughing all the way to the bank! Given their positive nett contribution to television in Australia, good luck to them.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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