Entries from July 2006 ↓

Government Money Corrupts Community

If one were to survey the organisational landscape of the Australian Muslim community, it would soon become apparent that there exists something of a dichotomy: on one side sit grassroots, community-funded organisations and, on the other, sits a class of organisation that seems to exist only through the acquisition of government grants or the syphoning of money from community projects such as schools. There is no need to give specific examples, but suffice to say, there are some grants-fed organisations whose eyes remain firmly fixed on the public purse rather than the needs and aspirations of the communities they claim to represent.

And who can blame them? When community organisations are beholden to government for their continued operation (and therefore the continued employment of the people who run them), their focus must be on the government’s needs; in the same way as the providers of goods and services in a free market must ensure that they meet the demands of that market in order to stay viable. However, this is not an exact analogy: for whereas the businessman is tailoring his product to meet the needs of the buyer, the grants-fed Muslim organisation tailors the services it ostensibly offers the Muslim community to suit the needs of government because whereas the Muslims might use the services, it is the government that ultimately pays for them.

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Why ‘Miss World’ misses the mark

When Michelle Leslie donned a burqa while imprisoned awaiting trial in Bali last year, the responses from Australian Muslims varied from outrage and disgust to complete apathy. Many Muslims took her actions personally, offended that she may have been using Islam to guide herself to freedom. Others wisely demonstrated just how little they cared. As the Islamic Council of Victoria’s Waleed Aly wrote at the time, “it’s no fluff off my prayer mat.”

If it isn’t abundantly clear already, Muslims love their religion and they take it very seriously. We don’t want our customs, beliefs and traditions to be given un-Islamic interpretation and meaning, or given the Daniel Pipes treatment. Avoiding misunderstanding is always highly desirable. Using Islam for, ostensibly, self-serving purposes can lead to chaos.

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Cooing like a Pigeon

In a recurring dream, I sit in hell with the great and good leaders of the world’s systems of social control, surrounded by a furnace, and we attend an interfaith session chaired by Satan. One by one, we rise, wish each other the best of luck and good fortune, and using hackneyed platitudes, we eulogise each other’s beliefs and narratives, and remind each other how similar we all really are. Then Satan stands up and launches into a rambling account of a life of sin and deception, “it’s an individual based theology, it’s about personal proclamation, we too believe in God,” he says as we murmur supportive noises. Then it’s my turn, I rise to my feet and say “My name is Baybers and I too, am an interfaith-oholic”, and the meeting begins.

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Princess Bitchface

This week in Australia:

  1. We have been transfixed by a coronal inquest that saw a drug fueled gang sex session end in the death of a mother of three aboard a cruise ship. The coroner has said that there are 8 “men of interest” to her investigation. The company specifically attracted a young, single, male audience with commercials featuring scantily clad women and the slogan “seaman wanted”. P&O employees told the coronal inquest that it was typical to see 20 to 30 people a night on the ship, either naked or having sex in a public place.
  2. Australian Aborigines in town camps outside Alice Springs sexually assault children as young as infants after watching hours of pornography.
  3. In Melbourne, a sign on a prominent Melbourne street invites passers-by (including children) to use women as a public lavatory.
  4. The conservative national Government is unwilling to insist that Internet companies provide filtered content to homes.
  5. There has been what, on the face of it, was a sexual assault on the popular Big Brother program: known now as the “Turkey Slap Incident“, a man slapped his penis against the face of an unsuspecting woman whilst another man held her arms.

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