Entries from April 2007 ↓

The Glorious Recital: Sh Abdur Rahman Dimashqiah

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Source: Quranica’s The Glorious Recital DVD

Ameer Ali celebrates the ‘collapse’ of traditional religious authority

Former president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) and former chairman of the Prime Minister’s handpicked Muslim ‘reference’ committee Dr Ameer Ali has an article in tomorrow’s The Australian which is going to make some waves (to put it rather lightly). The article isn’t online yet so we’re publishing a copy over the fold.

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Prince Turki Al Faisal at the World Affairs Council

Saudi leaders are rarely ever seen or heard in the media for a variety of reasons, not least because they prefer to maintain a discreet public face. This does however lead to them being depicted in caricature, either as opaque inscrutable fanatics by elements in the western press or as insufficiently religiously sincere by Muslims who live in the West. What is uniform in these polar opposite critiques of Saudis is that they are both untroubled by actual experience of Saudi Arabia.

In this piece at the World Affairs Council, Prince Turki al Faisal speaks about Saudi attempts to liberalize their economy, the Q and A session is especially interesting and lasts 45 minutes.


The Prince has since resigned his commission as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, theories differ as to why and may reflect Royal reaction to this piece in the Washington Post. More recently, Saudi Arabia has sought to distance itself from the increasingly pungent odour of the Bush Administration.

Austrolabe Debates: When it comes to community organisations, is more less?

This week, we ask the question: when it comes to community organisations and projects, is more less?

In many Muslim communities around the world, the plethora of different groups and organisations is often lamented as a cause or perhaps sign of our disunity. Why, it is asked, do we need several organisations each holding lectures or running classes? Why do we need several organisations each attempting to represent Muslim interests to the general public, government or the media? Why must each group pursue its own objectives, acquire its own resources, hold its own conferences and so on?

However, an alternative view might be that what we see as disunity is really just healthy competition between people and groups with competing ideas and objectives about what should be done and how it should be done; and, like in other areas of life, this competition between Islamic groups, sects and organisations has led to some improvements in the range, quality and reach of products and services. Can we ever really be ‘united’ as a community and is it even something we should work towards?

What do you think?

Send Messages of Condolence to Family of Waleed Shaalan

Amad of Muslim Matters has written to let readers know that they are organising for messages of condolences for Waleed Shaalan, the Egyptian student murdered at Virginia Tech, to be sent to his family in Egypt. At the end of the month, they will print and package the messages posted to this thread so please do consider leaving messages of support as I am sure it will mean a great deal to his wife and child.

Roger Sandall on the sexualisation of everyday life

Roger Sandall had an interesting piece in the January-Februrary issue of Quadrant (“… a lonely counterpoint to stultifying orthodoxies and dangerous utopias, the best of the Western cultural tradition,” according to our Prime Minister John Howard). Sandall addresses the issue of the increasing sexualisation of our culture, using the controversial comments of Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali regarding women, raw meat, etc. to launch his piece.

He writes, in part:

Where are the sheiks of yesteryear, riding romantically over the dunes? Not in Australia. Here a burly Egyptian with an ugly turn of phrase recently set new records for ungallantry. Scantily clad Australian women, complained Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly, go around like “exposed meat” inviting rape.

Of course we all made a huge uproar. Unbelievable! Who asked his opinion anyway? The sheik calls himself a Mufti and thinks he represents Islam Down Under. But the man’s a brute who plainly hates western culture, who may have channelled funds to Hezbollah, and on top this he’s a security risk too. Go home sheik, go home!

This said, maybe he had a point all the same. It does seem nowadays that you can’t go to the newsagent to buy a paper, or the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread, without being surrounded by acres of glossy magazine erotica and exciting flesh. Not all of us would call it exposed meat, perhaps, but whatever it’s called it’s there—much of it little short of pornography.

(thanks to Dennis for the link)

Austrolabe Debates: Is there value in ‘buying Muslim’?

Rather than post the weekly open thread that is commonplace on many blogs and invite readers to comment, we thought it might be more interesting to post a topic for open discussion. Each Friday, we will pick a particular issue or question and post it up for discussion and debate.

This week, the topic is:

It is often said that Muslims should buy from Muslim businesses. It is better, the argument goes, that our money stays within the Muslim community and we support our co-religionists even if it might mean paying slightly more or settling for less in other respects. However, an opposing argument says that we should buy the product or service that best suits our needs in terms of cost, quality and aesthetic value regardless of who produced it.

So, what do you think?

Waleed Shaalan: A Victim of the Virginian Massacre

Muslim Matters have a tribute to Waleed Shaalan, a Muslim graduate student who was killed in the recent Virginia massacre. Tariq Nelson is also advertising a fund that has been set up for his family (he leaves behind a wife and a young child). Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon.

Call me Ismail…Ax

After discovering the word “Ismail Ax” on the arm of the Virginian killer, the bright minds of the blogosphere quickly identified the name as being part of the opening sentence of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. “This is an obvious reference to the book,” said one blogging anti-Herman harridan. “They hate our way of life and our civilisation. They want to wind back the clock on American literature to the 19th century. We are engaged in an existential struggle with readers of Moby Dick.”

Actually, I jest. Some of the bright minds of the blogosphere did react to the name scrawled on the man’s arm, in the only way they knew how: by trying to cobble together some sort of link between the tragic murders and the War on Terror. “Was the killer an Islamist?” Well, Ismail is indeed a Muslim and/or Arab name and, let’s face the awful truth, Korean is just one letter short from Koran. And that’s pretty damning evidence in the bizarro world that some of these bloggers seem to inhabit.

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The real “Londonistan”

Melanie Phillips’ hand-wringing shrill polemic Londonistan seeks to sketch the radical Islamic underbelly of the nation’s capitol. Phillips who has no links to the Muslim community, has conducted no research or polling of her own, nonetheless seeks to interpret this diverse community to the world, and in doing so paints it in the worst possible light.

Her polemic against Muslims is so sustained, so virulent that I look forward to her weekly rants in the Daily Mail and to the deliciously nasty ones on her blog that Fleet Street dare not publish. Her latest tome Londonistan is a work of such high emotion that leaves one feeling drained and begging for respite. A sample of her somewhat disturbing intensity can be sampled here.

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