Entries from November 2007 ↓

Got a problem? Call the CA Team

As part of the Islamic Society of Britain’s Islam Awareness Week, a group of Muslims in Manchester formed a Community Action (CA) team and spent a day doing as many community projects as possible.

And here’s the result.

The Virtues of Being Prepared

Within hours of Brendan Nelson being named leader of the opposition, someone put a site up (nelsonfacts.com) attacking him. According to the Whois record for the domain, the site was registered on November 26th.

Domain Name: nelsonfacts.com
Created on ………….Mon Nov 26 16:46:53 2007
Expires on ………….Thu Nov 26 16:46:53 2009
Record last updated on .Wed Nov 28 18:51:42 2007

It’s not immediately clear who is behind the site but when one looks at the Whois record, it is apparent that they are using the ALP DNS server, dns1.alp.org.au.

Interestingly, the same person or group also registered costellofacts.com, bishopfacts.com, abbottfacts.com, turnbullfacts.com, and robbfacts.com (all named after prominent Liberal politicians who may have been contenders for the leadership) so obviously they were hedging their bets on who would assume leadership of the opposition today. They haven’t yet registered pynefacts.com (after Christopher Pyne) or andrewsfacts.com (after Kevin Andrews).

Planning Permission and Pigs’ Heads

In a bizarre act of protest:

The heads of two pigs have been found on stakes at the site of a proposed Islamic school in Sydney’s south-west….The pig heads had been “elevated off the ground” using stakes, he said. An Australian flag was also strung up between the stakes, according to AAP.

It is, of course, quite an achievement that they were able to muster the motor skills to put two stakes in the ground and place two pig heads on them. Not quite Stonehenge or the Avebury Stone Circles, but still quite an amazing achievement nonetheless. And they do deserve some additional credit for being able to wrestle with two pigs and sever their heads.

Good work, guys! At this rate of human development, you’ll be breathing through your nose and walking upright on two legs in no time. Paleolithic Age, here you come!

Continue reading →

Should marriage be privatised?

Reason, Cato’s David Boaz, and the Austrian Economists all link to a fascinating article in the New York Times about the privatisation of marriage. The article’s author — a historian — asks why people need the permission of the state to marry.

For most of Western history, they didn’t, because marriage was a private contract between two families. The parents’ agreement to the match, not the approval of church or state, was what confirmed its validity.

For 16 centuries, Christianity also defined the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s wishes. If two people claimed they had exchanged marital vows — even out alone by the haystack — the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.

The view of marriage as a private contract between individuals is very similar to the Islamic conception of marriage which, like a conventional contract, consists of an offer, acceptance and, I suppose, consideration (in the form of mahr etc).

The privatisation of marriage is usually discussed in the context of same-sex marriage but it also has ramifications for Muslims. If marriage was simply a contract, the parties could define whatever terms and conditions they wished — describing, for example, how divorce would be handled, how property would be split, how disputes would be judged, and so forth. In the case of Muslims, this might be in accordance to the shariah rulings on these matters; or, in the case of others, it might be based upon pre-nuptial negotiation with the conditions individually tailored.

Kara-Ali Report Watch

Mustapha Kara-Ali, the self-declared canary in the coal-mine of Islamic extremism, remains silent. His report, supposedly detailing the imminent radicalisation of thousands of Muslims seems to have vanished into the sock drawer, or the same place where the TV remote went. The Government gazette sought fit to put this “report” on their front page in July, and yet it remains unpublished. We have all been waiting to trash read his research. We know how deadlines can be difficult especially with a homework assignment, but $200,000 from the public purse should focus the mind; imagine how many fully sick Geminis you could buy for that.  Anyway, don’t say that we did not help.

Crank Call

Some commentators may have got it wrong in predicting the outcome of this weekend’s election, but few have got it as spectacularly wrong as Pastor Danny Nalliah, of Catch the Fire Ministries. Whereas the commentators of the media and blogosphere may have based their predictions on statistics, anecdotal evidence or just gut feel, the Christian fundamentalist self-professed prophet Danny Nalliah based his prediction on a personal call from God. And so, it seems, did a number of other people associated with his little group.

As Pastor Danny told his followers before the election:

I thank the Lord that I just had a one to one meeting with Peter Costello on Thursday 9th August and John Howard on Friday 10th August. The Lord had given me a clear prophetic Word for both of them and I thank Him I was able to deliver His Word in addition to praying with both of these Federal Government Leaders.

Unfortunately, I’m not at liberty to share the details of these private encounters, but I will boldly declare that Prime Minister John Howard will be re-elected in the November election (if the Body of Christ unites in prayer and action) and pass the leadership onto Peter Costello sometime after.

We don’t know who it was who told Pastor Nalliah that Prime Minister John Howard would be re-elected and Peter Costello would assume the mantle thereafter but he (or she) was wrong. Very wrong.

Continue reading →

The politics of Muslim bashing; part 2

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small.

undefinedSmall is how Jackie Kelly and her husband must feel. In a more civilised age they would be to ashamed to show their faces in polite company. Kelly’s husband who is a dentist was caught red handed letter-boxing ugly racist leaflets in the marginal seat of Lindsay.The islamic-pamphlet [pdf] purported to be from a Muslim group supporting the Labor party, supporting the Bali terrorists and predicting the building of a Mosque in Western Sydney. As we have previously shown, the threat of an Islamic infiltration of the burbs is a red button issue.

The leaflet was a fraud, a fake document used by the Liberal party to misrepresent the views of the opposition Labor party.The others involved were the husband of the incoming Liberal candidate and a professional Liberal party apparatchik Jeff Egan. One of those caught, helpfully covered his face with the incriminating leaflets thereby demonstrating his guilt.

In one fell moment they captured the whole media attention for the two most important news-cycles before the federal ballot.Kelly was already finished in the party, but her reputation and that of her husband has been destroyed forever. The standing liberal candidate (Karen Chijoff) and aspiring professional political operative Jeff Egan are finished in mainstream politics. Both Chijoff’s husband and Egan have been forced to write groveling apologies to the party. Continue reading →

Favourite Podcasts

“What podcasts will make me more intelligent just by listening to them?”, asks a Metafilter user. The responses have been quite useful, highlighting a number of interesting podcasts that I was unaware of. My personal favourites are Econtalk (check out, for example, this brilliant discussion with Nassim Taleb), Ideas and TED. There are often some interesting lectures to be found on the Cato podcast as well. The great advantage, of course, of the podcast is that it can be downloaded onto one’s MP3 player and played in the car or whilst walking.

I am sure there are many more — including some Islamic ones — so does anyone have any recommendations to add?

Reason interviews Hirsi Ali

For all her blabbering about liberty and liberalism, Ayaan Hirsi Ali sure has some illiberal ideas when it comes to Muslims. From an interview in the latest issue of the libertarian Reason magazine:

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

Continue reading →

Is “climate change” a religious issue?

Last Sunday, Compass asked a number of religious leaders and one Muslim identity to discuss their thoughts on the coming federal election.

Geraldine Doogue
Imam Ali, what do you believe are the major moral issues to be addressed in this campaign?

Imam Afroz Ali
The issue of climate change is a moral issue. I think I’m quoting Al Gore there. That it’s not a political matter. It’s a moral matter. And we need to return to understanding what the environment is. What is the environment? Why does it exist? Do we use it until the last drop of water on earth? Is that how it is? Is there a cross generational responsibility?

It’s interesting to note that the other religious representatives made similar points. And recently the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils were calling on the government to:

Continue reading →