Muslims in the News

Two opinion pieces in each of Sydney’s two daily newspapers deserve special mention today.

Firstly, a Sydney Morning Herald journalist writes a 709 word piece revealing — perhaps for the first time ever in the opinion and analysis pages of a major newspaper — that some Muslims don’t shake the hands of members of the opposite sex. This is explosive enough but the same article goes on to report that some Muslims even choose to have separate wedding parties for men and women. Let’s prepare for the backlash.

And the Daily Telegraph has an opinion piece from Hizb ut-Tahrir that argues, amongst other things that, their “courageous stance in mobilising public opinion in the Muslim world has earned it the universal support of Muslim masses and caused widespread consternation among its opponents”; and they are being targeted by governments because their group, “continues to courageously expose the crimes of Western governments to a global audience; it unrelentingly challenges the West’s neo-liberal interventionist policies in the Muslim world and it works to present Islam as an ideological alternative to Western secular capitalism as a model of governance in the Muslim world. “

18 comments ↓

#1 dawood on 07.12.07 at 11:57 am

Don’t they have more important stuff to write about than this crap?

#2 Antish on 07.12.07 at 12:57 pm

In what sense “crap”? “Crap” because it isn’t true?

#3 JDsg on 07.12.07 at 1:04 pm

Gasp, shock, horror! Muslim men don’t shake women’s hands (and vice versa). Wait till they discover that many Thais don’t shake hands at all (doing the Wai instead). Then you’ll see a real meltdown of the fragile Aussie psyche. /snark

#4 dawood on 07.12.07 at 2:03 pm

“Crap” because the first article is nothing but fluff. Who cares if someone decides that they don’t want to shake hands with another person? Isn’t it up to the bride and bride-groom to have their wedding party/ies however they like.

Why do plenty of people have mixed wedding parties (a “hen” and “stag” night?) in the first place if it is a big no-no or something strange?

I just don’t see why something like that is news worthy, but I guess everyone has to make their pay some way eh?

Not to mention the rhetoric in the Hizb article, which you can almost cut with a knife.

#5 AAA on 07.12.07 at 2:16 pm

There’s more drama in that HT piece than a decade of Dynasty, Dallas and Young Doctors combined.

#6 Sara Tancredi on 07.12.07 at 2:53 pm

Ditto to everything dawood said.

Like seriously. I can’t believe SMH published that piece as a serious op-ed.

As for the HT piece, it’s actually quite amusing. DT is relishing this; they can’t write stuff that good. HT is relishing this too; they have a wide audience who are bound to hate them, and this provides them with more anti-West polemic. Winners all round really.

#7 AAA on 07.12.07 at 3:09 pm

According to this post at Muslimvillage, HT sent them the document but didn’t expect them to publish it. So maybe they can ask themselves why would the DT just publish their statement like that. They certainly didn’t do it because they thought it makes HT look good.

#8 Optimus Prime on 07.12.07 at 5:11 pm

It’s the first part of a 400 part series of articles on the facile, mundane and boringly puerile things that some Muslims do. Next week Nadia Jamal does Istinja. Here’s a snippet:

But for a small but growing number of young Australian Muslims identifying more with the intricacies of their religious beliefs, it is unacceptable not to clean themselves appropriately in the bathroom. Not only is leaving faeces unremoved a no-go, even urine is considered dirty.

Recently I have been caught out several times on this issue in public. On each occasion I was left feeling awkward, if not a little embarrassed. By the time I had figured out what the bottle of water in the bathroom was for, it was too late: my hand was left hanging in the wind.

It was hard not to take this personally, even though for Muslims who take this position it is nothing personal at all. They simply don’t like leaving filth on their body because they believe it is against their religion.

#9 Eudaemonion on 07.12.07 at 7:17 pm

Definitely a case of working for the paycheque, and not about saying anything particularly profound.

#10 Olisyah on 07.12.07 at 8:40 pm

Perhaps we should ask the members of HT who are languishing in the prisons whether they agree this whole piece is a tad overdramatic?

Sometimes we get too complacent preaching to the converted. Polemic? For God’s sake, is the suffering of the Muslim world a mere figment of the imagination? Is the complicity of Western governments in this suffering just rhetoric? Are we so blind so as to not recognise the inherent contradiction between Islam and Secularism / Capitalism / Liberalism / ‘insert whatever other ism you like’?

In all seriousness, wouldn’t it be more productive to abandon the mutual use of rhetoric and articulate our case to those with whom we may disagree? Or is this beneath us? I don’t wish to engage in a slanging match, but let us at least aknowledge we are talking about Muslim who are paying with their blood for what they believe.

#11 Mango on 07.12.07 at 9:25 pm

Rofl @ Optimus Prime.

Nadia is wrong, I’m pretty sure the Muslim community want to give her the shake.

But if it makes her feel any better, SMH will always extend their handout to her.

#12 Shadower on 07.13.07 at 11:26 am

Thanks to Nadia for a truly humorous piece. Not even the comics can entertain that much.

#13 Antish on 07.13.07 at 1:07 pm

Why whinge about the SMH piece? Presumably they wouldn’t have published it if they felt that most of their readership was well aware of the issue. Discussing social interraction between different cultures in Australia is an entirely appropriate topic for an op-ed piece. If you’re worried that it might prompt “gee, those funny mooslims”, the reponse isn’t to get annoyed at the people who wrote and published an entirely factual piece. Living as a sort of secret society in Australia isn’t an option, nor is apartheid.

#14 Sara Tancredi on 07.13.07 at 1:24 pm

If you’re worried that it might prompt “gee, those funny mooslims”, the reponse isn’t to get annoyed at the people who wrote and published an entirely factual piece. Living as a sort of secret society in Australia isn’t an option, nor is apartheid.

Gee, Antish, maybe lay off the Red Bull and take a deep breath. The article was pap, and we’re entitled to think so. If it was a meaningful discussion of social behaviours, then maybe it would elicit a more favourable response. As it is, it’s just a self-indulgent rant about religious people being too religious.

#15 AAA on 07.13.07 at 5:02 pm

In the latest bizarre twist, the Daily Telegraph has been accused of plagiarism for publishing the HT press release that was sent to them.

Irfan Yusuf writes:
Yesterday’s Daily Telegraph included an opinion piece titled “Hizb ut-Tahrir wants a Caliph”, supposedly written — and seemingly submitted to the Tele — by media spokesman for the Australian branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wassim Doureihi.

In fact, Doureihi confirmed to Crikey yesterday afternoon that neither he nor anyone else from his organisation submitted anything to the Tele.
So where did the Tele’s Opinion Editor Tim Blair source this article? Well…Doureihi sees the article as surprisingly similar in content to a recent Hizb ut-Tahrir press release placed on their website.

If The Australian thinks Media Watch is suspect for dealing with alleged jihadists, the Tele must be equally as suspect for reproducing articles by Islamists. But more fundamental than this, what on earth was Tim Blair thinking when he decided to reprint (and almost plagiarise) a press release as an article without seeking the author’s permission?

I’ve had op-eds published in over 16 newspapers in Australia and New Zealand. I’ve never seen or heard of a paper editing and reprinting my stuff without my permission. In fact, most opinion editors ask me to approve the final version before it goes to print. Certainly Blair’s predecessor showed the same basic professional courtesy.

#16 HT Press Release/Op-Ed Controversy on 07.14.07 at 1:23 am

[...] this article was sent out via the popular Crikey newsletter questioning the publication of the press [...]

#17 Antish on 07.14.07 at 3:29 pm

“Gee, Antish, maybe lay off the Red Bull and take a deep breath. The article was pap, and we’re entitled to think so.”

Erm people are implying that the author is a traitor to the Ummah – it isn’t me who needs to take a deep breath.

#18 Sara Tancredi on 07.14.07 at 11:00 pm

Erm people are implying that the author is a traitor to the Ummah – it isn’t me who needs to take a deep breath.

Yes, but I expect more from you.

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