Meanwhile . . .

7 01 2009

This is the kind of story they didn’t want you to hear about during the Howard years:

One is a successful artist who works in robotics and the other is a former kung fu champion on the verge of a promising film career.

But just a few short years ago, Adam Janali and Hussain Sadiqi were refugees locked in immigration detention centres as part of the former Howard government’s tough line on boat people and people smuggling.

Compelled to speak out after reports about the latest wave of asylum seekers which Mr Janali claims “inflame hatred through creating an image of wealthy queue jumpers”, the Afghan men said refugees went on to become hard-working and contributing citizens.

Mr Janali, 31, of North Perth, spent three years in detention after using a network of people smugglers to get out of Afghanistan because of Taliban persecution.

In 2001, the Taliban shot his brother (who had lost a leg in a landmine blast) because he was “of no use to anyone”, so Mr Janali’s parents paid people smugglers to send him “anywhere”. He has not heard from his parents since.

He came to Australia via Iran and Indonesia and said he taught himself to draw and paint while detained in a bid to “keep sane”. He held his first exhibition in 2006, two years after his release. Before coming to Australia he had no English and a solely religious and philosophical education, but now worked both as an artist and a robotics expert in the mining industry.

Now married to a local woman, Mr Janali said he felt Australia was his country too and was concerned about the “exaggerations” surrounding the experiences of the latest wave of refugees, who would also become contributing citizens if given the chance. (The West Australian)

I know Mr Janali, and his wife is a friend who emailed me this story. And I congratulate him and his friend Mr Sadiqi on being able to share their stories.

UPDATE (OF SORTS): Here is an interview with Adam Janali from 2006.





Religious misanthropy and the case of the Muslim-only housing development

7 01 2009

OzAtheist posted recently on a Muslim-only housing development and recreation centre planned for the Perth suburb of Rivervale:

Islamic Council of WA spokesman Rahim Ghauri said the group had an architect-designed concept plan for a six-storey housing development, an underground carpark and a hall for weddings, conferences and religious and recreational activities.

Mr Ghauri rejected claims the housing would further isolate sectors of the Muslim community from mainstream society, claiming the venue would be used to teach Islamic youth how to become good Australian citizens.

The West Australian did not report Ghauri’s explanation of how Islamic youth the children of Muslim parents might learn how to become good Australian citizens by hermetically sealing them off from Australian society—you know, where Australian citizens live. In a sign that the Islamic Council of WA ought to consider firing whoever is in charge of their PR, the organisation’s religious spokesperson offered the following apologia: Read the rest of this entry »





Unintentional irony of the week

22 12 2008

From USA TODAY:

“I just hate being pigeonholed as a hate monger or bigot,” says Robert Hoehn, who contributed $25,000 to the campaign for Prop 8, which amended California’s Constitution to exclude same-sex marriage.





Christian love strikes again in California

21 12 2008

Is there any appellation more Orwellian—nay, oxymoronic—than “loving Christian?” A coalition of loving Christians, clearly of the view that Proposition 8 did not constitute a decisive enough victory over a despised outgroup, now wants the marriages that were performed during the California marriage statute’s brief dalliance with (the manifestly unChristian virtues of) humanity and acceptance to be annulled:

Referendum proponents known as the “Protect Marriage” coalition on Friday took their campaign one step further, petitioning the Supreme Court to annul the gay marriages officiated so far in California.

“Proposition 8’s brevity is matched by its clarity,” the group said in its legal brief. “There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions, or exclusions: ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.'”

Show me the individual who describes himself as a “loving Christian,” and who in the same breath advocates such naked mean-spiritedness as evinced by the self-styled marriage defenders in California, and I’ll show you a liar, a fraud, a phony, a bullshit-artist, a spinmeister, a prevaricator, a con-artist, a deluder, a dissimulator, a false witness. He is “loving” in the same regard as a “loving father” who lovingly beats his kids, or a “loving husband” who lovingly beats his wife.





Today’s text: Judge Robert Jackson

12 12 2008

If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.

From the Nuremberg Trials





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXIX

27 11 2008

The week in fundie:

  1. The UN General Assembly has adopted a draft resolution calling on governments to ban the “defamation of religion.” (EuropeNews)
  2. The retired Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Biffi, revels in the stagnant pool of non-thinking that is conservative Christianity by insisting that Christian teachings do not change with the times. That’s nothing to be proud of, Biffi: it merely serves to demonstrate the irrelevance of your belief system and its wilful disconnection from the real world. (Catholic News Agency)
  3. Islam is the only religion that ensures protection and respectable status to women in society” says an academic in Pakistan. (The News International)
  4. Yoga is banned in Malaysia because “The Islam religion does not find efforts or actions which have no purpose and are done just for the sake of doing something, to be appropriate,” and “A soul returning to the world in another form conflicts with the principles of being punished or rewarded in the afterworld.” Transmigration of the soul? That’s crazy-talk. Post-mortem hellfire and torment for not being a Muslim? Perfectl reasonable. (Sabah)
  5. Morality and ethics, observed an American cleric recently, cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents. Indeed. (ABC News Online)
  6. Morality and ethics, observed an American cleric recently, cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents. Indeed part deux. (Pharyngula)
  7. A loving Catholic blogger lovingly declares: “Was there ever a sub-species of human being as useless as atheists??” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  8. A loving Baptist pastor lovingly declares that Jews are going to Hell and face—and I quote—“a fate worse than the Holocaust.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  9. In India, a teenage boy committed the horrible crime of courting a girl from a lower caste. So of course he justly deserved the punishment of being beaten, paraded through the streets with his head shaved, and then thrown under the wheels of a train. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  10. The anti-vac movement has a following in the Islamic world, too. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan has issued a fatwa against vaccination, declaring it to be a Jewish/Freemason conspiracy to rule the world. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  11. In South Africa, a 52-year-old woman was hacked to death with an axe by four men for being a “witch.” (Sowetan)




Quote of the week: Malcolm Turnbull

8 11 2008

Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull gave a speech to the Australian Christian Lobby, evidently peppered with enough “marriage and families” references to suggest that the post-Howard Libs are still not completely above pandering to the fundagelicals. But he does deserve kudos for maintaining a firm stance on abortion and gay rights. On the latter, this gem:

“If you think about it, if you discriminate … against a gay couple, between two men living together, do you really think that they’re going to say ‘oh well, that’s no good, we’ll go off and get married to a woman’?” he asked the audience. (ABC News Online)

Apparently they do. (See also: “Is it Just Another Lifestyle?“)