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 »

God-worship and flag-worship

17 02 2007

There is a push among some members of the Australian Muslim community, chiefly former chair of the Prime Minister’s Muslim reference group Ameer Ali, for the Australian flag to be flown outside mosques as a sign of Muslims’ “loyalty” to Australia.

Given that god-worship and flag-worship are both manifestations of magical thinking, the proposal to fly the national flag outside mosques is hardly surprising. Indeed, it is probably more remarkable–given the obvious parallels between these two forms of irrationalism–that the practice of flying the Australian flag outside places of worship isn’t replicated more regularly and more widely among other religions in this country.

So there is something a tad sinister about this flag-waving initiative . . . though perhaps “sad” would be a more appropriate description. I’m sure there are more than a few Christian churches with a flagpole installed at the front door, but nobody expects them to have one, and nobody would question the patriotism of Australian Christians if they didn’t. And the same applies–I would suggest–to other religious communities (e.g. Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.) in Australia also.

So why is this necessary? Why does the mere fact of being Muslim automatically cast doubt upon one’s “Australianness,” such that certain Muslim leaders feel the need to overcompensate for this default assumption of Australian Muslims’ “disloyalty” by sticking a flagpole–as if it were a bogan’s car aerial–outside their place of worship?

At least Tom Zreika, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association which supports the iniative, and who has called upon the Federal Government to provide the flags and flagpoles, is being consistent when argues:

It’s no use having a flag outside of the mosque and down the road outside the synagogue there’s no flag.

UPDATE: BrokenLeftLeg makes an excellent point in the comments:

But of course Muslims flying the aussie flag takes away the symbol of those nasty cronulla folk.
it says, “hey whitey, we are muslims, and we are australians too”.
kind of like the wogs from “wogs out of work” hijacking a term of abuse.
I think they should fly it, solely to piss hanson off.

I hadn’t thought of it like that when I posted, but he’s right.

Fight dem back! has run several stories recently highlighting why some Australian Muslims might feel obliged to “Aussi-fy” their places of worship:
Psycho racists abuse Perth woman
NSW-Pol email scandal takes a racist twist
Racism goes both ways

"Move Them Niggers North"

30 01 2007

Looks like a few good ol’ boys ain’t too happy ’bout all these neegras movin’ into Tamworth.


2 12 2006

Forwarded email:

A School of Creative Communication conference, University of Canberra, December 6,7,8 2006

The conference features an International Keynote Address in the Great Hall of New Parliament House by Professor Jacques Rancière, Emeritus Professor of Aesthetics and Politics at the University of Paris VII. Professor Rancière will address the question: ‘What Does it Mean to be ‘Un’? The Thinking of Dissensus Today’

Professor Rancière’s address, at 18.15 on Thursday December 7th, will be followed by a cocktail party in the Marble Foyer of the house. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend these event (cost to attend public address: $20; further details:

Our Australasian keynote presenters are:
* Professor Larissa Behrendt, who will deliver the conference’s keynote opening address at the University of Canberra
* Doctor Klaus Neumann, author of Not the Way it Really Was
* Associate Professor Catharine Lumby, author of Bad Girls: The Media, Sex and Feminism in the 90s
* Professor John Frow, who will close the conference with the 2006 Don Aitken public lecture, which is being co-programmed with the UNAUSTRALIA conference
* Professor Roger Dean, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra, who will introduce Professor Frow’s lecture with a live sound art performance.

The conference features a gallery opening in the National Museum of Australia’s Garden of Australian Dreams at 18.00 on Wednesday December 6th, a workshop on ‘Fashion and Dress in Unaustralia’ convened by Professor Jenni Craik, the launches of two new books and one journal issue, and over 150 refereed and general streams of papers on the topic of UNAUSTRALIA.

Registration: Attendees can register for: the full 3 days ($395 waged; $220 non-waged) for 1 day ($190 waged; $115 non-waged) or just for Professor Rancière address ($20) (or $65 including Parliament House cocktail party). * To register, and for all further information:

Radio National’s Australia Talks Back devoted a programme to this topic on Wednesday. I blogged on it back in June, when they put out the initial call for papers. (And apologies for the image. That’s meant to be a disco ball underneath the flagpole.)