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Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan's previous pieces for Webdiary include Finding lost property at the soul supermarket, Anne and Nada, Bronwyn mis-beehiving again?, Miranda joins 'Team America', Reflecting on 'Paradise Now' and An Aussie Mossies' response to Paris burning .


by Irfan Yusuf

Fellow Australians, lend me your ears! I wish to announce the latest saga of un-Islamic episodes in the life of Michelle Leslie.

Today, 29 November 2005,  I read in the first six or so pages of the Daily Telegraph some news that I am sure will shock your undies off. Or your bikini. Depending on the weather and your modelling preferences.

Michelle Leslie has purchased … wait for it … a dog!

As if wearing a singlet top and hipster jeans in Singapore wasn’t enough to offend my supremely Islamic sensibilities. Now Michelle has decided to add canine insult to injury by having a dog in her house.

And as I'm sure you all know, Muslims aren’t supposed to have dogs in the house. You do know that, don’t you? You don’t? Why not? Are you a bunch of rednecks or something?

Seriously, folks, I have problems with the response of some Muslims to Michelle Leslie’s dress demeanour and modelling. Some Muslim leaders seem to think their job is to represent Islamic orthodoxy as opposed to Muslim reality. The problem is that their condemnations are so damned selective, it’s enough to make me bark.

And my barking becomes louder when I notice these leaders are presuming the entire Aussie community regards their underlying standards of "decency" as given. Which is also what happens when Bronwyn Bishop opens her mouth on social issues. After the Pittwater voters kicked out her Party's choice for State MP, hopefully Bronny might focus more on grassroots campaigning and less on what some young women wear to school.

Yep, religious leaders trying to ape the irrelevance of backbenchers-for-life. Take Dr Ameer Ali, for instance. I like Dr Ali. Seriously. The guy is an economist, a senior lecturer at some university in Perth. He is also the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), an umbrella body representing Islamic councils from all Australian states and territories. He is the closest thing to a national Muslim leader.

Dr Ali’s body represents a large number of associations that manage mosque properties and employ imams. On paper, it most closely approximates the Islamic Church (if such a thing existed).

But Islam knows no priestly hierarchy. So I guess the president of a body representing all the mosques is the closest thing to an archbishop or primate.

So where does the Mufti fit into all of this? Well, many moons ago, back in the days when everyone thought George Michael was straight and macho, there was a huge issue about a controversial Egyptian Imam who spent a lot of time at the Imam Ali ben Abi Taleb Mosque in Lakemba.

This Imam, named Tajeddine Hilali, managed to cause some annoyance (to say the least) to certain local Jewish leaders who decided their translation of one-third of his speech was an accurate reflection of what he said at a seminar on the Palestinian Intifada held at Sydney University in 1986.

Now remember that this was before the time Messrs Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn. It was still the time when you could openly say that all Palestinians were terrorists without anyone labelling you an anti-Semite.

Imam Hilali gave a speech in which he praised the Intifada. He also apparently said some rather wacky things, although we aren’t sure whether he referred to Jews in general or certain followers of political Zionism in particular.

I was at the seminar. There wasn’t a single video camera at the seminar. I was very upset. I complained to the organisers. They shrugged their shoulders and apologised.

Some 6 months later, we were all shrugging our shoulders when we saw a video-taping of part of his speech at the seminar. How on earth was that taken? Who took the video? Why?

Anyway, the point is the someone took a video of Imam Halali’s speech, had it translated and then decided to make it an issue affecting Imam Hilali’s immigration status.

To save Imam Hilali’s sheikly backside, and on the advice of the office of then Acting Prime Minister Paul Keating, AFIC decided to create a title for Imam Hilali that made him indispensable to Aussie Mossies. Hence the term “mufti” was born.

We are told that the term “mufti” means spiritual leader. Crap. It means nothing of the sort. The spiritual tradition of Islam is called tasawwuf by Sunni Muslims and irfan by Shia Muslims. Although I am Sunni, I reckon my Shia brethren got the name right. You westerner plebians who can't say either name call it "sufism".

The elders of this sufi/irfanic tradition aren’t called muftis. The position of mufti actually means a senior counsel. A mufti is someone you approach to give you a non-binding but authoritative opinion on a novel issue not quite covered by jurists of Islamic religious law thus far.

There is no doubt that Aussie Mossies face many novel issues in a country like Australia. For instance, are we allowed to use astronomical calculations to determine the beginning of the lunar month? They still haven't worked out the answer to that one.

As such, we need muftis in probably each major capital city. The muftis can take care of Islamic legal issues, leaving AFIC people to look after the administrative niceties of mosque management.

The problem is that no one (including the Mufti himself) quite knows who is meant to do what and who speaks on what issues. As such, you have both the Mufti and the AFIC Prez talking about Michelle’s singlet and her modelling, each giving different interpretations and allegedly Islamic spins on what she should and shouldn’t wear.

Further, when some Muslim leaders speak on thee topics, they display a complete inability to understand that the rest of the Aussie community (including the Aussie Mossies) simply do not know what they are getting at.

Indeed, the almost exclusively middle-aged male migrant leaders have virtually no understanding of what it is like to grow up in a not-so-Muslim environment and then take on a whole new faith and identity. Michelle has adopted the faith. Well, she tells us she has. And I have no reason to disbelieve her. Whether she continues to model g-strings for the next few years doesn’t change my assessment of her religious beliefs.

The reality, of course, is that most Aussie Mossies couldn’t give two hoots on what Michelle wears or doesn’t wear. Nor do they care if her dog will be fed halal meat.

Take a stroll down Auburn Road in Auburn or Sydney Road in Brunswick and you will see no shortage of Aussie Mossie chicks wearing hipster jeans or denim mini’s with singlet tops. And these girls aren’t fresh converts either. Most have been brought up in Muslim families and have names that are so obviously Muslim, you’d think they were part of my harem (I wish!) – names like Fatima and Yasmin and Salma and Sevda and Safa and Marwa and Aisha.

These lasses have been wearing this sort of gear for as long as I can remember. My family have been attending prayers for the days of Eid (the annual feast days) at either Imam Ali Mosque in Lakemba or the Gallipoli Mosque in Auburn. Seriously, if Michelle Leslie ever did show up, we wouldn’t have spotted her.

One of my Muslim female friends once told me she used to wear skirts at uni that were so short that her aunts used to tell her: “Put some clothes on, will you!”

Sadly, I only met her after she graduated. And like many Aussie and Kiwi Muslim girls, she could teach Ms Leslie a thing or two about natural beauty.

The point is that Muslim leaders need to make up their mind. Do they represent Islam? Or do they represent Muslims as they actually are? Around two thirds of Australia’s Muslims were born and/or brought up in Australia and are aged under 40. Over half of these are women.

And if the young Aussie Mossie lasses walking along Auburn Road or Sydney Road are anything to go by, Muslim leaders need to realise that there is no shortage of Michelle Leslies around in the Muslim community.

And before they start lecturing Michelle, these dudes should start lecturing all the Fatimas and Yasmins and Salmas for their dress sense. But not too forcefully. At least not whilst the Irfan’s of the community still haven’t found a wife!

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re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, I have a strong suspicion that you and me have far more in common than any other two Aussies chosen at random.

Such a tragedy. I've always thought from the back of my mind that the Israel/Palestine conflict was an internecine dispute. Thank God for Australia.

Shalom mate. And all the very best.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Interesting. Irfan Yusuf's comments strike me as being similar in spirit to Waleed Ali's in the Age last week. Sensible and affable.
The brutality of the press pack toward Michelle Laslie last week, plus the ability of the Leslie group to deal with obnoxious tabloid media has created a sense of sympathy for Leslie herself. No noisy and agressive Mercedes in full war paint here. Rather, just a much more honest, humble and shavvy approach, that included not insulting Islam and Muslims.
The Leslies were obviously offended by the government and the Okkerist traits revealed in the press conference. It is not surprising to contemplate the notion that a mutual affinity now exists, shared by people who have shared the experience of being subjected to public ridicule and redneck hostility stoked by populist politicians and unscrupulous tabloid media.
By the way, it was great to see Fraser again standing up for democracy. This old fella has becaome de-facto opposition leader in Australia as Beazley has resiled from an ethical response, once again, this time concerning Howard's insensitive and cavalier behaviour toward the lad about to be hanged in Singapore.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

I can't wait to see Michelle Leslie as the latest spokes-person for the "Get some Pork on your Fork" campaign.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan Yusuf: "Around two thirds of Australia’s Muslims were born and/or brought up in Australia and are aged under 40. Over half of these are women"

Have you actually confirmed that there are more women and men under 40 in the Islamic community?

Everywhere in the world more males are born than females. About 105 to 106 boys per 100 girls.

In Australia, for the 15-65 age group there are 102 males for every 100 females.
There are more women in the total population because women live longer. For the over 65s there are only 77 men for every 100 women.

So unless young male Muslims are killing themselves (by their life-style or other methods), there really ought to be more Muslim men than women in the under-40 bracket.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Tony Kevin, thanks for pointing out the error to me. I think you are referring to the Canberra Times piece. This is what happens when things are done on a Friday afternoon.

That wasn't the only error. The poor opinion editor managed to get my name back-to-front. Such is life.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith, the day you can show me your qualifications in classical Arabic together with a full Arabic and English version of Hilali's entire speech is the day I will take what you say on this matter seriously.

Your arguments are the same as those used by Dr Gerard Henderson. I don't know alot about Gerard, but I am pretty sure his Arabic is probably about as good as that of one of his sponsors, a certain Rodney Adler.

I cannot confirm or deny what Mr Hilali said. I don't speak his language. Probably more to the point, he doesn't speak my language.

In this regard, I am sure you will agree with me when I say that it makes absolutely no sense for a peak Muslim body to appoint a non-English speaker to a sensitive post.

As for Mr Sharon's past and present crimes and misdemeanours, I will maintain my silence. The ghosts of Sabra and Chatila can speak for themselves.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, I like reading your stuff. It’s fun to read and it’s a good reality check against the ravings of our anti-Muslim bigots.

I just want to take this opportunity to correct you in friendly fashion on something important. You referred to SIEV X (not by name) in a recent newspaper article, but you had some important facts wrong – e.g., as to the sinking date and as to how many died (it was 353, not 100). Please, check out the facts if you are going to refer to the SIEV X event again, as I hope you will. An easy way to do this is to read Marg Hutton’s SIEV X chronology on her website www.sievx.com. That chronology is short and digestible, and 100% accurate.

Best wishes, Tony Kevin

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, as you don't seem to recall what your Imam said, perhaps it is worth reminding people who were not there about the ambiguous statements made by Hilaly:

"Jews as the cause of all wars and the existential enemy of humanity." The speech was entirely devoted to "the nature of the Jews." Perhaps you could provide us the balanced comments in this speech that you attended that made it clear what he really thought? Or are you white-washing history?

I agree it is really difficult to know what he could have meant by this. It remains curious why such comments made no impact on you.

Hilaly was also quite vocal about September 11 stating that it was "God's work against oppressors."

My own favourite was the picture in which he held a photo of Ariel Sharon with a swastika on it. The nazification of Jews is a very ambiguous statement too. I wonder where the cameras were, I am sure no-one saw those either.

To deny Hilaly's status here is disingenuos. Whether you voted for him, Paul Keating installed him or whatever, he is clearly representative of a significant portion of the Sydney Lebanese Muslim community. If he were not, he would not be in charge of the Lakemba mosque.

My last point is that you seem to be appropriating the term "anti-semitism" to somehow mean anti-arab. It is in the same way that people use the term 'concentration camp' and say that is reflects a Boer war concept. I don't buy it. It is historical revisionism a la Hilaly himself. Or maybe you don't remember Hilaly claiming that Australia was discovered by Afghans ie were are a legitimate part of the caliphate.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan thank you for responding, but I would ask you to clarify the following.

Firstly, if you did not understand what Hilaly was saying, why did you attend the seminar? I was merely asking you to clarify what was said. You made the reference to it and now you say that you can't even confirm or deny what was said there. I find this a little difficult to believe.

Secondly, there seems to be a subtle but sinister theme in some of your comments. What have you added to your comments by saying that Gerard Henderson was backed by a Jewish businessman? How does his alleged association with Rodney Adler add or detract from his criticisms of Hilaly? Could you please explain this? I think you owe it to us to clarify what you mean.

Thirdly, evoking images of Sabra and Shatila is no defence for calling a Jewish leader a Nazi. Sharon was found responsible in an administrative sense for this tradgedy as the region was under Israeli military control. Christian phalangists perpetrated the crime. You must know this. This is one of the problems with apologists such as yourself, you can't acknowledge that it denigrates the living and the dead to make comparison between Jewish leaders and Nazis. Justifying it as you do is uncomfortably troubling.

Lastly, I am only too happy for you to correct the translations that you seem to undermine, but have not denied. Why don't you give us the evidence to set the record straight that the leader of one of the largest Islamic groups is not the radical, antisemite that his comments suggest that he is.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith, I am no apologist for anyone. I also do not subscribe to any form of racial or religious chauvinism. If you find the notion that Jews are capable of committing atrocities to be offensive, I suggest you go re-visit the Talmud.

When someone commits atrocities (even "administratively"), be they Ariel Sharon or John Howard or George Bush or Saddam Hussein, I see it as my duty to condemn the atrocities and do what I can to right the wrong. If I try to justify the aggressor, I may as well have been the one who pulled the trigger or dropped the bomb.

Most of my Jewish friends see no reason to justify any and every action committed by the Australian government, let alone the government of a foreign country. I was born in Karachi, but that didn't stop me from hacking into Pervez Musharraf in the pages of the Australian Financial Review.

And nor will I try to justify every single comment made by a certain person that you have claimed is my leader. You claim he is the leader of one of the largest Islamic groups. Which group is that? And what makes you think I belong to it?

By the way, in case people have forgotten, this article is about Michelle Leslie and the treatment of converts. It is not about Ariel Sharon or whether the term "semite" can only be applied to a person of a particular faith.

Geoff Pahoff, shalom to you too mate.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Addendum to previous post.

Let it be known that I regard Sheik Hilaly in the same manner that I regard George Pell, Peter Jensen, Brian Houston and Rabbi Lawrence. I have no regard for them at all.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith, where do we begin with the likes of you?

You said, speaking of Hilaly,” Irfan, as you don't seem to recall what your Imam said…”

Then you said, “Irfan I have never once called Hilaly your leader”
Uh Huh?.

You said, "My last point is that you seem to be appropriating the term 'anti-semitism' to somehow mean anti-arab."

I say educate yourself and learn what a Semite is.

You said, “Christian phalangists perpetrated the crime.”

I say you’re right. But it was Sharon who opened the gates and let the well-armed murderers into the camps. If you deny this then you are either a fool or a liar.

You said, alluding to the fact that Irfan doesn’t speak Hilalys’ dialect of Arabic, “Firstly, if you did not understand what Hilaly was saying, why did you attend the seminar?”

I ask how is it that you can offer perfect English translations of Hilays’ speech?

What are your sources?

You said: “Secondly, there seems to be a subtle but sinister theme in some of your comments. What have you added to your comments by saying that Gerard Henderson was backed by a Jewish businessman?”

I say grow up!! Influence is bought and sold all the time. I thank Irfan for pointing out that the convicted criminal Roney Adler is funding the likes of Gerry Henderson.

Are you seriously inferring that, of all the religious groups extant on this planet, Jews are the only ones that do not indulge in political lobbying?

I could go on forever but life is too short.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, you seem to be getting very angry and hostile and I don't quite understand why. I not that you have not addressed ANY of the questions that I have raised including the issue of associating Gerard Henderson with Rodney Adler. This is in contravention of the Webdiary ethics.

I must say that I do not like your condescending manner of only listening to me if I have a degree in classical Arabic and telling me to read the Talmud.

I made the comment that having an Islamic leader use Nazi ideology to refer to Jewish leaders is offensive. Is your reference to the Talmud a justification of this? Perhaps you could tell me which part of the Talmud troubles you? Maybe you could also tell us where and how you studied the Talmud to come to these conclusions.

Irfan I have never once called Hilaly your leader. I stated that he was an Islamic leader of a sizable section of the local Islamic community. You mentioned him and stated that you went to his seminar. You have still not answered my questions. If you were there, how could you not know what he was talking about? How can you deny the translations? If you accept that they may be true, then it suggests a serious problem that a major community leader is obviously very racist. Further, if his talk was totally focused on the Jews in a racist manner, where is your outrage against that racism? Or was it justified in your opinion? Please tell us where you really stand.

Irfan, there are still questions in my previous post that you have not answered. I would ask you to comply with the Webdiary ethics or withdraw and apologise for what you wrote.

It is precisely this kind of slipery polemical stle that I find so grating. In a previous piece you started by saying you did not deny that Islamists perpetrated 9/11 but then went on and on and on about how Muslims could not have done it because they couldn't organise a piss up in a brewry. Behind that shallow humour is a sinister message ie that Muslims didn't do it.

Whilst you may get support from the op-ed writers, most Australians, like me, just don't buy the double-speak.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith, I think your problem is that you are trying to push the following completely unsupportable propositions:

1. That I am unable to have any meaningful role in attending a seminar if I cannot understand what one of the speakers are saying.

2. That one can only mention a businessman sponsoring a secular thinktank in the context of his supposed religion.

3. That it is insulting to describe a Jew as a Nazi but not a Muslim.

4. That despite your not attending the seminar nor understanding the language a speech at a seminar is spoken in, you are able to comment on what the speaker was "totally focussed on".

5. That I have some secret agenda which somehow involves hating a portion of the Jewish community which you regard as somehow representative of all Aussie Jews.

6. That most Australians are absolutely flabbergasted by what an Imam said 20 years ago, and will therefore overlook any good he has done including his role in securing the release of Australian hostage Douglas Wood.

I am no Talmudic scholar, but I am aware of the pronouncement of Rabbi Hillel, whom I understand lived around half a century before Christ. He said: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? If I care only for myself, what am I?"

I think the second part of his statement rules out any form of national chauvinism from Jewish tradition. I do not believe it forms part of Jewish tradition to regard Jews as being incapable of performing atrocities anymore than Christians, Muslims, Callithumpians or any other faith group.

In the same way that a Muslim woman is perfectly capable of modelling swimwear or hanging around with consumers of ekkies.

Finally, you have suggested that in one of my pieces, I suggested that Muslims could not have been behind 9/11 because they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. It seems to me your knowledge of English is almost as wanting as your knowledge of classical Arabic.

What I actually said in the article (published by the fine folks at New Matilda) is that my experience with Muslim leaders and imams tells me that your average aussie imam is unable to even provide answers on when to commence the lunar month let alone organise a coordinated terrorist attack.

As far as I am concerned, and based on the evidence I have read, responsibility for the Sept 11 attacks lies firmly with Mr bin Ladin and his band of unmerry men. And what all this discussion has to do with Michelle Leslie's swimsuit, God alone knows.

I was wondering if any other readers wanted me to continue this dialogue ...

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Mark Ross, you seemed to have gotten far off the point, and I would still ask Irfan to answer the questions I have posed to him about what he said. Your interpretations are of less relevance in this respect.

I am not here to debate what happened at Sabra and Shatila, this is off topic. I am here to tackle Irfan on him attempting to portray Hilaly as something a lot less than he is.

In making a reference to "your Imam", I meant "your" in a generic sense just as Irfan has taken it upon himself in a generic sense to defend Islam. I did not mean it literally. This should not detract from the core questions that have remained unanswered.

Irfan has still not established what the relationship is/was that Gerard Henderson had/has with Rodney Adler and what relevance it has here at all. He needs to do that according to Webdiary ethics and I would ask that this request be enforced. Otherwise we are left with an ad hominem slur that is utterly ugly.

Irfan can speak for himself and explain how he attended a seminar he didn't understand on a topic he seems to have forgotten yet simultaneously claims that the quotes were taken out of context.

He should also answer my question about simultaneously acknowledging 9/11 being committed by Muslim Arabs and then going on and on and on about how disorganised Islamic peoples are and therefore sewing the seeds of doubt about his own conviction. Enough with the forked tongue mate!

Mark Ross does not seem to understand that there is a difference between what is regarded as "semitic" peoples and the common use of the term anti-semite. Hence the Durban conference on racism adopted the neologism Islamophobia. The only point that I am making is that slipery apologists for Islam regularly engage in historical revisionism to blur the commonly understood use of terms to their own advantage. It turns the understood anti-Jewish sentiment into anti-arab sentiment. Quickly society gets confused as to whether there is a problem with one or the other.

I would still like to hear Irfan's scholarly wit about the Talmud that he referred to and how it was relevant to our discussion. I never stated that Jews could not comit atrocities but surely even Irfan would agree that calling a Jewish leader a Nazi is offensive and inappropriate.

Irfan, I ask you again. You are fond of Australian strine, so put up or shut up.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith: “Thirdly, evoking images of Sabra and Shatila is no defence for calling a Jewish leader a Nazi”.

I hope my post may shed some light to why Muslim religious leaders would possibly link Arial Sharon with Nazi principles.

In the Koran there is a verse which states "Whoever slays a human being, unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had slain all of mankind" (5:32). This verse’s context is actually in reference to the Jews of Moses, but has other outlying themes for modern day civilizations.

I asked for an explanation to this verse and was told that essentially, the verse is conveying the notion that there is no moral difference between an individual who kills 1 person, to an individual who kills 10000 people. One is not better than the other. In other words, Stalin and Martin Bryant may differ in degree, but their principles are exactly the same. These principles are as follows: Murder for a social, political or economic gain.

Since Arial Sharon is known, rightly or wrongly, as “The butcher of Beirut”, Muslim leaders would not see anything wrong, in light of the above verse, as evoking Nazi images of Arial Sharon. Hope this helps.

In regards to Shiekh Hilali, I have attended many of his sermons. I am an Arab myself, so I generally understand what he is saying. I haven’t heard in any of his sermons anti-Semitic (referencing to Jews) comments. He is far from a racist, and is often more critical of the Arab Muslims and their dormancy. I remember when he was on Al-Jazzera and he called the Muslims in Australia that are sowing discord to the Australian community as “salatan”, in Arabic, meaning cancerous. I believe that fair criticism of Israel, or referencing Aerial Sharon as a Jew should not be taken as anti-Semitic. I don’t see people having any qualms with conveying Bin Laden as a Muslim

I also agree with Irfan Yusuf's comment that “the day you can show me your qualifications in classical Arabic together with a full Arabic and English version of Hilali's entire speech is the day I will take what you say on this matter seriously”. Hilaly is one of the very few individuals in Australia who is extremely well versed in Arabic. He often uses poems in his sermons and is very metaphoric when describing issues. It is quite difficult to translate his speech accurately because of this. People often disregard the difficulty of classical Arabic, and because of this we see many misconceptions in regards to the Koran and Hilaly.

Now, getting back to Michelle Leslie. No mortal has the right to declare weather Leslie is a Muslim or not. Only God judges, not humans. If she chooses a lifestyle that does not conform with Islamic teachings, it does not render her as a non-Muslim. A person is a non-Muslim only if he/she partners god, denies that Prophet Muhammed is the final prophet, or believes that the Koran is not the final word of God. Since she hasn’t done that she is still a Muslim, and only God knows whats in her heart. We can only judge her tongue.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan Yusuf. You could even say you got to Baghdad first.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

John Smith, seriously I think you should go over our entire exchange of e-mails and you will find the answers to all your questions.

Further, let me tell you something historical. My blasted ancestors, the Mongols, were a nasty bunch. I think their records in slaughtering Muslims was at least comparable to Hitler's record in slaughtering Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals or Slavs.

But seriously, if you called me a Mongol or a Khan or even a Buddhist or anything else that frmed part of the identity of the Mongol hordes, I would not at all be offended. After all, we may have killed lots of innocent people. But we also forced the Chinese to build the Great Wall. And we built masterpieces like the Taj Mahal.

Plus as a loyal Aussie, I can say I find some affinity with a bunch of invaders that set Baghdad in flames ...

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Hi Irfan Yusuf, it is bizarre the attack upon Michelle Leslie. I wonder if it reflects the problem of stereotyping Muslim Australians as all one type, conservative in thought and garb and religious thought. I think you covered that quite nicely in earlier articles. Imagine having to think of "them" as actually dressing the same as "us"! They might even think the same and have feelings too!

(You mentioned names, and mistakes there. Are Moslem names surname first as in some cultures or never, how would your name be shortened to the compulsory Aussie one syllable? How are names chosen, so often, like biblical names, seem to come out of Koran or Mohamed times, is that right?)

I agree with you, she can wear what she wants, good luck to her. I personally find the details of her release what is concerning, the alleged bribes, (the close association with the minister of defence's son - if I remember the Herald article correctly. But then was that an untrue implication and innocent of real meaning as her Sutton boy friend has stood by so sweetly.)

What also alarmed me was to have people of standing here, like ex-Justice Einfeld (soon to be Chairman of Strathfield according to our so informing Wayne), who says the information should not be public as these dealings go on. Thus condoning possible manipulation of justice by those with the money to pay when the corrupt are there to receive them. Really? Is this what a Justice should be saying? Did it go on in our courts? What of the Aussie without the money or connections ?

Or should we be promoting a fairer more merciful ("Allah the compassionate and merciful" cry show that Christianity has no monopoly on such values in justice) judiciary and set of laws in the region. Including of course our near neighbour and others who still have the death sentence upon their books. the other point is that such bribery encourages planting upon those who can pay. Nice thought eh?

Until this hypocritical means of enforcing drug control - that is by killing of the little while dining with the big players-is openly shown for the scam it is, there will be no change. Until then, there will be no real attempt made to properly challenge this trade. Forever swept up will be the flotsum-jetsum of humanity to be hung drawn and quartered in Asia and the occasional beautiful well connected model that can be bribed out.

Oh and "John Smith" ,relax lots of international leaders are war criminals, look at Howard/Bush/ Blair triumvirate. It seems to be so fashionable at present. I am looking forward to Perez with new hope, as long as Sharon is busy fighting the charges his son is rather than pretending to form "central" government. hohohoho. The pendulum's rest point must be defying gravity.

If it looks like a duck , swims like a duck and sounds like a duck then you have permission in a free society to call it a swan. Everyone else will call it a duck and but still respect your choice and listen enthralled to your reasoning. You could even start a swan appreciation club and publish wonderful ugly duckling stories about people mistaking it for a duck in the past, and how it bloomed into a swan, leader of the other swans. I think Hans C A also wrote the "Emperors' new clothes" too. Maybe he was really a political writer. A gentle one which is what is needed when passion and religion and manipulation by fear blind one to others' agony.

Umbrellas up.


re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Angela Ryan, and what about the Little Match Girl as an exemplar of the outcomes of Serfchoices, the Little Mermaid of the consequences of Welfare to Work, and the Snow Queen as ... ? (WHY will people come into my study and nick books that I need to sustain arguments?)

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, I think most religions suffer from having those that live outside reality leading them. Most Australians of any persuasion would find young people that present their beauty in fashion and sport, as a good example for their religion as long as it is done with decorum and respect. It has always amazed me as to why religion is so steeped in restricting human beauty. I can understand the reasons in the past, but we have advanced a long way and I would think that it would be in a religions best interests to move with them times regarding standards of modesty.

From my own point of view, I can never stop laughing at fashion and its merry go round illusion. But it keeps many occupied and lots of people in work, as well as being reasonably harmless. I do believe your god made us all without clothes, or was that a flaw.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Irfan, thanks for your response, but I really do require you to answer my questions and I would ask that the moderator enforce this as per the webdiary ethics. Margo: Which one? There's no REQUIREMENT to engage with the questions of another Webdiarist, John.

Angela Ryan thanks for your comments, but they do not address what I have asked.

When you speak in metaphors you allow yourself to be misunderstood. Irfan, if you attended a seminar that you could not understand why would you refute was has been reported? What did you hear at the seminar?

You still have not responded to my questions about Gerard Henderson and Rodney Adler. Rather than talking in riddles yourself, be blunt and come right out with it. Again I would ask the moderators to enforce Webdiary ethics: or don't they mean anything any more? Margo: See above.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!


Fiona R (as you will be called in the camp): The Snow Queen might have been having a REAL bad hair day, ‘cos she forgot to wear her hejab, wanting to look her best for Piers. And the Singapore High Commissioner’s hangman.

You know how it is on the North Shore.

re: Fatima and Yasmin and Safa and Aisha and … Michelle!

Oh, Peter, methinks you are giving Brony too much credit. Love the welsh meaning of Bronwyn, bit of a funny combination of names really, ethnically. Do not mistake a book by it's cover, nor a glamourish quality headdress for the contents.

Ah Fiona, arisen to the occasion.
The Brothers Grimm are also inspiring. The naive householder Hans and Gretel lost in the forest of debts and finding the Howard candied cottage economy built on a lump of coal, decorated by materialistic purchases on credit card, only to be caught and fed up on rising debt and lower wages until so thin they can slip through the mortgage prison, the cottage collapsing and push the witch into the furnace. Not sure about that last metaphor. Subconscious.

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