Monday, November 3, 2014

QandA Bankstown with Attorney General Brandis

Last night I was one of the few Muslims in Bankstown who attended the QandA session. It was boycotted by many of the Muslim community, led by a few agitators who had tried to convince the ABC QandA crew from changing the format of the show. I agreed with them, but always believe it is better to engage where engagement is offered, rather than simply boycott, and thereby have no engagement at all.

The format of the show particularly suited the Attorney General and his paternalistic manner.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Schools to Report Students at risk of Radicalisation

The news that the NSW government has approached schools requiring them to report students who are at risk of being radicalised to the police is indeed retrograde news. This comes only weeks after Numan Haider, a teenager in Melbourne who knew he was under surveillance and was already under a radical influence, reacted in such an extreme manner to the involvement of police that he was shot dead.

Law enforcement is not the first authority to turn to when kids are in trouble. Counsellors, advisors, specialists in the area of concern are the right people to involve and provide intervention - whether it be learning difficulties, antisocial behaviour, involvement with crime and so on. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Letter to Liberal Politicians

To the Hon. Tony Abbott, MP

Over the past few days there have been two terrible tragedies occurring on our television screens. The one is a continuation of illegal occupation, rejection of United Nations Resolutions and now outright invasion, all stemming from inhumane treatment of a whole society, some of whose citizens are SUSPECTED of the kidnap and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers. The other tragedy of course is the terrible loss of life from the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Both involved terrible loss of innocent life. Both involved the death of women, children and those who should never be included in warfare.

However, the language of my government in regard to the two of them, is completely different.

On the one hand, puny rockets that killed one person and are easily defended, are provided as justification for the massacre of hundreds. Australian representatives are fully aware of the number of homes illegally seized or demolished, with elderly residents and families forced to relocate, of land and crops being stolen, of harassment, intimidation, and summary arrest, along with the deliberate targeting of essential facilities for civilian life including water and sewerage facilities, and hospitals. We know this, but my government turns a blind eye to it.

While Israel claims that Hamas is using civilians as shields, the overcrowded situation of Gaza means that there is no civilian free place for Hamas (the elected government) to operate. Every claim that Israel makes that they are not targeting civilians cannot be justified in the reality of the civilian toll and the homes that they are bombing.

I have rewritten below the statement from our Prime Minister in regard to the Malaysian Airlines tragedy, and referred instead to what any humane and fair minded person would say - and in fact what the United Nations is saying - in regard to Palestine.

As a citizen of Australia, please consider the welfare of the living over the dead. Please act to stop the ongoing massacres of Palestinian families through both your words and deeds. Please use the same language of Justice, of Humanity – for all.

“Today our thoughts are with the families of the Palestinians in Gaza, as they struggle to come to terms with their grief and their  loss. Yesterday we saw the wreckage of their houses on our screens, today we’ve seen some of the faces of the wounded and dead. I don’t believe that any Australian, any human being, could fail to be moved by what we’ve seen. I have to say that as a nation  we need to prepare ourselves for difficult and painful weeks ahead as we strive to find out what  has happened and who is responsible. Right now, our priority does need to be gaining access to Gaza where Israeli bombs continue to rain down.

Right now for all we know, because this site is controlled by the Israeli military, bodies remain strewn in the destroyed houses of the borderlands of Gaza, and armed units are tramping their streets.

So its absolutely vital that an independent international investigation begin as soon as possible, so that we can identify and recover the wounded and the remains of all the Palestinian women and children affected.

I want to stress that Australia will do whatever we humanly can to ensure that his matter is absolutely thoroughly investigated, to find out what we can, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Our objective is to ensure, for the dead and for the living, dignity, respect and justice”

Yours sincerely,

Silma Ihram

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pride and Arrogance amongst Muslims

As ignorance increases amongst the Muslim community, so does pride and arrogance, representing the character of Satan in refusing to recognize the position of mankind’s father – Adam. Family pride and honour, tribal loyalty, anger and its follow-up revenge at perceived insults – all of these attitudes and behaviors that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w moved against in his own community.

 Muhammad s.a.w., as with all God’s messengers, was sent to bring justice. “We sent aforetime our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, that men may stand forth in Justice.” (Al Hadeed 57:25)

Honour killings are part of this same trend – that a family, group or tribe has not been rejected by a decision made by one of them. There have been many great scholars and leaders who went against the desires of their community – and made great contributions as a result.

 There is no justification in Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, or in any of the revealed religions for tribal, family or group ‘honour’ against the rights of the individual. The law is as revealed and is just, and must be maintained with justice.

 Unfortunately those who are ignorant about their religion like to use their religion to justify injustice – to their own disgrace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Investment in Islamic Schools

This was part of a talk given at Curtin University Dec 13
As Muslims living in the West we do well to look at our colleagues to see how they have progressed. Christian and Jewish schools have developed their schools by investing in them – often through leaving substantial inheritance in shares, property or what we would call Waqf.  Of course