Author: Irfan Yusuf

Analysing the YES/NO voting

The big news is that the legislative definition of marriage will soon change to include Adam and Steve. The results of the postal vote have been released, and there’s been lots of hoo-hah about the majority of folk in Western Sydney electorates voting against gay marriage. One columnist from The Weekend Australian managed to include Hizb ut-Tahrir as a possible cause. Another columnist from the Sunday Telegraph praised members of her own faith for attacking a mural in inner-Sydney “to the horror of locals”. The justification for the attack? The mural was blasphemous. Lord only knows what the columnist would have written has those attacking...

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Hislam, a combative but worthwhile reading

Dr Susan Carland’s first book Hislam has pulled off an enormous achievement.  A PhD is the highest degree one can achieve in a Western university. The PhD dissertation, however, is often barely read by a handful of people. Dr Carland has transformed her dissertation into a relatively short and easy-to-read book for general readership. Making her job even more difficult is that the topic – how Muslim women fight sexism inside and outside their communities – is one fraught with controversy. It’s a topic that often involves the least knowledgeable assuming expert status. Within the first few pages of...

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The unruly ummah

Imagine if you could stand on census day next to each person who ticks the “Muslim” box on their census form. Just as they were about the place their tick, you gave them a sheet of paper and had them write down the 5 most important actors that define their “Islam-ness”. Do you think each person would list the same five factors and in the same order? Australian Muslims may share a common faith but they also come from over 160 different nationalities. The basis for our religious affiliation will never be the same. Indeed many of us don’t place religion first all the time. Instead, we place language or ethnicity or nationality or something else. Back in 1999, Sydney scholar Katy Nebhan described Australian Muslims as being more like nationalist “cells” than an ummah. Is this still the case? It’s hard to say. What I can say is that you would find very few mosques in Sydney or Melbourne where the sermon is given in English, the language of at least 60% of Australian Muslims. Yet the term ummah, that supposedly international brotherhood and sisterhood of Islam, gets bandied about so much from the imams’ sermons to the impassioned dinner part discussion. Ummah appears in the Qur’an some 60 times and has been used by traditional scholars, by more modern “Islamist” thinkers and by violent wackos. The idea of...

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Movie Review: Down Under

I have an idea for the perfect Christmas gift for all your Orthodox Christian friends (and a belated gift for the not-so-Orthodox). It’s a DVD. Yes, I know DVD’s and books are probably the most common gifts people receive during the festive season. But this DVD is special and could well set off a riot. Maybe not. But the movie stored on the DVD concerns perhaps the most contentious race riot in Australia’s history, one that allegedly pitted Muslim Australians and white Australians. Yes, folks. Muslims versus whites. As if you can’t be Muslim, white and Australian all at...

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Ali’s Wedding: A pre-release film review

A strip of Kufic scripted Qur’anic verse lines the uppermost part of the mosque wall. The congregation is seated before two shaykhs, one having his head circled with a black turban, the other in a white turban.  The black-turbaned cleric attacks the white-turbaned cleric with as much diplomacy as a South Asian mother-in-law. It isn’t working. Notwithstanding his status as a Sayyid (a direct descendant of the Prophet), the congregation is shouting him down in the most insulting fashion before he leaves in a huff and a puff. The scene was very realistic and could have been a scene...

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july, 2018

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