Author: irfan-yusuf

Seeking knowledge in an outback Australian pub

It’s 10pm on a Thursday night 20 December and I find myself sitting in a pub in Broken Hill. The beer (and in my case, the Coca-Cola) is flowing freely as is the conversation. The couple next to me are accompanied by their adult son who is the same age as the bloke behind the bar. “I grew up here,” said the wife who works at the local hospital. “I love this town, but all the young people are leaving. One of my kids is studying in Melbourne. It’s just us oldies left. The town has nothing for them.”...

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The Moderate Muslim Message (Triple-M)

Dear Prime Minister, Sky News Australia (at night, at least) and Newscorp columnists. My name is Muslim. I am the leader of the Muslim community. Welcome to this event. Before I start, I want to reassure you all that we Muslims are opposed to all forms of terrorism. We wish to apologise for any terrorism done in the name of Islam. When a Muslim commits terrorism, it is always inspired by Islam. We are so lucky that we do not have mental illness in our community. This is what makes us so moderate. I have had my children undergo...

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Muslims in the West: A spicy blend indeed

  If you believe much commentary and political rhetoric about young Muslims, you’d think anyone aged 18 to 30 growing up in a Western country and identifying as Muslim shares a common genetic makeup. Even much of the academic stuff on this topic, especially that emerging from the counterterrorism “industry” (recipient of plenty of research grants and media attention) says pretty much the same. There are a few notable exceptions. One of them is UK scholar Dr Sadek Hamid’s 2016 work, Sufis, Salafis and Islamists: The Contested Ground of British Islamic Activism. The title itself displays a nuance arising...

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Righteous deception: Lessons from a movie and Seerah

Imagine this scenario. A dangerous enemy is threatening your community with violence. You have the opportunity to infiltrate that enemy, enter its ranks and manipulate it into action in a self-destructive manner. In doing so, you are risking your personal safety. Your cover might be blown. Members of the enemy may be suspicious of each other, but they are likely more suspicious of a newcomer. Or even of an oldcomer behaving differently. This is the story behind Denzel Washington’s latest movie BlacKkKlansman. Washington’s son plays a rooky detective of African American heritage who infiltrates the viciously racist Ku Klux...

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Glorifying Western Civilisation: What’s the point?

I’m in the final year of my PhD. It’s been a long tertiary education road, tempered by less educational pursuits such as practising law and writing a silly memoir. And it all started down the road from my parents’ house at Macquarie University. I wasn’t exactly an activist sort of undergraduate student. I found the earnestness of revolutionary leftwing students rather silly and in many cases hypocritical. How could they support socialism and communism after what these forces did to the Afghans during the 1980’s? Yes, I wasn’t very fond of the United States in many things, but it...

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