Author: irfan-yusuf


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Islam absent from the anti and pro Islam rallies

Islam absent from the anti and pro Islam rallies

It was a ridiculously hot afternoon. I was in the passenger seat of my photographer friend’s car. We were driving back from the Melbourne suburb of Melton after attending the Reclaim Australia rally against the building of an Islamic school and a counter rally against racism.  “Any news about what we just saw?” he asked.  I grabbed the phone. The headline read: “Melton protests: Pro and anti-Muslim groups clash”. The sub-editor who wrote the headline clearly standing next to me among crowds shouting and jostling and swearing and throwing punches.   From where I stood, Islam was strangely absent in...

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We need more Muslim writers than doctors and engineers

Yes, you can learn something from otherwise frivolous Facebook discussions. The other day an article appeared in a metropolitan newspaper penned by a Masters student of Pakistani heritage. The article was about what Australian Muslims needed to do about radicalisation. Some people with whom I am Facebook “friends” were not happy with the article. One complained that he had never seen the article’s author around “the community”. Another said that the article’s author was not an “expert” on the subject. As someone who occasionally dabbles in op-eds, I’ve been on the receiving end of such complaints. I’ve also dished...

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Racism: Fun to laugh at

Alex, the 30 year old Greek-Australian boy, is handed a couple of books by his friend. Islam for Dummies is one title. A Qur’an translation is the other. They head into Alex’s parents’ house. Dinner is served and Alex’s father notices the books. In fury, he asks: “Who brought these mussalmanou book here?” Was Alex’s friend recruiting for ISIL? We know similar books were packed by some Sydney boys who headed off to join the new caliphate. We also know that their (perhaps) equal and opposite, far-Right politicians like Geert Wilders and the newly formed Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA)...

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From a Bihar orphanage to the Canberra press gallery

When you grow up as a brown-skinned kid of brown-skinned migrants in a majority white-skinned country, you can’t help but wonder what all the fuss is about. After all, you speak with a broad Strayn accent. You wear the same clothes and barrack for the same football teams and follow the same road rules. You are as white as they are even if they don’t think so. And even if sometimes you don’t think so. But at least when you come home, you don’t stand out. Your parents pronounce your name correctly, and it’s quite cool to speak in...

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Unpacking Holy and not-so-Holy War

If you’re like me, you avoid inter-faith dialogue gatherings like the plague. Why? How boring is it to sit on comfortable lounges listening to well-meaning men (and the occasional token woman – we are, after all, taking about patriarchal religion!) talking about what their faith means to them. The only way to stay awake is imagining a voice screaming out: “You’re all a bunch of heathens!” and “Are those Iced Vo-Vos on the table over there? YUM!” Still, boredom is far better than participants grabbing AK-47’x and blowing each other heads off just because we couldn’t be bothered figuring...

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