Author: zalman-kastel

Turning between co-religionists and others: Annual Australian Islamic Schooling Conference

A bearded Muslim man, Dylan Chown one of the leaders of the conference, was talking to a woman with a face-veil. He paused his conversation with her and turned to greet me warmly.  Dylan then turned back to her and apologised, with real feeling in his voice: “I am sorry that I was rude to you”.  These brief interactions occurred as participants were arriving for the Annual Australian Islamic Schooling Conference held on 13-14 July 2019 at the University of Melbourne, I observed the exchange and thought: this is what Muslims call “Adab”. I had learned at the conference,...

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Controversy surrounding selective refugee intake policy

Controversy surrounding selective refugee intake policy

At a time when terrible suffering afflicts millions in the Middle East and continues to traumatize those who have escaped, Jews prepare for our New Year and day of judgement: Rosh Hashanah. In the synagogue the solemn words will ring out: “Who will live and who will die? Who will die in their time and who before their time? Who by fire? Who by the sword? Who by hunger? Who by thirst? Who will find rest and who shall wander? Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued? …who shall be tormented?” This prayer talks about these...

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Balancing assertiveness with submission

On Monday morning 22 June, Sheikh Ahmed Abdo, my team and I discussed submission and assertiveness with Lebanese Muslim teenage boys in Western Sydney, who were fasting as part of Ramadan.  Just before this month of fasting began, I joined a priest on a panel with Soner Coruhlu, another sheikh, who explained the spiritual side of fasting. He put fasting in the context of the inner struggle between the ego and emotions, on the one hand, and submission to God and following higher callings on the other. In Western culture, we seem to value asserting oneself rather than submission....

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