‘The Australian Muslim Party’ was launched in Western Sydney on Tuesday as a measure to provide representation to Australian Muslims.
Diaa Mohamed, founder of the party, said that candidates would be fielded in every state before the next federal election, in which the party hopes to win a Senate seat.
“Four or five anti-Islamic parties are being created and we thought we need to do something to address that,” said Mohamed, citing that rising political activism against Islam was one of the main reasons for forming the party.
To disprove ongoing criticism that “Muslims were not loud enough” when it comes to public debate, Mohamed hopes the party would help create a platform on the national political stage for the Muslim community to this end.
“Maybe it is because we didn’t know how, or we were a bit too fragmented, so hopefully this will at least give us that opportunity,” said Mohamed.
In view of recent events, “There are going to be a lot of questions raised in the coming days”, said Mohamed. “This is the whole reason we created this party. So it is as good a time as any to launch it,” he added.
Jamla Rifi, a prominent Sydney Muslim Community leader, said that it was time someone stepped up to share the burden of the Australian Muslim representation. According to him, notions of Muslims and Islam itself not being compatible with the Australian way of life, could be could be counteracted only with proper political representation.
“What is [better] than we actually putting our young boys and girls to represent us at the seat where decision making is taking place, that is, in the Parliament,” Rifi said.
October 09, 2017: Reports of Love Jihad have again scaled the country with the mother of yet another converted Keralite girl seeking probe from the NIA. Bindu Sampath from Kerala has requested the Supreme Court to order a probe in light of her daughter Nimisha (now Fathima) going missing in 2016 whilst pregnant. She recently gave birth to a baby girl in the ISIS state of Afghanistan (Khorasen province) where she is believed to have migrated with her husband Bexen.
Government Shows Lack of Concern
Reports of girls being tricked into converting to Islam have been surfacing since 2016 when 21 boys and girls had gone missing from Kerala among which 6 have been killed in drone attacks in Afghanistan.
In light of events like Hadiya, Bindu filed an impleading application with the help of her lawyer Aishwariya Bhatti which stated, “The incidents of forcible conversions and indoctrination is not an isolated incident, but a well-oiled scheme”. Bindu also said that the government should investigate and neutralize the possible threat to the country by directing the investigation to the NIA, R & AW and IB.
Love Jihad: Treat to Country
“Love Jihad” or “Romeo Jihad” by definition is an activity where young Muslim men target non-Muslim young girls for conversion to Islam by posing as lovers.
Although there is no evidence to these claims, the application drafted by Bindu and her lawyer says that the Jihad Romeos are given 2 weeks to find a girl from a non-Muslim community and 6 months to convert her to Islam. If the girl shows no interest in the first two weeks, they move on to another girl. Shockingly, the day Bindu’s application raised any allegations in the SC; the Kerala government submitted their counter affidavit in the Hadiya case.
Kerela Government Rejected Theories of Love Jihad
The Kerala government rejected the theories of “love jihad” and reported that after thorough investigation of the said case, there were no scheduled offenses reported. Bindu urged the court to properly look into the incident to avoid any future damage. As per News Minute’s reporter Megha Varier, the accused in the application were the SDPI and a man named Sajjad Rahman who she says cajoled and influenced her daughter when they met in a coaching class in Thiruvananthapuram. Bindu also claims that Nimisha’s friends in her dental college at Kasargod influenced her to convert to Islam and marry Bexen.
Cases like these have surfaced the upper crust of the court’s eye but parents like Bindu and KM Ashokan (Hadiya’s father) remain helpless and grief struck to have to part with their daughters. Bindu mentions that she has been unable to find any respite or relief in securing the well-being of her daughter. She quotes the media reports of Hadiya and the 21 gone missing to suggest ample proof of conspiracy where individuals con young girls and entice them for the purpose of involvement in the “terrorist and anti-national activities” of Jihad.
Prepared by Tanya Kathuria of Newsgram. Twitter: @TanyaKathuria97
New York, September 21, 2017: The US will provide a humanitarian aid package worth $32 million to the Rohingya Muslim minority who have fled violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh, the State Department announced.
The funding “reflects the US commitment to help address the unprecedented magnitude of suffering and urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingya people,” said the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw on Wednesday at the ongoing UN General Assembly here.
He added that the US hoped its contribution would encourage other countries to provide more funding as well, reports CNN.
The aid package comes a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Myanmar de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and “welcomed the Myanmar government’s commitment to end the violence in Rakhine state and to allow those displaced by the violence to return home,” according to the State Department.
Tillerson “urged the Myanmar government and military to facilitate humanitarian aid for displaced people in the affected areas, and to address deeply troubling allegations of human rights abuses and violations”.
The State Department also said the aid “will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to the over 400,000 displaced persons”.
Henshaw said Wednesday’s announcement brought the total US aid to Myanmar refugees, including Rohingya, to nearly $95 million in fiscal year 2017.
Some 415,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the ongoing violence broke out on August 25 when Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts in Rakhine resulting in the deaths os 12 security personnel, CNN reported.
Speaking at the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence called on the world body “to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis” of violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar to an end.
“The United States renews our call on Burma’s security forces to end their violence immediately and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution.
“President (Donald) Trump and I also call on this security council and the United Nations to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis to an end.”
Pence also spoke about how the violence in Myanmar is a perfect example of the kind of problem the UN should help solve. (IANS)
Kolkata, Sep 15, 2017: For over 200 years, the Nandi family in West Bengal’s Hooghly has been feeding Muslim fakirs during the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. To the Nandis, this annual ritual has its roots in a family legend that is testimony to the generosity of the local Muslim community.
It is also one of the myriad instances of the festival — the biggest in Bengal — exemplifying communal harmony at a time when the world grapples with religious animosity and social polarisation.
According to 80-year-old Satipati Nandi, the ninth-generation descendant of the family that claims to have been the “largest importer of betel nuts in eastern India once upon a time”, this Hindu-Muslim syncreticism comes naturally.
“It may sound as a big deal today but it all started centuries ago. It is said that two brothers, Kuber Shankar and Kama Shankar, were selling pakodas (fried snacks) in Halishahar in North 24-Parganas when they chanced upon a fakir who gave them a gold mohar (coin) to start an enterprise… revolving around the first thing they spot,” Nandi told IANS.
The rest is history.
The Nandis ventured into the betel nut business and eventually branched out into real estate, acquiring multiple properties across the state, including the present family residence at Pandua in Hooghly as well as land in Garia in south Kolkata.
“In remembrance of the generous fakir, we feed two fakirs on Navami (the ninth day of the festival). Now we usually do not find fakirs; so we offer khichdi to any two members of the Muslim community,” Nandi explained.
This communal integration has spilled on to the state capital Kolkata as well.
In the heart of Kolkata is Kumartuli — the potters’ enclave — which is in a state of frenzy with Durga Puja that is round the corner. The clay idols of Durga and her pantheon are being daubed in paint and their curves clothed in vibrant saris.
Their bald heads are carefully draped in jute wigs that have been painstakingly fashioned into braids and curly tresses for the Hindu goddess by Muslim craftsmen.
Neither blinding rain nor religion get in the way of business in this buzzing maze-like colony of potters and their assistants, labourers, decorators and tourists with selfie sticks — the point of origin of around 5,000 clay Durga idols each year.
Around 400 “shilpis” (craftsmen) churn out Durga and her children in crammed 6 by 10 foot studios, cloaked in tarpaulin sheets. The final touches, which begin around a fortnight before Mahalaya (September 19), include decking the idols in accessories.
“Draping the hair is an essential part of the process. The jute wigs are fashioned by Muslim families from Parbatipur near Howrah and other areas. A typical ‘sabeki’, or traditional idol, usually dons a curly and wavy wig. Essentially, they are mostly black but we do have variants of the wig in dark brown, rust and beige,” Babu Pal, a spokesperson for the potters, told IANS.
Slightly rough in texture, they are almost indistinguishable from your average wigs. Packed in bundles starting off at Rs 100, these are available as plaits, straight extensions for the sides or as wavy locks.
“Everyone comes to look at the idols. They admire, take pictures and go away. But it’s not just the idols… you have to assemble the goddess piece by piece. Muslim craftsmen usually fashion the dress material and the wigs. You may talk about cow politics and put a religious spin on it, for us it’s the way of life here… no one talks about this (Hindu-Muslim issues)… it’s business,” Pal elaborated.
According to Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, Hindu-Muslim integration during the Durga Puja was not uncommon in undivided Bengal.
“It has continued despite geographical barriers because the festival now is a huge industry. It provides employment to people from all communities. It’s only some politicians and communal-minded people who give it a different spin. During immersions too, everyone comes together to bid adieu to the goddess and family. She is looked at as a source of strength and not as a religious symbol,” Bhaduri added.
And you don’t have to look further than Begampur town in Hooghly district to see several Muslim families celebrating Durga Puja as a symbol of the common culture of the festival that unites Hindus with other minorities, at least in Bengal.
(This story is part of a special series that will showcase a diverse, plural and inclusive India and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at email@example.com)