Saturday, October 25, 2014

Schools to Report Students at risk of Radicalisation

The news that the NSW government has approached schools requiring them to report students who are at risk of being radicalised to the police is indeed retrograde news. This comes only weeks after Numan Haider, a teenager in Melbourne who knew he was under surveillance and was already under a radical influence, reacted in such an extreme manner to the involvement of police that he was shot dead.

Law enforcement is not the first authority to turn to when kids are in trouble. Counsellors, advisors, specialists in the area of concern are the right people to involve and provide intervention - whether it be learning difficulties, antisocial behaviour, involvement with crime and so on. 

With so little correct information currently available about Islam to schools, and so much fear of Islam and what it stands for, it is reasonable to consider that the police will be overwhelmed with information. They need to be able to refer the concerns about such young people to specialist services that are capable of dealing with this situation.

The kind of support services that are needed would be Muslim counsellors who recognise the root causes of disaffection, have sufficient scholarship in Islam to be able to refute the radical teachings of groups such as IS and programs to support young people in addressing the deeper issues that may be causing their initial disaffection.

The Muslim community is already under huge pressure - through the media, through the increase in Islamophobia, not to mention a tranche of new anti-terror legislation which apparently caused the family of Abdullah Elmir to call off the rescue of their son before he reached the clutches of IS.

There has never been a time in this country where Muslims have been under such extreme pressure and accountability, even after September 11 with so little support to deal with the emerging crises. And this can only assist to drive young Muslims into the influence of the more radical. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Letter to Liberal Politicians

To the Hon. Tony Abbott, MP

Over the past few days there have been two terrible tragedies occurring on our television screens. The one is a continuation of illegal occupation, rejection of United Nations Resolutions and now outright invasion, all stemming from inhumane treatment of a whole society, some of whose citizens are SUSPECTED of the kidnap and murder of 3 Israeli teenagers. The other tragedy of course is the terrible loss of life from the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Both involved terrible loss of innocent life. Both involved the death of women, children and those who should never be included in warfare.

However, the language of my government in regard to the two of them, is completely different.

On the one hand, puny rockets that killed one person and are easily defended, are provided as justification for the massacre of hundreds. Australian representatives are fully aware of the number of homes illegally seized or demolished, with elderly residents and families forced to relocate, of land and crops being stolen, of harassment, intimidation, and summary arrest, along with the deliberate targeting of essential facilities for civilian life including water and sewerage facilities, and hospitals. We know this, but my government turns a blind eye to it.

While Israel claims that Hamas is using civilians as shields, the overcrowded situation of Gaza means that there is no civilian free place for Hamas (the elected government) to operate. Every claim that Israel makes that they are not targeting civilians cannot be justified in the reality of the civilian toll and the homes that they are bombing.

I have rewritten below the statement from our Prime Minister in regard to the Malaysian Airlines tragedy, and referred instead to what any humane and fair minded person would say - and in fact what the United Nations is saying - in regard to Palestine.

As a citizen of Australia, please consider the welfare of the living over the dead. Please act to stop the ongoing massacres of Palestinian families through both your words and deeds. Please use the same language of Justice, of Humanity – for all.

“Today our thoughts are with the families of the Palestinians in Gaza, as they struggle to come to terms with their grief and their  loss. Yesterday we saw the wreckage of their houses on our screens, today we’ve seen some of the faces of the wounded and dead. I don’t believe that any Australian, any human being, could fail to be moved by what we’ve seen. I have to say that as a nation  we need to prepare ourselves for difficult and painful weeks ahead as we strive to find out what  has happened and who is responsible. Right now, our priority does need to be gaining access to Gaza where Israeli bombs continue to rain down.

Right now for all we know, because this site is controlled by the Israeli military, bodies remain strewn in the destroyed houses of the borderlands of Gaza, and armed units are tramping their streets.

So its absolutely vital that an independent international investigation begin as soon as possible, so that we can identify and recover the wounded and the remains of all the Palestinian women and children affected.

I want to stress that Australia will do whatever we humanly can to ensure that his matter is absolutely thoroughly investigated, to find out what we can, and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Our objective is to ensure, for the dead and for the living, dignity, respect and justice”

Yours sincerely,

Silma Ihram

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pride and Arrogance amongst Muslims

As ignorance increases amongst the Muslim community, so does pride and arrogance, representing the character of Satan in refusing to recognize the position of mankind’s father – Adam. Family pride and honour, tribal loyalty, anger and its follow-up revenge at perceived insults – all of these attitudes and behaviors that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w moved against in his own community.

 Muhammad s.a.w., as with all God’s messengers, was sent to bring justice. “We sent aforetime our messengers with clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance, that men may stand forth in Justice.” (Al Hadeed 57:25)

Honour killings are part of this same trend – that a family, group or tribe has not been rejected by a decision made by one of them. There have been many great scholars and leaders who went against the desires of their community – and made great contributions as a result.

 There is no justification in Islam, in Christianity, in Judaism, or in any of the revealed religions for tribal, family or group ‘honour’ against the rights of the individual. The law is as revealed and is just, and must be maintained with justice.

 Unfortunately those who are ignorant about their religion like to use their religion to justify injustice – to their own disgrace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Investment in Islamic Schools


This was part of a talk given at Curtin University Dec 13
As Muslims living in the West we do well to look at our colleagues to see how they have progressed. Christian and Jewish schools have developed their schools by investing in them – often through leaving substantial inheritance in shares, property or what we would call Waqf.  Of course

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When did defending innocents become radical?

Every night I listen to the increasing death toll of children and civilians in a brutal, now sectarian civil war. I think of my friends who are desperately trying to get their families out of Syria, and of Bob Carr's comment about the unusual aspect of 33% of Syrian homes being razed by the government forces.

I know how far I will go in order to protect my children - and I am not a radical. I feel the pain of my friends whose extended families flee for their lives or are callously butchered.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Rohingya tragedy
Here is some information that was sent to me by Kuranda Seyit from Fair
- truly an appalling situation that needs our immediate attention, internationally.
No-where to go….
By Kuranda Seyit

The Rohingyas are an Indo-Arayan people based in Arakan (today referred to as Rakhine state in Myanmar) and their history dates back to the 8th century CE. Over the centuries Persian, Arab and Turkish sea traders came to the area, bringing with them Islam. This land was given the name Arakan, which is a Persian word.  Likewise the Rakhine people have been in the region since the 8th century, however they are a Sino-Tibetan people and follow Buddhism.
The Rakhine and Rohingya lived side by side in peace.  It was not until the Burmese invaded in 1789,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Silver Lining to a Tumultuous Grey Cloud





(Photo from The Australian 18 Sept)

No one could say that the Sydney or the international riots - which occurred in response to what I have called ‘the wretched film’ - that this behavior does any credit to the Muslim community, is in keeping with the example of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., is instrumental in improving the overall welfare of the Muslim community or will actually do anything to discredit the film itself.

Of course the opposite is true – uncontrolled anger and violence, the killing of innocents was exactly the opposite of what the Prophet s.a.w. taught and demonstrated throughout his lifetime. Such behavior