All things football with Les Murray

Image: Shermozle

Image: Shermozle

Naveen brings you the highlights of Les Murray‘s talk at Crescent Institute this month on coming to Australia as a refugee, the formation of official football in Australia and the upcoming FIFA World Cups in Brazil and Qatar.





The new Baird in town

By: Eva Rinaldi

By: Eva Rinaldi

NSW was abuzz with action this week – and no, we’re not talking about all the waving that the royals got up to.

Nav and Tasnim talk to AAP state political reporter, Ehssan Veiszadeh, about the whirlwind drama of Barry O’Farrell’s resignation over a $3000 bottle of wine and the appointment of a new premier for NSW. Who’s Mike Baird? Listen to our podcast and find out!

Community Forum: Muslims and the ADL

By: MediaServicesAP

By: MediaServicesAP

As threats of harrasment by the Australian Defence League escalated in past weeks, a community meeting was held in Bankstown on Tuesday to address the situation and allow affected Muslims to voice their concerns.

Tasnim and Nav put together a podcast with soundbites of what the speakers had to say on the night. The panel included Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas, Lawyer Rick Mitry, Academic Dr Yasir Morsi, Community Activist Dr Jamal Rifi, ADL expert Heather Ali and the Hon Shaoquett Moselmane MLC.

Lebanon passes contested domestic violence laws

"You didn't vote for us, we won't vote for you".

“You didn’t vote for us, we won’t vote for you”.

Last week, Lebanon’s parliament passed its first ever specific legislation against domestic violence. But whilst the law introduces a framework for protection, activists argue that it does not go far enough.

A release by Human Rights Watch found that the legislation’s narrow definition of domestic violence leaves Lebanese women facing significant risk of harm, as some forms of abuse remain unacknowledged.

Originally drafted seven years ago by Lebanese non-profit organisation KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), the bill was redrafted several times to remove all references to forced marriage and the criminalisation of marital rape. The name of the bill was also changed, now referring to violence against the family as opposed to violence against women.

Women’s rights organisations like KAFA have indicated that they will continue lobbying the Lebanese government to amend the Law on Protection of Women and Family Members from Domestic Violence until it offers the adequate protection that was originally intended.

Meanwhile, activists mobilised on social media with the hashtag #NoLawNoVote, a reminder to Lebanon’s politicians of their people’s voting power.

 Deanna Hadid speaks to KAFA spokesperson, Maya Ammar, on the issue.

Latest in refugee policy: Amnesty

Refugee supporters at Villawood DC. By: Kate Ausburn

Refugee supporters outside Villawood DC. Image by: Kate Ausburn

News was awash with activity on the asylum seeker front this week, with today’s transfer of refugees from Villawood Immigration Detention Centre to detention centres in Western Australia scoring much media attention.

Meanwhile, more changes to refugee policy were passed to little fanfare. Miran chats to Amnesty International Australia’s spokesperson, Sara Saleh, for a brief rundown on the latest changes in the field.

Why Poetry?

By: Alex Cheek

By: Alex Cheek

Mexican-American poet and self-titled social entrepreneur Mark Gonzales was in town this week, speaking at a variety of events and performing at the Bankstown Poetry Slam.

Nav went straight to the heart of action in Bankstown to bring you a package peppered with inspiring snippets of Gonzales’ speech and the varied perspectives of Western Sydney’s up-and-coming Spoken Word poet responding to Nav’s question, “Why poetry?”


Online Islamophobia in Australia

By: Albert Mestre

By: Albert Mestre

Islamophobia is a global phenomena, but what shape does it take locally?

Recently, a Sydney Muslim girl was photographed without her consent while she was at her place of employment. The photo was uploaded onto one of the Australian Defence League’s Facebook pages where comments of a religiously vilifying nature were made in abundance.

As she and her legal advocate worked to have the photograph removed, they found out just how difficult it could be to tackle Islamophobia on social media.

Tasnim and Zeynab speak to academic Dr Yassir Morsi about the definitions of Islamophobia and its local Australian “flavour”. They also chat to solicitor Lydia Shelly about the practical steps that can be taken to address similar situations of online Islamophobia, and the legal avenues available to respond to it at both a state and federal level.

Beating the stress monster

By Aya Al-Salti

Listen to Aya’s interview with Counsellor Samira Din on the negatives and positives of stress:

By: Anna Gutermuth

By: Anna Gutermuth

Stress is starting to affect a lot of society. Last year, Lifeline’s Stress Poll found that nearly two thirds of Australians were losing sleep over stress-related reasons.

Despite this, we curiously continue to brush it off like it’s nothing. Stress is definitely something; at worst it can overwhelm us, leaving our minds to hound us.

Stress is witty and has sass, because it leaves you speechless. It’s brutal and rude, because it intrudes on your psychology and frame of mind. But then, like that wicked double-fudge mud cake that we all love, it can also be beneficial in healthy doses. Stress can motivate us if it’s honed properly, allowing us to reach our full potential. Many high school graduates say that stress kept them on their toes. However, once you take that 1% of healthy stress, throw the other 99% of harmful stress out of your system.

It’s easy to fall into negative stress. Think of Mum at a family dinner on the first day of Ramadan. She flutters about, trying to set the plates of stuffed vine leaves, beef roast, biryani, chicken and mushroom soup all on the table in five minutes whilst preserving their pristine presentation. And don’t forget the samosas! As droplets fan her face, you know with certainty that it is not the right moment to ask her for something.

But why is that? Why is it that when you and I are in stressful situations, we don’t want to be approached? We have a palpitating ding-dong in our hearts, alarming us to an extent that can be quite harmful. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports:

“…Being overstressed can result in physical illnesses, and psychological illnesses such as anxiety and depression. These symptoms may also have adverse effects on family members and potentially result in relationship strains within the family unit…”

May Allah SWT safeguard our mothers, families and us from overly stressful situations.

However, in order to prevent falling into such overly stressful situations we must learn to understand stress and the ways in which we can relieve ourselves from it. And yes, fellow HSC student, I’m speaking to you. You’ve got your economics book open right now, with one pen writing away in your chemistry book – but you’ve just remembered that you also have an English essay due tomorrow!

You want to do well in your studies, to delight your parents (and yourself!) with your ATAR results. As a current HSC student, I understand these pressures completely. I too have subject, school and family commitments. In addition, I want to build my character. Having many different goals with no sense direction and organisation can stress anyone out.

And what about Mohammad and Sarah? At work withering away on the building plans and law documents that are due tomorrow. Their hearts too are beating in a ding-dong fashion. Stress isn’t discriminative: it’s not limited to gender or age. So how can we minimise this growing epidemic?

  • Understand that everything you will do and have done is reliant upon Allah SWT. Have faith in Him, and I assure you that with that tawakkul things will pan out.

  • Use a diary and organise your tasks

  • Set goals

  • Exercise and eat the right foods. Yes, that means eating fruits, veggies, legumes and the rest whilst taking only a small piece of that delicious double chocolate cake.

  • Minimise the amount of time spent on your electronic devices. From experience, whenever I have work to do and I procrastinate on my phone – whether by reading articles, texting my friends on Whatsapp or otherwise – I feel absolutely awful afterwards for time wasted.

And if stress ever becomes ever too strong, speak to someone about it. It doesn’t have to be a psychologist or a school counsellor, although both are great listeners. Speak to an older relative, a trusted older friend, or a mentor. They won’t judge, but they certainly will listen.

If you are experiencing overwhelming stress, see your doctor, talk to a counsellor or call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Under 25s can also call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Does Harmony Day work?

Image: Multicultural SA

Image: Multicultural SA

National Harmony Day, which falls on March 21 each year, serves as an opportunity for all Australians to reflect and commemorate the cultural diversity of our harmonious society.

But does setting aside this one day a year do anything more than tokenise multiculturalism? Does the purpose instead backfire and “otherise” people of different cultural backgrounds?

Deanna Hadid examines the significance of this celebration and the different facets that come to play in multi-ethnic modern Australia.

When sacred and secular collide


Image: Mr.TinDC

How accommodating is a liberal, secular society like Australia of faith adherents who attempt to practice their religious laws alongside state laws? What should be done in situations where there is conflict between the two?

The Muslim community is one example of a faith group brought under scrutiny for its subscription to dual rule systems. Shariah law is regularly in the limelight, most recently in the event of an underage marriage in NSW. Coverage of lashings of a Sydney man and a legal dispute over Islamic inheritance in the ACT similarly stirred controversy in the past couple of years.

Tasnim Saeid talks to Griffith University’s associate professor Dr Mohamad Abdalla about Islam’s juristic stance on Muslims who apply shariah law in situations where they are a minority. Dr Abdalla addresses questions of whether Muslims face an inherent conflict and what the potential is for a harmonious approach to navigating the secular and the sacred.


For deeper analysis, Dr Abdalla has written comprehensively on the topic in the Griffith Law Review. The relevant journal article is referenced below:

Abdalla, M. (2012). Sacred Law in Secular Land: To What extent Should Sharia Law be followed in Australia? The Griffith Law Review. Volume (21) Issue (3) (2012).