Some eight centuries ago, a Syrian Muslim philosopher named al-Ma’arri declared: “There were only two types of people in this world: those with lots of religion and not much intelligence and those with lots of intelligence but not much religion.”
It’s so good to see his words are proving true even in Australia’s most gentrified Muslim congregation. My Canberra sources confirm what I suspected all along — Muslim Canberrans don’t give an Ali Baba about either faction involved in the mosque fracas.
And can you really blame them? One side accuses the other of anything from tax fraud to extremism, while the accusers include a chap who wants to set up his own Islamic political party offering tax deductions for persons with guns and no pork in their fridge.
Now mosque president Mohammed Berjaoui may have given Canberra Muslims something to panic about. It seems Berjaoui wants a new imam to take over. No name is mentioned, though yesterday’s Sunday Times cited Berjaoui saying the new candidate “had been an imam in Sydney for 25 years”.
Huh? 25 years? Does that mean he arrived in Australia in 1982 and has been serving consistently at a Sydney mosque since? No prizes for guessing who is the sole imam fitting this description.
Still, it might be a good thing for a radical cleric to be closer to the Federal Parliament. After all, even Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is tripping over himself to out-Howard the PM in supporting religious fundamentalists.
This Saturday, Danny Nalliah’s ministry hosts National Thanksgiving Day. Rudd offers his “full support” to the day “on behalf of the Federal Labor (sic)”. He says the day is “a time where we can express our gratitude and praise our fellow Australians who enrich our nation on a daily basis … in particular, we acknowledge the enormous contribution of … all those in our community who give of their time to assist those less fortunate. This group includes the nation’s unsung heroes …”.
Among these are NSW Upper House Member and guest speaker Rev Fred Nile, whose Christian Democratic Party refused to share preferences with Liberal candidates in the last state election on the grounds that they sounded more Muslim than the nominally Muslim Liberal candidate with whom they did end up sharing preferences. Or something like that.
Also appearing is former governor-general Hollingworth, a man with whom Hilaly shares something in common.