Just back from a funeral in Tahmoor, the mother of a work colleague, There is actually something re-affirming of the value of life in the funerals I have been to in recent years. Learning of people and their contributions reminds me at least of the reason why it’s important to continue to strive.
In a strange way it was also a nostalgia trip. I was back on roads that I used to know well before the expressways, knowledge gained on those long, grinding, trips between Sydney and Canberra on the old Hume Highway. Of course the towns and villages have changed. There are more people, newer buildings, old buildings tarted up. And yet, every so often, there would be a surviving vista or landmark that marked a connection between present and past.
On 8 October, Emma Alberichi interviewed Wassim Doureihi, presented as the spokesman for Hizb ut-Tahrir. This is the transcript of that interview. Do watch the piece, but read the transcript first. Words are much easier to analyse. Despite Mr Abbott’s later praise for Ms Alberichi, this is a very bad interview. Mr Doureihi arguably handled it very badly, but it was still a bad interview. Reading the transcript, I actually have no idea what Mr Doureihi believes beyond a desire to set a context.
On a Sydney train Thursday, a Muslim man was quietly reading his prayers. People began to move away from him, physically shifting seats. Australians are uncomfortable with religion. Some time ago, a friend was doing Religious Studies. Getting into a lift carrying a basic text, the bible, she found people shifting away from her! But in the case I am talking about. the shift wasn’t just due to Australian's dislike of overt religious expression; there was a fear element as well.
Today’s Sydney Morning Herald carried an editorial on the matter. While it is to some degree a conflicted and confused it argues fro speech. It also quotes the organisation Mr Doureihi represents. I quote:
But on August 13 this year Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia issued a statement that included key information missing from Lateline.
"Children holding severed heads, oppression of Christians, random killings and the like are wrong," the August 13 statement said.
On July 2 this year, the director of Hizb ut-Tahrir's central media office in Lebanon, Osman Bakhach, said: "Resurrecting the caliphate [an Islamic state operating under Sharia law] should not be accomplished through blood, charges of apostasy and explosions … We (call) for a state that opens its arms to all people, Muslims and others, including Christians and Jews … Establishing the Islamic state is not accomplished by considering every dissenter an apostate whose killing is deemed lawful. In this way, (Islamic State) proclaims itself both adversary and arbiter."
That’s pretty clear-cut.
Mr Abbot , as our Prime Minister we expect you to be, well, Prime Ministerial. On sensitive issues that affect the nation’s future, we expect you to set out the facts and value so that we, the people,can form our our own views. We actually expect you to lead even if we dislike you.
So please, please, Mr Abbott , can you improve. Specifically, if you actually believe in Team Australia as an aspiration as opposed to a useful slogan, then don’t use language that divides. You didn't need to comment on Ms Alberichi’s piece in the way you did. You didn’t need to comment at all. Still, you did.
Neil Whitfield wrote in a comment:
Since I am sure I am the only one in you circle of blog friends who has actually met Wassim Doureihi -- who certainly stuffed up this interview -- I am a bit surprised you didn't reference my recent post, which our friend Ramana "liked" twice on Facebook. Whatever he may be. Wassim is not the devil incarnate. I despair of the "leadership" of Tony Abbott. God we really do need to do a hell of a lot better. We need something better than Daily Telegraph and shock-jock leadership. And we need an Opposition with rather more intellect and integrity. These are bad days, Jim.
I had seen Neil’s post, but forgot to reference it in my post. This is the piece Neil refers to - How I wish we had wise leadership!. My apologies, Neil.