Sunday, December 4, 2016

Speech delivered at the ICV dinner on 20 Nov 2016

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘alameen wassalatu wassalamu ‘ala sayyidna Muhammad wa’ala Aalihi Wasahbihi Ajma’een

My respects to the original custodians of f the land.

The Hon Robin Scott MP, Minister for multicultural affairs,
Sir James Gobbo, former governor of Vic and chair of the Australian Multicultural Foundation,
the Hon. Sen Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens
His Excellency the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammad,
Dr. Mohamad Mohideen chairman of the ICV,
members of the ICV executive committee,
Br. Hass Dellal, executive director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation,
my fellow AFIC Executive Br. Kazim Ates,
distinguished guests brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen.

Assalamu Alaykum

I would like to echo the concerns of Greens leader Richard Di Natale in relation to the draconian control orders, I am aware of a little boy who is 12 years of age who is monitored under these types of orders.

Thank you to the ICV for the opportunity to share a few thoughts with you.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the ICV for another successful year of service and dedication to the community.

Apart from a few news faces, hardly anyone would suspect that the ICV has had a comprehensive change in the committee membership.  

This is to your credit that the ICV can transition whilst maintaining its core activities.  Well done.

The ICV has for many years been our most active, most effective and most successful state Islamic council and we, at Muslims Australia – AFIC are very proud of your achievements.

I am proud yet humbled today to be speaking at the dinner of such a well-functioning and diverse body.

There is an added privilege that this dinner is in honour of a great Muslim Australian, the late, much loved, Sh. Fehmi El Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia.

The ICV has become a benchmark for Muslim organisations around Australia.

Muslims Australia – AFIC is committed to continue supporting the ICV to help you grow to even greater success.

AFIC is a national body, I am from Sydney leading this great national umbrella organization.  Despite being from Sydney, rather than feeling the age-gold Sydney Melbourne rivalry, I confess that I in fact advise all new member societies that if they wish to excel, they need to start by getting some pointers from the ICV.

A little about Muslims Australia AFIC, for those who do not know, we are the peak national umbrella body for Australian Muslims.  I was recently elected to the responsible service role at the helm of AFIC.  My new committee and I are committed to unify our community and enhance our services to society.

We are open to criticism, ideas and advice.

We are so appreciative of input that we are also graceful in the face of abuse and respond with complete dignity and humility.

We have a grand vision for our community and for society.  We will only succeed if we unite in the face of our challenges.

This year, we’re further blessed through the rise of those who provoke profound interest in Islam and Muslims.

Our work is cut out for us, we can create harmony in a nation that years to again celebrate its wonderful multicultural identity.

Let’s rise to the challenge together with a collective will and with collective energies.

Congratulations and God bless – 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

speech at Islamic society of Darwin open day

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

(Delivered Saturday 17 September 2016)

Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison, Br. Ghulam Abbas, Br. Khaled, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen.

Peace be with you all - Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

We are about to go onto a journey together, I pray that I can keep your interest.

Allah says:  O people (or O humanity), We created you from a male and a female and made you into peoples (or nations) and tribes, so that you can: li ta’arafu لتعارفوا
Meaning: get to know one another, or
 learn about each other, or
 learn from each other

From a male and a female = common origin = equality of all humans.
Peoples or nations = unity.
Tribes = can be the negative side of difference, distinction, tribal affiliation, tribal pride etc.

Our origin is shared, our common human origin defines our equality which is also defined in the first verses of the Holy Qur’an to be revealed (found in ch 96): The human being was created from ‘Alaq.  Without going into the scientific meaning of this word that has three meanings, it reflects that we are all made from the same substance and other verses explain how God breathed life (or a soul) into the first human).
When I talk about equality, I don’t refer to how much each of us weighs on the scale.  When any of us sits in reflection and ponders, we all realise that there is more to us than this physical body.
We are equal in that we are from the same substance and we all have a soul that comes from the same source (God).  This is irrespective of our national differences or our tribal affiliations.
Our diversity is a source of enrichment for us, it is not a source of class distinction.  It all fits into an elaborate and perfect plan by our Loving and Compassionate Maker.
Does this diversity give us different outlooks?  Yes it does.
Does this diversity create different cultural experiences?  Yes it does.
Are these different outlooks to our benefit?  Yes they are because they open our thinking to different perspectives and through that to greater creativity and more encompassing solutions.
A single view or a single outlook or a single approach can lead to stagnation.
Islam promotes an approach that takes in diverse views and perspectives.  We have a saying: The person who consults will not be disappointed.
So consult, discuss, explore ideas together, especially when these ideas bring change and this change impacts on others.  You should consult with those who will be impacted by the changes that you seek to introduce.  The mosque committee for example should consult with mosque neighbours when they wish to make changes to the buildings.  They might just be able to improve on your ideas, or at least minimise suspicion or apprehension.

Our beloved prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him was asked by someone two questions:
1 – Who are the people whom Allah Loves the most?
2 – What is the most beloved deed to Allah?
(Now for those amongst us who are not Muslim, Allah is a special name for God, it is a name that cannot be made into plural nor given a feminine gender.  God is neither male nor female, God is absolute.)
How easy would it have been to answer the first question by saying: Muslims are the most loved by Allah?
But no, that was not the answer of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him.
He is a man of exact words, he does not speak from whims or desires, his words are inspired by God and he delivers them faithfully.
He said: “The people whom Allah loves most are they who are most beneficial to the people.”
Please note, there is no religious distinction or identification in this answer.  People who are helpful to other people, regardless of their religion.
The more helpful a person is to others, the more that Allah will love that person.
The answer to the second question was different, this time, it was a biased answer and this bias shows the distinction.  That God loves the most helpful people even if they are not Muslim.
But the most loved deed to God is:  “To bring happiness to a Muslim, or to help expel his hunger, or to help pay his debt…”
Why the bias here?  God loves you when you are helpful to all people, but he loves your deeds more when saving a Muslim?
The answer to that is that a Muslim is a description of a person who surrenders to God, a person who seeks to build peace and a person who, through this, will receive salvation.
Historically, we know, those who have surrendered to God faced persecution because they put right above their desires and the desires or designs of others.  They stood up for what is right and just even to their own detriment, so they became hungry, they amassed debt and they faced serious trials.  Bringing happiness to them, or helping to feed them when they are hungry or helping them with their debts is indeed a great deed.  More so, this defining of Muslims in the middle of the answer makes us understand that if the prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, intended to name Muslims in the answer to the first question, he would have, but he left it general, relative to all people, as he did with the next part of his reply where he said:
“Walking with my brother to tend to his need is more loved to me than spending a whole month in worship in my mosque.”
He, Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, was an only child and an orphan, so he had no blood brothers.  The fact that he defined Muslims earlier means that this time, he is not defining a follower of any religion, but his brother is his brother “in humanity”, it means any human being who has a need and this is certainly evident in his actions when he risked his safety to help a stranded stranger in his claim against the most powerful person in Mecca, even though this stranger was not Muslim.
The prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him ended his answer saying:  Bad character corrupts deeds the way vinegar corrupts honey.
If you do something sweet to help someone, don’t sour it by saying something stupid our ungracious to the person you have helped.
Revisiting the point of being helpful to others – Islam has made a clear distinction between cooperation and collusion.
God commands us in the Holy Qur’an to cooperate on goodness and God-consciousness.
He forbids us from colluding in inequity or transgression.

Be helpful in everything good knowing that God knows your motivation, hears your words whether you whisper them into the ear of someone or say them indistinctly amongst a crowd, He knows what you said and why you said it.  God also sees everything that you do.

These my dear friends are universal truths, when you reflect on them, they make sense as a positive way of life regardless of your religious or ideological perspective.  These teachings become a legacy to benefit all humanity.
Amongst the advice from our beloved prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him:
“You will not experience paradise until you love one another.
“Shall I inform you of what you must do to create love?
“Spread peace amongst yourselves.”
Love and peace go hand in hand.
Just like faith in God and security are synonymous in Islamic discourse.
Faith is called Eeman, security is called Amn or Amaan.
A believer is called Mu’min, and a trustworthy person is referred to as Ameen, and
A Muslim spreads Salaam (peace).
Exploring these carefully chosen nouns, we realise that Allah is telling us that to be a Muslim and a firm believer, you must be a source of safety (Salaam or Salaama) and be trustworthy and a source of security (Amn or Amaan) wherever you go. 

I move with you now to a great instrument with which God has blessed us in order to cooperate and be helpful.
This great tool is: the ability to express our ideas clearly.
The ability to articulate thoughts.
This is an instrument that can:
Bring unity or sow division
Create peace, or incite war
Bring unity or wreak havoc
Lead to building or to destruction
Bring happiness or sadness
Create joy or misery
Create love or hatred
Or things in between.
We have all experienced the power of words that can transform them from a blessing to a curse.
With these words, God has also given us the ability to learn, and from learning, to build on the knowledge.
The blessings of expression and learning are clearly outlined in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith, both of which also illustrate the constructive benefits of unity and cooperation and the destructive and degenerative results of division and collusion.

In Chapter 55, Allah tells us:
“The Most Compassionate
“Taught Al Qur’an (The Oft-read book)
“Created the human being
“Taught him to clearly articulate.”

You can clearly see that it is the divine attribute of Compassion that is used to teach us His Holy Book, Al Qur’an (The Oft-read book), it is through the divine attribute of Compassion that Allah created humanity and it is through the divine attribute of Compassion that Allah gave us the ability to articulate our thoughts and ideas.
It is important to also draw your attention to the first verses to be revealed from the Holy Qur’an, these verses are to be found in Chapter 96:
“Iqra’ (read, recite, repeat) in the name of your Lord…”
Reading, whether the Holy Qur’an or other texts should start with compassion, (and should be done in the name of The Lord),
Approaching your spouse should be with compassion, (and hope they reciprocate), and
Speaking should be done with compassion.
When I adopt this in my life as a Muslim:
I learn in the name of the Most Compassionate, so my learning becomes beneficial or helpful to others.
I procreate with love and compassion, therefore, I bring forth offspring whose purpose is to promote love and compassion, and
I articulate my ideas with love and compassion.
Through this, I bring unity in this diverse world
I have a better chance to soften the hardest of hearts
And win the hearts and minds to the side of a loving, caring united world.
Our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, made very clear warnings not to speak without checking the facts and the impacts of the words, saying that a careless word can cast a person into hell for seventy years, one careless word that could mislead, or cause tremendous hurt, or incite violence or break a family.
With the power to articulate comes responsibility, just like with any powerful tool comes the responsibility to use it wisely.
He also gave us the good news of the benefits and blessings a positive constructive, helpful word can bring, a word that can unite, create peace, ameliorate.
We are taught to be humble in our discourse, to minimise argumentation and that the best discourse is to invite people to reconnect with their Maker.
Our prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, taught us that true faith is demonstrated in loving for others what you love for yourself.

These teachings were conveyed to Arabs to take to the world.
The Arabs at that time excelled at language, they had mastered the science of words and their meanings and they took pride in how eloquently one might express themselves.
To these people was revealed a book that proved to them that God is far more eloquent than they are, that He can beat them at the very thing in which they excelled.  To further show His power, He revealed these words through a man who could neither read nor write and they could not find fault or refute any of these words.
These are words that continue to this day and will forever continue to be a source of wisdom and grace for humanity.
A book whose words are elaborate.
A book whose words are clear
A book that proves that it is from God
A book that proves our unity and cooperation are the key to our success and felicitation.
A book that proves the Love of God and the complete and overall mastery of God.

When we look to each other with respect and appreciate our common humanity and our equality before God, we begin to understand that wisdom and knowledge are a legacy for all intelligent people and that these should be grabbed wherever they are found.
Our ancestors demonstrated this most capably. 
When they discovered ancient Greek manuscripts detailing scientific and philosophical works, they translated them, they studied them and they put them to the test (thereby teaching humanity the science of experimentation), they moved this knowledge from the theoretical sphere to the practical sphere and they built on this old human legacy.  By learning the old legacies, they were able to develop new legacies in many fields that were unknown to that day.
So, when Europe was in the dark ages, Muslim scientists brought to the world: Algorithm, Algebra, Alchemy, and many advances in Optics, Medicine, dialectics and many other fields.  These Muslims even brought the number “zero”, a digit that has been instrumental in the binomial switches that have digitised and connected our world.  In a closer to home exercise, the Afghan Muslim Cameleers also helped connect Australian cities.
Islam has made great contributions to the world recognising our equality and connectivity, despite our diversity and Muslims have made and continue to make great contributions to Australia.
But I caution everyone from reading half teachings or half verses in isolation from the comprehensive system.
At this point, I will share with you the few verses preceding the verse I cited at the start of my talk which highlighted our common origin along with the secret behind our diversity:
“Believers: Men should not mock other men lest they be better than they are
“Neither should women mock other women lest they be better than they are
“Do not defame one another nor use offensive nicknames, doing this is a deviation from faith whoever does this is an oppressive wrongdoer.
“Believers, avoid much suspicion, indeed, some suspicion is sinful, do not spy, do not backbite one another.  Would any of you like to consume the flesh of his dead brother, surely you would detest this.

“Be conscious that Allah (knows your motivations, hears your words and sees your actions), Know that Allah accepts repentance and is merciful.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The land of Allah is vast - support the refugees

Khutba from Friday 4 September 2015

Be an effective citizen - and participate in decision making.

Monday, August 31, 2015

For Whomever Allah wants Goodness

Friday Khutba delivered to HDMS on Friday 28 August 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Honour and protect your neighbour - Friday Khutba (Sermon) by Keysar Trad, 31 July 2015

Please excuse the stuttering, the speech notes are written in Arabic and I do the English translation on the spot

Ending the Cycle of Minority Blame – Speech by KEYSAR TRAD for the University of Western Sydney conference titled: Advancing Community Cohesion, Towards a National Compact Conference. 15 – 17 July 2015

My respect to the Original custodians of the land and their elders past and present.

Before I cite a few quotes from regular columnists in the major Australian mainstream media who have fuelled the Islamophobia industry in Australia, I would like to offer this insight from Prominent lawyer Julian Burnside, he wrote:  “Right now, Islamophobia is the new antisemitism, and it is dangerous.”

In my spoken speech, I will refrain from using names of those media personalities who perpetuated minority blame, these names and appropriate references are reproduced in the written speech:

The Sydney Morning Herald - Paul Sheehan:
“A de facto world war is under way and it has everything to do with Islam. It is not thousands of lone wolfs. It is not un-Islamic conduct. It involves thousands of Muslims acting on what they believe is their religious duty to subjugate non-believers, as outlined in the Koran.
And the problem is growing, not contracting.”  (11 Jan 15)

In another column he quotes a number of part verses from the Holy Qur’an and part Hadiths and then presents the following ill-conceived conclusion:
“So many Muslims have been encouraged to murder civilians by such exhortations that the rate of violent incidents perpetrated in the name of Islam is staggering, a toll that shows no sign of subsiding.”  (26 May 13)

And towards the end of this same article:
“Not included in the log of violent crimes are the outbreaks of civil violence such as the riots that have rocked Stockholm over the past week, where an urban underclass of predominantly Muslim immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers and their children has erupted in violence, vandalism and attacks on police.” (26 May 2013) (it should be noted that he provides no evidence for the Muslim reference).

In another article he blames Australians of a Middle Eastern Background for the Cronulla Riots:
“Cronulla, where after yet another assault thousands of people demonstrated about the years of abuse and intimidation from a disconnected, racist, violent, moronic and sexually dangerous subculture.” (13 Jan 2006).

The Herald Sun’s Andrew Bolt:
Opens a 14 July 2015 blog post with:
“You might get the impression that many Muslim leaders are treating our police as the real enemy in this battle against Islamist terrorism.
“Whatever the truth of their motivation, such leadership is grotesquely irresponsible and another disturbing sign that Islam may be incompatible with a pluralist and secular country such as ours.”

in an article dated 9 April 2015, he completely misrepresents a University of Melbourne Curriculum study with the following:
“What an offensive corruption of our curriculum. Children are to be taught the fabled best of Islam and the imagined worst of Australia to blind us all to the real challenges Islam poses even to a country that’s peacefully integrated the many more Buddhists here.”
He closes this long article with:
“Only a fool could not see a problem in importing more people from a faith that sets many so apart from, and at odds to, the culture of their host country.”

The same commentator excuses or attempts to rationalise the cold blooded murder by Anders Brievik of 93 Norwegians as being a result of his becoming unhappy about Muslims, he wrote on 25 July 2011:
“Some are left deeply wounded and enraged by a sense of powerlessness and rejection. Which means this is more likely than anything else I’ve seen to be a clue to this explosion of murderous rage:”

Radio 2GB’s Alan Jones:
Here is a selection of his comments about Lebanese Australians over the course of four days towards the end of April 05:
“These mongrels.”
“Lebanese males in their vast numbers not only hate our country and heritage.”
“They have no connection to us.”
 “They simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that’s taken them in.”
“What did we do as a nation to have this vermin infest our shores?”
“Tell me we don’t have a national security problem in the making.”
“Take the gloves off, and make life a collective hell for these bastards and their followers …”

Nearly eight months later, he or his callers said on air:
“My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive, it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs … Australians old and new shouldn’t have to put up with this scum.”
“Jones: Yeah, good on you John.
John: Now, ah, my grandfather was an old digger and he used to say to me when we were growing up “Listen, shoot one, the rest will run!”
Jones: (laughs)
John: Right?
Jones: (still laughing)”

Rather than standing up for the vilified minorities, both the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition come to Jones defence after ACMA found that “Jones was likely to have encouraged violence and vilification of Australians of Lebanese and Middle Eastern background.”

Not to be outdone, the Abbott government promised (that it later dropped in return for more draconian security measures) to introduce a repeal of the racial vilification laws (a move named after one of Australia’s leading Islamophobe)
When Andrew Bolt gets caught out for breaking the racial vilification laws, a conservative coalition promises to change the law to suit him.

Back to the Cronulla Riots, those I have quoted along with other commentators, rather than condemn the racist violence, went on the attack against the backlash from Middle-Eastern Youth youth – and the system followed suit, ME youth getting heavy-handed treatment whilst the rioters received very light treatment.
In addition to the example I quoted earlier from Paul Sheehan, here is a classic example from 2gb’s Brian Wilshire:
“Brian Wilshire: We Australians do not have to apologise for anything. My anger is reserved for the politicians and bureaucrats who conspired to bring in people who were guaranteed to be incompatible and have demonstrated that in every country into which they have moved.

“Francis: Absolutely. Look, I couldn’t agree with you more.

“BW: Many of them have parents who were first cousins, whose parents were first cousins, because of the culture - it’s not a religious thing, it doesn’t say this in the Koran - but it’s a cultural thing for some part of the world to have parents who are very closely related. The result of this is inbreeding, the result of which is uneducationable people, and very low IQ.”

2GB, Brian Wilshire, 15th December 2005

New Matlida columnist Michael Brull highlights some of the impact of Bolt’s Islamophobic commentary including:
“A man threatened to set a Muslim woman on fire.  When she looked to another man for help, he called her a terrorist.
“Another man entered a mosque and threatened to hit a woman with a chair.  He also threw cement bags at the mosque.  Another Muslim woman was physically attacked and called a “fucking terrorist”.  Another Muslim woman was attacked by a large man, who told her to “go back to where you came from”.  His physical assault broke her arm.”

Of course there are other attacks[1], such as the photographing of a Muslim woman on her way to work and posting her image on social networking and denigrating her and her faith[2], filming Muslim schools[3], inciting people, uploading a youtube clip calling for the killing of prominent Muslims[4] and the creation of a computer game whose object is to Massacre Muslims[5] (and recently in the United States of America, the cold blooded murder of 3 Muslim university students[6]). (additional resources)[7]

Yet as these attacks occur – the call is always for Muslims to dissolve into some sort of ideal that sits in the mind of the political and media antagonists.

They lay all the blame for Muslim discontent on Islam and Muslims – taking no responsibility for the hostile conditions they created which have silenced and forced many members of the Muslim community to the margins making it difficult for many Muslims to find work or a clear sense of belonging.
It would seem that the assimilation demanded by Pauline Hanson is no longer their ambition, Sheehan, Bolt and their ilk seem to no longer be looking for Muslims to assimilate, their commentary is profoundly antagonistic to Islam – and through that, Muslims become unassimilable or incapable of integrating into any majority Western country.
Comments such as: “The killing will go on because jihad is built into the fabric of Arab Islam.”
and others quoted earlier make it very clear that there is very little room for Islam in such people’s worldview.
This fixation with Islam seems unquenchable

Groups such as: The Q Society[8], Reclaim Australia[9], the ADL[10] (Australian Defence League), Catch the Fire Ministries look[11] like a neo-crusade against Muslims and columnists such as Bolt and Sheehan along with politicians like Senator Cory Bernardi have supported some of these groups.
We now have a parliamentary enquiry into Halal certification (which the senator instigating the enquiry referred to as a “racket”).  The words Halal, Sharia (the corpus of Islamic teachings), Jihad ( the exertion of effort, the greatest of which is to speak up against tyranny) are increasingly used in a pejorative way in public discourse.
Minorities become easy targets when Othering goes unchecked.  Othering is “The process of perceiving or portraying someone or something as fundamentally different or alien.”

Another important tool in creating acquiescence to minority blame is “Projection”, projection is when one projects his own flaws or societal malaise onto others, you call them out for these flaws as if the flaws were not yours, but theirs.  This is part of the problem – if Jihad is built into the fabric of Arab Islam, then what is built into the fabric of cultures that sees their nations going from one war to another under false or at best dubious pretexts?  They project their violent expansionism by accusing Muslims of doing or trying to do or fantasising about doing the very thing that the dominant culture is doing.  An example is the headline to the 8 Nov 13 blog by Bolt: “First off: our freedom restored to criticise the New Racism

The hard truths are never told, these are:
1 – The majority of asylum seekers from the Middle East or Afghanistan are here as a result of either foreign intervention through invasions or through the installation or backing of pliant dictatorial regimes.
2 – Some of our youths get involved in anti-social behaviour because they have fallen victim to the same anti-social behaviour that prevails amongst a section of mainstream youth – this behaviour is not imported it already existed here.  The gang rapes of 2000 are not imported, many women have suffered and continue to suffer from rape, violence and misogyny are also perpetrated by members of the dominant culture and have been so perpetrated for far too long.

The children of the recent wave of migrants didn’t introduce drugs into Australia, drugs had been sold by gangs long before migrant youths started to get drawn into the illicit trade.

Gang violence is not exclusive to a few migrant youths, gang violence existed long before migrant youths were introduced to it – the bikie shootout in 1984 on a street in the Sydney suburb of Milperra left 7 people dead.

Blaming minorities is the laziest and nastiest form of deflection.  It transforms the dominant culture into a bully and ironically, the bully projects his crimes onto his victim through the use of Othering and other tools which the minority has limited means to address or against which to seek redress.
Little wonder that some of those who are “Othered” can start to feel like “the Other.”

I don’t ask these cultural warriors to respect my human rights because their attacks show that this would be the least of their concerns.  They have Othered minorities and blamed these minorities for most of their woes.  I tell them that they are pursuing a false pragmatism that cheats their “utopian” society of our abilities.  Depriving highly capable or highly qualified migrants of access to work in their fields and restricting them to menial work[12] is as much a denial to the host culture as it is to the individuals who belong to the deprived minority.  Similarly, youth who rebel against the system and steer towards anti-social activities could, with the right direction in their formative years, be guided to harness their skills for legitimate pursuits where they can contribute constructively to the society.

This minority blame deprives the host/dominant society/culture from the best fruits of all its citizens (or residents) as it denies a section of citizens opportunities to harness their potential the same way others can.  On the pragmatic level, it is a crime against the very host culture by those warriors who claim to be protecting it and as long as minorities are denied the protections available to the rest of society, the chasm within society will increase, the mistrust will increase and racially motivated crimes will increase.

We need to move from this minority blame for our society to move forward, there has to be a very strong bipartisan approach at the political level.  This is not about political correctness nor about curbing free speech.  However, fanciful blame-shifting against the most vulnerable in society is not free speech, it is bullying, it is denialism and it is a betrayal of society.

After the bipartisan approach to protect the quality of life of all Australians, we need to ensure that anti-vilification laws are accessible, affordable and effective – my personal experience with these laws is that they are costly, take a tremendous length of time and can leave the victim footing a huge bill (as I stand on the brink of bankruptcy for seeking to uphold such laws).  The case of Trad v Jones (the vilification took place in April 2005, ten years later and aspects of the case are still unfinished).  Our legal system showed that the higher the court, the less its judges are likely to understand the vilification laws or to understand the right of minorities to live free from vilification.  (not only did this happen in my own personal experience[13], but a supreme court judge refused to accept the evidence of Mr. Mamdouh Habib[14], a former Guantanamo Bay detainee that he was tortured, this case was overturned on appeal after a major expose of the tortures at Guantanamo came to the attention of the international media).

In addition to these laws, the silent majority needs to speak out, I would say “we”, the silent majority, but I am Othered in this debate, so the silent majority of the dominant culture needs to speak out.

I have heard phrases such as:  the Chinese, the Greeks, the Italians, the Vietnamese or the Catholics had to go through this, now it is the turn of the Muslims.  They talk as if this widespread minority vilification is some sort of an initiation ritual on the way to being accepted as Australian. 
The reality is that vilification of each of these minorities is a shameful blight on our history as a nation, we should have learnt from the time we vilified the Afghan cameleers or the Chinese labourers that such vilification is not in the interest of Australia, but instead, our nation has a history of always projecting its problems on the latest minority to arrive at our shores and that unfortunately shows that we, the majority are not taking the most important lessons from our own history.


Trad v Harbour Radio Pty Ltd (No 2) [2013] NSWCA 477 (23 December 2013) This matter went through the Supreme Court of NSW, the NSW Court of Appeal, the High Court of Australia and back to the NSW Court of Appeal.  Four of the judges in the High Court returned the matter to the Court of Appeal to judge the defamation not on the basis of what “Right-thinking Australians” would decide, but rather on the basis of what “Ordinary decent Australians” would decide.  This fine-line indicates that the High Court of Australia would rather describe ordinary decent Australians as being non right-thinking people rather than admit that I was illegally defamed.